Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Sunday November 27th, 2011 Historic Photographs

When I am not working at the Library I enjoy many activities. One of them in genealogy, and another is researching and writing about the local Slovak community. Ironically, both of these personal passions inevitably take me back to the Library for a busman's holiday. It works like this : I find a few negatives in the basement. I identify them as having been taken by my grandfather Louis Mikita but I don't know when. A few of them depict a parade in Fort William which I recognize because I saw similar photos in the Thunder Bay Museum photo collection when I had done research for a book called Slovaks in Canada.

So it is time to head to the Brodie Library to check their photo collection and look up details about the parade in the old newspapers. What I discovered was that it was a parade in honour of the coronation of King George VI of England in 1937. And if you thought that the world made a big fuss when Prince William married Kate Middleton, well, you would amazed to see the hoopla which accompanied this event. Marching bands come up from Minnesota, local businesses and organizations as diverse as Great Lakes Paper, the Chinese Canadian Association, the Boy Scouts and the Fort William Public Library entered elaborate floats, decorations were in every shop window and thousands of persons of all ages lined the parade route which started at the train station on Syndicate Avenue and travelled down to Victoria Avenue, Simpson Street and finally Leith Street.

Of course I was most keenly interested in the Slovak float which had been produced by the local St.Peter's Church and showed a king and queen on thrones. I had it on good authority that the queen was depicted by well-known Johanna Cole (nee Mucha). I wish I could have found out further details but the Fort William Daily Times-Journal only listed the basics for the non-British floats. In searching the public library's Gateway to Northwestern Ontario photo archives I discovered that they also had photos from this parade but they were listed among the "mystery photos" as they had received no details at all about them when they were donated. Well, my Nancy Drew genes kicked in and soon I was comparing street scenes to current-day scenes, spending hours on the microfilm readers and sending off notes about floats, dates and street names I was able to identify for the Library's photos.

Anyone can view these interesting photographs from Thunder Bay's past (and area too). Perhaps one of you reading this column today will have a look at one of the mystery photos and spot something or someone you recognize and be able to add to the collective wealth of the database. I have decided to donate prints of my grandfather's parade photos to the Library to be added to their local history photos. His candid shots from the perspective of the parade watchers will be a nice complement to the professional photographer's photos which originally graced the newspaper in a special commemorative coronation issue. And because I found the date of the parade I now know the date of the other photos. Are you sitting on knowledge about this parade that you'd like to share with the Library Detectives? Did you realize how helpful the Library could be for tracking down information for your family tree or any aspect of local history? I have only mentioned one little aspect of how I recently benefited from my Library. Visit the Brodie branch and you will be amazed at what (and who) you will find among our wonderful local history and genealogical resources.

Written by Angela Meady

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sunday November 20th, 2011 Library Books for Diabetes Awareness Month

When most people think about diabetes, they immediately think about type 2. It’s no wonder: over the last few decades there has been an epidemic of type 2 diabetes, leaving the media focused on that form of the disease. But as someone living with type 1, a lot of what the media reports doesn’t directly apply to people like me. Luckily the public library has resources that can help.

Unlike type 2, type 1 diabetes isn’t lifestyle related; the pancreas stops working and the body requires insulin injections to live a healthy life. Type 1 was formerly called juvenile diabetes because many cases are diagnosed during childhood, but the disease appears in teenagers and adults, too.

If you are a parent, hearing that your child has diabetes can be devastating. But don’t despair: both you and your child will survive! Laura Hieronymus and Patti Geil’s 101 Tips for Raising Healthy Kids with Diabetes has lots of really good advice for parents of kids with diabetes; this book is great for parents who are just learning about their child’s disease. A similar book is When a Child Has Diabetes by Denis Daneman, Marcia Frank and Kusiel Perlman. This one is written in an engaging way and is more accessible for Canadians but is about 10 years old and a little out of date. Both of these books look at diabetes in children; adults with type 1 will not find them very interesting.

For me, it’s often a struggle to find easy recipes that provide nutritional information. So a few months ago I went on a quest to find something that met these requirements. What I found was Canada's Best Cookbook for Kids with Diabetes by Colleen Baartley. Don't let the name fool you, this has recipes that anyone will enjoy. And unlike many of the cookbooks written for people with type 2 diabetes, this one has all the nutritional information (especially carbohydrates) you will need to accurately measure your insulin.

Most of the books the library currently has on type 1 diabetes are written for parents of children with diabetes. But once children get a little older, they will start dealing with the disease themselves (with family and friend support). For teenagers, the library also has Type 1 Teens: A Guide to Managing Your Life with Diabetes by Korey K. Hood. This book gives strategies to help teenagers stay in control of diabetes management during their high school years. Type 1 Teens assumes you already know how to manage your diabetes; it focuses on helping you navigate social circles and avoid diabetes burnout. While this book has some excellent tips that adults with type 1 will find helpful, it is written primarily for teens.

While researching this column, I discovered that the library didn’t have any books written for adults who have type 1 diabetes; to correct this omission, the library has recently ordered a few new books. So if you’re looking for this information, keep an eye out for Type 1 Diabetes in Children, Adolescents and Young Adults by Ragnar Hagnas, and Type 1 Diabetes in Adults by Barbara Simon. Both should be arriving soon.

While I have highlighted collection material that focuses on type 1 diabetes, the Library also has plenty of material for people with type 2; a keyword search in the library catalogue for “diabetes” yielded over 200 titles. The Canadian Diabetes Association has also generously donated many books. Visit our Virtual Collection to find articles on diabetes in databases such as Health & Wellness Resource Centre and Health Reference Centre Academic. So whether you have type 1 or type 2, the library is a great informational resource for those with diabetes.

