Sunday, 31 May 2009

Sunday May 31st, 2009 The Versatile Potato

Last Christmas a staff member brought in chips and dip for our coffee room (food donations are always welcome). Some library branches have potato chips regularly, but at Brodie they are a rare treat. As we munched through our coffee break it reminded me of how I always praise the potato for its versatility.

Are there potato cookbooks?

We carry a few potato cookbooks, such as Potato The Definitive Guide To Potatoes And Potato Cooking by Alex Barker. It's the perfect book for a potato lover. It contains over 150 ways to cook and present potatoes. It features interesting recipes such as Chocolate potato cake. Wow -- what's not to like there? You can also try your hand at making Bubble and Squeak. This classic British recipe features mashed potatoes, cabbage and onions, sounds like my kind of dish. I bet it's popular in Moulton Chapel, England.

Can you suggest a good potato related fiction book?

I sure can! The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. This book was a top bestseller in 2008. Set in post World War Two Britain, author Juliet Ashton is seeking a subject for a new book. She begins a correspondence with a man from Guernsey and is drawn to the society members. The society began as an alibi when the Germans found them breaking the curfew. Juliet sails to Guernsey to meet the society members and discovers a wonderful group of characters. There's even a recipe in the back for potato peel pie, if you're interested in trying it.

Aren't potatoes bad for you?

I did a quick search in the Health Source -- Consumer Edition database, located in our Virtual Collection. I found an interesting article from the June 2008 issue of Prevention magazine, called Healthy Veggies You Think Are Bad For You. The article mentions that if you eat potatoes in moderation, they are nutrient rich, contain flavonoids which can help reduce cancer risk and can even help lower blood pressure. You can locate the article online by entering food composition in the search box and Prevention in the publication box. We carry the actual magazine at Brodie and Waverley.

Who doesn't like potato chips?

I have always been a big potato chip fan. I recall saving the Old Dutch potato chip bags and boxes for a chance to bid on fabulous prizes on the locally televised Kids Bids show. I think everyone wanted the Old Dutch playhouse. Their website has an interesting history of the company. Did you know they started in Winnipeg in April 1954? If you're interested we carry Crunch! A History Of The Great American Potato Chip by Dirk Burhans. This book follows the history of the chip from the early sale of locally made chips at corner stores to the modern snack food industry.

Do we have books about both pigs and potatoes?

Why, yes we do -- Pigs Love Potatoes by Anika Denise. This is a great counting book for children. First Mamma Pig gets one request for potatoes and soon everyone wants potatoes. With colourful illustrations and rhyming text it's sure to be a hit with small children. Pigs and potatoes, it doesn't get much better than that.

Where can I visit a potato museum?

If you're ever in O'leary, P.E.I. be sure to stop by the PEI Potato Museum! It also features farm implements and a Potato Hall of Fame. There's even a 14 foot potato outside, perfect for a photo-op. Visit their website at

What else can I do with a potato?

We're living in tough economical times and you'd be surprised what a potato can do. Aside from eating them, you can remove a broken light bulb, erase pumpkin stains from your hands, and restore the shine on old shoes. If you're feeling creative you can design greeting cards and writing paper using a potato stamp. It's similar to a rubber
stamp, just carve and ink your design. I remember doing this in public school. For more information check out the book Extraordinary Uses For Ordinary Things by Reader's Digest.

No matter how you slice it the potato is one handy vegetable. Oh, do you know what you call a baby potato? A small fry. Now go out and enjoy a potato.

