Sunday, 25 January 2009

Sunday January 25th, 2009 My Giant Search

The Sleeping Giant is an impressive sight. According to First Nations legend, he is Nanabijou, Spirit of the Great Sea Water, who turned to stone when the secret of a silver mine was divulged. The treasures of the mine have been inaccessible since then.

There is a similar cache of treasure at your Library, which is also found by way of the Sleeping Giant, however it is easy to find!

This treasure is our Virtual Collection of online databases, which contain reliable information which you won’t find anywhere else on the internet. To find this valuable resource, go to our Web site – – and click on “Virtual Collection”. On the next page you’ll see a picture of the Sleeping Giant – click on it to access “My Giant Search”.

There is also a link to a tutorial, or short demonstration, on that page. Take a look at it for some insider tips.

You can do a “My Giant Search” from any computer that has internet access. If you’re doing your search from outside of a Library branch, you’ll need to type in your Library Card number and PIN. Please call us if you have any trouble with this step.

Once you have been verified as a Library member, you’ll see a simple search box, and a list of subjects you can choose from.

This is where your treasure hunt begins! In this case, however, the treasure is not difficult to find at all. The databases that you’ll be searching include articles, photos, diagrams and video clips from thousands of magazines (like McLeans, Time and People), journals (like the New England Journal of Medicine and Consumer Reports), newspapers and other news sources. They also provide access to complete books and encyclopedias, including car repair manuals. One database, the Naxos Music Library, lets you search for and listen to over 75,000 pieces of music. This treasure is all online and all available 24/7.

You can do a Basic search, by Keyword, Title or Author, or an Advanced search using more search terms and other options.

From the list of search results you can choose the ones you’re interested in and read them online immediately. You can also mark items to print, save or email.

The next time you have any kind of research to undertake – whether you’re looking for a new furnace, need to fix your car, or do your English homework – try a “My Giant Search” and you’ll be sure to find some useful information you will treasure.

Joanna Aegard, Head of Virtual Library Services

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Sunday January 28th, 2009 Healthy Weight Week

It`s the beginning of Healthy Weight Week today, a response to the overeating and crash dieting that often accompanies the holiday season. Today's column originally ran in 2000 and it's interesting to note the changes between now and then. First, most of the web links have changed. Second, the news isn't good -- our society is getting fatter! But part of it's perception: "in a survey of women aged 18-35, 75 per cent believed they were fat, while by medical standards, only 25 per cent would be considered fat." ().

The media is often criticized for contributing to this anxiety. An American study found that today, fashion models weigh 23 per cent less than the average female. Only about 5% of women have the genetic make up to ever achieve the ultra-long and thin model body type so pervasive in the media.

At the same time, national levels of obesity are on the rise in most industrialized countries. In England, obesity has doubled between 1980 and 1991. (, The World Health Organization?s latest projections indicate that globally in 2005 approximately 1.6 billion adults (age 15+) were overweight and at least 400 million adults were obese. WHO further projects that by 2015, approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese.

In June 2008 the Canadian Community Health released the results of their 2007 study which indicated that 16 per cent of Canadians would be considered obese and a further 32% are overweight. Compare this to the data from the Canadian Community Health Surveys in 2000-2001 which shows that approximately 14.9% of Canadian adults were obese and that 47.4 were overweight (including obese).

Clearly, a lot of confusion exists on the topic of what constitutes a healthy weight and a positive body image. The library has an extensive collection of material on nutrition, healthy eating, and controlled dieting. We also have resources on the dark side of weight management: anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders. Use the health resources in the Virtual Collection to find the latest news and research on these topics. You'll also find that Internet sites like, Yahoo! Health and Bodypositive have current information on health and weight management. You can also get a historical perspective with a copy of an 1890 advertisement for Fat-Ten-U Food, guaranteed to "make The Thin Plump & Rosy with HONEST Fleshiness of Form."

Is it true that very little fat is lost when you lose weight rapidly?

