Sunday, 19 December 2010

Sunday December 19th, 2010 The Last Hurrah

The Last Hurrah

I began writing this column over a year ago, it’s my final one. After 33 years with Thunder Bay Public Library I will be retiring shortly. Things have changed so much. When I started we had a card catalogue and telex machine. There are a lot of things I'm going to miss about the Library.


I will miss spending my days surrounded by my favourite authors – Lorna Landvik, Clive Cussler, Billie Letts, Fannie Flagg and others. Now I will depend on the library to email me when something new comes out. I just have to login to My Library Card, Search the Catalog for an author, then Save As A Preferred Search. Go to Patron Record, then Preferred Searches, Mark it for Email and Update the List. It’s that easy.


It might be a poinsettia for Christmas, crocus bulbs in the spring, hot chocolate mix in the winter, a brick of ice cream in the summer. You have no idea how much these little treats mean to us. I’ll say a big thank you to Tom and Tauno, you’ll be missed.

Local History Collection

You’ve probably noticed I can’t say enough about our Local History Collection. Being a Reference chick at heart it’s one of the things I’m most proud of. That group of filing cabinets was here when I came and will be here long after I’m gone. Please remember us and take advantage of our files.

Writing This Column

It was a joy to write a column and then have someone call and ask for books you’ve suggested. When you tell them you wrote it and they say “Are you Karen?” you feel like this is your 15 minutes of fame.

It felt wonderful to write columns that may have made you smile, brought back a memory or helped you with a problem.

My Working Family

We may be a little dysfunctional but many people here are like family. I’d also like to thank the Reference Student Helpers. It’s been a pleasure supervising you and I wish you well. Over the years I’ve watched former ones have families of their own and it’s always a treat to see them years later, Vicki and Deborah come to mind. Our students have gone on to become nurses, doctors and surprise, librarians.

ESL Students

I’ll miss providing tours for the English As A Second Language students .It was so nice to introduce our library to these students who are so appreciative. I hope they enjoy the library for years to come.

Dedicated Customers

We have customers that have used the library year after year to work on special projects such as genealogy. It’s a pleasure to see you and on a bad day, a friendly conversation can keep us going.

Coffee Breaks

I’ve always joked that you could pop in for a coffee break and probably find us having the same conversation year after year. It’s like an ongoing soap opera. Our chats could bring us to tears of laughter or tears of sorrow. I guess I’ll be spending my coffee breaks alone. But…you know where to find me.


I appreciate the time to express my feelings and hope I haven’t offended anyone. Remember, the next time you visit your public library be kind to the staff, they’re doing the best that they can and they’re doing it all for you. The library is here for your enjoyment. Please take advantage of all that we have to offer. Bye now…

Karen Craib is a Library Technician

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Sunday December 5th, 2010 eBooks

eBook readers are poised to be one of the most popular gifts this holiday season. For avid readers this new technology is miraculous. You can now carry hundreds of books, magazines and newspapers in your purse or pocket!

Your Library has a new collection of eBooks, free for you to download. To access them, go to our Web site at, and click on “OverDrive” in the Quick Links. OverDrive is the platform that houses both our eBook and eAudiobook collections. The selection includes mostly fiction, and a bit of non-fiction (including cookbooks). There really is something for everyone, from children and teens to fiction-loving adults. You don’t have to log-in to browse around OverDrive. When you’re ready to sign out a book, you’ll be prompted to log-in with your Library Card number and PIN. Because this is a collection we share with other libraries, fist you have to select “Thunder Bay Public Library”.

To download an eBook you need to have Adobe Digital Editions installed on your computer. This software is available for free on the Web. Adobe Digital Editions works with compatible eBook readers. For example if you have a Kobo, connect it to your computer, and it will appear in Adobe Digitial Editions. Then simply drag and drop the downloaded book from the “library” to your Kobo, and it will transfer to the Kobo when it’s disconnected.

If you’re interested in eAudiobooks, OverDrive has a “Media Console” which you must download first (you only have to do it once). The Media Console is needed in order to unwrap the digital rights management (DRM) included in eAudiobook downloads. The Media Console also helps you transfer the eAudiobook on to a portable device – like your iPod or MP3 player.
OverDrive provides a brief description of each book, an excerpt from the text, and also suggestions of similar books you might like. The Quick Start Guide, found in the Getting Started section near the top right of every page in OverDrive, is very useful for new users.

You may sign out up to five books from OverDrive at any one time. They are due back in seven days by default, but you can change the loan period to 14 days. You do not have to do anything to “return” OverDrive books – they simply disappear from your OverDrive account after the lending period. At the end of the lending period your license to the content terminates, and you are required to delete all copies of the content. For full copyright information, please follow the “Important notice about copyrighted materials” link at the bottom of every page in OverDrive.
If a book you’re interested in is checked out by someone else, you’ll see a “Place a hold” link. When you place a hold on an OverDrive book, you’ll be prompted to enter your email address. You’ll receive an email when it’s available, and will have 3 days to check out the selected title.

Also in the Getting Started section are lists of eBook readers and portable audio players which are compatible with OverDrive’s eBooks and eAudiobooks. If you’re planning on buying one as a gift this holiday season, it would be thoughtful to consult the list before you go shopping, and then tell the lucky recipient they can borrow eBooks for free from the Library! The December 2010 edition of Consumer Reports, available online through My Giant Search in the “Research” section of our Web site, includes an informative article on eBook readers.

As a “digital immigrant” (someone born before computers were ubiquitous) I was personally sceptical of eBook readers. I love books for more than just the stories they contain. I like the weight of them, their texture and smell. Books as physical objects have a lot of memories for me. I grew up in a house full of them, I had my own books as a child, I’ve worked in a Library for many years, and I love reading books to my son. So all that book love added to my scepticism! However, after using an eBook reader for a few weeks, I’m starting to love it too. The convenience of its compact design really can’t be beat. I carry my eBook reader in my purse, and pull it out whenever I have some spare time.

