Sunday, 22 February 2009

Sunday February 22nd, 2009 Recession Proofing @ Your Library

Let the library help you through these difficult economic times. Not only can we assist you in your job-search when you have been laid-off, downsized or let go, but we can also help you save money. Why buy when you can borrow!

Top ten reasons to use your library during tough economic times:

10. Borrow a dvd instead of renting it. Sure, you may have to wait for the recent release, but check out all the titles that you can’t get from retail stores!

9. Borrow a sewing book and learn how to make your own clothes, or alter those hand-me-downs or clothes from your local thrift store.

8. Cancel the subscriptions to some of your favourite magazines, and borrow from the library instead. A great magazine to check out at the library – both on paper and online - is Consumer Reports. Maximize your purchasing power in these tough times but ensuring that what you buy is the Best!

7. Don’t eat out as often. Check out a cooking dvd or recipe book and be a gourmet at home.

6. Attend one of the Thunder Bay Hydro: How to Lower your Electricity Bill programs at the library and learn how to save money on your hydro bill. Programs run throughout February, March and April. Check the library newsletter or website for specific dates, times and locations. While you are at the library, sign out one of our Energy Meters and see how much electricity your appliances are using up.

5. Borrow the bestselling fiction title instead of buying it. Yes, you may have to wait a bit for it, and you may only have it for a week because others are waiting for it as well, but don’t let that deter you. If you can’t read it in a week, keep it longer and pay the small fine. A few dollars is cheaper than $40 to buy it! And while you’re at the library, check out the back list of your favourite author. The back list is the list of titles that are either no longer in print, or not readily for purchase from your local or online book store. Danielle Steel, Dan Brown, Janet Evanovich all had many books out before their recent bestseller. The best place to get those titles is your public library.

4. Attend the Feb 26th DriveWise program at the Waverley library presented by EarthWise Thunder Bay. There you will learn how to HyperMile. What’s that, you ask? That’s learning how to drive your vehicle so as to maximize its fuel consumption.

3. Check out the Auto Repair Reference Centre. This online resource gives you access to car repair manuals. Learn how to do the simple repairs/maintenance yourself. While you’re at it, check out the books on small appliance repair – why buy new when you could try to repair it yourself.

2. Attend one of the upcoming Job Search workshops to be offered at the library. Check the library website and newsletter in March. In the meantime, sign out a resume writing or interviewing skills book. The library website offers links to our online Career Cruising database. Just click on Job Seekers under Services.

And the number 1 reason to use the library during tough times is The staff. Utilize the knowledge of the library staff to help you find what you need. They’ll put a smile on your face, and sometimes that’s just what you need when the going gets tough!

Barbara Philp, Head of Adult Services

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Love you Forever

For weeks now I’ve been thinking about what to write in this space. Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and tomorrow is Family Day and so it is rather tempting to write about these holidays or about romantic love. However, today is its own day and special for another reason: February 15th is my younger brother’s birthday. Valentine’s has always been the day between my sister’s birthday (February 13th) and my brother’s, so it really paled in significance when compared with the dates it fell between. Now we have Family Day falling in close proximity to their birthdays and so while this column is all about love, it’s not about romantic love. Instead it’s about the love between siblings and a shared love of reading.

My brother Matt is the sibling I wanted. This is in no way to make my sister sound any less important, I love her dearly, but I was only two when she was born and five when my brother came along. I can remember my mother saying that it would be nice to have a third girl and me telling her that I wanted a brother. In fact if the baby wasn’t a boy, I wasn’t interested. Luckily, I got the brother I wanted although when he drove me crazy I wondered why I wanted him in the first place. I remember reading him his bedtime stories when my parents were busy and feeling so important because I could take care of this task.

As you may have guessed, reading was a big part of our lives growing up and we all had our favourite books. I read Matt, Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet Ahlberg so many times that I still have it memorized. Another book popular not just with our family, but pretty well everyone I know, is Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. I can’t think of a more popular book that celebrates the love of a parent for their child and vice versa. Love You Forever wasn’t our favourite book by Munsch: that honour belonged firmly to Jonathan Cleaned Up -- Then He Heard a Sound: or Blackberry Subway Jam. We always imagined the subway coming through our house! Reading these books together was a pure expression of love. The giving of time is a true indicator of love in our busy lives. I could have been playing outside or reading one of my “big girl” books, but instead I was reading with Matt.

We show our love by giving the time we have left after work, chores, school and everything else to those we deem worthy. We know we’re loved because no matter what, our family and friends find the time to be with us when we need them. Take some time this family day and share some stories, either from a book or your heart. Here are a few of our favourites (new and old):

Avocado Baby by John Burningham
Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler
Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
Doctor De Soto by William Steig
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Balloon Tree by Phoebe Gilman

I’ve listed picture books because they are wonderful to share with family members of all ages. However, there are many fabulous children’s chapter books that can be shared as a family. I used to read my brother and sister books by Roald Dahl and we’d often make up further adventures for his characters. My father made up stories for us when we were without a book and my grandmother regularly told us tales of her childhood. Enjoy your stories and make many more.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas, Children's and Youth Services Librarian at the Brodie Resource
Library –

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Sunday February 8th, 2009 The Moon

Carl Sandburg said The moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to. Tomorrow brings one of my favourite times of the month, the full moon. I love looking out at a starry sky and a hushed wintry world by the light of a full moon. It's surprising how well you can see with a blanket of snow on the ground. I have friends who take their cat for a drive to the marina to watch the moon rise over the lake. I bet Hillcrest Park would be another great vantage point. herever you like to watch from, here's to the moon.

