Sunday, 28 March 2010

Sunday March 28th, 2010 Camp

One night I started thinking about our old family camps. My dad’s ideal camp was something in the middle of nowhere with no one else in sight. We had camps at Press Lake, Valora and Graham. I recall the Valora bears wanting to get in our camp while we were in it, likely the reason I’m so afraid of them. Access to the Graham camp involved a long boat ride, complete with a Siamese cat and a Collie. If anything had happened to my dad I doubt my mom and I could have found our way out. Maybe my dog Lassie could have somehow gone for help. Or does that only happen on television? Mornings at camp always started with my dad banging around pots and pans at a very early hour, and later involved fishing and bugs. Today my idea of roughing it is a hotel room with tiny shampoo bottles and cable television, now that’s a treat.

Here are a few books that you happy campers out there might be interested in. Some of them are not in our library system, but can be borrowed from out of town.

Cabin Cookin’... by Rick Black

When I think of cabin cooking I think bacon, eggs and fried potatoes. Rick has recipes for the grill, Dutch oven and cast iron cookware. He features many interesting sounding recipes such as a fish and vegetable skillet, sweet corn soup, onion wrapped taters and a dish involving polish sausage, onions, garlic and beer. That could be interesting in close quarters.

For even more recipes try searching A search under the word campfire results in some delicious sounding desserts such as sugared campfire donuts, banana splits and pineapple cakes. Sounds good to me. It almost makes me want to go camping - almost.

The Cottage Bible by Gerald L. Mackie

I can see how this book got its title. It has information on a wide range of subjects. You can find out about building a dock, closing your camp for the winter, living with wildlife, water and septic systems and toilet problems. I wish we could have had toilet problems at our camp. A toilet would have been a luxury. And our water system, involved a pail and a lake.

The Cottage Ownership Guide by Douglas Hunter

This book tells you all you need to know from choosing a location, inspecting the cottage, financing and purchasing. There’s also information on selling your camp or handing it down to the next generation. And if you’re retiring shortly you might want to read about relocating full time to your summer home. Not that I’m jealous of anyone retiring shortly.

Compact Cabins Simple Living in 1000 Square Feet Or Less by Gerald Rowan

This book features 62 designs for cabins ranging from 100 square feet and up and all of them include a sleeping area and kitchen and bath facilities. It includes chapters on alternative energy sources, and low maintenance building materials. After all, who wants to spend time painting or staining when you could be fishing. Each design includes a floor plan and ideas on how to maximize your space.

Small Engine Repair Reference Center

The Virtual Collection on our webpage covers a wide range of subjects. The Small Engine Repair database might be just the thing you need to keep things running smoothly at camp. There’s repair information on outboard motors, personal water craft, all terrain vehicles and even chain saws and lawn mowers. You might want to do your repairs at home, so when you get to your cottage you can just relax and have fun.

Cottage Life

Mary J.L. Black and Waverley carry Cottage Life magazine and back issues can be borrowed. The Summer 2009 issue featured topics such as tomato recipes, building a barbeque work centre and what to do when a husband and wife have different visions of their dream cottage. Their website has a handy index dating back to 1988. A search under the word dock for example, lists 51 articles. Older articles are available through our Interlibrary Loan department.

Happy camping everyone.

Karen Craib, Library Technician

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Sunday March 21st, 2010 Women's Hockey

When I was growing up in the 1970s, I didn’t know any girls who played hockey. Today girls are common place in hockey. You may have noticed that Canada’s Women’s Hockey Team won the Gold Medal at the Olympics last month! During the coverage there was a lot of discussion around the inequality in skill levels between some of the teams. The main reason that Canada is a women’s hockey powerhouse is the fact that there are about 80,000 girls and women playing organized hockey in Canada ( Thunder Bay has its own women’s hockey league, and has produced several national and international level competitors – including Katie Weatherston and Haley Irwin, our newest Gold Medalist!

I was curious to learn how women started playing hockey. Is the current popularity of women’s hockey a natural development of gender equality, or is there something more?

Lord Stanley, who is well known as the founder of the Stanley Cup, also had an important role in the beginnings of women’s hockey in Canada. Brian McFarlane tells the story in his book, “Proud Past, Bright Future: One Hundred Years of Canadian Women’s Hockey.” Lord Stanley was imported from England as Canada’s sixth governor general. He caught the hockey bug during his years in Ottawa, and was a big fan of local teams. Lord Stanley had an outdoor rink made at Rideau Hall, where his seven sons and two daughters played hockey with their friends. This rink became a tradition, and is still maintained today. The fact that the elegant Stanley girls were encouraged to play hockey is significant in the history of the sport. Other girls were inspired by this winter activity of the celebrities of the day, and also took up hockey. In his book McFarlane includes the earliest known photograph of women playing hockey at Rideau Hall, from about 1890.

