Sunday, 30 May 2010

Sunday May 30th, 2010 Summer is Coming!

Days full of sunshine and warmth, evenings made longer and breezes balmier. As Thursday June 24, the last day of school for this year fast approaches, what wonderful adventures lie ahead? Trips, hiking, biking, swimming, sailing, camping, gardening, tennis and golf. Maybe relaxing on the beach, at the cottage or in the backyard gazebo. All of this awaits us.

The Thunder Bay Public Library has some great adventures in store for you as well. Starting on July 7, you can register your child in the SUMMER READING CLUB. You can take part in this program at any of our four branches, Waverley, Mary J.L. Black, County Park or Brodie. The returning READERS ARE LEADERS Program starts at Waverley Children’s on Wednesday July 7 and at Brodie Children’s on Monday July 12. Both run for eight weeks.

You may want to pencil into your summer calendar some of the well-loved library puppet shows starting with the family favourite WHAT’S UP THE COCONUT TREE? Following this, and at alternating branches throughout the summer are an array of great shows, including ANANSI AND THE MOSS COLOURED ROCK; WILD THINGS; and THE FROG PRINCE. Go to and select the WHAT’S ON tab to locate the online calendar for specific dates, times and branches. Here you will also find a dynamic array of upcoming author readings, craft activities, magic shows, story times, summer concerts and workshops.

Ready to do a bit of yard work, but find your lawn mower in dire need of a tune-up? Simply navigate to and click on the Sleeping Giant to access our databases in My Giant Search. You will find the Database of the Month, along with the rest of our databases, including SMALL ENGINE REPAIR REFERENCE CENTRE, with guides and manuals specific to your make and model of lawn mower. Reliable information at your fingertips, 24/7. Seriously.

Yard work all done and ready for that trip? TBPL has a superior collection of travel guides to help you plan. GREAT CANADIAN VACATIONS: 25 TRIPS TO CANADA”S BEST-LOVED DESTINATIONS edited by Amanda Theunissen (917.304 GRE), provides exciting trip ideas, lists hundreds of activities and offers detailed information on dining, accommodation, co-ordinates, contacts and tips.

A humorous yet valuable book is IF YOU CAN’T REMEMBER YOUR LAST VACATION, YOU NEED THIS BOOK! By Laura and Jonathan Greenburg (910.2 GRE). It speaks of exciting vacations for every budget and lifestyle. Featured on Oprah Winfrey, this vacation planning guide is full of inside information on everything from fun-filled weekends to long and memorable journeys.

Want some reading for your trip but don’t want to pack those heavy books? Simply go to the Virtual Collection and navigate to our selection of eBooks. By selecting the OverDrive bar you can browse, search for, sign out and download audiobooks. All you need is your Library Card number and PIN. Audiobooks may be easily transferred to your MP3 player or iPod, and in some cases even burned to a CD.

PLAYAWAYS are another great option for those who prefer to travel light, offered by both Waverley and Brodie. These are an effortless way to listen to audiobooks. You just press play and presto. Smaller than a deck of cards, the complete audio book is pre-loaded on to its own player. All you need are headphones and a triple A battery, (both of which can be purchased at the Library). Similar to books, these may be borrowed for three weeks and renewed twice, provided there are no holds on the title.

Rock-a-hula-luau. Summer is coming. Access the opportunities at TBPL.

Caron E. Naysmith, Supply Staff

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Sunday May 23rd, 2010 The War to End all Wars

Sometimes I find myself reading on a theme or a particular historical period. When I was a child I frequently turned to fiction set during World War II. It wasn’t the war setting that appealed so much as the strong characters. All were about children having great adventures and overcoming incredible odds. Intellectually I knew there must have been a previous war, but I knew nothing of it. I didn’t know anything World War I until high school history when we learned about Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the Black Hand. Even then, it didn’t capture my imagination in the same way that the subsequent war had. But then there were no stories about plucky girls overcoming great odds.