Yes - it's mostly water and muscle loss. The best approach is to plan for a gradual loss of ½ to 1 pound per week. This can be achieved through healthy eating, regular moderate exercise and a positive attitude of acceptance of a realistic weight number or a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI).
Source: American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide (also available as an eBook, online now!)

Is it OK to eliminate all the fat from your diet?

Humans need some dietary fat in order to absorb vitamins A, D, E and K. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, which must be obtained from food, can lower the risk of heart attack and improve cholesterol levels.
Source: The Knopf Canada Book of Healing Foods

How much does the average woman weigh?

Based on 2005 Statistics Canada stats, the average Canadian woman is 5'3.4" tall and weighs 153 pounds. Source: (This is 11 pounds heavier than reported in the column in 2000).

How do you know what a serving size is?

The Canada's Food Guide website at has examples of serving sizes. For instance, one serving of fruit can equal 1 medium sized fruit or vegetable, 1 cup of salad, ½ cup of juice, or ½ cup of canned or frozen fruits or vegetables.

Sylvia Renaud, Head of Reference and Information Services

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Sunday January 11th, 2009 TBPL Rocks!

Becoming a kitchen rock star is about the only thing that can get me through the tedious process of cooking or baking. I’m just not overly fond of it and I’m not very good either. So, I was having a great time over the weekend singing my lungs out, indulging in a little head banging, cooking up a storm. That was until I happened to glance out the window and came eyeball to eyeball with my neighbour braving the bitter cold for the sake of a leisurely Sunday smoke. There was, of course, instantaneous frozen panic and the incredible urge to bang my head on the kitchen floor rather than in thin air, but I decided it was about time for a don’t-give-a-toss attitude, and did some crazy, but liberating, dance moves instead. I have to say, I absolutely admire anybody who refuses to deny their inner rock star self and can sing wholeheartedly at any red traffic light totally un-caring of whoever may be watching them. For me, though, I’ll just have to be satisfied with the whole kitchen rock star bit.

When he was a tad younger, my brother compiled a list of the best ever music for driving. He sent me an updated version recently, which includes any pre-Hotel California Eagles, a variety of U2, Sultans of Swing, More than a Feeling by Boston, some Fleetwood Mac, Elton John’s Crocodile Rock and, surprisingly, Kevin Johnson’s Man of the 20th Century. If you look on the internet, others have also constructed top ten lists, and uncannily, they all seem to be dependent upon the age of the person making the list. A friend of mine has the theory that a person’s favourite music will always be the music they most enjoyed in their early teens. I believe this theory has merit. Although I perceive my music taste these days to be quite eclectic, a lot of my favourite stuff comes from the mid-to-late 70’s.

The Thunder Bay Public Library, like me, also houses a large and eclectic collection of music. Not only this, there are lots of books devoted to the topic as well: books on artists, songs, musical instruments and the history of music. TBPL’s music taste is much akin to Jennifer’s from Love Story who enjoyed music from Bach to the Beatles. Considering that this movie came out in 1970, TBPL is undoubtedly far more hip with a really up-to-date CD collection. So if you’re into a little Beethoven, or maybe some AC/DC, Shania, Great Big Sea, Avril, Greenday, J.J. Cale, or anything else you fancy, chances are we’ve got it.

And don’t forget our Virtual Collection on the library’s homepage. From here you can access the AMG Allmusic webpage and the Naxos Music Library. Allmusic allows you to search for songs, albums or bands; an extremely useful tool if, for example, you’re trying to find out who sang a particular song or which album a song is on. The Naxos Music Library is geared mostly for classical music, while Allmusic covers just about any genre.

Brodie Street also houses a song catalogue which can direct you to books with lyrics or musical notation. This is particularly useful if, like me, you’ll sing a song regardless of whether you know the words or not. For years, a particular line in Manfred Mann’s Blinded by the Light totally eluded me. What I heard was: Ripped off I ka doosher to the rumour in the night, which makes no sense whatsoever, but it worked for me. However, it turns out that the line is actually: Revved up like a deuce another runner in the night. Frankly, this doesn’t make any sense either, so I’m sticking with my version, but if you’re a stickler for these things and you have to get it just right, we may be able to put you onto the lyric-straight-and-narrow.

