Sunday, 29 March 2015

Sunday March 29, 2015 Making Libraries More Accessible

As our population ages, one of the most important parts of the Thunder Bay Public Library will be to provide service to those who cannot visit or use the library in the traditional sense. Our current long term program Home Service is designed to deliver books or audio-materials to seniors, as well as those with mobility issues or long-term illness. Home Service is provided through the Brodie and Waverley branches, which select and deliver materials. Volunteers or family members bring items to patrons in either their own homes or care facilities. Materials covered under Home Service include regular books, large print books, magazines and audio-book materials in CD, playaway or Mp3 formats. We also deliver musical CDs. Unfortunately, DVD movies are not included due to the short loan period of these items.

Our virtual resource database Overdrive can be used to download content on to a regular computer or portable device, and provide access to a multitude of eBooks and e-audiobooks . Hoopla is a relatively new addition to our selection of online services and includes movies, television series, music and audio-books. Home Service is limited to those who require special help but Overdrive and Hoopla are available to all our patrons.

Recently, Thunder Bay Public Library is proud to have become a member library of CELA, the Centre for Equitable Library Access which offers a free online service for print disabled Canadians. Whether it is vision loss, a physical disability or a serious reading disability, CELA can provide access to over 300,000 titles. Accessible formats can be downloaded directly or mailed to the participant. As an access point, we are able to register patrons who qualify with registration services and can provide information for those with questions about CELA. Content from CELA includes books, movies, periodicals and children’s literature. Clients may choose the format that is right for them, including Braille, audio, described videos and e-text. CELA’s collection of accessible eBooks can be read with computers, tablets, smartphones or using Braille displays.

CELA itself has entered into a partnership with US-based Bookshare. By registering for CELA membership, clients have access free of charge to Bookshare, which in the US charges members for access to the hundreds of thousands to titles that they have available. Print-disabled patrons of member Canadian public libraries who register can enjoy unlimited downloads of Bookshare titles with no expiration dates, and also have access to free reading technologies and apps. Both CELA and Bookshare encourage clients of all ages by providing a wide range of materials at many different reading levels.

Further information can be found on the website or for specific information about Home Service, CELA or Bookshare please contact Andrew in the Northward at 807-345-8275, ext. 6821 or for service in the Southward, call Lori at 807-345-8275, ext. 7259. To use Overdrive or Hoopla, there are excellent instructions on our website, and personal sessions for those that may require more assistance.

For general information or to browse the selections, check out

Lori Kauzlarick

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Sunday March 22, 2015 eBooks

 eBooks, or "electronic books" are, according to Oxford Dictionary:  "an electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose."  When eBooks first became popular there was a lot of debate about whether they would replace traditional or "paper" books, and which was superior.  I think both formats have their advantages, and personally I read both.  Most adults, at this point in history, grew up without eBooks and therefore many have emotional connections and special memories around physical books.  It will be interesting to see if "digital natives", those who were born in the digital age, will have a different view of physical books. 

I met a woman who was going on a sailing holiday, and as you can imagine was not allowed much luggage.  She was thrilled to learn she could bring an eBook reader loaded with books, rather than sacrifice luggage space for bulky books.  Being able to pack light is one great advantage of eBooks!

eBooks were introduced at the Thunder Bay Public Library in 2009.  That is when we launched OverDrive, a eBook lending platform.  You can log in to OverDrive and check out eBooks and also eAudiobooks, music and movies.   Go to for more information.  There is an OverDrive app for use on smart phones, tablets and tablet-like eReaders,  and OverDrive may also be used on a personal computer  with some free software installed.  A personal computer with the free software is also required to transfer an eBook to some eBook readers.  Typically about 5,000 items are signed out by Library users from OverDrive each month, and over half are signed out using the app.

OverDrive works on the one -copy one-user model, so, like physical books, only one person can borrow an OverDrive eBook at a time.  We are able to purchase more than one copy of an eBook, and also you may place holds on eBooks you would like to read but are currently signed out by someone else.

Most of the eBooks in OverDrive are from a collection we share with a group of other public libraries in Ontario.  Additionally, we are able to purchase eBooks for use by our patrons only.  If you login to OverDrive before you search, you'll be able to see all items available to you.  We welcome your suggestions for eBooks -- you can ask staff for a form if you're at the Library , or submit your suggestion online at

hoopla was introduced at TBPL last fall, and is another e-lending platform.  hoopla includes music, movies, TV shows and eAudiobooks.  hoopla uses a different model from OverDrive which allows unlimited simultaneous use, so there is no need for holds, and items are always available.

One handy feature of eBooks, movies and music is that these items return themselves electronically.  There is no need to remember due dates, and there are no overdue fines.