Long Night Moon by Cynthia Rylant

This children's picture book is inspired by the Native American custom of naming the full moons. This beautifully illustrated book features lyrical prose that reveals the magical quality of the full moon. From the Stormy Moon in January that shines on a wild wolf's back to the Long Night Moon of December that waits for morning, this book will captivate children and adults alike. Our copy of this title has gone astray, but we can borrow it from out of town through our Interlibrary Loan service.

Huron Carol

One of my favourite carols is the Huron Christmas carol. When I look at a full moon (summer or winter) I can't help but sing "Twas in the moon of wintertime, When all the birds had fled, That mighty Gitchi Manitou Sent angel choirs instead." I find this carol to be hauntingly beautiful and seeing a full moon just makes me want to sing. The library carries The Huron Carole by Tom Jackson on compact disc. We also carry the children's book The Huron Carol, featuring gorgeous watercolour landscapes by Ian Wallace. It's a treat for both children and adults.

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Her neighbour's a werewolf, her boss is a gremlin and she's repairing a vehicle for a vampire. Life is far from normal for Mercy Thompson.As well as being an auto mechanic she can shape shift to become a coyote. After giving a job to a local teenage werewolf, Mercy soon finds herself in the middle of a werewolf clan war when she finds a dead body on her porch. This piques the interest of the local vampires and things start to heat up.

Moon Madness

Many Moons by Diana Brueton has a chapter on Moon Madness that follows the history of the effect that the moon has on mankind. For example, the Egyptians believed that insanity could be cured by eating snake meatballs (yum) under the light of a full moon. This book is filled with interesting facts and folklore. I found an article on the full moon and pets in that stated cats and dogs make more trips to the emergency room during this time of the month. I've heard nurses say that it's the same with people. My cat Christopher will tear across the room and jump into the front room window. You'd swear he is pursued by gremlins, when the moon is full.

Moon Over Manhattan by Larry King and Thomas H. Cook

CNN's own Larry King has co-authored this book described as a madcap caper about the bright lights and dimwits of Manhattan. It features a quirky cast of characters -- a political commentator, newspaper columnist, con man, socialite and teenage daughter. The Amazon website shows a lot of mixed reviews for this book. The descriptions range from wildly fun, wacky, fun filled to silly and insipid. I guess you'll just have to decide for yourself.


Remember Moonstruck? This movie earned Cher an Academy Award for her role as a widow who falls in love with the younger brother (played by Nicolas Cage) of her husband to be, under a Manhattan moon. Why not curl up some evening and enjoy this movie all over again? We carry it on DVD and VHS.

There is an Irish blessing that reads - May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and a smooth road all the way to your door. I hope you enjoy the remainder of the winter. Keep warm and enjoy the moon tomorrow.

Karen Craib is a Library Technician

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Sunday February 1st, 2009 Go Ahead and Celebrate Winter

Groundhog Day is just around the corner and that means February is fast approaching. Traditionally on the second day of February the groundhog ventures out of his warm burrow to look for his shadow. It is not that groundhogs are really very interested in their shadow or the weather but we certainly have fun pretending they do. In Canada we give the honour to several different groundhogs in various provinces: Shubenacadie Sam in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia; Wiarton Willie in Wiarton, Ontario; Gary the Groundhog in Kleinburg, Ontario; Spanish Joe in Spanish, Ontario; Brandon Bob in Brandon, Manitoba and Balzac Billy in Balzac, Alberta. The premise is simple. If the groundhog sees his shadow, then there will be six more weeks of winter. If he does not, then spring is in the offing.

This tradition began in Europe and when settlers came to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, they brought with them Candlemas Day (mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox). It seems one of the earliest references to Groundhog Day is in a journal entry by James Morris, a storekeeper in Berks County, Pennsylvania who wrote: “Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.” The first trip to visit Punxsutawney Phil occurred in the late 1800’s and folks have been heading there ever since for two days of festivities.

Whether spring comes early or late there is always a wealth of ideas and activities available at the Thunder Bay Public Library. It is a warm and welcoming place to be in both winter and spring. First of all, if you have never seen the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray but would like to, it is available for borrowing at your Thunder Bay Public Library. There are also a number of excellent children’s books in both French and English, all about Groundhog Day: Le Jour de la Marmotte, by Betsy Lewin; Groundhog Day by Gail Gibbons and Go to Sleep, Groundhog, by Judy Cox to name a few.

If you have already read those particular books and seen that movie, you can find on the Thunder Bay Public Library website (, a wide array of new books and DVD’s available to you. Click on the Find Books tab and you will discover new fiction and non-ficiton titles as well as new DVD’s and CD ROMS. If you would like to read something new but need a few suggestions, follow the popular reading suggestions link. This takes you to lists of General Reading Suggestions, Award Winners, Bestsellers, and Book Shorts where you can watch video book blurbs, just as you would preview movie trailers and video clips.

So what else is doing at the Library in February and March? Well, much and for every age and taste. On weekday mornings there are Preschool Story Times and Books for Babies. There are fun-filled puppet shows in the Children’s Departments where you can come and watch performances of The Three Little Pigs and the Paper Bag Princess. Want to learn more about your computer? There are Internet classes in the evening, where you can explore Faceboook, Flickr, and YouTube in a friendly and relaxed environment. Musically inclined? There are a number of live concerts lined up for the next few months including Jim ‘n I and the TBSO Ensemble. There are also Income Tax Seminars and Thunder Bay Hydro Presentations on how to lower your electricity bill; Toastmasters’ Club and Writer’s Circle Meetings. And for all you theatre buffs, there is the Cambrian Play Reading Series.

So let Wiarton Willie have his day in the sun – or under cloudy skies. It could go either way. But all you really need to do is enjoy the weeks ahead and benefit from what TBPL has to offer that is just right for you.

Caron E. Naysmith
Supply Staff, Thunder Bay Public Library