Sunday, 31 July 2011

Sunday July 31st, 2011 Neil Young and Company

When it comes to the music scene, Canada has always been well regarded as a country full of talented musicians. Whether your taste lays in rock, pop, folk, indie or any combination of the above, you can be sure there is a Canadian musician that will more than just pique your interest. And where better than to start your hunt for your new muse than at the Thunder Bay Public Library. Let us start with one of the greatest, Neil Young.

Having produced over thirty studio albums and countless greatest hits and live performance records, here is a masterful musician Canada is proud to call our own. Known for his distinct tenor singing voice and beautiful lyrics, Young started his career by releasing his self titled debut in 1968. Although at the time it did not grab the listeners attention, it has over time become an essential recording to any devote Neil Young fan. One of my favourite albums comes in the form of 'Harvest Moon'. Released in 1992, it is a testament to what Young does best: heartbreaking acoustic folk, unique arrangements and unforgettable lyrics. Last year Young released 'Le Noise', which received a Grammy award for his electric performance on the track 'Angry World'.

Speaking of the Grammys, Montreal band Arcade Fire finally got the acclaim they deserved when they took home the trophy for album of the year for their third album 'The Suburbs'. Arcade Fire came into the scene in 2004 when they released 'Funeral', an indie rock album that infused rock with an orchestral sound. Soon in 2007, they released their sophomore album, 'Neon Bible'. This album only built upon the success they earned with 'Funeral', and reiterated that here is an exciting band that writes and produces smart music that challenges and enchants its listeners.

Great Lake Swimmers, not as well known as Arcade Fire but equally satisfying, rely on permeating its listeners with tasteful melodic folk. After listening to their hushed tones, easy listening takes on a new meaning. Great Lake Swimmers conjure thought provoking, quietly disarming melodies that ponder existential questions about life, love, and nature. Check out their 2007 album 'Ongiara', where the title refers to the original name of the Niagara Falls. A fantastic component of 'Ongiara' is its ability to invoke the Canadian landscape: mountains, glaciers, venomous winds, and changing seasons. Their latest is 2009's 'Lost Channels', which expands on the sounds from their previous albums and makes it into a more polished and mature sound, evident of a band that continues to grow.

Of course, no list of Canadian music is complete without mentioning Sam Roberts. Having been compared to the likes of a young Bruce Springsteen, Roberts is on his way to becoming one of Canada's most beloved rock musicians. The hit single 'Brother Down' is a clever rock ballad that will guarantee you to hit the replay button more than a few times. 'The Canadian Dream', an interesting concept tract where Roberts discusses socialism and humorously relating the lack of socialistic progress to Canadian winters, where ''everything moves real slow when it's forty below''. Then follow up with 2008's 'Love At the End of The World' where Roberts moves into more musically challenging territory with tracks like 'Lions of the Kalahari'.

You will find these records, and many others by Canadian artists, in the music collection at the Thunder Bay Public Library. Discover more about Canadian music in our print collection by reading books such as Canuck Rock by Ryan Edwardson or Music From Far and Wide: celebrating 40 years of Canadian Music.

Petar Vidjen, Page

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Sunday July 24th, 2011 Exercise Caution when Researching Medical Information Online

During a visit with my family doctor, and in my attempt at collaborative health management, I happily shared with him some information I found online. He replied skeptically, familiar with telling other patients his concern with the quality of health information found on the Internet.

The Internet is a useful and powerful tool but it is for the most part unregulated. Popular search engines will generate information from any web source including commercial business, government, and even your neighbour if he has a website. Obtaining health information from such a broad spectrum of sources can cause confusion when determining what is good from bad quality, and worse, many come to accept what is read on screen at face value without knowing how to properly evaluate it. Given that health related queries are among the most popular searches, one can safely assume there is a lot of wrong information being circulated.

Although no website can be a substitute for a visit with your physician, a less concerning search method is offered at the Thunder Bay Public Library. TBPL’s website offers patrons the ‘My Giant Search’ link to health databases containing articles from credible sources. The resources found here come from a variety of respected publications that include medical journals, books, serials and periodicals. Full text and peer reviewed articles are also available. Many of the publications found in these databases cannot be accessed through the use of common Internet search engines without a paid subscription, but are available to library patrons at no cost.

Health databases available through the virtual collection include the following: Alt HealthWatch focuses on complimentary, holistic and integrated approaches to health care; Health and Wellness Resource Centre and Consumer Health Complete are two comprehensive resources for consumers interested in anything from mainstream medicine to alternative treatments; Teen Health and Wellness covers medical topics of interest to youth and young adults; and Health Reference Centre Academic contains databases geared towards users with a formal health training or background. Access these databases from our Web site,, under "Research". Click on the Sleeping Giant to log in to My Giant Search. If you're outside the Library you'll need to log in with your Library card number and PIN.

