Sunday, 27 September 2015

Sunday September 27th, 2015 Exciting Fall Activities

The Thunder Bay Public Library is the place to be this fall if you are an outdoor enthusiast or just interested in the natural world.  We've always had a good collection of hiking, canoeing, camping books and DVDs because we know that anyone living in Thunder Bay is more than likely to be taking in some of those activities.  Titles such as Bill Mason's Path of the Paddle, or the Thunder Bay Hiking Association Trail Guide are standards you will find.  But we also support these interests by providing programming in this area as well.  This fall we have a couple of sessions that are Must Sees for anyone claiming or wishing to be the quintessential outdoorsman/woman!

October 5 at 7 pm; the Waverley Library welcomes Nancy Scott, a park planner for the MNR hailing from Sault Ste Marie.  Nancy will offer a visual presentation of her book Lake Nipigon: Where the Great Lakes Begin in which she provides a fascinating overview of the lake's natural history, species at risk, as well as the story of human incursion into the area from fur trading, recreational fishing to eventual settlement.  Situated in the heart of Northwestern Ontario, almost every map of North America shows Lake Nipigon as a significant geographic feature, yet few people know its story.

October 6 at 7 pm; join us at the Waverley Library for a presentation of the Path of the Paddle. Carrie and Jon Nolan will share stories, videos, and photos of their 2015 1183km, 10 week paddling adventure from Thunder Bay to Manitoba along the Path of the Paddle.  The Mission of the Path of the Paddle Association is to support the development, stewardship and sustainability of Path of the Paddle water trail network in Northwestern Ontario in partnership with regional stakeholders.  For more information contact

November 17 at 2pm; the Mary J.L. Black Branch will be hosting the second program in the popular LU In Conversation series, Thunder Bay 1.1 Billion Years ago - Making the Nor'Westers.   For the past 14 years, Dr. Peter Hollings, Chair of the Department of Geology, has been studying the formation of the rocks and mineral deposits of Northwestern Ontario. He will discuss the formation of Thunder Bay's Nor'Westers and the 1.1 billion year old Midcontinent Rift of which they are part. We will investigate the geology in and around town and relate it to the evolution of the region.

Mark these dates on your calendar and be sure to join us for these exciting presentations. 

 Barbara Philp 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Sunday September 20th First World War

Many books have been written about the First World War and it is sometimes difficult to know where to start researching this vast subject, which is the focus of a major partnership project led by Thunder Bay Public Library, involving a wide range of institutions and organisations in the city. One way to approach this topic is to consider the war from a national, provincial and local perspective.

Tim Cook has written an excellent and accessible two volume history of Canadians fighting in the Great War. At The Sharp End 1914 – 1916 includes the formation and training of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) before it sailed to France, in the biggest Armada that the British Empire had ever assembled. The role of the CEF in the Second Battle of Ypres (when German forces used poison gas for the first time) and the Battle of the Somme (when the Newfoundland Regiment was all but wiped out) is also explored.

The second volume, Shock Troops 1917 – 1918 captures the titanic battles of Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, and the Hundred Days Campaign through the eyes of Canadian soldiers who never lost a battle in the last two years of the war. Cook combines eyewitness accounts with a wide range of secondary sources to create a narrative that is at the same time personal and epic in scale. The sheer horror of living in the trenches with rats, lice, trench foot, gas and the ever present threat of death is convincingly portrayed.

At the provincial level, Ontario and the First World War 1914 – 1918, is a collection of documents edited with an introduction by Barbara Wilson. The documents cover a variety of themes from the Civic Holiday 1914 to the Armistice, including the home front, loyalty in question, schools, universities, Ontario’s Black and Aboriginal Volunteers, and war artists. These documents draw the reader into events exactly as they happened, and the story is woven together in a comprehensive and swift paced introduction.

