Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sunday February 22, 2015 Great Cross-over Authors

We often talk about cross-over fiction (books written for adults but read by youth and vice versa), but sometimes neglect our cross-over authors.  Personally, I have authors I started reading as a young person and followed into adult writing (any other Roald Dahl fans?), but also there are authors whose teen writing led to adult works.  In media we hear about adult authors writing for teens with some derision, but isn’t a story just a story?  If an author has a good tale to tell that better fits a youth or even juvenile audience why should they be limited by the label “adult author”?  And, of course, the same could be said going in the other direction. 

One of my favourite authors who truly writes for all ages is Neil Gaiman.  At the library, you will find his writing for adults, children, and teens and in a variety of formats from picture books to novels to graphic novels to non-fiction and even as a screenwriter (see Doctor Who).  I think Gaiman is often not listed as a crossover author because there was no radical shift, he has long written for all ages and I certainly hope he continues to.  New to Gaiman?  Check out The Graveyard Book, Stardust, American Gods, and The Sandman (a series of graphic novels).
Kelley Armstrong is a relatively new author for me personally.  I was familiar with her young adult books, but unaware that she started as an adult author and subsequently wrote two young adult trilogies.  I particularly enjoy that her books for the two different audiences are interconnected.  After reading her YA trilogies I’ve been delighted to encounter more threads linking them with the adult novels.  The two youth trilogies also have a nice connection.  If reading her YA novels start with The Summoning and in adult fiction you’ll want to reach for Bitten.
I’m not certain that I can really classify Gabrielle Zevin as a crossover author since her first YA novel and first adult novel came out in the same year.  However, her YA debut garnered a lot of attention and personally it was only with the release of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry that I became aware that she wrote adult novels as well.  Elsehwhere is a great entry to her writing and one of my early favourite YA novels.  Her hopeful imagining of life after death remains a comfort for me when I think of those we have lost.
 While there are many other authors who write across the great age divide, I’ll share only one more.  I’m sure it’s no great surprise that my final selection is Roald Dahl.  He is the first author who I read across multiple age ranges and I was thoroughly shocked to find that he was an adult writer.  My first experiences of his writing were along the lines of The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you can imagine my shock when in sixth grade I encountered Switch Bitch.  I’m still not sure whether my mother knows that I read it at age eleven and was drawn in by the naughty (in my mind) title.   His fiction and non-fiction served me well through my childhood and teens, by my twenties I had read all of his children’s books and a good sampling of his adult works.  He remains my standard for writers who write for all ages and I hope you enjoy the works of these authors as much as I do.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Sunday February 15th, 2015 The Friends of the Library

The Friends of the Library are community members who share a love for libraries and a belief that supporting libraries is an essential way to strengthen our community. But they do a lot more than just support libraries philosophically. They are a hard-working group of volunteers who do a tremendous job promoting and fund-raising to help the Library achieve its goals and continue innovating and enriching lives. For instance, they are the silent partners for children’s literacy when they have funded the reading assistance program Readers are Leaders or given us money to replace worn books in our EZ READ collection. They are the dedicated volunteers who deliver books and audio-books to those who are home-bound. They were key partners in getting the original County Park library opened and the Mary J.L. Black Library rebuilt. In this past three years alone, they have contributed $50,000 towards the renovation of the County Park Library. We would not have many of the special collections, events or services without their ongoing support and so I want to take the time in this article to share that with readers and to thank them publically.

Tina Tucker, Director of Communities, has always worked closely with the Friends and she relates, “The Friends of the Library are simply incredible! Led by a small, dedicated executive, this mighty group of volunteers helps to raise a considerable amount of money every year. We are so grateful to them and I feel very fortunate to work with them.”

How do they do it? It is hard to believe, but it is through their activities such as charity bingos and their used bookstore and special sales. Nickels and dimes will add up but imagine how hard these people have to work to raise that level of funding!

If you have never visited their Bookstore in Victoriaville Mall before, you may not realize what treasures can be found there. Nadine Ellement, the Friends bookstore manager says that new (used) material arrives almost every day. Some are books no longer needed at the library and many are donations from the public. “Some people come in every day to check out the shelves”, she says. “There is something for everyone, whether it is history, children’s books, romances, lifestyle or cookbooks.” Volunteers process the donations, price them and arrange them for browsing by genres or subjects. A few times a year the Friends have a giant book sale and one is coming up soon. There will be bargains a-plenty with all in-store materials half price and other titles available for a Buck-a- Bag. That will be happening at the bookstore on Friday February 27 from 11am to 4pm and Saturday February 28 from 10am to 2pm.

