Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday November 24th, 2013 Classics as Graphics

Most readers have them: classic titles that keep getting pushed to the end of the "to-read" list. Some may be epic poems from ancient Greece; others are essential foundations of the Western literary canon. Most have endured for multiple generations and are recognized as important reads for the well-read. So why are they withering on the reading list vine? Mark Twain’s famous quote “a classic is something that everybody wants to have read but nobody wants to read” is very apt - maybe it’s the intimidating length, the archaic language, or the dense layers of symbolism that make the work less than inviting. Or perhaps it’s as simple as there always being something else that seems more enjoyable to read.

Well, prepare to exorcise those to-read list demons: allow me to suggest graphic novel adaptations! Please don't dismiss these as mere hollow echoes of the original works. These adaptations are as varied as the books they are based on: sometimes the text is largely preserved, while others may be rearranged, modernized, and cut to work in the new format. The artwork may be realistic, manga-style, or cartoonish, but will always illuminate the story in new cinematic ways by adding context clues to the language and additional shading to the stories. You are still experiencing and reading the literature, even if it is in a different format.

If you are looking for authors from the canon, graphic novels from Graphic Classics are a great place to start. They specialize in adaptations of works from the classic literature canon and have the (slightly cheeky) tag line of “Classics you’ll want to read!” They have published graphic novel versions of texts by many of the great authors, including Jack London and Robert Louis Stephenson. One of their strongest titles is a collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s work. While the stories are somewhat abridged, the poetry is left untouched and gorgeously illustrated. Works by other horror or gothic writers are also available, including a collection of Bram Stoker’s work described by BookList as a “marvelous adaption.”

If you always meant to pick up The Odyssey, Gareth Hind’s graphic novel is a great option. He has adapted several well-known canonical works into stunning graphic novels and his Odyssey received four starred reviews upon its release. Kirkus called it "another magnificent addition to his ouevre," while the Wall Street Journal stated that it "does genuine justice to Homer's epic poem." His other works are similarly well-reviewed. Hind is recognized as a master of combining "historical adventure with human understanding" (BookList), so after The Odyssey consider reading his Beowulf or King Lear adaptations.

Inarguably important and influential, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species has long resided on my to-read list. Luckily, there is a graphic novel version – and Michael Keller’s Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species is not merely the book adapted to a new format. Instead, it also follows Darwin’s personal evolution of ideas and includes a timeline amongst other resources. Carefully illustrated by Nicolle Rager Fuller with scientifically accurate images of the various creatures, Science News describes the book as “a highly readable and copiously illustrated page-turner.”

Finally, Kafka’s Metamorphosis is a modern classic. The story of a man who wakes one morning to find himself turned into a beetle is an essential read for the philosophically inclined. Library Journal describes the graphic novel version by Peter Kuper as “faithful and compelling,” and both the horror and black humour of the original are fully present.

Consider clearing out your to-read list this fall with the help from some graphic novels available at the library. Maybe they will inspire you to read the original works of literature – or perhaps some original graphic novels instead.

Laura Prinselaa

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sunday November 17, 2013 Lakehead U "In Conversation" at Your Library

Lakehead University is holding lectures on a variety of topics here at the Thunder Bay Public Library. The second one, “The History of the Residential School Program,” will be held in the Mary J.L. Black Community Program Room on November 23 at 2pm. This lecture is presented by Dr. Robert Robson, an associate professor of Indigenous Learning and an adjunct professor of history at Lakehead University. Dr. Robson’s lecture will look at the residential school program from its beginnings to the closure of the schools and the issues that now exist in its wake. There will also be a poster presentation looking at research conducted by third-year university students. If you’re eager to learn about these schools prior to his lecture, why not stop by the library? We have many resources that shed light on this dark period of Canadian history.

Shi-shi-etko by Nicola I. Campbell is a great place to start. This picture book depicts the last four days at home for Shi-shi-etko before she leaves her family for a residential school. We also have the sequel, Shin-chi’s Canoe, which depicts Shi-shi-etko’s brother’s experience at the same school a year later. Both books were finalists for the Governor General’s Literary Awards for Children’s Literature.

For stories that are a little more in-depth, the library has Fatty Legs and A Stranger at Home, both by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton. In Fatty Legs, Margaret convinced her father to let her attend a residential school because she wanted to learn how to read. Unfortunately one of the nuns took a disliking to Margaret and humiliates her. A Stranger at Home is the sequel, telling of Margaret’s difficult homecoming two years later.

Theodore Fontaine tells his story in Broken Circle: the Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools; a Memoir. When he was seven, his parents were forced to leave him at a residential school. He emerged from the school angry and confused some twelve years later. His book examines the impact these schools had on his life, and what he needed to do to heal.

If you’re not interested in just one person’s story, we have several options. Both Residential Schools: the Stolen Years and Behind Closed Doors: Stories from the Kamloops Indian Residential School are filled with stories about abuses, anger, and attempts at healing. We’ve also got DVDs such as Long Journey Home: Residential School Revisited, Muffins for Granny, and Sleeping Children Awake. All three of these films interview former students to illuminate their experiences in the residential school program.