Your Library is has planned two hands-on programs in early January for people who would like some help downloading books. Look for details in the Winter edition of our newsletter, which will be delivered to all homes in Thunder Bay next week.

Joanna Aegard, Head of Virtual Services

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Sunday November 28th, 2010 Winter Wonderland?

I have a confession to make, I don't like winter. While I definitely can see the stark beauty of snow encrusted branches highlighted in the cloudless blue of a January afternoon and the memories and wonders of each Christmas do warm my heart, I simply don't like winter. Somehow the joys of being cold, walking through slush, and shoveling have eluded me. Winter is a necessary evil like going to the dentist, if you're patient and concentrate on something else, it will eventually be over. Winter, though, can be the best excuse to stay home reading and, oddly, novels set in winter can be some of the best.

There is something about the season, perhaps it's seeing nature at its harshest or the darkening of the sky at such an early hour that brings out the primeval urge to huddle near the fire, seeking heat and companionship. It was probably in these darkest days of the year that storytelling began. So whether it's a winter love story to warm the heart, a winter ghost story to chill the bones, a winter adventure where man challenges the deadliest forces of the elements in order to survive, or a winter mystery to sharpen your wits, they're all here at the library. If you are looking for a reading suggestion you can find me in the book stacks, wearing a warm sweater, humming a calypso tune and waiting for spring.

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Sometimes the winter weather outside is reflected by a winter of the heart. On the death of their beloved father; sisters Meredith and Nina return home to the Pacific Northwest to care for their reserved mother, Anya, who seems to be suffering from the first signs of dementia. It is through the uncovering of their mother’s tragic past during WWII Leningrad that the girls reform the bonds within their family and learn to understand her and themselves.

Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

It is the winter of 1928 and Freddie Watson, who lost both family and his sanity during the Great War, is travelling through the French Pyrenees mountains. When an unexpected snowstorm hits, his car spins off the mountain road, leaving him struggling through a wood in order to find help. Finding a small village, Freddie meets Fabrissa and by the time that dawn breaks, the two lost souls find the courage to survive a tragic mystery.

Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher

Pilcher brings together characters in a heartwarming novel set in Scotland in the dead of winter, who each must learn to live with their losses in order to eventually find happiness. Former actress Elfrida Phipps is the hub of the story which includes tragic and penniless widower Oscar, who has been forced to return to his family home, Corrydale. Corrydale is now a hotel. Seeking asylum at the hotel for the Christmas season is Carrie Sutton, nursing a broken heart and her 14-year old niece Lucy. Lucy, a difficult child, was neglected by her mother and grandmother, and depends on Carrie’s loving care. An expected snowstorm strands handsome Sam Howard, a man hiding a secret, and the group forms a bond that changes each of them.

Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons

It has been 40 years since the tragic summer of his eleventh year, when Dale Stewart lost his best friend Duane. Suffering from the aftermath of a suicide attempt following the loss of his family and career, Dale is forced to return home during the darkest days of winter to the dilapidated family farm in Elm Haven, Illinois, where Duane was murdered. The story begins with a sense of unease and moves into spine-tingling terror as mysterious occurrences cause Dale and his neighbours to question his sanity. Dale must rely on them to confront an ancient evil that feeds and grows in Elm Haven.

Winter Vault by Anne Michaels

Set in Canada and Egypt, the Winter Vault is a love story about how the effects of humans on their physical world cause changes, sometimes subtle and sometimes profound, on who they are. Jean and Avery Escher met during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and spent the early life of their marriage on the Aswam dam project on the Nile. By the time they return to Toronto, the couple has grown apart. Avery has return to the world of academia and Jean to Lucjan, a Polish artist who fascinates her with haunting tales of occupied Warsaw.

Lori Kauzlarick, Public Services Assistant

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Sunday November 21st, 2010 Consumer Reports

Unfortunately, I am not the greatest decision maker in the product purchasing department. I tend to just grab and go with no thought of exactly what or what brand I am buying, anything to get out of the store as quick as possible. Of course, after a time I will find out that I have purchased complete garbage or have vastly overpaid which results in ridicule from my family and friends as the laughing stock of shopping.

When faced with the decision to purchase a product, do you usually just fly by the seat of your pants and make decisions with your gut with little factual knowledge about a product or do you like to make an informed decision by conducting research and gathering information from unbiased sources? If you are the latter or have desires to be like that than I have a great resource for you: Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization which provides readers with detailed reviews, rates and comparisons of a wide range of consumer products, from very large ticket items to everyday household goods. Thunder Bay Public Library has a number of Consumer Report publications for library users, from yearly buying guides and specialty publications to a monthly periodical. In addition, one can access every magazine article since 1985 electronically through the TBPL website.

To better assist you in making those informed choices on which protein drink to buy or if I look better with or without my amazing beard (HA!), each month Consumer Reports comes out with informative articles on virtually every type of product. Also, the magazine has a Canada Extra section in the middle of each month’s issue; this section includes Canadian pricing and availability information concerning the products showcased within.

Now, my absolute favourite Consumer Report resources are found within the TBPL Virtual Collection. The Virtual Collection is a series of electronic databases which house an astonishing amount of information available either at the library or from the comfort of your own home (provided you have minor things like internet access, a computer, a library card and fantastic posture….well maybe not fantastic posture in this instance). A great database to use is MasterFILE Premier. Once inside, you can choose the publication tab and type in Consumer Reports. You will then be shown four separate Consumer Reports publications all available digitally: Consumer Reports, Consumer Reports Buying Guide, Consumer Reports on Health and Consumer Reports Travel Letter. After choosing one of the four Consumer reports publications, you can easily browse through each individual issue or you can search within all or some of the issues for a specific type of product. Articles are shown in PDF format, complete with photographs and charts, and can be read, printed, saved and/or emailed.