Karen Craib is a Library Technician

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Book Clubs to Book Love

Book clubs have been on my mind lately for more reasons than one. I think the catalyst was joining a book club. I never thought I’d join one for a couple for reasons. The two most significant being that I don’t have a great deal of free time and I have plenty of books I want to read. However, there was a book club opportunity I couldn’t refuse. The time commitment is minimal and the books are selected by a vote. The best part is that I can enjoy my book club in my pajamas. How so? Well, it’s an online book club. We chat through a program called Plurk and we decided that since none of us have time for a traditional book club we would have our own. This month we’re reading two books, The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett and The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. You can read either one or both, if you so choose and then comment on our discussion thread. I’ve wanted to read The Gargoyle but have been afraid that it would be emotionally overwhelming; reading it with a group feels more comfortable. This is why I’m glad that I’ve found a book club I can be a part of, it can push my literary boundaries within the safety of the group.

Thunder Bay Public Library both hosts and supports book clubs. You may (or may not) be aware of our two book clubs that meet at Mary J.L. Black and Waverley libraries. Mary J.L. Black hosts the Novel Lunch Bunch on the third Monday of the month, and Casual Clerisy meets the second Tuesday of the month at Waverley. Both clubs have a monthly theme, as opposed to a specific book for each meeting. More information can be found on the library website under What’s On – Book Clubs. On the same page of our website you can also get information about the Online Book Club. Perfect for someone who’s looking for some new books and authors, you can join a book club in which you receive an excerpt of the book each business day, via e-mail and is approximately a five minute read. Each book is featured for a week, so while you never get the whole book, but if something piques your interest you can either take it out from the library or request it for purchase if it’s not already in the collection.

Our newest book club is self named B-tween the Covers, which is for young people who are hovering between childhood and the teenage years. Some members have met at Waverley Resource Library to make book selections which they then discuss on a Friday afternoon. You can find out more about this exciting new book club on our Kids’ Zone website, where we have also featured some of their recommended books.

You may also have heard of our Book Clubs in a Bag. These bags contain 10 paperback copies of a book, discussion questions, author information, and reviews. To give you a taste of the titles available we have: Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. The full list can be found on our website under What’s On – Book Clubs – Book Clubs in a Bag.

Our help however, is not limited to offering the Book Clubs in a Bag. If there’s a book your group has liked we can help you find similar types of materials. Or if you’re feeling stuck and just want to try something different take a look at our new blog The Best of the Backlist where we’re featuring some staff favourites that you may have missed the first time around. We encourage you to comment on what you think of the materials we showcase and let us know about books you’ve loved. One of the greatest pleasures of working in a library is sharing the love of books. There is nothing better than putting the right book in someone’s hands, except maybe when they put the perfect one in yours. It really is all about sharing and we’re so glad to be able to share with you and have the privilege of learning of great works we may have missed.

As I write this I realize that while I started with book clubs I’m ending with book love. For me that’s what the ideal book club is all about, people getting together and sharing a love of books and reading. It doesn’t matter if I loved the book or you hated it, we both got something out of it and may have learned something about ourselves and each other along the way. This column is a short space to say everything we want to say on a given topic and so I invite you to come in and share your stories with us.

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

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Sunday May 17th, 2009 Abitibi Bowater

Are you inspired when you should be asleep? I am. Early one morning I started to wonder about the future of Abitibi Bowater. Could this really be the demise of what was once a giant? As my thoughts went on and on, I realized I had the makings of this week's column on what I still think of as Great Lakes Paper.

Like many of you I have a family connection to the mill that goes a long way back. My Dad was a master mechanic in charge of the woodlands garage. His career spanned several decades starting in the late 30’s. As a child I grew up listening to late night phone calls about some piece of machinery that had just broken down. I recall the thrill of getting tickets for pop, hotdogs and ice cream at the annual picnics at Chippewa Park. And who can forget the huge Christmas parties at the Fort William Gardens. There was the excitement of getting a new toy and a small bag of candy featuring candy coated peanuts. Over the years my Mom got a lot of teacups and mugs. I still have two of her mugs from parties featuring Raymond Briggs' snowman. In the early 90’s we went with my Dad on informative bush camp bus tours, conducted by Wally Zaremsky. I think it was important to my father for us to see what it was all about. And it was interesting to see the camps, the equipment at work and reforestation sites.