This all changed when upon hearing Jacqueline Winspear speak about her Maisie Dobbs series, which is set between the wars and suddenly I was hooked. I immediately borrowed “Maisie Dobbs” , the first in the series, from the library and quickly finished it before turning to the next novel in the series. While these books are set after the War they give glimpses of the War and the damage it wrought on the English population. Sadly, I’m completely up-to-date with this series, but I’ve found more to read on this topic.

The only true “between the wars” book on my list is “A Month in the Country” by J.L. Carr. It’s a brief novel set in Yorkshire about a veteran whose task it is to restore a Medieval mural in the village of Oxgodby. The action is mostly day to day life in a small Yorkshire village but it is coloured by the narrator’s experience during the War. This then led me to the realization that I really wanted to get more of a sense of characters’ experiences during the War.

The other books I would like to share with you are all set during the Great War and are from the perspective of North Americans; Crossing Stones” by Helen Frost, “Barometer Rising” by Hugh MacLennan, and “The Wars” by Timothy Findley.

Crossing Stones” is a novel in verse, which can be found in the Young Adult section at Thunder Bay Public Library. Please don’t let the Young Adult classification prevent you from reading this fantastic novel. The narrative is centred on two families living in rural America. It is told in turn by three of the young people and much of the narrative concerns a fourth who has enlisted to fight in the First World War.

I must confess that I have not read “Barometer Rising” by Hugh MacLennan yet, but as I went on my hunt for books set after the War it immediately caught my eye. I remember thoroughly enjoying “The Watch that Ends the Night” and so this is at the top of my pile for weekend reading.

While working on this column I realized that it is time for me to reread “The Wars.” While reading it in high school, Mr. Findley came in to talk to us about the writing of the novel. He told us of using a ditch on his property as a stand-in for a trench to try and get a sense of what trench warfare was really like. Not surprisingly it was cold, wet, and miserable. I suspect I will get more out of the book now that I have more knowledge about the period “The Wars” is set in.

Whether this period is of particular interest to you or not I would like to suggest that you consider the themes, historical periods, or genres that are of attract you right now and enjoy them. Yes, people will recommend many other great books, but if you (like me) are currently fixated on another era or subject; make a note of the suggestion and return to it when you’re ready.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas, Adult Services Librarian at the Brodie Resource Library –

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Sunday May 16th, 2010 Zombies and Vampires and Slayers, Oh My!

Can you keep a secret? We’re being invaded. Whether it’s Vampires or Zombies, the undead are everywhere. On television, films or in books, there has been a huge resurgence of interest in all things supernatural. The shelves of the library are full of books about the undead from spicy romances with Transylvanian princes to modern motorcycle riding bad-boy fang bearers destined to fall in love with mortal women. The Anne Rice “Lestat” books of yesteryear have given way to Stephanie Meyer’s teen saga of true love with the “Twilight” books, as well as a host of imitators. While, I may be old fashioned, dating someone who sees you as the deli counter in Safeway, doesn’t strike me as a good idea. I do enjoy a good giggle and there are a host of fun and nearly plasma-free books about bloodsuckers.

Two current television series, True Blood and Vampire Diaries are based on popular book series. True Blood follows the Charlaine Harris novels about southern waitress Sookie Stackhouse, whose zest for life and ability to read minds results in her falling in love with two vampires, former Confederate soldier Bill Compton and the 1000 year old Eric Northman. The books are light and frothy mysteries while the television series has a dark, sexy edge. The tenth book is the series is Dead in the Family, and is definitely a fun read.

The Vampire Diaries is based on the series of the same name by L. J. Smith and follows the tribulations of a high school girl torn between two vampire brothers and those who seek to control or destroy them. If you have a teen who loved Twilight, this is the series for you.

If you like Chick-Lit and Vampires, the books for you are definitely MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead Series, which follows Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor as she shops, frets about her looks and her boyfriend and her struggles in her job. The laugh-out-loud books are Bridget Jones for the pulse-less set.