The yearly buying guide issued by Consumer Reports can also be found in print at your library branches along with other item specific publications. Individual report publications centering around subjects such as electronics, health, diet, child rearing and vehicles are all available for loan.

Now, equipped with all this information and resources, you can rest assured that my rotten friends and family members will have no choice but to cease making fun of my buying powers and focus on other things in life, like making fun of my golf swing or my fishing technique or the way I walk……….Jeesh!

Derek Gradner, Library Technician

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Sunday November 14th, 2010 Quirky

I often talk about the Circle of Life. If you wait long enough everything comes full circle. My first Library Detective column dealt with the fact that I’ve been called quirky and covered various quirky subjects. Almost four years later I’m ready to revisit quirky.

An Uncommon History Of Common Things by Bethanne Patrick

This book refers to itself as a quirky compendium. It has amazing stories about everyday objects and customs. If you’ve ever wondered - Who invented underwear? Why do we say gesundheit when someone sneezes? Where can I go to see actual items from Julia Child’s kitchen? –this is the book for you. Here’s a sampling of what you can find:

TV Dinners

It all began in 1953 when Swanson and Sons found themselves left with an abundance of frozen turkey. Staff member Gerry Thomas had been experimenting with aluminum trays and came up with the 3 compartment design, which happened to look like a television set. He filled it with turkey and trimmings and the rest is a quick, yet tasty, history.

Vacuum Cleaners

In 1908, James Murray Spangler, a department store janitor from Ohio, obtained a patent for the first vacuum cleaner. His previous experiments in the design included a fan motor, a soapbox and a broom handle. He sold one of his first finished products to his cousin, William H. Hoover. The name Hoover is so connected to vacuum cleaners, that in the United Kingdom, people such as my friend Doreen often include hoovering in their household chores.

And in answer to the first three questions – men’s briefs were first produced in 1935 by Coopers Inc. , gesundheit is a German word for healthiness or good health; and you can find Julia Child’s kitchen at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived by Allan Lazar

Through the years we’ve been influenced by characters from television, movies and legends. This book contains a few of the big influences that I’ve had in my life, including Barbie, Santa Claus and Bambi. I’m still surprised to see that real deer are on the move when it snows; in Bambi they stay in the thicket. Someone keeps reminding me that Bambi wasn’t a real deer. Here are a couple of the interesting characters in the book.


Between 1954 and 1995 Godzilla starred in 30 movies and helped to revitalize the Japanese movie industry. These low budget films, known for their overacting and silly dialogue, were bad enough to become cult hits. I prefer the original movies over the ones produced in the nineties. They influenced me enough that in 1987 we called our new puppy Godzilla. At the time we thought it was funny, but naming your dog Godzilla is just asking for trouble. It’s akin to the name Marley.

Kermit the frog

Born in a swamp in Georgia, this little green frog has touched the lives of people around the world. In his quest to be accepted, he teaches children about being an individual and accepting you heritage. His interspecies relationship with Miss Piggy is to be admired and is a message for us all about tolerance, especially since she is described as a lady-pig with an attitude. If you’re ever at the Smithsonian to visit Julia Child’s kitchen, stop by to see Kermit. He’s been on display in the Legacies collection since 1994.

Why Do Violets Shrink? By Caroline Holmes

This book contains answers to 280 questions about the plant world. Here are a couple of examples.

Do dandelions make you wet the bed?
They can if you eat their leaves, since they are a diuretic. The roots however are great for your liver.

Why should you plant fennel by a kennel?
The smell of fennel is said to deter fleas.

How can Abyssinian kale help you at the supermarket checkout?
The oil from it acts as a slip agent, to help open supermarket bags. Too bad the kale couldn’t help carry the bags into the house.

Well that’s enough quirky facts for today. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Karen Craib is a Library Technician

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Sunday November 7th, 2010 Staying Healthy at Work

Do you find yourself sore and achy after sitting at your desk all day? Are you relying on coffee to give you energy from nine to five? Is the stress of work causing you to lose sleep? If so, then come to the Thunder Bay Public Library and learn how you can stay healthy at work. We have a variety of books and resources with information on exercise, nutrition, and stress management to help you feel better throughout the day.

Finding time to exercise at work might not be that easy for some people. But just by doing some simple stretches can help relieve tension, improve circulation, and reduce stress. These two books by Bob Anderson, Stretching in the Office and Stretching at your Computer or Desk have easy to follow diagrams on how to stretch different areas of your body. Plus, these exercises can be done anywhere in the office.

Office Yoga by Darrin Zeer provides stretching and breathing exercises for all hours of the day. Learn how to stay relaxed in all situations such as when you’re stuck in traffic or crammed in an elevator with twenty other people. For more stretching ideas and information on staying safe in the workplace, take a look at Office Ergonomics Safety Guide from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

Eating a healthy lunch benefits both your mind and body. For healthy lunch recipes, take a look at The Brown Bag Lunch Cookbook by Miriam Jacobs, with over 160 quick and easy recipes that will keep you energized all day. The Natural Lunchbox by Judy Brown is full of natural, vegetarian lunch ideas. And for new sandwich ideas, try one of the 135 quick and easy sandwich recipes in Skinny Sandwiches by Desiree Witkowski.

Learning how to reduce stress is another way to stay healthy. Wellness at Work: Building Resilience to Job Stress by Valerie O’Hara, gives you the tools to manage workplace stressors. Overcoming Stress and Thriving in the Workplace by Bob Losyk explains how to cope with stress and bring balance to your life. And Surviving the Toxic Workplace by Linnda Durre will teach you how to work with negative people.

If you’re looking for a different way of enhancing your work experience, try Feng Shui, the practice of arranging your surroundings so they are in harmony and balance with nature. Feng Shui at Work by Kirsten M. Lagatree looks at how arranging your office space can help improve your performance at work. For example, placing a plant on your desk can draw positive energy to your work area.

