Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sunday June 24, 2012 Summer Reading @ Your Library

It’s officially summer in Thunder Bay! With the recent Summer Solstice and the launch of Summer in the Park, it’s time to start planning your summer reading for home, camp, and travel. After a brief survey of library staff, here is a short list of possibilities to get you started:

You may know this author from his earlier work, specifically PILLARS OF THE EARTH (1989), but Ken Follett’s recent book FALL OF GIANTS (2010) proves he hasn’t lost his touch. According to a colleague currently reading it, he isn’t really into drama but this book is awesome. It is a historical epic set around the First World War. Featuring the struggles of five families, the book brings into focus the reality of war, family, class, love and loyalty at that time.

THE ALMOND PICKER (2002) is a long time favorite for some here at the library. The first novel by Simonetta Agnello Hornby, it  provides a literary vacation to small town Italy. The story revolves around unravelling the life and character of a woman called Mennulara, a maid for a wealthy family in western Sicily. Questions rage over the nature of her role within the families affairs and the impact on the town’s fabric.

For a more recent book, I would suggest THE HOUSE OF VELVET AND GLASS (2012) by Katherine Howe. According to one of the library’s resident fiction lovers this is part historical fiction, part mystery, part supernatural and all around a fantastic read. Set in Boston in 1915, it weaves together the grief of a family still reeling from losing their mother and sister on the Titanic with the societal struggles of the time. Moving from the opium dens of China Town to mediums, professors and an underlying love story, The House of Velvet and Glass is tightly written and well worth some time outside on the deck, or dock.

It seems that historical fiction is somewhat of a trend with library reading right now, so to round out the historical suggestions try THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE (2012) by Adriana Trigiani. This is the latest in a line of stories inspired by the author’s family history. If you’ve read VERY VALENTINE, BRAVA VALENTINE or LUCIA, LUCIA you will love this book. Settings spread from the Italian Alps to Manhattan and finally northern Minnesota. It follows the meeting and continual separation/reuniting of Enza and Ciro throughout their youth and adult years. It is a moving love story with rich details that make you feel as if right there in the Italian sun or in the thick of costume production for the Metropolitan Opera House. I’d recommend reading this one when you don’t have much in the way of distraction since once you start reading you won’t want to put this book down. Also consider having a tissue or two on hand for some of the more intense moments.

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN (2012) by Katherine Applegate may, at first glance, look like a story book strictly for children but it is so much more than that. This book is based on the true story of Ivan, a real gorilla, who spent 27 years living alone in a cage and made headlines when featured in National Geographic. The written story of Ivan sends a powerful message about the treatment of animals living in captivity and reminds readers of the social needs of those animals. It demonstrates the need for all creatures to grow, be free and live a fulfilling life. This would be a wonderful choice for a family to read aloud together this summer.

Jesse Roberts

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Sunday June 17th, 2012 Celebrate National Aboriginal Day

This coming Thursday is National Aboriginal Day, a time to celebrate aboriginal culture and heritage.  Here at the library we not only have books, films, and music dedicated to aboriginal culture, but also special programming this week.

On Tuesday June 19th join us at the Mary J.L. Black Library for a screening of Long Journey Home:  Residential School Revisited.  This documentary produced by Nishnawbe Aski Nation features nine women from Webequie First Nation.  It documents their journey, as they return to their residential school in Moose Factory on James Bay.  The journey was a way of continuing the healing of the emotional wounds left by their separation from family as very young children, a loss of identify, and physical and sexual abuse.  We will be joined by some of the individuals involved in the production of the film for a question and answer period.

On Saturday June 23rd families are invited to attend Turtle Island Tales Story Time and Craft at Waverley Library with Serena Essex from the Indian Friendship Centre.  This is an all ages, drop-in program; no need to register!  For more information about our library programs please visit our website at and check out our events calendar at the bottom of the home page.