The eBook market is still quite young, and the publishing industry and libraries are working  on evolving standards for formats, access and licensing.  Often the reason you may not find your favourite author in OverDrive is because their publisher has decided not to allow their books to be licensed by libraries. 

The wide variety of eBook readers and other devices on which folks are reading now has been an interesting challenge for Library staff.  We have developed Tip Sheets for popular devices, and have one staff member trained as our go-to eBook helper.  You can contact Margaret at 345-8275 x7251 or if you would like to make an appointment for hands-on eBook help.

Joanna Aegard 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Sunday March 15, 2015 March Break at Your Library

If you’re looking for something fun to do this week during March Break, you should check out all the free programs the Thunder Bay Public Library has planned. We’ve got special programs happening at Brodie, Mary J. L. Black, and Waverley all through March Break, so no matter where you live, there should be something close to you!

As a note for parents and guardians, some programs will require tickets or that you preregister your child. Events that require tickets have limited seating so everyone who wants to attend will need one to preserve their spot (this includes adults!) Tickets are available at the branch two weeks prior to the program. Registration can be done by phone, in person, or online. To register online, look for the calendar at the bottom of our homepage (, then click on the date and event to register. Like with our tickets, registration opens two weeks before the program.

On Monday at 10:30am, the all ages story and craft program Bring in Spring is happening at Mary Black. This program will feature some cute spring stories. Plus you get to make a bird nest craft! In the afternoon, we’ve got the Where the Wild Things Are puppet show at Brodie. This is an all ages show at 2:30pm that will require tickets. Waverley’s also offering a Percy Jackson program for ages 7+ at 2:30pm. During this program, which requires preregistration, you’ll get to translate your name into Greek, craft a shield, and train to battle some monsters!

On Tuesday morning, head to Brodie’s Animal Antics all ages drop-in storytime at 10:30am, which features animal stories, songs, and a craft. In the afternoon, at 2:30pm there’s Pete the Cat: a Craft and a Snack happening at Mary Black. This program is for ages 3-6 and requires that you’re preregistered. You can also check out Waverley’s puppet show "Little Green O'Glen and the Lazy Leprechauns" at 2:30pm. Little Green O'Glenn's house is taken over by three leprechauns who won't do any work - how will she get rid of them? This Irish spin on the classic Little Red Hen is for all ages and requires tickets.

On Wednesday there are three afternoon programs to choose from, which all start at 2:30pm and require tickets. At Brodie, the Grumpy Grandpas will be hosting an all ages concert with group sing-alongs, new songs, and old favourites. Be sure to get your tickets quick - they’re a popular act! At Waverley, you can come and meet Reptile Rob’s feathered and scaled friends! Or go to Mary Black and catch "The Spinning Fairy," the hilarious puppet show in which the super lazy daughter of the Royal Baker can marry the Prince ONLY if she proves she's a hard worker.

On Thursday at 10:30am Brodie has a drop-in storytime for babies aged 0-24 months; siblings are welcome at this event as well. Then in the afternoon, musical duo Jim ‘n’ I will be at Mary Black at 2:30pm. You’ll need to get tickets if you’d like to join in on their interactive musical fun. Or you can head to Waverley for the Mad Hatter Tea Party at 2:30pm for ages 6-10. There will be stories, games, and a craft which are all upside down and backwards!

Finally, on Friday morning at 10:30am there’s the Seriously Seuss! drop in storytime and craft at Waverley for ages 3-6. Come and listen to stories by Dr. Seuss, and make a craft inspired by his writing.

That’s all the children’s programs we have happening at our branches this coming week. But be sure to check out our other programs during the rest of the year, too!

Shauna Kosoris 

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Sunday March 8th, 2015 Dr. Who

The T.A.R.D.I.S. has landed at Waverley library! You may have noticed the post-it note art in the Waverley windows promoting our March break Doctor Who program. There will be trivia, themed snacks, and other activities – both long-time Whovians and those new to the fandom are welcome! More information about this youth program can be found in our online calendar of events. Just go to

Until quite recently, Doctor Who was almost entirely unknown to me. I was familiar with some of the main points, like time travel, the T.A.R.D.I.S., and cute robots that shout “Exterminate!” But once TBPL’s Youth Advisory Council found me out, I was very strongly encouraged to start watching the show. Luckily, I have been enjoying the series (available on DVD in our collection). If you are a serious Doctor Who fan, you’ve likely already watched all the episodes and think you’re pretty well versed in Doctor Who lore. However, did you know that there is a whole lot more canonical world to explore?