The library also has several books that look at the residential schools from a historical perspective, such as Indian Residential Schools in Ontario by Donald J. Auger, Victims of Benevolence: the Dark Legacy of the Williams Lake Residential School by Elizabeth Furniss, “A National Crime”: the Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986 by John Sheridan Milloy, and The Circle Game: Shadows and Substance in the Indian Residential School Experience in Canada by Roland David Chrisjohn and Sherri L. Young. Chrisjohn and Young’s book is particularly interesting because they set out to prove that the residential school program was similar to the Holocaust, if the Holocaust had become accepted by the larger public. They want The Circle Game to be the first word in a new, broader discussion that will help all Canadians free themselves from their past.

To learn more about this dark chapter of our history, why not take out a book or stop by Mary J.L.Black on November 23 for Dr. Robson’s “The History of the Residential School Program” lecture and poster presentation. It starts at 2pm in the Community Program Room.

Shauna Kosoris

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Sunday November 10th, 2013 Your Library Online

Did you know you can do that online?

Your Library's Web site, is the gateway to many services and collections which are available to you 24/7.  All you need is your Library card and an internet connection.  This column highlights some of the many amazing and convenient things you can do online.

Renew your Books

Log in to "My Library Card" to renew your books, place holds, rate titles, pay your fines, make lists and more!  Learn about the many things you can do online with your Library card by watching the videos on our Web site under "Browse" / "My Library Card".

Borrow an eBook

We have a growing collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks which can be accessed on mobile devices using an App called OverDrive Media Console, or on a computer by going to our Web site and clicking on "OverDrive" in the "Quick Links".  The OverDrive page on our Web site includes Tip Sheets which walk you through how to use OverDrive with a variety of eBook readers and mobile devices, like smart phones, iPads and tablets.

Learn a new language

PowerSpeak Languages is an online language-learning program which you access through our Web site.  Click on "Research" then log in to "My Giant Search" with your Library card number and PIN.  Choose "PowerSpeak Languages" from the list of databases. You can learn Spanish, French, German or Mandarin as well as English for Spanish speakers. PowerSpeak is fun and easy to use.

Listen to Music

Naxos Music Library may also be found in "My Giant Search", and is a collection of classical, jazz, world and popular music.  There is a Naxos Music Library app as well, so you can listen on the go on an Android or Apple device.  For more information about the App visit our Web site and click "Research", then "Apps and Mobility".

Fix your Car

Do you like to tinker with your engine?  There are two databases in "My Giant Search" which can help. Auto Repair Reference Centre includes information like wiring diagrams, technical bulletins and recall notices for specific vehicles.  It also has care and repair tips, troubleshooting advice and general information.    Chilton is a well known name in auto repair.  Chilton's online database includes repair, maintenance and recall information.

Register for a  program

To find out what's going on at Your Library, and even register for a program, check out our online calendar.  Click "Get Involved" on our Web site, then follow the link to the calendar. Click on the name of any program for more information, including online registration for some events.  You can ask the online calendar to email you when programs are coming up, using the "Notify me" link, or to remind you about a specific event using the "Remind me" link. 

Join us Online

Are you a fan of Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest?  So are we!  Your Library has a Facebook page, we are @TBayPL on Twitter and we love Pinterest as much as you do!  We also have a few blogs, use for sharing recommended Web sites, and HistoryPIN for historic photos.  To find links to Your Library on the Social Web click "Get Involved", then "Join us Online" on our Web site.

We want our online services and collections to be easy for you to use. Please help us reach this goal by taking two minutes to do an online survey. Follow the link on our Web site under "Get Involved" / "Online Survey". We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Joanna Aegard

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Sunday November 3rd, 2013 Building Your Business at Your Library

Thunder Bay recently wrapped up the 2013 BDC Small Business Week and it was a great success with events hosted by various organizations, including the public library. For every event that we attended or participated in there was an interesting variety of people who naturally saw the fit between the public library and business/economic development and those who expressed surprise at our presence. At the Chamber of Commerce After Business event, I had numerous conversations with people who expressed their love of the library. For every person who indicated having used our business resources/services, I had another chat with someone who had brought  their children in for story times and puppet shows in years past but hadn’t paid us a visit in some time due to their hectic schedules. In each of these conversations, we got to talking about how different public libraries are now (in comparison to ten or even two years ago) and each person went away with a new idea of what the Thunder Bay Public Library could offer them.

As always, we have books and lots of them. Everything from guides on business planning, accessing grant and other funding sources, record keeping, human resource management, leadership and more. Many of these books are available as ebooks too. Other key resources available at the TBPL include media and trade publications accessible through our online databases. Of particular interest to businesses will be CBCA Complete, CPI.Q, Gateway to Northwestern Ontario History, PCensus and InfoCanada.

PCensus provides demographic information and consumer spending for determining market potential, target marketing, site location and more. Targeted to local and regional businesses as well as students or census enthusiasts, this product is available for in-house use at the Brodie and Waverley Resource Libraries. InfoCanada allows you to search businesses across the country by city, postal code, keyword, business size, SIC or NAICS code, and more. Use this powerful tool in your business plan, grant or loan applications, and future business development. InfoCanada is currently available for in-house use at any TBPL branch (remote access will be available in the near future). To access InfoCanada, CBCA Complete, CPI.Q, or the Gateway to Northwestern Ontario History, log in to My Giant Search and click on your selection from the list of databases.

For more information about the variety of business resources, services, information and programs provided by TBPL, check out the Business and Market Research pages of our website (

Jesse Roberts