Sunday, 23 February 2014

Sunday February 23, 2014 Celebrate Family

Last Monday was Family Day. Nearly two-thirds of Canadians reside in a province that observes the third Monday of February, (actually the second Monday in British Columbia), as Family Day. Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan call it Family Day, while Manitoba calls it Louis Riel Day and PEI, Islander Day. A rose by any other name....    

The whole purpose of Family Day is to celebrate the importance of family. Although the actual day has past for this year, it is important to recognize the importance of family every day of the year. Thunder Bay Public Library has just the books and ideas to share this with you.

Kids' Holiday Fun:  Great Family Activities Every Month of the Year by Penny Warner; illustrated by Kathy Rogers is a year-round guide for all months leading up to and following Family Day, providing fresh ideas, month by month for holiday activities the whole family can enjoy together.

The Joy of Family Traditions: A Season-By-Season Companion of 400 Celebrations and Activities by Jennifer Trainer Thompson offers hundreds of ideas and creative approaches to cultivating family traditions that strengthen a family's values and style.   

Do-it-Yourself Family:  Fun and Useful Home Projects the Whole Family Can Make Together, written and illustrated by Eric Stromer, is an ingenious way of showing that do-it-yourself projects are yet another way to bring your family together.

The Good Food Book for Families: With Over 150 Recipes to Please Kids of all Ages, Inspired by the New Canada's Food Guide by Brenda Bradshaw (an elementary school teacher), and Dr. Cheryl Mutch (a respected pediatrician), uncovers over one hundred simple recipes for delicious and healthy family meals and snacks. 

Like many people, you may consider your dog(s) an important part of your family. 101 Dog Tricks: Step-by-Step Activities to Engage, Challenge and Bond with Your Dog by Kyra Sundance and Chalcy (her Weimaraner); photography by Nick Saglimbeni, is a book of trick training that shows you a great way to keep your pup an integral part of the family.
Want to trace where your wonderful family came from? Then take a look at Your Family Tree Online: How to Trace Your Ancestry from your own computer by Graeme Davis. This practical guide will help you create your family tree by showing you how to use online records to trace your family genealogy. Need a little help? Why not sign up for an Ancestry Library Edition class, where you will be introduced to the Library’s online genealogy resource.  The next class is March 10th.  You can register by calling 684-6815 or going online at Involved /Online Calendar.

Enjoy keeping Family Day alive all year long. As Albert Einstein, Nobel Prize winner and influential physicist of the 20th century once said, “Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!”

Caron E. Naysmith

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Sunday February 16th 2014 Hayao Miyazaki

This Friday’s release of the Academy Award Nominated film, The Wind Rises, or known in Japanese as 風立ちぬ Kaze Tachinui, marks the retirement of the renowned director and animator Hayao Miyazaki (potentially). With this stated as his last full-length feature film, I want to look back at some of his greatest works he directed, wrote or produced. His films, when dubbed in English, are the highest quality animation that never fails to impress and often feature A-list stars as the characters. Personally I recommend watching them in their original language with subtitles but the English dub versions are great as well.

To start off the list is his very first popular film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. The movie is about the titular character’s struggle with Tolmekia, a neighbouring kingdom that is trying to eliminate a herd of mutant insects. It is up to Nausicaa to stop the army and protect the Valley of the Wind. The story is also available as a graphic novel.

Although not as prominent as some of his works, Hayao Miyazaki continued to release some amazing films over the years including Castle in the Sky, Porco Rosso, My Neighbour Totoro and Princess Mononoke. All of these titles are available at the library as graphic novels or films.

His next big hit was 2002’s Academy Award Winning film Spirited Away. The film is both breath-taking and beautiful. It follows ten year old Chihiro who accidentally enters a magical world that changes her parents into pigs. In the end Chihiro has to find a way to save her parents before becoming trapped in the world herself. This is one of those films you definitely should see.

One of my favourite films is the 2005 Academy Award nominee Howl’s Moving Castle. This film is based on Diana Wynne Jones’ novel. Follow Sophie as she struggles to discover who she is while being transformed into an old woman by the Witch of the Waste and falling in love with the wizard Howl. Stunning animation, a great story and an even better main character keeps me watching this film over and over.

Finally his last directed film is Ponyo: On the Cliff By the Sea. This is the story of a goldfish named Ponyo who befriends a little boy, Sōsuke, and wants to become a human so she can be with him. The plot is similar to The Little Mermaid but with five-year old children. It has to be one of the cutest films I have ever seen. For this movie I would stick to the original Japanese language version.

Not only is Hayao Miyazaki a great director, he is also a fantastic writer. Films he has been credited as writer include: Whisper of the Heart, a story about Shizuku who leads an ordinary life and ends up falling in love with a boy named Seiji. Arrietty which is based on Mary Norton’s book The Borrowers, and finally the latest film From Up on Poppy Hill which I recently saw and thought was fantastic. From Up on Poppy Hill is set in 1963 and tells the story of Umi Matsuzaki, a high school girl. She meets Shun Kazama and together they revitalize their school’s clubhouse and work together to prevent it from being destroyed.

Hayao Miyazaki’s films have a variety of themes, from the fantastical to the mundane lives of ordinary people. Each story will draw you in and you’ll find something you can enjoy. Described as some of the greatest pieces of animation ever created, with fantastic stories, characters, settings and breathtaking visuals, these films are something you really shouldn’t miss.