So, whether you find yourself driving down the highway, bopping around in the kitchen, or just sloughing around on the couch, maybe check out our varied CD selection beforehand: we have something for everyone. Or if the line to that song is totally bugging you, we may also be able to help.

Happy listening!

Rosemary Melville, Library Technician

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Sunday January 4th, 2009 New Year's Resolutions

With the beginning of a new year many of us will be making some New Year’s resolutions. Often the goal is to get fit, quit smoking, decrease stress, organize our homes, earn more money, or travel more. This got me to thinking about why we do this – why do we make New Year’s resolutions…and when/where did this tradition begin? The celebration of New Year’s stretches far into the history of humankind; however it was not until the time of the Romans in approximately 153 BCE that the year began on January 1 (according to The American Book Of Days). The one consistent theme across many cultural traditions is that the New Year celebration is seen as a time for purging the old and embracing the new. Whatever the reason for making a resolution (or two), the library has information and material that can help in achieving your goals.

Physical Fitness

There are a variety of books and dvds available for anyone interested in physical fitness. From general strength training to pilates, yoga, dance aerobics, swimming, running and nutrition there is something here for everyone.
Fitness Swimming - This book not only provides step-by-step instructions for building a more effective and efficient freestyle stroke, it also explains how to set up a complete swimming fitness and training plan. You: The Owner’s Manual - Promoted by celebrity hosts such as Oprah, this guide will lead you through the ins and outs (literally) of all there is to know about your own body.

Quit Smoking

Quit Smoking Auto-Matically - Feel positive and confident about your ability to quit smoking with the help of this tape. "Quit Smoking Auto-Matically" can be used while driving, working out, or traveling. Also, the Public Health Agency of Canada offers a wealth of information on handling tobacco and other addictions.

Decrease Stress

Living with stress has become a fact of everyday life. The effects of stress can cause physical problems as much as emotional ones. There are many simple and easy ways to handle daily causes of stress, many of which can be found online at sites such as, or through the health databases provided by the Thunder Bay Public Library in its Virtual Collection. The library also has many books available that can help in handling stress, such as Stress Free For Good: 10 Scientifically Proven Life Skills For Health And Happiness or Stress Relief.

Getting Organized

Christopher Lowell’s Seven Layers Of Organization: Unclutter Your Home, Unclutter Your Life takes you through the organizing process step by step, breaking down each layer into simple tasks that anyone can make time to do. He shows how to plan ahead for better, faster, longer-lasting results; how to decide what to keep and what to toss; and how to store or show off your possessions. The Clutter-Busting Handbook: Clean It Up, Clear It Out, And Keep Your Life Clutter Free helps readers tackle problem areas like closets and garages, and also includes tips on emptying e-mail accounts and clearing out ordinary paper clutter.

Earn More Money

Got your eye on a promotion, or looking to change careers? A good place to start is with Service Ontario. This government site offers advice and information on writing resumes and cover letters, as well as helpful interview hints. The Thunder Bay Public Library Virtual Collection also offers help through the Career Cruising database, which allows you to browse and search careers, training and professional education resources.


Thinking of doing more traveling in the year to come? The library has current travel guides for destinations all around the world that can help you plan your dream trip. Or if you’re just in the mood for a good read based on travel, check out Cruising For Murder (actress Morgan Taylor agrees to do a friend a favor by replacing a last minute deserter in the cruise ships entertainment cast. It's only after she meets the ship in Miami that Morgan learns her predecessor was murdered) or Letters From Atlantis (taking the travel theme further to include time travel when main character Roy transfers his mind into that of a royal prince living in Atlantis 180 centuries ago).

Happy New Year and good luck in keeping those resolutions!

Jesse Roberts, Reference Services Librarian