Finally, if you can’t get away from your computer, go to and check out one of our online databases (found in "My Giant Search" in the Research section) such as the Health and Wellness Resource Center. You’ll find lots of information on a variety of topics to help you create a healthy lifestyle.

Lindsey Long, Reference Librarian

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Sunday October 24th, 2010 Aged to Perfection

Those of us in the 50 plus category are often referred to as internet immigrants because we came to the internet and computers in general, as an adult. My children would call me internet illiterate, but I beg to differ. My father, who is 84, is often known to stay up late into the night, playing online bridge with fellow gamers. And, my mother is often scouring the library website for her next good read. The library has many digital items that would be of interest to the older crowd.

The library has many virtual learning opportunities. There are internet classes available that are 1.5 hour long hands on sessions held in the Waverley Training Lab. Topics include Introduction to the Internet and Searching Tips and Tricks. Perhaps you would like the inside scoop on using your Library Card online. In our programme, Online Explorers, you learn how to renew your books, place holds, save your favourite searches, get notified when a new book by your favourite author arrives, keep a reading history and more! Want to get on Facebook to keep in touch with your kids or grandkids? Book a private one-hour session with our Facebook Coach. More information or registration for any of these programmes is available by calling 684-6815.

If research about your family tree is of interest, check out new updates to our Web site at for information on genealogy and local history. You will also find helpful tips and strategies for doing effective research. is available at all Library locations.

If items of a non-digital nature are more your style, the Library has plenty in that respect as well. Both fiction and non-fiction books, large print titles, and magazines. Here are a few suggestions:

FIRMING AFTER 50 [dvd]: A Complete Upper and Lower Body Workout by Joel Harper. From firming and shaping the entire body to building cardio strength to advanced relaxation techniques, this series shows how to use yoga to help tone and firm your whole body and achieve total fitness. Useful for both beginners and advanced users.

UNBELIEVABLY GOOD DEALS AND GREAT ADVENTURES THAT YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN’T GET UNLESS YOU’RE OVER 50, 2009-2010 by Joan Rattner Heilman. The over-50 set’s bible for bargains, from golf to globe- trotting. Inside this proven bestseller you will find even more information about trips, discounts, clubs, programs, and special perks--only good if you are over 50! Includes amazing bargains on airfares, hotels, car rentals, public transportation, vacations designed for you and your grandkids, tennis camps, golf vacations, ski clubs and more. A great book for the over-50-but-not-over-the-hill-crowd.

EAT WHAT YOU LOVE: MORE THAN 300 INCREDIBLE RECIPES LOW IN SUGAR, FAT AND CALORIES by Marlene Koch. Enjoy all the delicious foods you love--guilt free as you effortlessly cut the sugar, slash the fat and calories, and curb the excess carbs. EAT WHAT YOU LOVE is the perfect family cookbook with healthy recipes that never sacrifice taste.

The Thunder Bay Public LIbrary also has an extensive audiovisual collection of materials in non-book formats. We carry audiobooks, which are books on compact disc (CD), MP3CD, and Playaway formats in both abridged (shortened) and unabridged versions. Playaways are the easiest way to listen to audiobooks – simply press play and go! The complete audiobook is pre-loaded on to its own player. The entire unit is about the size of half a deck of cards and fits nicely into a pocket. Great for listening while on the go. You will need to supply your own headphones and one AAA battery (both can be purchased at the Library). You can browse our collection of Playaways in our Online catalogue.

Helen Cimone, Public Services Assistant

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Sunday October 17th, 2010 Business Resources @ Your Library

In 1979, Small Business Week began as a small celebration in British Columbia. In 1981, the Business Development Bank of Canada, the BDC, officially launched it across the nation. Small Business Week celebrates entrepreneurship and small businesses, acknowledging the contributions they make to the economy. The theme this year is Power Up Your Business. Invest. Innovate. Grow. and runs from October 17 to 23.

There are many online resources for entrepreneurs. The BDC website has an Advice Centre page where you will find articles, tips and tools to help you start and run a business. Free information available includes business plan templates, a self-assessment quiz and advice from professionals. Another website is the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade which has an online guide for small businesses as well as a section for small and medium enterprises. This section has links that will connect you to Service Ontario which has a wealth of information.

The Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL) also has many resources to help you build your business: books, periodicals, company directories, online databases, electronic resources and more. There are two documents available online through TBPL’s website: The Public Library as Your Silent Business Partner: Information and Services for Small Businesses and The Services to Business Guide. The first outlines the resources available at the library and the second outlines the steps and stages in starting your own business and lists resources to help you along the way.

The Ultimate Small Business Marketing Toolkit by Beth Goldstein has tips and worksheets that encourage you to think about your business, the customers, partnerships, and much more. It also includes a CD-ROM with the worksheets for you to print out to work on. This book is full of resources and information, with eight objectives for marketing your small business.

If you are looking for personal anecdotes and advice, Starting a Business is a title in the Lessons Learned series. Top business leaders from around the world offer guidance and tips in these easy to read lessons. Each short personal story lists key points, summarizing what you can learn from their experience.

Get Gr
owing: Keys to Unlocking the Potential of Your Small Business by David Wilton and Kyle McNamara has a Canadian focus. This book provides advice for small business owners and shares success stories. Steps and strategies for sales, marketing, finances and human resources, as well as online links make this a great read.

Also available at TBPL are books by author Iain Williamson, entrepreneur and business consultant. He has written numerous titles that would be beneficial to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Through the virtual collection, you have access to the Canadian Business and Current Affairs database. This online database is updated daily and gives you access to information from trade publications, magazines and newspapers. As you consider becoming your own boss or as you strive to have your business be a success, remember the library as a business planning resource.