Eric Stein

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sunday February 9th, 2014 First Nations Public Library Week

First Nations Public Library week (FNPLW) runs February 10-15. This year's theme for the week is Celebrating Mother Earth.  It is a week in which public libraries throughout Ontario celebrate the important role that libraries play in First Nation communities. As stated on the FNPLW website: "This year's celebration theme focuses on promoting the role of First Nation public libraries in the celebration of Mother Earth. First Nations are inherently tied to the land through their tradition, culture and language, all of which are rooted in the gifts of Mother Earth. As a natural provider and a primary educator, Mother Earth teaches everyone the importance of celebration, protection, nurturing and revival. First Nation public libraries play a key role in the support and advocacy of each of these elements by opening the doors to information, traditional learning, cultural knowledge, sharing and storytelling."  

 Thunder Bay Public Library is proud to be a supporter of FNPLW. We support the work of First Nation public libraries through our programs and collections, as well as displays and welcoming decor. The lower level of the Waverley library has an area dedicated to promoting First Nations history, culture and other areas of interest. TBPL has a large collection of aboriginal music, language learning resources and books of historical and cultural interest. Our fiction collection houses an expansive array of First Nation authors including Joseph Boyden, Louise Erdrich, Drew Hayden Taylor, Tomson Highway and others.

 In 2012, the library was pleased to host Richard Wagamese as part of CBC Canada Reads as his novel Indian Horse was one of the titles chosen to contend for the honour of being "the one book all Canada should read".  While it did not receive that honour, being voted off on the third day of the battle in a tense tie-breaker, Indian Horse did get selected to be this year's First Nation Community Reads title. It was chosen from a list of 35 titles by Aboriginal authors and will now be the title that is read in First Nation and other Ontario communities over the next few months as they "encourage family literacy, intergenerational storytelling, and the publication, sharing, and understanding of Aboriginal voices and experiences."Richard Wagamese titles are in the TBPL collection - some in both hardcopy and e-book versions. If you belong to a book club, we even have Indian Horse in our "Book Club in a Bag" collection.  If you would rather be read to, an oral tradition that is very much a part of First Nations culture, then plan to take part in some children's Aboriginal Storytelling the week.  Aboriginal Storytime with Serena Essex happens February 15 at the Waverley Library at 2:30 pm.

Recognize First Nation Public Library Week and Celebrate Mother Earth this week.  Check out resources at your public library by visiting us virtually at or in person at any of our four branches. 
Barbara Philp

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Sunday February 2nd, 2013 For the Love of Language

Do you “Sprechen Sie deutsch?” or “Parlez-vous francais?” Would you like to? Every day at the library, patrons come in to inquire about our language resources and I’m glad to say that we have a lot to offer.  The reasons for learning a new language are varied; as is the amount of that language the student may wish to master, from a few “traveller’s” phrases to full fluency.  Perhaps you are heading south to warm and sunny climates and want to impress the wait staff by being able to order correctly off the menu. For parents with children in French immersion the ability to practice with the kids or help with homework, is a huge motivation.   If you are looking for a new position, the ability to speak another language puts you ahead of the competition. While for many of us the chance to learn another language is a major item on our bucket list.

The library offers an excellent selection of books, with resources in most of the major languages. If you want to translate that letter from your Grandmother or you are a student looking to interpret a work for a school report, our collection of dictionaries and grammar books may be just what you need.  Just need a few words for that dream trip? We also carry a wide range of phrase books.  Some of the best are by Berlitz or DK publishing, either of which should take you around the globe with a minimum of hassle.

For those who wish to learn in an audio format, we carry Cd language learning packs, playaways and downloadable audio books for your computer or tablet.  When you are out for a walk with the dog, at the gym, running errands in the car or at home doing work around the house, you have the perfect opportunity to multi-task and put in a little language practice. The “On the Go” series, produced by Barron’s or the “Teach Yourself” series are particularly well done.

Hooked on French was created to help a child learn the basics of the French language in a fresh and fun way, but it would also be a great resource for families to learn together, with the use of storybooks, workbooks, flashcards and computer learning discs.

If you really wish to master a language, the library offers the Rosetta Stone language packages in French, Italian, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.  These are complete learning resources on CD-ROM with accompanying workbooks, charts and user’s guides. The kits are designed to fully immerse a learner in the language and are considered among the best programs available.

Powerspeak is a multimedia language system offered online by the library. Just log in to My Giant Search with your library card and pin and you can begin learning. If you create your own account with Powerspeak, it will track your progress and give you the extra help, if necessary.  Learning this way is easy and enjoyable, and since it’s online it has anytime availability.  TBPL offers Powerspeak in Spanish, French, German, Mandarin and English as a second language for Spanish speakers. 

So once you have learned a few words, how do you continue practicing and improving your skills? The library offers books in a variety of languages, so if you want to read Stephen King in Italian or 50 Shades of Grey in Finnish, we are the place for you.  Our children’s department offers materials in other languages so children can begin their love of language easily and early.

Our folk music or Foreign Film collections will give you a taste of another culture and keeps the sights and sounds fresh.  The music collections produced by Putamaya cover the globe, so even if your only trip is in your imagination, it’s a great way to start.

Lori Kauzlarick