Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sunday July 29th, 2012 Unconventional Collections

On July 27, Thunder Bay hosted a group Nordic Walk as part of FinnThunder 2012. If you missed this event but are intrigued by the idea of pole walking (aka Nordic walking or urban pole walking), check out one of the unexpected collections available through the Thunder Bay Public Library. There are four sets of walking poles available for loan, which come with 2 poles, a pole clip, instructional DVD and user guide (with all material donated by the Glacier Ridge Retirement Residence and Chartwell Select Thunder Bay). Keep an eye on the Library newsletter for information on a fall workshop to learn more and try it out in a group setting.
If you haven’t worked up to poles yet and want to stick to traditional walks, you can borrow a pedometer to track yourself along the way. Using a pedometer can help you increase fitness and promote general well-being. Kits come with a guide booklet and simple instructions to help begin a more healthful way of living. These items have been made available through a partnership between the Thunder Bay Public Library, Ministry of Health Promotion - Sport & Recreation Branch, and Active2010. Materials were donated through the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.

A different sort of pole can be borrowed in the form of a fishing rod, as part of the Library’s Tackle Share program. Young people 16 years of age and younger can borrow fully-rigged fishing rods and reels along with basic tackle (no hooks) from the Brodie and Waverley Libraries. All fishing gear was generously donated by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. Gear can be borrowed from the circulation desk for three weeks.

Other gear available at the Library includes the Big Boreal Adventure (BBA) guidebooks, maps and kits that are available at all four branches. The BBA is an accessible, nature-based scavenger hunt that is designed to “encourage people to get outside, explore, have fun with family & friends, and learn about natural areas in the city of Thunder Bay” (quote from the Big Boreal Adventure website). Kits include a guide and/or storybook(s), compass, magnifier, binoculars, and laminated instructions on making a compass. If you missed the most recent Family Day on July 21, there will be another one in August to look forward to.

With so much attention being placed on time of use pricing and trying to figure out when to do laundry or cook dinner it’s nice to know you can borrow an electronic energy meter kit. With the high cost of electricity, the Thunder Bay Public Library and EcoSuperior Environmental Program are offering a valuable tool allowing consumers to monitor their electricity use and make smart energy choices. Kits are available at all four branches and include an electronic energy meter, instructional leaflet from EcoSuperior and an owner’s manual booklet.

Unconventional collections such as these can be expected from public libraries across the country these days. The North Bay Public Library loans out specialty cake pans (great for holidays, birthday parties, etc) and the Greater Victoria Public Library has a large collection of video games available for patrons to borrow. As with all collections at TBPL, the walking poles, pedometers, fishing gear, BBA kits, and energy meters can be looked up in our online catalog or by contacting your local branch for more information.

Jesse Roberts

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Sunday July 22, 2012 Summer Reading

To paraphrase, “for every book there is a season,” and summertime is the true season for the books which set the imagination soaring. Real-life stories like those of Judy Blume, historical fiction and Aesop’s moral tales are all fine things to read but sometimes a child just needs to imagine himself on a flying carpet or on an epic quest in a universe where dragons live and castles float. This summer, along with other public libraries across the country, the Library is running the TD Summer Reading Club which has the theme of “Imagine.” We have been having fun with the theme, decorating the Library and offering programs such as Imagine You’re a Caveman, or Singing at a Campfire or docking at the Imagination Station. The theme lends itself to so many possibilities and we are hoping to engage children of all ages in a variety of literacy activities which will take them on some grand adventures of make-believe.

Librarians are natural “book-pushers” and it is a true pleasure to share literature with the young who are so open to a variety of styles, genres and subjects. I have created some booklists for children who are reading this summer as part of the summer reading club and they are to be found on the kids’ pages of the Library website at These books are all in the theme of the imaginary, fantastical and dare I say….fantasmagorical.

When I think of the books which most stimulated my own imagination as a child, I think of titles such as Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. This Swedish import endures as a read-alone or read-at-bedtime-to-your-children classic. Pippi, the strongest girl in the world, fears nothing and no one, and leads her friends Annicka and Tommy on amazing adventures in the south seas and beyond. She has piles of gold from her pirate father which is perfect for financing her outlandish schemes. With a generous heart and two red braids which stick out on either side of her head, Pippi is a fiercely fun female. And she has a pet monkey too!

Another classic title is The Borrowers by Mary Norton which tells the story of a family of exquisitely tiny people who live in the walls of a normal house and travel back and forth through a mouse hole. The Borrowers are the reason why so many of us lose little things like stamps (they make good wall art), thimbles (sturdy cooking pots) and face cloths (what a splendid comforter for a teeny bed). We imagine that we have been careless or forgetful, but really, it is the Borrowers at work. I am sure that I have a family living at the Library where I work because things have the oddest habit of disappearing on me.

Other, more recent titles in the genre of fantastic fiction include such concepts as having the Midas touch of turning everything to chocolate (The Chocolate Touch), finding an odd device inside a meteor crater which transports one to a far-off planet where a doomsday cult is loose, (Zita the Space Girl), or adventuring in the Verulian mountains on the trail of Kaspar Snit, the world’s most evil, yet somehow lovable villain, who is stealing the fountains of Venice. Whether it is high adventure, quest tales, whimsical animal stories, far-out sci-fi or others in the genre simply known as fantastic fiction, there is something for every child. It is a genre which appeals to both boys and girls.

For ideas of books to try out… ask your librarian and I’ll see you on the other side of Alice’s looking glass.