At that time women’s hockey gear wasn’t much different from their regular every day “gear” – apart from the skates and sticks! In the book “Too Many Men on the Ice: Women’s Hockey in North America”, Joanna Avery and Julie Stevens, an article from the 1948 Charlottetown Journal Pioneer about women’s hockey equipment is referenced. The ingenuity of Maritime mothers is credited for the invention of goalie chest pads. They sewed together several layers of cotton to make several long pockets. They then filled the pockets with sawdust until they were an inch or two thick. The pockets were then sewn tight to keep the pads as firm as possible.

The Hockey Hall of Fame’s website ( includes a section called “The Spirit of Women’s Hockey”. Their timeline of women’s hockey history starts in the 1890s – around the same time the Stanley girls were playing in their back yard. The University of Toronto and Queen’s University both had women’s hockey teams during this period. In 1956 a young woman named Abby Hoffman challenged hockey’s gender barrier by pretending to be a boy and playing in a boy’s league. After that there were several legal challenges, and girls won the right to play on “boys” teams, and women’s hockey associations started to develop.

The first ever Women’s World Championships took place in Toronto in 1987 (Canada won), but it wasn’t recognized by the International Ice Hockey Federation. The first official IIHF sanctioned World Championships were in 1990 in Ottawa, where Canada won, again. In 1998 women’s hockey became a full medal sport at the Olympic Winter Games. The United States won that year, but Canada won Gold in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

The Thunder Bay Women’s Hockey Association ( was founded in 1982, with two teams. I spoke with Tammy Reynolds, President of the TBWHA, and she told me that today there are 680 girls and women playing hockey with the local association, and they range in age from 4 to 58. They have over 50 teams today. If you’re a woman and have always wanted to play hockey, I highly recommend TBWHA’s “Skills and Drills” program.

Women’s hockey has a colourful history, an active present, and is promised a bright future. The babes on blades and chicks with sticks are here to stay!

Joanna Aegard, Head of Virtual Library Services

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Sunday March 14th, 2010 Library Library Books

Often when we think of libraries we think about books, something that library staff sometimes struggles with. We’re glad the public know that we are a great place to get books, but at the same time we want to highlight the other materials and services we offer. To this end we tell people about the CDs, DVDs, digital downloads, and programming we offer. Today, though I want to celebrate books, specifically great stories about libraries and librarians. The Children’s collection houses hundreds of picture books on all topics; but some of my favourites have library themes.

The following are just a few of the terrific “library” library books you can find at your public library:

Library Lil by Suzanne Williams

I was first introduced to Library Lil when I was in graduate school. One of our professors who specializes in the area of children’s and youth services brought in a selection of great children’s books. She read it aloud to the class and we were all surprised at Lil’s strength and determination. There’s lots of silliness, but at its core the story is about a love of books and community.

When the Library Lights Go Out by Megan McDonald

What happens at the end of the day when we shut the lights out in the library? If you’ve always wondered this is the book for you. Have you ever been to a puppet show? It’s the puppets who are playing in the library after hours. In this story someone is missing and must be found.

The Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen

The library lion doesn’t know how to behave in the library. Silence may no longer rule, but running and roaring are a little too wild. The head librarian tells the lion that if he can’t follow the rules then he can’t come for story time anymore. While it sounds like a simple story about rules there’s a lot more fun going on in the library than it might seem at first.

Please Bury Me in the Library by J. Patrick Lewis

This collection of library and book related poems, is sure to fill any book lover’s heart with joy. The first poem in the book addresses the question of book titles. It asks “What if books had different names?” Suggested titles include: Alice in Underland, Furious George, and Mary Had a Little Clam. The poet suggests we all think of fun new titles.

The Ghost Library by David Melling

One night a little girl is reading in bed when the lights go out. Someone (something?) grabs her book and pulls both her and her book away. She finds herself in the company of ghosts, in the ghost library. The ghost library is sadly empty of books, but full of ghosts who love a good story.

The Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy

Miss Lotta Scales is the new librarian and she’s scary. Well at least she is at the beginning of the Library Dragon. She looks like a dragon and scares the kids with all of her library rules. Throughout the story Miss Scales undergoes a metamorphosis, or is it the children who change?

I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I have. A poem from Please Bury Me in the Library sums it up best:

A Classic
A children’s book is a classic
If at six, excitedly
You read it to another kid
Who just turned sixty-three.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas, Children's and Youth Services Librarian