If you are looking for health information online, practice your search skills on our staff selected health web sites such as Family, Health Canada and Medline Plus. These internet links and more can also be accessed from Delicious.

Don’t forget to browse the library’s print collection for more health information. TBPL has a wide variety of medical books including topics such as diseases, pharmaceuticals, natural medicine, healthy living, medical specialties, and more. For more information on Canadian healthcare professionals and facilities, the library carries the Guide to Canadian Healthcare Facilities and the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties.

Arlene Danyleyko, Library Assistant

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Sunday July 17, 2011 The Locavore Movement

Summer in Thunder Bay is the perfect time to start (or continue) eating local. The locavore movement simply means to eat local, and it is by no means a new concept. Locavores believe that local foods taste better, and support the local economy/environment. With farms, markets, and co-ops in full swing there are oodles of fresh local foods from which to choose. Whether you want to pick up something already prepared for tonight’s supper, groceries for the week, or the fixings to get your own local food sources started at home, you’re sure to find what you need in/around the city. After the long hard winter of Northwestern Ontario, we deserve the abundance that a Thunder Bay summer has to offer. As always, your public library strives to add to that abundance by bringing in all sorts of books that cover different aspects of the locavore movement. From food politics to recipes and sustainable lifestyles, we have something for everyone.

Did you know that the average ingredient travels over 2400 kilometres to show up on our plates? That’s going to be one tired tomato if you ask me. The authors of THE 100-MILE DIET thought so too and set out to spend an entire year eating only what was produced within 100 miles of their Vancouver home.

CBC Radio host Sarah Elton published LOCAVORE in March 2010. Her story begins with a cookie revelation and develops into a model of how farmers, chefs, and consumers can change the way Canada thinks about food.

Last year a fellow library staffer told me about her experience reading EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer. A 2009 Booklist review stated that this book “asks philosophical questions, such as why we eat such smart and affectionate animals as pigs but not dogs. Foer brings extraordinary artistry, clarity, valour, and compassion to this staggering investigation into the ethics, horrors, and dangers of factory farming.” Well written and morally complex, this one might just make you rethink that next fast food burger.

Once you’ve been to the farm or market and have ingredients, check out some of our local cooking recipe books. Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse recently came out with FARM TO FORK: COOKING LOCAL, COOKING FRESH (2010). According to Publishers Weekly, this collection is “full of flavorful recipes presented with simplicity and minimal chitchat...[Lagasse] focuses on using fresh, local ingredients. This collection focuses on fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and seafood, with just a little poultry and pork thrown in for good measure. Chapters are broken out as if dividing up a garden. Corn, beans, and squash over here; broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower over there. Leafy greens, root vegetables, and orchard fruits all get their due, with space left for winter fruits and nightshades.”

For a seasonal recipe set, try THE HARVEST EATING COOKBOOK: MORE THAN 200 RECIPES FOR COOKING WITH SEASONAL LOCAL INGREDIENTS by Keith Snow. This book promotes harvest eating as “a lifestyle that promotes good health and sustainability by encouraging the eating of foods grown locally and naturally without the use of harmful pesticides or other damaging chemicals.”

In addition to the food, the locavore movement focuses on a sustainable lifestyle. The library carries many books on running an energy efficient home, using eco-friendly crafting methods, and guides on raising your own farm animals. Check out titles such as THE JOY OF KEEPING FARM ANIMALS: RAISING CHICKENS, GOATS, PIGS, SHEEP AND COWS by Laura Childs. This summer, make a change and go local.

Jesse Roberts, Head of Reference Services

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Sunday July 10th, 2011 Moving on After Harry Potter

The library is holding a Celebration of the Boy Who Lived party on July 13, just in time for the final movie. Costumes are not required but welcome and there will be a prize for the best one! Attendees should be prepared to attend a few of Harry’s classes and a Sorting Ceremony will take place in the Great Hall (Brodie Fireside Reading Room). Registration is available on the library e*vents calendar; for ages 7+. Any youth or adults who love to be a part of Harry’s world are invited to contact myself at 624-4204 or to get involved!

The final Harry Potter movie will be released soon and it is time for all Potter fans to prepare for the end. Re-read the books, have a movie marathon, or do both and prepare yourself emotionally to watch the battle of Hogwarts. When we met Harry in The Philosopher’s Stone, he was just a child. We will leave him a confident, courageous, and powerful wizard. The first novel had troll snot jokes. This one will, like all great epics, end with a body count. After fifteen years, seven books, eight movies, and billions of dollars, Harry’s story is coming to a satisfying conclusion – but that doesn’t mean we won’t miss him!