Laura McCormack, Library Technician

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Sunday October 10th, 2010 Thanksgiving

According to the Thunder Bay Public Library’s Ebsco Host in the Virtual Collection, Edward Sandford Martin, Harvard University class of 1877, once wrote these words of wisdom: “Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.” Thanksgiving Day (Jour de l’Action de Grace) was proclaimed by the Canadian Parliament on January 31, 1957 to be “A day of general thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed … to be observed on the second Monday in October.” Until then Thanksgiving Day had been held in some form every year, but on various days.

With your library card and pin you can go to and access NetLibrary (My Giant Search) to find the book Thanksgiving by Julie Murray. Here you will discover that history is plum full of Thanksgiving celebrations. Thanksgiving's earliest beginnings were in Europe during the Middle Ages with the harvest festival. Bountiful cornucopias and wagons full of late fall vegetables originated there. In 1578, explorer Martin Frobisher, who was later knighted, is said to have held the first Thanksgiving feast in what is now Canada, specifically Newfoundland and Labrador. Although he failed to find a Northwest Passage through to the Pacific Ocean, Frobisher Bay, a large inlet off the Labrador Sea on the southeastern corner of Baffin Island, was named after him. Samuel de Champlain and the French settlers who accompanied him across the ocean apparently held huge feasts of Thanksgiving when they arrived safely on Canadian soil. After the Seven Year's War ended in 1763 the people of Halifax held a special day of Thanksgiving. And the first Thanksgiving Day after Canadian Confederation (1867) was observed as a civic holiday on April 5, 1872. This was to give thanks for the recovery of the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII) from a long illness.

Today Thanksgiving is often celebrated with dinner surrounded by family and friends. The Many Blessings Cookbook: A Celebration of Harvest, Home and Country Cooking by Jane Watson Hopping, author of The Lazy Days of Summer Cookbook, is a complete guide to making Thanksgiving delicious. Take a peek at Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, for funny and original cupcake designs. With some coloured frosting and a few candies you can whip up any holiday on icing, including the turkey cupcake place cards for Thanksgiving dinner. No higher level baking skills required.

So, whenever the calendar flips to October, it means Canada’s Thanksgiving Day is close. A holiday that revolves around family, friends, fun, food, football (the Canadian Football League holds a nationally televised doubleheader, called simply the Thanksgiving Day Classic), and any number of your favourite things. Whatever one ends up doing, Thanksgiving always serves as a reminder of the many things there are to be grateful for. Check on the shelf at TBPL for a great book entitled Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings; 101 Stories of Gratitude, Fortitude and Silver Linings by Jack Canfield. This book shows the reader the importance of being thankful for even the smallest things that are right there, all the time. Reminds me of a young teacher I know who was talking to her class recently about Thanksgiving and being thankful. When asked to share with the class what they were thankful for, one little boy eagerly put up his hand and said, “I am thankful for my teacher.” Perfect answer.

Caron E. Naysmith

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Sunday October 3rd, 2010 Cheers to Beer!

Now, I know cricket isn’t very big here in Thunder Bay, but as the purpose of this column is to promote the library’s beer making materials, it makes perfect sense to begin with a discussion on cricket – right? Australia, you see, has two great legendary beer drinkers. The first is David Boon, or “the keg on legs” as he is affectionately known – a highly esteemed national cricket player. When the Aussie team was flying to London for the 1989 Ashes series, our boy Boonie, consumed 52 cans of full strength beer.

Our other beer-chugging legend is former Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, also one of Australia’s biggest cricket fans. Whilst studying at Oxford in 1955, he entered the Guinness Book of Records by downing 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. As Bob says: ‘This feat was to endear me to some of my fellow Australians more than anything else I ever achieved.’ Way to go, Bob!
Canadians, too, love their beer with an astounding passion. How can it be avoided when so many of us in the colonies are descended from that outstanding drinking race, the Irish - it’s genetic! J. P. Donleavy, in The Ginger Man, describes Ireland as the largest brewery in the world. At any time, any place, you’re never more than twenty paces from a pint.

And here in Thunder Bay - what a wonderful place to live. Apart from the glorious scenery, I have to say, the thing that most impressed me when I first arrived was the Beer Store. Where else in the world, but Ontario, would you find a whole store devoted solely to the sale of beer? I was chuffed. I’d come to the right place. I was home.

Beer consumption and beer making have been with us for eons. Beer, in fact, was the first known alcoholic beverage, and was as ubiquitous then as it is today – everyone was into it: the Sumerians, Mayans, Egyptians, Chinese: they just used different grains to produce that blessed amber brew. For an in depth look at the history of beer, Beer: A History of Suds and Civilization from Mesopotamia to Microbreweries, by Gregg Smith is an interesting read. Or maybe try, Cheers!: An Intemperate History of Beer in Canada, by Nicholas Pashley.

Interest in beer making has by no means waned. Just ask any university student, or your enthusiastic backyard gardener seeking new ways of utilizing their excess crops. Here at TBPL we have an interesting range of materials for anyone who just appreciates a good brew or who is interested in learning how to make their own.

If you want to eat your beer as well as drink it, take a look at Brew Cuisine: Cooking with Beer, by Judith Gould and Ruth Koretsky. Or try Zymurgy for the Homebrewer and Beer Lover: The Best Articles and Advice from America’s #1 Home Brewing Magazine, edited by Charles Papazian. This book includes award-winning homebrew recipes as well as tips on making exotic brews, and analyzing your water to see how it affects your brew results.

We also have encyclopedias, companions and guides that cover the topic of beer in broader terms. Try The Encyclopedia of Beer, edited by Christine P. Rhodes, or Stephen Beaumont’s Great Canadian Beer Guide, for something a little closer to home. Michael Jackson’s Beer Companion: The world’s Great Beer Styles, Gastronomy and Traditions, explains, amongst other things, how to make beer out of fruit – a contradiction in terms it would seem, but apparently not.

