Sunday, 28 September 2014

Sunday September 28th, 2014 Social Reading

A recent trend circulating around Facebook asked people to list ten books that have had a significant impact in their lives and then tag ten friends to do the same. While I don’t often take part in this type of social media activity, this one naturally piqued my interest as a librarian and book lover. At first I assumed the task of listing just ten books would be impossible but upon trying it I found it was extremely simple. The most (or best) books of all my years of reading bubbled right up to the surface. This was likely the case for many of you who took part in this same exercise.

Facebook, not unexpectedly, observed this trend and decided to take advantage of the reams of data to which it has access. It compiled a list based on the approximate 130,000 status updates about “10 books” or “ten books” and released the top 100 books on September 8, 2014. The first and most striking point to notice (in my opinion) is the wide variety of books listed there; everything from children’s and picture books to religious texts, “classic” literature, and modern bestsellers. The second thing to notice is that for the most part the top 100 books are fiction, with only a smattering of non-fiction material. From a search of the top 20 and a quick scan through the rest of the top 100 confirm the best part of all, most (if not all) of the top 100 books in the Facebook study are available at your public library!

We also really love to talk about books and share new finds and old favourites. The next time you find yourself looking for something to read, try browsing our shelves, chatting with staff, or checking out the Library Detective and Off the Shelf blogs for inspiration. Many of my favourite books have come as recommendations from colleagues here at TBPL.

In case you missed a chance to see the entire list, here is a recap of the top ten:

1.    Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (1997-2007)
2.    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)
3.    The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954)
4.    The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937)
5.    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
6.    The Holy Bible
7.    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1979)
8.    The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (2008-2010)
9.    The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1951)
10.  The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis (1950-1956)

The process of listing your top ten books, favourite books, or another list based on some sort of reading criteria can and likely will change over time. Might be worth thinking back to what your answers would have been ten or twenty years ago and thinking ahead to how your preferences and influences might change in future years.  Another point that comes to mind in the form of a question - how does the Facebook list of top books connect to results of recent studies that reveal readers (and particularly readers of fiction) to be, on average, more empathetic individuals? Perhaps there is no connection but I would be very interested to see some corresponding research or debate on the topic.

Jesse Roberts

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Sunday September 21st 2014 CyberSeniors Part Two

You have probably heard of the generation gap, which brings to light differences between young people and older people, but what about the technology gap?  Teenagers today are "digital natives" as most grew up with a computer in their home, and know exactly what to do with the latest smart phone or tablet.  Older people, and at 47 I include myself in this description, had to learn about computers, cell phones and tablets -- after we learned about answering machines, microwaves and VCRs!  There is a movement afoot which aims to bridge both the generation gap and the technology gap, and it's called CyberSeniors.  It started with a film, and it's coming to Thunder Bay.

The CyberSeniors film is a humorous and heartwarming documentary, which chronicles the extraordinary journey of a group of colourful senior citizens, as they discover the world of the internet, through the guidance of teenage mentors. Their exploration of cyber-space is catapulted to another level when 89 year-old Shura decides to create a YouTube cooking video. A spirited video competition for the most "views" evolves as the cyber-seniors' hidden talents and competitive spirits are revealed.  CyberSeniors provides insights into the wonderful things that can happen when generational gaps are bridges, providing you are never too young to get 'connected'.

The CyberSeniors program was started by two teenage sisters. They came up with the idea after witnessing how cyber-communication had transformed their grandparents' lives and brought them closer to their grandchildren. When one of the sisters is diagnosed with cancer at the same time as her grandfather, we witness how the internet becomes a lifeline for the family to stay connected and support one another.

The film offers a heartwarming, candid, and at times humorous look at the victories and challenges seniors face as they dive into the digital world.  CyberSeniors is an inspiring example of the wonderful things that can happen when generation gaps are bridged, and new ways of connecting are explored. (source:

AgeFriendly Thunder Bay is bringing this film to our City on Saturday September 27th at 2 p.m. at Lakehead University's Bora Laskin Theatre. Free tickets may be picked up from any Library location. After the screening seniors and teens will have the opportunity to sign up for CyberSeniors programs here in Thunder Bay. The Library, 55 Plus Centre and several seniors' residences are planning events where seniors and teens can get together and explore the internet.

At the Library we'll kick off our CyberSeniors program on Saturday October 4th, at 10:30 a.m. at both the Waverley Resource and Mary J.L. Black Branch Libraries. Teens and seniors can register now by contacting Margaret at or 345-8275 ext. 7251. Seniors can bring their own device (tablet, smart phone, laptop for example), or use Library computers. Teens can earn highschool volunteer hours for participating in this program.

For information about CyberSeniors programs in the community, visit the Library Web site at and click on "Get Involved" then "CyberSeniors".