Of course the big event is on Thursday June 21st at Prince Arthur’s Landing.  This year’s theme is “Sustainability”, keeping that in mind organizers are encouraging people to bring their own reusable water bottles, plates, cups, utensils, etc. to avoid throwing away as many paper products as we can.  Water will be available on site and we will have everything required for the feast, so don’t worry if you are unable to bring your own.  Speaking of the feast here’s a quick overview of the day’s schedule:

•    5:00 Sunrise Ceremony (Coffee, Tea, Juice and Fruit will be provided)
•    10:00 Variety of Crafts, Storytelling and/or Games (To be confirmed)
•    11:00 Welcome Address
•    12:00 Grand Entry
•    1:00 Opening Ceremonies
•    4:30 Feast and Youth Entertainment
•    6:00 Pow Wow Continues
•    8:00 Giveaways and Closing Ceremonies

For more information about our local National Aboriginal Day celebrations please visit  I hope to see you there!

Before, during, and after National Aboriginal Day I hope you will come in and check out our Aboriginal collections.  As the school year comes to a close and summer begins it is a wonderful time to share stories with family and friends.  I particularly enjoy sharing children’s stories as we can sit and read a book in its entirety.  Some titles to look for include:  Morning on the Lake by Jan Bourdeau Waboose, Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton, Nanabosho & Porcupine by Joe McLellan and Matrine McLellan, and As Long as the Rivers Flow by Larry Loyie with Constance Brissenden.  These are naturally only a small sampling of our children’s books; come in and browse our Aboriginal collections in adult fiction and non-fiction, DVDs, and music.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Sunday June 10th, 2012 Better at the Library

Anything you can be, I can be greater. Sooner or later, I'm greater than you. ANYTHING GOES/ANYTHING YOU CAN DO is a mash-up of Anything Goes from the musical of the same name and Anything You Can Do from the musical Annie Get Your Gun. It is performed in the first episode of Glee’s third season, The Purple Piano Project. The song has a way of staying with you. Being better is amazing. The point is not to be better than anyone else, just better than you were before. The wish list could be anything: laugh more, learn a new language, fix something, set up a surprise party, be a better leader, take better pictures, train for a marathon. There are no limits. Reality is, Thunder Bay Public Library can help you do anything better. Dr. Wayne Dyer, author of THE SKY’S THE LIMIT and PULLING YOUR OWN STRINGS says, “True nobility is not about being better than anyone else it’s about being better than you used to be.”

BETTER UNDER PRESSURE: HOW GREAT LEADERS BRING OUT THE BEST IN THEMSELVES AND OTHERS is by Justin Menkes who, while drawing on interviews with sixty CEOs from a variety of industries, shows that great leaders not only maximize their own potential but also encourage others to achieve success.

THE BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE: WHY VIOLENCE HAS DECLINED by Steven Pinker and available as an electronic resource, was selected by The New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year. The main premise of the book is that violence has been decreasing over the millennia and that we may now be living in the most peaceful of times.  

BETTER TOGETHER written by Sheryl and Simon Shapiro is a book of children’s poems that explores the concept of combining things to make something better.  Cinnamon and sugar make yummy toast; children with varying skills make a stronger team; and different instruments make beautiful music … all things better than they were before. Simple yet poignant.

BETTER BOOKS! BETTER READERS!: HOW TO CHOOSE, USE AND LEVEL BOOKS FOR CHILDREN IN THE PRIMARY GRADES  by Linda Hart-Hewins and Jan Wells is part of the Parent/Teacher collection. Based on the premise that practice makes perfect, the book proposes a way to make reading enjoyable for children of all reading levels.
BETTER FOOD FOR KIDS by Joanne Saab offers nutritional information and exciting new recipes such as baked vegetable frittatas and breakfast fruit smoothies.

150 BEST JOBS FOR A BETTER WORLD by the Editors at JIST Publishing and Lawrence Shatkin explores the idea of making the world a better place by doing good for others as well as for yourself. The jobs listed have one thing in common; they leave a positive imprint on the world.