And no discussion on beer would be complete without mentioning the Germans. Oktoberfest, a 17-day-long festival occurring every year at this time, is an enormous part of the Bavarian culture. Attracting around 6 million people it’s the biggest beer party around, and has given birth to literally hundreds of beer drinking songs. We have cd’s in our collection to help you get into the German beer drinking mood. All the Best from the German Beer Garden, for example, contains classics such as Der Schonste Platz Ist Immer an Der Theke (The most beautiful place is always on the counter).

So here’s to beer. Cheers!

Rosemary Melville
Library Technician

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Sunday September 26th Culture Days

Many of us may have spent our weekend so far attending events and activities around the city that celebrate Culture Days, which is a nation wide movement to be held every September. This year marked the first official Culture Days and Thunder Bay grabbed hold of the idea with full force. Activities throughout the city included public art displays, exhibits to highlight the history of our region and its industries, dance workshops, film screenings, storytelling at the public library, and much more. If you’ve been missing out, not to worry; there is plenty going on today as well. The traditional teaching lodge and fall ceremony at Chippewa Park features public healing, social singing and sharing and is open to everyone from 9am to 5pm. The Thunder Bay Art Gallery is hosting a public art maquette display and a family art event in the afternoon. Students from Lakehead University will be presenting unique earth art projects, and the McNulty Recital Hall will be hosting a special keyboard music workshop led by Harpsichordist Eric Lussier. Finally, local artist, Biljana Baker, will be welcoming you to a watercolour demonstration and tour of her studio in the afternoon. For more information on these events, you can check out the website.

All of the Culture Days events also tie in to the Inspire Thunder Bay Culture Plan currently being developed and implemented by the City and its partners. This plan aims at fostering a stronger promotion of culture within our community, further cultural development, and making cultural considerations an integral component within the municipal structure. Starting to sound vaguely familiar yet, kind of like the “creative economy” promoted by the likes of Richard Florida? The gist of it is that where you live is just as important a decision as what you do for a living or the people you choose to spend time with. Cities have to market themselves as culturally rich in order to attract new residents. Events such as Culture Days serve to promote the beauty of our city outside of the everyday activities that are so easy to neglect amidst the demands of work and family.

Did you know that a good public library system is one of the most attractive qualities for individuals considering a move to a new city? Granted, I may be slightly biased in this belief, but Thunder Bay has an exceedingly committed and dedicated public library. It also has a rich cultural history within the city. If you haven’t taken the time yet, look up the next time you’re in the Brodie Resource Library and admire the stained glass author portraits that were originally installed in 1912. Or check out our website to get updates on the new Mary J. L. Black Branch Library, which will feature a local art installation and an expansion of services we can offer to the community.

The cultural history of Thunder Bay can be tracked through the collections of the Thunder Bay Public Library, the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, the Thunder Bay Historical Museum, the local branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, the City Archives, and many other organizations throughout the city.

Jesse Roberts, Head of Reference Services

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sunday September 19th, 2010 Special Events

At a loss of what to write about for the Library Detective column I turned to the handy guide, Chase’s Calendar of Events, for some ideas. Chase’s is the most comprehensive reference source for holidays, special days, events, and notable birthdays. Let’s take a look at some of the more notable happenings in September.

September 19 is the start of Prostate Cancer Awareness Week both in the United States and Canada. According to the Canadian Cancer Society website at an estimated 470 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer every week. The website supplies information on the signs and symptoms, treatment options and aftercare and support services. The library carries a number of up to date books on the subject. You might try The Canadian Guide to Prostate Cancer by Leah Jamnicky, or Dr. Peter Scardino’s Prostate Book. You can also access journal articles on the subject from the library’s Virtual Collection using your library card and pin number. A good database to start with is Health and Wellness Resource Center.

Three popular television shows made their debut on this date. The premier of the medical drama ER was televised on Sept. 19, 1994 with the final episode airing on Apr. 2, 2009. Remember Flipper? This family adventure series starring a dolphin first televised on this date in 1964 and ran for four years. And of course who can forget The Mary Tyler Moore Show, making its debut on Sept. 19, 1970. Mary and her WJM-TV newsroom colleagues made us laugh for the next seven years. The popular sitcom also starred Betty White who is currently enjoying a spectacular comeback starting with her role in the move The Proposal, available on DVD @your library.

September 19 is also International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Who knew? I hesitated in including this bit of trivial information however, the August/September issue of the magazine Canada’s History, available @your library, is entitled Pirates, so I had to check it out. In 1740, the husband and wife pirate team of Eric and Maria Cobham conducted raids from their hideout on the West coast of Newfoundland. They were allegedly known for killing every sailor to ensure no witnesses remained. Additionally, the pirated ships were sent to the bottom of the ocean and so were presumed to be lost at sea. So go ahead and swash those buckles, don your eye patch and and say Arrr, Matey, it be a fine day!

Remember to wash your hands frequently this week as it is International Clean Hands Week. With the flu and cold season fast approaching, and the kids back in school, this is a good time to start washing. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit website has some great information on hand washing techniques, the use of hand sanitizers, along with promotional material such as posters which are available in English, French, Ojibway, and Cree. The book Let’s Get Cleany-Clean! by Jean McElroy is a fun way to teach kids the importance of hand washing to avoid icky germs from spreading.

Finally, I looked to our newspapers on microfilm for some September 19 headlines. Choosing a random year of 1970 I loaded up the film for the Fort William Daily Times Journal to see what I could find. The big local news headline reads Three in Hospital with Stab Wounds. Internationally, the Middle East peace talks would not resume unless Egypt removed missiles implanted along the Suez Canal as demanded by the Israeli leader Golda Meir. The weekend magazine boasted colour comics. A three bedroom brick home in Westfort was selling at 19,500.00. Famous Players Theatres announced that the big new movie season is here with all seats for fifty cents each. And finally, the Lakehead Harbour Commission reports eleven ships currently in the harbor.