For straight laughs, satirist Christopher Moore has joined the fray with a series of modern gothic novels about teen vampires, their minions and the band of grocery store checkers who are out to destroy them. The books being with Blood Sucking Fiends: A Love Story is Mel Brooks meets Bram Stoker.

Zombies and zombie slayers are also in vogue. Beginning with the quirky release “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, there have been a bundle of new books about historical and literary characters that secretly have saved the world by being destroyers of evil.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies feature the Bennett sisters not only in search of suitable husbands but also ridding England of the zombie surge with their martial arts and ninja training. Elizabeth Bennett attracts Mr. Darcy’s attentions with her charm, wit and slaying skills. Grahame-Smith version of events finally has Mr. Wickham receiving the ending, which he so richly deserves.

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter is also by Seth Grahame-Smith is based on the highly imaginative “secret diaries” of the 16th president. Lincoln’s interest is based on a need for justice following a family tragedy and his assassin, John Wilkes Booth is actually a thwarted vampire bent of revenge.

George A. Romero the famed director of Dawn of the Dead is entering the zombie bestseller seller list with his new release, Living Dead, which will be release this summer

With the new release of Queen Victoria, Demon Hunter by A.E. Moorat and Jane Slayre by Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin just hitting the shelves, the literary mash-ups of silly and supernatural are still a hit. So slip a little garlic behind your ears and I’ll meet you in the stacks of the library.

Lori Kauzlarick, Public Services Assistant at the Brodie Resource Library

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Sunday May 9th, 2010 Woodcarving 101

A short time ago as I was gracing my parents with my presence (or as they would say, mooching a free lunch) my Dad said he wanted to show me his new hobby: woodcarving. I must say I was really floored at his creations: intricate cottages with stairwells carved into pieces of bark, detailed faces of bearded spirits which appear to naturally come out of the wood and walking sticks and canes featuring subtle patterns and designs. Now, after watching his projects evolve and his ideas for future projects expand, I feel the craftsmanship required to undertake such a hobby deserves attention. In this column, I am going to attempt to sound like I know what I’m writing about concerning this subject and what TBPL can offer you in terms of learning this art.

Thunder Bay Public Library has some great recently published books pertaining to the subject of woodcarving, from the general to the specific; colour illustrations and pictures are included in these resources, along with diagrams and patterns to help explain the particulars of woodcarving. One book which covers all aspects pertaining to woodcarving is The Complete Book of Woodcarving: Everything You Need to Know to Master the Craft by Everett Ellenwood. This manual features easy to follow instruction on technique, appropriate woods, tools, sharpening methods and carving styles which makes it a great reference tool for any woodcarver or potential woodcarver.

Another book which complements Ellenwood’s is Wood Carving: Projects and Techniques by Chris Pye which focuses on fundamentals and includes several articles taken from Woodcarving Magazine. An additional book by the same author, Elements of Woodcarving, offers readers 10 projects with instruction from beginning to end. This publication details the three essential elements of woodcarving (design, material and technique) and provides unique projects to choose from. Now, for those woodcarvers wishing to locate materials on particular areas of woodcarving, there are also books which are narrowed down to specific themes and subjects such as Shawn Cipa’s Carving Gargoyles: Grotesques and Other Creatures of Myth or Rosalyn L. Daisey’s Songbird Carving.

Another great resource for introductory woodcarvers found at the Thunder Bay Public Library is an instructional DVD titled Beginning Woodcarving. As a standalone or an accompanying resource, library users are offered a visual aid to assist in learning the proper woodcarving techniques and in my case, how not to slice off a much valued finger or thumb.