Luckily, there is a cure to your upcoming Harry Potter withdrawal and the library is here to help. The best way to recover from Harry Potter related malaise is to discover new fantastic worlds and courageous heroes. It’s time to begin accepting that Platform 9 ¾ will never again pick up Harry, Ron and Hermione for another year of school. We prescribe trying one of these new titles or series to ease the pain:

Author Hilari Bell writes both fantasy and science fictions novels for juvenile and young adult readers, and her well-developed and detailed world building should satisfy any mourning Potterhead. Like Rowling, Bell’s stories include suspense, a dense plot, humour and some romance. You may still long for Hogwarts, but travelling through Goblin Woods with young hedgewitch Makenna and should provide some distraction. Series include Shield, the Sword and the Crown; other titles include The Prophecy and Goblin Woods. For ages 12+

The Mysterious Benedict Society and its two sequels feature young heroes and heroines coping with learning new magical skills and accepting heavy responsibilities. Reynie, Sticky, Kate and Constance Contraire are recruited by the curious Mr. Benedict to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened. They use their complementary skills and abilities to decipher clues and pierce together information about the evil forces at work in their world. If you love adventures and the way they can bring friends together (just like Harry, Ron and Hermione after fighting that troll), check out Trenton Lee Stewart’s trilogy. For grades 4+

For something really different, why not try a comic series with similar themes? The Runaways series features a group of young kids and teens who discover that their parents are a team of super villains. The next surprise is that their parents (and themselves) have secret powers. The youth work together to develop their skills and make hard decisions about how to deal with their evil parents. In addition to some dark and difficult moments, there is plenty of humour, romance, and fun shout-outs to other members of the Marvel universe. Volume I: Pride and Joy. For ages 12+

And if all else fails – J.K. Rowling just launched a site called The e-books available for sale include brand-new extras and information about the Potterverse. Maybe you can prolong your time with Harry just a little longer.

Laura Prinselaar, Children & Youth Services Librarian

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sunday July 3rd, 2011 Lesser Known Shakespearean Comedies

When many people think of Shakespeare, they think of the plays they were taught in high school. Most commonly these are Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear or Romeo and Juliet. While they are all good plays in their own rights, many people may not be ready for Shakespeare at that time in their life and end up disliking the Bard’s work. But his drama definitely deserves a second chance, especially some of his lesser known comedies.

For a light-hearted romp in the forest, give As You Like It a try. The old Duke is removed from power, so he spends his time hanging out in the forest of Arden with those still loyal to him. His daughter, Rosalind, is banished after this, but her best friend Celia decides to accompany her, along with the court fool Touchstone. Rosalind decides to disguise herself as a man for protection. Together they also find themselves in the forest. While in hiding, Rosalind and Celia encounter Orlando, a young man who wants to marry the real Rosalind. He is madly in love with her and is leaving badly-written poetry all over Arden. The disguised Rosalind sets out to “cure” Orlando of his love sickness; she ends up training Orlando to be a good husband. Meanwhile, a shepherdess has also fallen in love with the disguised Rosalind. As You Like It is full of love triangles and other ridiculousness, but it is great fun!

Cymbeline is one of the most entertaining Shakespearean plays I have encountered. The action takes place during the reign of Augustus in Rome. The title character is the king of Briton, who has refused to pay tribute to Rome, resulting in war between the two nations. This, however, is the background story to the play. The real tale is about Princess Imogen and her husband, Posthumus Leonatus. Posthumus is exiled from both his wife and Briton, so he goes to Rome. While there, a Roman, Iachimo, bets that Imogen will not remain faithful to her husband while he is exiled. Cheating to win the bet, Iachimo convinces Posthumus that Imogen has been unfaithful, and so Posthumus sends word to one of his servants to have his wife killed. The servant knows that Imogen has been true to Posthumus, so he devises a plan: she is to disguise herself as a man and flee to Italy. Much like As You Like It, hilarious hijinks occur in the woods. The many twists and turns will keep you entertained through the whole play. From kings, knaves and Jupiter himself showing up, Cymbeline is crazy but well worth the read!

The Tempest reminded me a lot of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as it is also full of magic. The play opens with a storm stranding the King of Naples’ ship. Marooned and scattered across an island, the passengers believe that everyone else has died in the storm. The tempest was summoned by Prospero, the ex-duke of Milan. With the help of his spirit servant Ariel, Prospero has brought the court of Naples here to teach everyone a lesson and win back his dukedom. This is a magical, fun story that is a quick and easy read.

While I have been talking about reading these plays, they are first and foremost made to be performed. So if you’d rather watch them, the Thunder Bay Public Library has As You Like It and The Tempest on dvd. Both productions were adapted for television by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Whichever way you would prefer, I hope you will give the work of Shakespeare a second chance – I’m sure you’ll enjoy it much more than in high school!

Shauna Kosoris, Supply Staff