Every day has its highlights, whether big or small. What will today bring for you?

Michelle Paziuk, Library Technician

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Sunday September 12th, 2010 Brodie Resource Library History

On April 29, 1912, two weeks after the Titanic sank, the Fort William Public Library (Brodie Resource Library) opened. We’ve done a lot better than that ill-fated ship. Mary J. L. Black was the first Librarian. Built with a $50,000 grant from the Carnegie Foundation, this architecturally pleasing building is rich in history. I must admit, it really grows on you. When I came here twenty seven years ago I thought – what a creaky old building. With time I’ve learned to truly appreciate it, from the woodwork to the large arched windows complete with stained glass fanlights featuring well-known authors such as Dickens and Shakespeare.

1955 brought an addition to the south end of the building and the redesign of the entrance way, which was again renovated in 1966. In 1980 some of the original ambiance of the building was restored when oak tables and newspaper racks were returned to the Fireside Reading Room. It’s my favourite section of the building. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about this anniversary as it approaches, but I thought I’d tell you a bit about us now. We do have an interesting history prior to 1912, but I’ll focus on events since then.


In the fall of 1918 parts of the library were pressed into use during the Spanish flu epidemic. The library was closed and the Reading Room and the lecture hall were turned into an emergency hospital. Twelve hospital beds were installed as well as beds on loan from the Frederic hotel. During the Swine flu epidemic last fall, staff recalled the library’s involvement. Some of us have been here long enough that you might think we were here for that event. During the 1918 epidemic the Board of Health kept a lid on schools, churches, pool rooms and other places of public gatherings. The first flu deaths occurred in the city in early October and things rapidly escalated until the epidemic ended in April. The tally was 1,005 hospitalized and 160 deaths. If you would like to read more about this we have the newspaper on microfilm in the Brodie Reference department.

Sources: Daily Times Journal October 7, 1958 and Daily Times Journal October 30, 1918


In the summer of 1940 the library board offered the ground floor of the library to billet members of the Lake Superior Regiment. At that time the reading room and lecture hall were located downstairs. Recruits for the regiment were arriving in town and were tested for entry into the unit. City buildings were offered to help house the influx of recruits.

Source: Daily Times Journal July 12, 1940

1941 to 1972

Did you know the Thunder Bay Historical Museum was located in the library?

1947 to 1967

The local office of the National Film Board was located in the library. In 1948 filmstrip distribution began. Remember filmstrips? How about the 35 mm movies we used to carry? Some staff have vivid memories of them. Especially the person who was showing a movie that was on three reels. The take up reel didn’t work and an audience member pointed out that the film was pooling on the floor.


On February 27, 1982 the Brodie Resource Library was designated as a historically significant building. Mayor Walter Assef was in attendance to unveil the plaque. Remember Jolly Wally? He was a colourful character, not unlike the stained glass fanlights in the library. In June the Victoriaville Library opened. It housed the fiction previously held at Brodie.

Source: LF TB Libraries – TBPL – Brodie Resource Library

The next time you’re in the area, stop by and have a look at this grand old building. Stay tuned for anniversary events in 2012. Hope to see you there.

Karen Craib is a Library Technician

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Sunday September 5th Brown Bag Lunches

The dawn of a new school year is always exciting, and can bring mixed emotions. The excitement of starting fresh is often accompanied by nervousness about the unknown. Who is my teacher going to be? Will my best friend be in my class? What will I take for lunch? I can help you with that last one!

Your Library has a huge selection of cookbooks, covering every type of food from appealing appetizers to zesty zucchini. If you love cookbooks, check out the 641s the next time you visit the Library! Within this section you will find a few books filled with recipes, tips and ideas for “brown bag” lunches, including the following.

The brown bag lunch: A collection of recipes and tips for the perfect portable lunch, by Susan Epstein

This book includes a chapter “For the kids”, and fun tips like: “Cut out sandwiches with cookie cutters. They are really fun to eat and take only a few extra seconds to prepare. Perfect for the kid who won’t eat crust.” Or, for extra fun, leave the “crust” bit on and make a puzzle sandwich!

Lunch munch, by Bobbie Kalman

This is a recipe book FOR kids, and has easy-to-follow instructions and lots of pictures. It includes seven menus using the recipes in the book. Kalman includes an informative section on nutrition, and explains why a healthy lunch is important. Browse the 641 section in the Children’s Department for more like this.

The brown bag lunch cook book: Great choices for healthy lunches in today’s fast-paced work environment, by Miriam Jacobs

Although this book is written for the “work environment” it’s equally useful for packing school lunches. A section of note is called, “The freezer is your friend.” It lists common lunch items which can and can not be frozen. Freezing lets you plan ahead and manage your time. It also allows food to defrost gradually in your lunch bag, so it’s ready for you at lunch time. Frozen food doubles as a cool-pack in a lunch box. Jacobs also advises you to plan ahead by making a weekly schedule for lunch meals, and planning your shopping list at the same time.

Allergy-free desserts by Elizabeth Gordon

This is one of many allergy-friendly cookbooks that may be found at the Library. With the majority of schools going peanut-free these are helpful resources for all parents. Gordon includes chapters on cookies, bars, cakes, pies, breads and “extras”.

The internet is a great source of lunch box ideas. There are numerous blogs devoted to the topic, including, which is written by Meg, a mother of two. Meg shares her menu ideas, passes along news about lunch box products, and advocates for environmentally-friendliness. For a visual feast follow some of the links to flickr photo groups in the “lunch box resources” section.

Canadian Living’s Web site ( features an article by Dr. Joey Shulman: “Healthy lunch makeovers for kids: Tips for packing healthy lunch your kids will actually eat.” Shulman suggests keeping lunch interesting by trying different types of bread and alternatives like pitas and wraps. Visiting the health food store or bulk food section of your grocery store is also recommended, in order to stock up on things like dried fruit, yogurt-covered raisins and granola mixes which make healthy snacks. Having your child participate in grocery shopping and lunch packing is also suggested, in order to foster more interest in what they eat.