We carry a great book that has an excellent chronology of company history in it. The company dates back to its organization in 1919, with construction taking place in 1924. Over the years it has had many names, but has always been a local fixture. I see that the first Athletic Association picnic and Christmas party happened in 1937, which is long before I ever went to one, in case you're wondering.
Source: Paper & People: An Illustrated History of Great Lakes Paper And Its Successors 1919-1999

The Fox home

In 1995 The White Fox Inn opened in what was once the stately 8,000 square foot home of Great Lakes company president, C.J. Warwick Fox. It was built on 15 acres of land in 1962 and prior to being an inn it served as a group home for the Lakehead Association for Community Living.
Source: Chronicle Journal June 26, 1995 page B1

Mr. Fox

Sadly Mr. Fox may have been best known for being a victim of crime. On July 15, 1971 four armed men broke into his home and robbed him. He and his wife were tied up and chloroformed. The thieves got away with $70,000 worth of jewelry alone. A massive investigation led to the arrest of 4 people from Quebec. C.J. Fox passed away 2 months later, after a short illness.
Source: LF TB Crime Local History Files

The Brodie Reference department has a clipping file on the company. Flipping through the articles I see headlines regarding layoffs, shutdowns and expansions. I also looked in our card catalogue (yes, I mean card catalogue) for more historical articles on the company. It led me to a July 19, 1962 article about a newly developed tree harvester. Scanning the article I realized it was the harvester that my father helped to adapt to local requirements. For his participation we got 2 colour televisions and carpeting for the basement. I always say you'll never know what you can find in our local history collection.
Source: LHF Industries , Pulp and Paper, Great Lakes Paper Co. Ltd.


For more information on the company check our Thunder Bay District News Index in the Virtual Collection on our Web site. A search for Bowater gives you a list of articles. Newspapers can be found at Brodie and Waverley carries the last few years only. For recent information try one of the databases located in the Virtual Collection. These are just my memories of what was once the Great Lakes Paper Company.

Families all over Thunder Bay have their own memories of what was once a thriving paper mill. We all share a part of it. Their future remains unknown, but I wish all the best to the employees and their families.

Karen Craib is a Library Technician

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Sunday May 10th, 2009 Interlibrary Loan

Money, or lack of it, is a hot topic these days. Even libraries feel the pinch. Budget restraints force us to try and purchase as wide a range of materials as possible, but unfortunately we cannot hold every title. Space is an issue as well, therefore we are not able to keep all of our resources forever, and must pick and choose which ones to keep and which ones will go to our Friends of the Library used bookstore. However, if there is a title that you have been searching for and the Thunder Bay Public Library does not carry a copy it is possible that we can bring this item in from another library within Canada. This free service is called Interlibrary Loan and is available to anyone with a valid Thunder Bay Public Library Card.

What kinds of materials can be ordered through interlibrary loan you might ask? We will try to borrow any print items that are not considered rare or reference material, photocopies of journal articles, and microfilm reels from the provincial and national archives, including newspapers. We do not however, borrow any audio visual materials such as CDs and DVDs, and any books which are newer than 6 months old. Let's take a closer look at what is available.

The Provincial Archives holds such items as birth, marriage and death registration information on microfilm. They also have estate information, church records, and land records. Keep in mind that these are old registrations and information that are now a matter of public record. For a detailed look at the types of information and the years
covered, check out their website.

Library and Archives Canada carries a wide range of newspapers on microfilm from across Canada, which are available for borrowing through interlibrary loan. Maybe you are looking for an obituary, or an article that contains a photo of a family member. If you know the date of a particular event, we can order in that reel of microfilm for use in the Brodie Reference Department. The microfilm machines are equipped with printers so you can print yourself a copy.

Also available through interlibrary loan from Library and Archives Canada are census returns on microfilm dating as far back as the 1600s, and immigration information including passenger lists back to 1865. Check out their website for more info.