The Friends welcome donations of gently used books and also individuals who are interested in joining them in their good work. We thank them for doing so very much to support the library and encourage you to help them to continue to make such a positive difference in our community. We love our Friends.

Angela Meady

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sunday February 8th, 2015 Branching Out with the OGS & TBPL

Looking for a fun activity for the whole family this Family Day weekend? Drop-in to the Brodie Resource Library on Saturday, February 14, 2015 (10am-12pm) to get started on your family tree during the Branching Out: Make Your Own Family Tree program. Members of the Ontario Genealogical Society will be on hand to help answer your questions and assist in using local history materials. No registration is required and all ages are welcome.

This program is an example of the longstanding partnership between the Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL) and the Thunder Bay branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS). The OGS maintains a crucial role in the preservation and discovery of local history and genealogical roots in Northwestern Ontario. Members of the OGS regularly work with organizations and groups like TBPL, the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, the City of Thunder Bay Archives & Records, Lakehead University, the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, the City of Thunder Bay Heritage Advisory Committee, the Northwestern Ontario Aviation Heritage Centre, local legions, and professional researchers. This work might seem individualistic (it is genealogy after all), however it all ties together in a broader network that has grown over the years to make Thunder Bay one of the richest repositories of local history and genealogical material in Northwestern Ontario.

The OGS library in Thunder Bay is housed at the Brodie Resource Library and is comprised of a variety of different types of research material. The collection is open for public use and includes location histories, guides, birth/marriage/death indexes across Northwestern Ontario, family trees, census records, and more. Further, the monthly meeting of the local OGS occurs the second Wednesday of the month (September – June) at the Brodie Resource Library.

The first Genetic Genealogy workshop being offered by a member of the OGS was held on January 29, 2015 with another session planned for March 26 at the Mary J. L. Black Branch Library. This free workshop is for anyone interested in learning more about how their DNA can help in tracing their genealogical roots. Instructor Clare Cook will introduce participants to the topic of genetic genealogy for the purpose of family history research.  More information is available online at History & Genealogy.

Following this, the OGS will be participating in the second annual Genealogy Fair hosted by the Thunder Bay Public Library in partnership with local researcher, Dave Nicholson. Stay tuned to the TBPL website for more information closer to the date (sometime in October).

Jesse Roberts

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Sunday February 1st, 2015 February Happenings

Groundhog Day being tomorrow, the second day of February, some will lightheartedly be wondering if the little guy will venture out to seek his shadow. According to folklore, if he sees his shadow he will go back down into his burrow for six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t then spring is on the way.

Whether we can expect a little more winter or spring is imminent, there is never a more perfect time than now to take advantage of the many programs that TBPL is offering this month.

Northwestern Ontario Writers’ Nights at the Library include readings in the Brodie Fireside Room on Tuesday February 3 at 7 pm and a Writer’s Workshop on February 17 at 7 pm in the Waverley Auditorium. This particular one is called Writing Fantasy Fiction. For more information go to

The National Film Board Film Club is showing Danny on Tuesday February 24, 7 pm, at Mary J.L. Black. This is a beautifully shot and scored National Film about Danny Williams, charismatic Premier of Newfoundland from 2003 to 2010. 

Need some iHelp with your iPad, iPod Touch, smart phone, tablet or ebook reader? Want to learn about accessing cool Library stuff (read eBooks, watch movies and listen to music) on your device? On Wednesday February 4 from 5-8 pm in the Waverley Auditorium, staff will be available to assist you with your device. Book a personalized one-on-one session by calling 345-8275, ext 7251.

Why not take a look at the “Browse” section on our Web site for what to read next. There are New and Hot lists, our TBPL Off the Shelf Blog, and links to helpful sites. Sites such as Novelist (author read-a-likes), New and Upcoming (monthly list of fiction titles at TBPL), Books in a Series (searchable database for series listings), The Romance Reader, Locus Magazine Online, Overbooked (a resource for ravenous readers), BookBrowse (a guide to exceptional books), Maclean’s Magazine Bestseller and New York Times Bestseller lists. It’s all there.

Gather with other book lovers to discuss great books on Tuesday February 17 at 7 pm, Mary J L Black Library. It's free to join and the books are provided, as are coffee, tea and snacks. If you are interested in joining, just call 345-8275 ext.7300 and ask for Helen or email The Waverley branch also has a book club. Join in on Wednesdays in the Waverley Auditorium. The next one is Wednesday February 18 at 7 pm. Call 345-8275 and ask for Vania, or email

No matter what the season there is much to keep you occupied at TBPL. Word on the street is Groundhog may even stay out of his burrow, shadow or no, to check in on some upcoming TBPL events. For anything coming up in February and subsequently, go to view all library events at

Caron Naysmith