With these informative resources this school year will be the tastiest ever!

Joanna Aegard, Head of Virtual Services

Monday, 30 August 2010

Sunday August 29th, 2010 For the Love of Audiobooks

Just over three years ago, I wrote a library detective column reflecting on my love of audiobooks. In the intervening years my love has not waned, but grown exponentially. I noted then that audiobooks make chores more tolerable, car trips speed by, exercise more entertaining, can soothe the insomniac, and provide additional amusement while engaging in arts and crafts. All this remains true and audiobooks are more portable than ever.

It is this portability that led me to revisit this area of our collection. After coming back from vacation, a coworker commented on how much she had enjoyed using a Playaway while doing house and yard work. Not only did it keep her amused, but it also meant her family let her work in peace! I offer then for your pleasure, our Playaways and Overdrive downloadable audiobooks.

Playaways are a new format of audiobooks. There are no more discs that can be scratched and you don’t have to get the next disc, as the previous one finishes. You don’t even need an MP3 player to access these fabulous books, it’s all in the package. In essence, the Playaway resembles an MP3 player, each one is preloaded with a book and all you need is a AAA battery and headphones (available for a small fee at the Circulation Desk). I have tucked one in my pocket and happily listened while cleaning the house, weeding the garden, and knitting through my lunch hour. The great thing about these devices is it really is as simple as putting in the battery, turning them on, and pressing play. You can pause the story and turn off the device when you’re not using it without losing your place.

Overdrive requires a little more out of the user, but has many titles available from the comfort of your home. All that is required is your library card number and PIN. If a title you desire is not available you can put a hold on it and be notified when it becomes available. Checkout periods of one or two weeks are available, after which time the Digital Rights Management software removes the book from your computer. In order to borrow audiobooks from Overdrive the Overdrive Media Console software must be downloaded on to your computer. This software will allow you to access the books and place them on to your device. You can listen to books through your computer or download them to an MP3 player. More information about downloading from Overdrive can be found on our website under the Virtual Collection.

Both Playaway and Overdrive provide not only adult fiction, but also books for children, young adults, and non-fiction. To get you started on these fabulous audiobook options I’ve prepared a short list of some of the many titles available.

Selected Playaway Titles:

Eight Days to Live by Iris Johansen

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Blue-eyed Devil by Robert B. Parker

Deliver us from Evil by David Baldacci

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

Born to Rock by Gordon Korman

Meditations to Relieve Stress by Belleruth Naparstek

On Board the Titanic by Shelley Tanaka

Thumbelina and other Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen

Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech

Selected Overdrive Titles:

Fortress of Solitude by Jonathon Lethem

Sharpe’s Regiment: Richard Sharpe and the Invasion of France, June to November 1813 by Bernard Cornwell

Fangland by John Marks

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

Whale Island by Cathy Lamb

Hearts, Keys, and Puppetry by Neil Gaiman

Daja’s Book by Tamora Pierce

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

The Assault on Reason by Al Gore

Poe’s Heart and the Mountain Climber by Richard Restak

Happy listening!

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas, Adult Services Librarian

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sunday August 22nd, 2010 Advenutre Awaits

Summer months are often spent traveling: camping trips, road trips and trips that may take you to the other side of the world. In winter, snowbirds find their way to warmer climates, needing a break from the seemingly long and cold weather. With a couple weeks left of summer vacation, there is time for more travel. Do you have a destination in mind? If so, the library has hundreds of guidebooks to help you plan your vacation. If not, there are many books that can help you decide what kind of adventure to go on.

Do you have young ones going along on your journey?

For tips, try books such as Travel with Children: Your Complete Resource from the Lonely Planet. This book is divided into 5 parts that include information on preparing for your trip, what type of trip to take and games to play with little preparation. Also take a look at The Rough Guide to Travel with Babies and Young Children by Fawzia Rasheed de Francisco and part of the Rough Guides series. With checklists for travel and brief descriptions of customs and etiquette of countries around the world, this is a helpful resource for the adventure of traveling with children.

Are you looking for excitement on your next trip?

Make your next vacation memorable; try an activity from 500 Adrenaline Adventures by Lois Friedland, Marc Lallanilla, Charlie O’Malley, and Jennifer Swetzoff. HALO jumping, white-water rafting, safaris or the Air Guitar World Championships, there is something for everyone. This new book from Frommer’s will give you ideas that will take you on a wild and exciting ride or send you to do something completely bizarre. If you’re looking for thrills, this book will help you plan the trip of a lifetime.

Do you want to do something different, experience the cultures and traditions of other countries?

Take a look at A Year of Festivals: A Guide to Having the Time of Your Life. This is another book from Lonely Planet that lists monthly festivals around the world, letting you know when and where they take place and what to expect. You’ll find events such as La Tomatina, the tomato throwing festival, in Spain happening on the last Wednesday in August. Were you checking out pirates when the MS Bounty was here? Why not take a trip to the Cayman Islands to see the Pirate Festival in November. This book is full of festival information to help you plan an unforgettable getaway.

Are you traveling within Canada and the United States?

Brodie and Waverley Reference Departments are currently updating their map file which is a collection of road maps and visitor guides. Map file items are not available for loan but can be used while in the library. If you’re looking for something to do on a long weekend, take a look at what the communities in Northern Ontario have to offer. For example, the file for Cochrane, Ontario has information on how you can swim with polar bears. If you enjoy camping, there is information on Ontario’s Provincial Parks and Canada’s National Parks and Historic Sites. You may even discover more things to see and do right here at home! When you plan your next vacation, remember the library as a travel planning tool.

Laura McCormack, Library Technician