Doing some research? If you need a specific journal article that the library does not carry in either print or electronic format, we can try to help you obtain a copy. Books can accumulate a considerable amount of wear and tear. Books that are beyond repair are often removed from the collection. It may be that some of those titles are no
longer in print and cannot be reordered for the collection. This is when interlibrary loan is particularly handy. If we do not have an older title from one of your favourite authors we will try to borrow a copy. If it is part of a series and we are missing one from the set, don't despair, try interlibrary loan.

You may be wondering how interlibrary loan items arrive here. All items are shipped through Canada Post. Libraries across Canada are eligible for a reduced postage rate , called Library Book Rate. The lending library pays to ship the item out and included in the shipping rate is a free return mailing label. This reduced postage rate covers books only, not tapes, CDs or DVDs. Generally you can expect to wait from three to six weeks for an item.

In 2008, the Thunder Bay Public Library received a total of 4,255 requests from both our patrons and other public libraries. From those requests, we were able to supply 1,844 books to other libraries. If you would like more information regarding interlibrary loans, or to request an item, contact the Brodie or Waverley Reference departments at 345-8275.

Michelle Paziuk, Library Technician

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Sunday May 3rd, 2009 Books and More in Other Languages

The Folklore Festival is winding down today but you can continue your journey of discovery of other cultures at the library. Not only do we carry material about other countries but we have a variety of items in other languages which reflect the ethnic composition of our community. So if you speak another language or are learning another language here's a list of what we have: Arabic, Chinese, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese. You'll find that these are mostly books (translations and original works), but there are also music cds, cassette books and videos. We also have some magazines and newspapers in French, Finnish and Italian.

How would I search the catalogue to find out what the library has?

A quick way to do this is to go to our web site ( and click on Find Books then Other Languages. Then just click on the language listed and you?ll see material for both adults and children.

Do all the branches have items in these languages and where are they located?

Only the Waverley and Brodie libraries have all the languages listed above and these are located on the ground floor. The County Park Library has French and Finnish and the Mary J.L. Black branch has children's books in French.

Are there dvds in other languages?

There are indeed. The foreign film collection has titles in more languages than what's listed above so look for them in the dvd section of each branch. You can do a quick catalogue search using the keywords "foreign films dvd". Also, many of the feature films today are subtitled and/or recorded in other languages and you can use our catalogue to quickly find out which ones they are by using a keyword search. For example "Spanish dvd" will give a list of over 1,500 titles in both the adult and children's collections which are either subtitled or recorded in Spanish as well as English.

Do you have anything in the Cree, Oji-Cree or Ojibway languages?

We have a large selection of aboriginal cds (link under Community / Aboriginal Community) which includes music and other works by aboriginal artists. The library also has some language learning tapes and a small number of books; in the online catalogue use a keyword search for Cree, Ojibwa, Oji-Cree to locate these. And don't forget that Wawatay News has some sections that are in Oji-Cree.

What other kinds of multicultural programs, services and collections are available at or through the library?

We have language learning tapes and cds, a literacy collection for English as a Second Language (ESL), music cds for most cultures, film nights with various cultural backgrounds, tours for ESL groups and the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association, we've held programs for Black History Month (February), First Nations Public Library Week (February), National Aboriginal Day (June), we participate in the Folklore Festival (May), we're a partner with the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association which hosts an English Conversation Circle at the library, we support the breakfast for the annual International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (March) by selling tickets and promoting the event, we work with Diversity Thunder Bay and we have meeting space available for ESL or other tutors. On the web site under Community we have a page of information for "Newcomers" which includes links to a wide variety of library, community and online resources for newcomers to our community. Through the Virtual Collection on our web site you can find a French language encyclopedia, newspaper and magazine articles in French and language learning e-books and e-audio books.

Sylvia Renaud, Head of Technical Services