Shauna Kosoris

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sunday November 13th, 2011 Warm Hearts and Cold Noses

I’ve always been a believer is synchronicity; so when a library patron came in talking about Kitty Care and a few days later I was asked to foster an abandoned kitten for a few days, I knew a library detective column was born. Anyone who has read my columns knows that I love my cats and find them endlessly fascinating, but in truth I simply love anything furry and four legged. The stacks at the library are full of books about the adventures of every type of animal and our relationship with them.

As the days grow darker and colder, the desire to cuddle under a blanket with a good book, a cup of Earl Grey and the sound of purring becomes more and more inviting. While I would normally choose a cat or dog mystery, a number of animal themed books have crossed the desks lately that are both great reads and food for thought.

If any of these titles stir your soul, the city has a number of organizations that would love your time and support in the care of our furry friends or may have just the right bundle of love that would be a wonderful addition to your family.

Until Tuesda
y: A Wounded Warrior and the Dog Who Saved Him
by Luis Carlos Montalvan and Bret Witter

When US Army Captain Luis Montalvan returns from Iraq with severe post traumatic stress, he is given a golden retriever named Tuesday to help him cope and act as an aid in his recovery. An experienced service dog Tuesday began his life in the “Puppies behind Bars” program and worked with abused teens before coming to Luis. The bond between Montalvan and Tuesday gave him a reason to live and distracted him from the anxiety that haunted his days and nights.

The Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the Herd
by Joe Camp

When a surprise birthday present of a horse arrived, Joe Camp and his wife Kathleen were completely clueless on the needs and wants of caring for Cash, their new equine companion. As they endeavored to build a bond with the animal, Joe and Kathleen found that they began to experience changes in their own relationship and how they perceived the roles of animals in the lives of mankind.

Ever by My Side: A Memoir in Eight (Acts) Pets by Nick Trout

Trout, a well-known British author and veterinarian returns with a personal biography that charts his life though the animal companions that shared those memories. From his first childhood pet to the beloved Lab who stole his heart and wrecked his house, Trout tells tales of humour, love, and unconditional trust .

Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat
by Gwen Cooper.

During one of the darkest times in Gwen Cooper’s life, a veterinarian offered her the opportunity to adopt a four week old stray blind kitten. Her mind screamed “no” but her heart said “yes”, and Homer became an addition to her family. Homer’s fearlessness and love taught Gwen much about life and acceptance and helped her to become the woman she always wanted to be.

The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them
by Wayne Pacelle

The Humane Society does more than house dogs and cats waiting for homes, it fights for the rights and protection of animals from those who would harm them. Using poignant and vivid tales, Pacelle narrates the political battles that the Humane Society has waged and the individuals who have struggled to save the animals they love.

Lori Kauzlarick

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sunday November 6th, 2011 Sweet Little Treats

Good things come in small packages. As far as I can tell, nothing embodies this concept better than a book. Within the pages of books there are all manner of surprises, gifts and inspiration. With the fall season upon us and the descent of winter slowly creeping up, why not take a moment to mellow in the sweet little treats that life (and the Library) has to offer.

Over the last couple of years there has been a trend in cookbooks towards smaller sweets and baking such as cookies, cupcakes and mini-cakes. This year’s cookbook trend appears to be mini pies. As a girl who can’t say no to pie any day of the week, this revelation made me all sorts of happy. Two new books on this delectable topic are MINI PIES by Christy Beaver and HANDHELD PIES by Rachel Wharten. Here’s hoping that a change in the way we enjoy a slice of pie will finally lie to rest the debate of pie versus cake (because pie is clearly the superior dessert of choice).

Other areas of the food industry have scaled back in recent years as well. If you live alone or find yourself cooking for one on occasion, take a look at THE PLEASURES OF COOKING FOR ONE by Judith Jones. An editor for the culinary legend that was Julia Child, Jones has adapted many recipes found in MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING to suit the solo chef. She offers practical advice on the key tools to have on hand in the kitchen when cooking for yourself and even gives recipes that will help reinvent your leftovers the next day.

For those interested in “putting up” preserves from this year’s fruit and vegetable harvest, but not interested in spending an entire weekend doing so, try something like WELL PRESERVED: RECIPES AND TECHNIQUES FOR PUTTING UP SMALL BATCHES OF SEASONAL FOODS by Eugenia Bone. This summer I discovered a new favourite recipe for small batch preserves – pluot jam. Found online by a friend, this jam is sweet and savory (with real vanilla, lemon thyme, rosemary, and lots of juicy pluots) and is perfect on pork tenderloin or a grilled cheese sandwich. For those interested in growing your own crops in a small garden or plot of land, the Library carries a wide variety of books on small scale gardening and farming.

Now is also the time to start thinking about Christmas. Whether your aim is to make easy gifts or just plain small gifts, the Library has books on knitting, crochet, toy-making, quilting, jewelry, woodworking and more. The knitters and crochet enthusiasts of Thunder Bay will already know that “small” projects like socks, mittens, and other winter accessories make perfect Christmas presents. What you may not realize is that the Library has enough patterns in its collection to accessorize an army.

For all the little things that make life grand, take some time out of your day to fully enjoy them. Maybe you want to consider sharing them with a friend as well. Remember that the Share the Library campaign is still going on and the draw will take place on December 16 at noon (just another added treat courtesy of your Thunder Bay Public Library).

Jesse Roberts