Perhaps my favourite woodcarving products are walking sticks and canes. When taking a leisurely walk or challenging a hiking trail, these objects serve a utilitarian purpose while also being fantastic pieces of art. If you are interested in learning this craft, you might try Make Your Own Walking Sticks by Charles Self. This publication takes the reader through the ins and outs of making various types of walking sticks and canes. With patience and a keen eye, you soon may be the most popular person on the hiking trail because of your flashy walking stick (and winning personality).

Many of these resources can be invaluable in one’s quest to become a master woodcarver and the items mentioned only represent a portion of library’s holdings associated with woodcarving. Now Dad, since it’s perfect hiking weather and I’m so very very busy (watching TV), how’s about making your dear son one of those walking sticks….so I can sell it on Ebay. Hahaha, just kidding. But seriously, when’s lunch?

Derek Gradner, Library Technician

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Sunday May 2nd, 2010 Learn a New Language @ Your Library

Have you always wanted to learn to speak another language? If so, your Library can help! We have books, CDs and even online resources available for you. Learning a language can enrich your life by opening doors of communication with people from different countries. Imagine making fast friends speaking Spanish on a beach vacation, impressing your child’s French teacher, or charming your Italian in-laws with your new language skills.


Reading about other languages can be fun. The book “Pardon my French: Unleash your inner Gual” by Charles Timoney is a great example. In this entertaining and useful guide to words and phrases every French traveler should know, Timoney shares his personal experience with real life French. For example the pharse “faire un canard,” which literally means “to do a duck” actually refers to dunking sugar lumps in coffee. And, “tablette de chocolate” – literally “a chocolate bar” – is the French term for a finely muscled stomach (also known as a “six pack”!).

Your Library has a collection of dictionaries, grammar guides and phrase books for a wide variety of languages. Some of the titles are “Street French”, “Mastering Finnish”, “Italian by Association” and “Chinese for Dummies”.


Language-learning CDs have the advantage of letting your hear what a language sounds like. Some, like “Instant Italian”, are designed to have you speaking enough of a language to get you by on an upcoming vacation. Others, like “Teach yourself Spanish conversation” are more in-depth.


Our new collection of “playaways” – one-title pre-loaded MP3 players – include a few language-learning titles. You can borrow “Italian Guaranteed”, “French Guaranteed” and “German Guaranteed”, and learn while you walk, run or relax!


We also have language-learning eAudiobooks available. “Turkish: Learn before you land” is one example, from NetLibrary. You can download NetLibrary eAudiobooks to your computer or MP3 player. Tumblebooks, our collection of online interactive children’s books, includes titles in French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Russian. You can listen and follow along with the text on the screen. To find Tumblebooks go to our Web site,, click on “Find Books”, then “eBooks” and choose “Tumblebook Library”. Then choose “Language Learning”. TumbleBooks in other languages include familiar titles like “Aventuras De Tom Sawyer” and Robert Munsch books. This familiarity is great for both children and adults learning another language.

Your Library recently acquired Powerspeak Languages, a new language-learning product. Spanish, French, German and Mandarin Chinese are currently available, as well as English for Spanish-speakers. The Powerspeak Languages courses include a combination of scored online activities, exercises, lessons and games. The use of multi-sensory activities takes full advantage of the brain’s ability to acquire language. It really is fun to use! The course activities are bound together with an adventure story containing rich graphics, audio, video, music and an intuitive way to track your progress. Learners are also challenged to practice speaking and writing in a variety of interactive modules designed to stimulate real conversations with native speakers.

To get to Powerspeak Languages go to the Library’s Web site: Click on “Virtual Collection” and then the Sleeping Giant. Log in to My Giant Search with your Library Card number and PIN, and then choose “Powerspeak Languages” from the list of resources. If you choose to take a Powerspeak course you’ll be promoted to create an account, so you can track your progress, and easily begin at the point where you finished during your last session.

Bonne chance, hyvä onni, buona fortuna and viel glück in your language-learning adventures!

Joanna Aegard, Head of Virtual Library Services – This column appears Sundays on this page. If you have a comment about today's column, we would love to hear from you. Check out the blog at