PUPPY CHOW IS BETTER THAN PROZAC: THE TRUE STORY OF A MAN AND THE DOG WHO SAVED HIS LIFE by Bruce Goldstein retells how a man, down and out turns his life around when Ozzie an exuberant black lab pup enters his life with selflessness and loyalty.

GRAMMAR GIRL QUICK AND DIRTY TIPS FOR BETTER WRITING by Mignon Fogarty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl, makes it her goal to obliterate bad grammar, but in a fun way. Two years ago she created a weekly podcast to address peoples’ most common errors, and these have been downloaded more than twenty million times.

These along with hundreds of other titles of the same genre can be found by searching the TBPL catalogue and databases for books, magazines, articles, DVD’s, audiobooks and E-books. And you can also peruse the suggested reading lists and new releases. 

Feeling better already? Excellent.

Caron E. Naysmith

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Sunday June 3rd, 2012 Staycations: More options than you think!

The term staycation is a relatively new term born from the financial crises and high gas prices over recent years forcing families to do more with less, and that includes spending holidays close to, or at home. Benefits of staycations include savings on lodging, travel, packing, and adds a boost to our local tourism industry. Just as with any vacation, staycations also require planning. For those of you considering one this summer, start with a visit to the Thunder Bay Public Library for ideas.
Northern Ontario: There's more to Northern Ontario than just rocks, trees and lakes is a helpful read to start with, and don’t forget The complete guide to outdoor photography before setting out. 

The complete guide to doutdoor photographyAre you interested in trekking to ghost towns? We live a short jaunt from the remnants of towns that met their demise for varying reasons, like Silver Islet, the old Pigeon River Outlaw Bridge, Jackfish, and Burchell Lake. One town I found of particular interest, Port Coldwell, west of Marathon was once the subject of famed Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris. These and other communities can be found in Ghost towns of Ontario:  A field guide, and Ontario's ghost towns and scenic backroads atlas. You can also learn more on the TBPL website, ( featuring a link to Gateway to Northwestern Ontario History(found under the ‘Research’ tab on the main page). This is a virtual gallery of historical photos, books, drawings and artifacts contributed from libraries and museums throughout northwestern Ontario.

Superior WayOur area offers a myriad of options for recreational activity besides the always popular camping and fishing. Boaters can explore our area from a different vantage point and plan a trip with the books Superior way: The cruising guide to Lake Superior,  Lighthouses of Lake Superior, and the publication Lake Superior Magazine. These resources advise on just about everything that is connected to our big lake from marinas, sites of interest and available services.  For those more adventurous and into diving, take a look at Shipwrecked:  Vessels that met tragedy on Northern Lake Superior, and Shipwreck guide to the Western half of Lake Superior and plan an adventure to explore areas seldom seen by others.
 Thunder Bay Rock
Back to land adventures, Thunder Bay Rcok: A Climbers Guide To Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Bouldering around Thunder Bay: A guide are written for people who enjoy vertical challenges and taking in a view from the top. For people more content to stay on the ground the Thunder Bay Nature Guide: A guide to natural spaces in the Thunder Bay Area, and the northern Minnesota based Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail are for those who want to explore nature off the beaten path. If you are interested in rocks of a different sort, rock hounds fascinated with local geology will find Agates of Lake Superior: Stunning varieties and how they are formed, the Lake Superior rock pickers guide, and Geology and scenery:  Rainy Lake and East to Lake Superior helpful to budding local prospectors.    

61 Gems on Highway 61For traditional sightseers wanting views from the comfort of a vehicle, seeing the best of our great lake demands a look at the Lake Superior circle tour: Adventure guide. Finally, how many of us have driven non-stop on our way to Duluth and points beyond without taking any time to really look at what we are passing by? There is so much to do without driving far as shown in 61 gems on Highway 61: A guide to Minnesota's North Shore. This book takes a look at well-known attractions and best-kept secrets to have you busy for days without having to travel too far away from home.

Arlene Danyleyko