Angela Meady

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sunday July 15th, 2012 Summer and eBooks: A Perfect Match

Good news for eBook lovers! Starting tomorrow, Monday July 16, you will be able to check out up to ten eBooks from OverDrive, and place up to ten holds at a time. Previously the limits were five checkouts and three holds.

eBooks are great any time, but are especially convenient when you are traveling. An eBook reader takes up less space than one book yet can hold hundreds of titles. I once helped a woman who was going on an extended sailing trip with her eBook reader. In the past on such trips she had to choose between packing clothes or books, due to the extreme limited space on a sail boat. She was thrilled to be able to carry a library in her pocket, and re-stock it at each port.

You can access your Library’s eBook collection from anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection. Depending on your eBook reader you may also need access to a computer to check out and download Library eBooks. Newer eBook readers, as well as tablets (like iPads) and smart phones, use the OverDrive Media Console App to access our OverDrive eBooks. Find this app in the App Store or Android Market. eBooks are returned automatically, so you never have to worry about overdue books or late charges.

Once Library eBooks are downloaded to your eBook reader or other device you do not need an internet connection to read them. So, if you’re spending the summer at camp with no internet, you can load up with eBooks when you pop in to town to do laundry and then read on the dock or in the hammock all week!

Visit your Library’s Web site: and click on “OverDrive” in the Quick Links for everything you need to know about Library eBooks.  On this page on our Web site there are Tip Sheets which you can print off to get you started with a number of devices including the Kobo, KoboVox, Sony, Sony PRS-T1, iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone and BlackBerry Playbook.

While most eBook readers and portable devices are compatible with the Library’s OverDrive eBooks, some are not. Notably the Kindle is not compatible with OverDrive eBooks. This is due to licensing issues. OverDrive maintains a list of compatible and incompatible devices in their online “Device Resource Centre”. If you’re in the market for a new eBook reader, it’s a good idea to check the list first, if you’re interested in borrowing Library eBooks.

The OverDrive FAQ page on our Web site provides answers to the most common questions we receive about eBooks. One of these questions is: “Why are all the books I want to read out!” OverDrive works on a “one book, one reader” model, so that’s why the eBooks are not always available. You will see a “place a hold” link if the book is currently out. Use the “Only show available titles” option to limit your browsing to books you can check out immediately. The “Advanced search” option is another useful way to limit your search to available items, as well as by format and subject. If a book is out, you can place it on hold. You’ll receive an email notice when it becomes available, and have three days to check it out.

If you have an eBook reader, iPad, smart phone, or any other newfangled device you need help with, you are in luck this summer! Thanks to Ontario’s Summer Experience Program your Library has hired a Personal Technology Assistant for July and August. Jeff will be at Waverley on Mondays, Mary J.L. Black  on Tuesdays, Brodie on Wednesdays, County Park Thursdays, and on Fridays will be at a different Library location each week. He’ll be happy to help you!   Contact Joanna Aegard at 684-6819 or for more information, or to make an appointment with Jeff for a specific time.

Joanna Aegard

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Sunday July 8, 2012 Time for BBQ!

The sun is shining and the temperatures are rising. It’s the perfect time to get outside and have a barbecue. Whether its dinner or dessert, meat or vegetables, indoor or outdoor, the Thunder Bay Public Library has a great selection of books for all your grilling needs. Here are a few examples that will definitely have you craving barbecue.

The Barbecue Collection by the Canadian Living Test Kitchen has a variety of delicious recipes for cooks of all skill levels. Each chapter focuses on a specific food to grill, such as burgers, roasts, vegetables, marinades, and side dishes. The hundreds of coloured photos are definitely an added bonus.

For the beginner griller, try Steven Raichlen’s book How to Grill. Raichlen provides step-by-step instructions, with photos, for learning to grill practically every type of meat, seafood and vegetable. With one hundred recipes to choose from, it will be hard not to barbecue every meal this summer. Also check out 25 Essentials: Techniques for Grilling by Ardie A. Davis and Remus Powers.

Smoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue by Jeff Philips is a step-by-step guide that will have you smoking your own food in no time. Start by learning the basics of smoking techniques and tools, then get creative and develop your own recipes for smoked food.

With over 200 recipes created to save you time, Weber’s Time to Grill: Get In. Get Out. Get Grilling by Jamie Purviance has it all. Weber’s Time to Grill not only provides step-by-step instructions, charts, and shortcuts, but also comes with free mobile tools you can access on your smartphone or Web-enabled mobile device. Now you can spend more time enjoying the outdoors.

If you just spent the day out on the lake and caught your dinner, try a recipe from Fish grilled and smoked: 150 recipes for cooking rich, flavorful fish on the backyard grill, streamside, or in a home smoker by John Manikowski. Recipes are also provided for side dishes, sauces, desserts and more.

Skip the meat tonight and try a recipe from the book Grilling from the Garden: vegetarian dishes for the outdoor cook by Diana Shaw. These delicious vegetarian recipes come with grilling instructions to help you create a very tasty meal.

Before it hits the grill, spice up your food with Elizabeth Karmel’s book Soaked, Slathered, and Seasoned: a complete guide to flavoring food for the grill. With 400 recipes for flavouring your food, you will have no choice but to barbecue every night just to try them all.

Pick up one of these books from your Thunder Bay Public Library, fire up the grill, and have a fantastic day in the sun.

Lindsey Long