Full-length novels have been published with both entirely new content and as adapted versions of episodes. Doctor Who: the Wheel of Ice is a new adventure where the Second Doctor visits the rings of one of Saturn’s moons. Darkstar Academy and the Day of the Cockroach features the Eleventh Doctor traveling to what only appears to be an average 1950’s English public school. Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, wrote a few Doctor Who episodes. One never-used script was converted by Gareth Roberts into the novel Shada: the Lost Adventure, starring the Fourth Doctor and his companion Romana. Doctor Who: Eleven Doctors Eleven Stories is an anthology collection with each story featuring a different doctor. Written by various popular authors, including Neil Gaiman, Eoin Colfer, Charles Higson, and Richelle Mead, these very creative and sometimes unusual additions to the canon were very well received.

In addition to print, many Doctor Who books are also available as audio books by visiting your library branches or through our Overdrive collection. Doctor Who: the Mind Robber by Peter Ling is a re-telling of a Second Doctor television adventure. The Doctor and his companions Jamie and Zoe explore the Land of Fiction, encountering familiar characters from British childhood classics like Peter Pan and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This and other audio books feature stories from all eras of Doctor Who, from the earlier series to the most recent incarnations.

Graphic novels featuring Doctor Who are also available. Collections like Doctor Who: Through Time and Space is composed of original content, with art and characterizations echoing the show’s conventions. This collection of one-shots (short stories) features the Tenth Doctor and has the same spirit and verve of his tenure in the role. Finally, for your background listening while reading about Doctor Who, you can listen to the soundtracks of the various series.

Expand your Doctor Who knowledge using TBPL’s collection. I’ll be dipping into these stories myself… just as soon as I’m done watching over sixteen days of highly entertaining sci-fi television.

Laura Prinselaar

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Sunday March 1st, 2015 World War One Thunder Bay Centennial Project

TBPL is participating in an ever widening partnership project to remember the impact of the First World War in Thunder Bay. One of the benefits of this partnership is that it enables partners to share resources. For example, the First World War displays at the Brodie Resource Library include a military uniform and other materials loaned by the Thunder Bay Military Museum. The best example of this resource sharing can be found at the project website.

The Timeline section provides information from both the City Archives and TBPL telling you what was happening in Thunder Bay, month by month, 100 years ago. If you go to Life in Thunder Bay you can learn about Sport in the Lakehead, as contributed by the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. There is also a section on Arts and Culture, which includes local authors Stanley Rutledge, W.C. Millar and Robert Manion.

Stanley Rutledge was born in Fort William in 1889 and enlisted as a Private with the 4th University Company in Montreal in 1915. He sailed to England for further training and in March 1916 was sent to the trenches in Ypres. He transferred to the 28th Battalion to join his brother Wilfred. He spent a year in the 28th as a sniper and during this time he began describing his experiences and thoughts from the front in his letters home. He earned the rank of Lieutenant and joined the Royal Flying Corps as a qualified pilot. While providing instruction in Grantham he suffered a fatal aircraft accident in November 1917. His parents published his letters in book format, Pen Pictures from the trenches (1918), to share with others.

W.C. Millar’s book, From Thunder Bay Through Ypres with the Fighting 52nd  (1918), is a highly personal account of his amazing six months in combat with one of the most decorated Canadian battalions of the Great War. His is a first-hand account of the months of stalemate following the 2nd Battle of Ypres, a period when Canadian forces, under persistent attack, gained valuable tactical and command experience. With growing confidence, the men of the 52nd emerged full in the knowledge that, man-for-man, they were at least the equal of any military force in the world.

Robert  Manion, author of A Surgeon in Arms (1918), was born in Pembroke Ontario in 1881 and accepted into the Canadian Army Medical Corps at Ottawa with the rank of Lieutenant in March 1916. He became a Captain in April 1916 and embarked on the SS Olympic at Halifax with the Ontario Hospital contingent. In England he worked in two military hospitals before arriving in France in November 1916. He was attached to No1 Canadian General Hospital, No. 6 Canadian Field Ambulance, and 21st Battalion as Medical Officer. He was invalided to England and awarded the Military Cross. In December 1917 he was elected to Parliament as Unionist MP for the riding of Fort William.

The project website has information about Thunder Bay’s Military contribution to the war, including the role played by First Nations. There are photographs of the extensive collections held by the Thunder Bay Military Museum, which is well worth visiting. War related collections are also held by the Thunder Bay Museum and the Northwestern Ontario Aviation Heritage Centre, who are project partners.

The website highlights the contribution of local Industry and Technology to the war effort, such as the Canadian Car & Foundry (which built minesweepers), Copp Stove Co. Ltd., and Port Arthur Waggon Works (which secured a contract from the Canadian Government to build 85 specialty wagons to assist the 1st Contingent of Soldiers, Canadian Expeditionary Force).

If you have information, letters, diaries, artefacts or photographs related to WWI we would like to hear from you. Feel free to contact any one of the project partners or email us directly at  

John Pateman