Joanna Aegard

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Sunday September 14th, 2014 CyberSeniors Part One

Are you a Senior who feels overwhelmed by all the internet stuff, all the technology? Do you feel you are headed up Cyber Creek without a paddle?  Have no idea what Twitter is, or Pintrest, or SnapChat?  Want to Facetime with grandchildren who live "away", but you don't know how?  Are you a teen or "younger person" looking for engaging volunteer opportunities so you can graduate or fill out your resume for your entry to the work world?  Do you enjoy talking to those of "older generation"?

If any of these questions resonate with you, then you will want to attend this event.  The Thunder Bay Public Library is proud to join with other community partners for an Age-Friendly Thunder Bay presentation of Cyber-Seniors.  This is a Canadian documentary film. "It is a humorous and heartwarming documentary featuring the extraordinary journey of a group of senior citizens as they discover the world of the Internet through the guidance of teenage mentors."  The film has been making waves on the film festival circuit in both the United States and Canada.  Huffington Post listed it as a "must-see movie", NBC News reviewed it as "Charming, Hilarious and Poignant".  If you are already comfortable "surfing the 'net", please see for more information and its positive reception at numerous North American film festivals.  You will also learn more about the film in next week's library detective column.

Join us on Saturday September 27 at 2:00 pm at the Bora Laskin Theatre . Free tickets are now available from any library location.

The Age-Friendly Thunder Bay Committee is proud to be leading this initiative along with community partners, Chartwell Thunder Bay Retirement Residence, Hilldale/Isabella Retirement Living, 55+ Centre (City of Thunder Bay), Thunder Bay Public Library, Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health (Lakehead University) in addition to Lakehead Public Schools and Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board. The Cyber-Senior movement, kick-started by this film, has the goal of engaging youth mentors to enable at least a million senior citizens to expand their social and physical worlds by making new connections via the Internet .  After the screening, you will have the opportunity to sign up and learn about Cyber Buddy programs rolling out in the community.  This is where you get into your Cyber Creek canoe and learn from the "youth pros" on how to paddle it!  Here are some book titles to help get you started now on Cyber Creek:

iPad for Seniors by Marty Matthews.

Internet and e-mail for Seniors with Windows 8: for senior citizens who want to start using the 
Internet edited by Mara Kok and Rilana Groot.   

Otherwise, plan to attend!!  Come and spend the afternoon watching a great film, connecting with engaged youth and join the Cyber-Senior movement!  You could even win a prize!

Barb Philp

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Sunday September 7th, 2014 Moving Out and Away

Moving households can happen any time of the year. I, myself am in the process of a very large move and it has been both stressful and exciting. However, here at the library there is a great collection of books to help get prepared. Whether you’re looking at travelling locally or abroad, the library can help you get ready for your move, wherever it may take you.

Late August and early September is a huge move time for young adults starting college or university. It is often a stressful period of adjustment, not having parents to cook, clean and watch over you. The freedom, however, is great. Cindy Babyn’s Moving Out! A Young Adult’s Guide to Living On Your Own is a resourceful book for all of you living on your own for the first time. It includes tips on how to take care of yourself, how to cook, and even what you will need in your new location. This is a great read to help ease the transition from your family’s home to your own.

A handbook that has been useful to me has been Rona Hart’s Preparing For Your Move Abroad: Relocating, Settling In, and Managing Culture Shock. Moving abroad can be stressful and a lot more work than moving within your own country. There are so many things you need to prepare for in order to be ready for such a large and tedious move. This book provides tips on how to make your international move as easy as possible and helps you with adapting to a new culture once you are there. Another helpful book on international moves is Living & Working in Australia: A Survival Handbook by David Hampshire. Australia and New Zealand are popular destinations for students and travelers alike. This book can help you if you are considering moving there or just planning to work or visit in the land down under.

Maybe you only need advice on how to begin the moving process. If this is the case, The Complete Idiot's Guide To Smart Moving by Dan Ramsey may be a good place to start. This book is full of useful tips and tricks on how to get your move organized and planned without breaking a sweat. Anything you could possibly ask will be found in this book. Or perhaps you need to move into a smaller space. If so, Downsizing Your Home With Style: Living Well In A Smaller Space by Lauri Ward can help you. It will show you how to pack your stuff, get rid of all the clutter, and make your smaller living area a beautiful place to live. Maybe you have already moved and need help adjusting to the change. Then Will This Place Ever Feel Like Home?: Simple Advice For Settling In After Your Move by Leslie Levine is the book for you. It will help you settle into your new place, adjust to the neighbourhood and provides tips on how to help your family and pets settle down and make your new house feel like a home.

If you’re thinking about moving or in the process of moving come check out these books at your Library. It may just take some stress off of your shoulders. When all is said and done, hopefully your move will be as easy as possible.

Eric Stein