The Thunder Bay story can be found In the Face of Danger by George Stanley which recounts the history of the Lake Superior Regiment from its birth in 1885 to the end of the Second World War. There are chapters on the 52nd Battalion, CEF, 1915 – 1916, and From Vimy Ridge to Mons, 1917 -1919. More in depth articles can be found in Papers & Records Volume XLII (2014) published by Thunder Bay Historical Society. This includes pieces on Captain O’Kelly’s Victoria Cross, food control, sport, the home front, Labour at the Lakehead, and the military contribution of Northwestern Ontario to Canada’s war effort.

More local information can also be found on the World War One project website at, including extracts from the minutes of the meetings of the Fort William and Port Arthur City Councils, and newspaper articles and obituaries from the Fort William Daily Times Journal and the Port Arthur News Chronicle, which were the forerunners of today’s Chronicle Journal.

If you have any information  which you would like to contribute to this project – including letters, diaries, medals and other artifacts – please contact any branch of Thunder Bay Public Library. This is a people’s project and we want it to be driven by as much community content as possible. The project will run through to the 100th anniversary of the end of the war in November 2018. Please visit the website for regular updates.

John Pateman

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Sunday September 13th, 2015 It's a Fine Time to Forgive

The Thunder Bay Public Library has launched a new campaign called “It’s a Fine Time to Forgive”. The goal of the campaign is to re-engage library members who may not be using the Library due to fines or charges on their card. If you think your card may have outstanding fines, all you need to do is visit any library location and renew your library card, whether it has expired or not. When you do this, staff will waive all fines. If you also return long-overdue items, we will remove these charges from your record too! The forgiveness period will run from September 12 to October 24. Replacement library cards will also be issued at no cost.

In addition, when you renew your library card, sign up for a new card or use your current library card to check out items, you will receive a ballot for a chance to win an iPad mini. Ballots will be available September 12 to December 11 with the draw taking place Monday, December 14. You can also visit us at Intercity Shopping Centre from September 22 to 26 to sign up for or renew your library card and talk with friendly staff. We are having a special draw for anyone who signs up at the mall and then uses their library card by October 24.

With library card in hand, you are ready to explore the many great things the Thunder Bay Public Library has to offer. Our fiction collections (individual collections for children, teens and adults) have books in both hard cover and paperback. We also have fiction titles available in large print and other languages. Don’t forget to browse the graphic novel section too. You can also enjoy your favourite book by listening to it on an audiobook (which is a book on CD) or on a Playaway (which is a small device you plug headphones into). If you can’t visit your library, go online to and download an electronic book or an electronic audiobook from our online services Overdrive and Hoopla.

If you are looking for something to watch, then check out our DVD collections in both the adult and children’s areas. You will find recent releases to your favourite classics, as well as non-fiction and foreign films too. Or go online to and borrow a movie or television show, which you can download or live stream on your computer and smart device.

Additionally, we also have music CDs, walking poles, electronic energy meters, pedometers, fishing poles, magazines, newspapers, automotive manuals, a literacy collection, a local history and genealogy collection and a non-fiction collection with books on hundreds of different topics. More resources are available online through our virtual collection, Your library card also gives you access to online databases that cover everything from fixing your car to learning a new language.

The Library also offers a variety of programs and special events. More details can be found in the Library newsletter and online calendar at There is something for everyone. Book clubs, lectures, a makerspace with 3D printers (at Waverley), writing workshops, storytimes, genealogy classes, crafts, computer help, puppet shows and more. Plus, we also offer free WiFi, computers with Internet access, photocopying and faxing services, battery recycling bins, meeting rooms, a home delivery service where volunteers bring books to people who are home bound and/or visually impaired, and an interlibrary loan service where we will bring in books and articles from other lending institutions in Canada.

Last but not least, the knowledgeable staff at the Thunder Bay Public Library are here to help you find a way to start using your Library again.  After all, using the Library is a great way to help yourself, your community and the planet.

Lindsey Long

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Sunday September 6th, 2015 A is for Astounding, Amazing, Arresting…

Fall is an exciting time of the year. With the start of another school year just around the corner, it’s time to hit the books again. But don’t worry; reading doesn’t have to be a chore. Spending time with a good book can be a time to relax, to think and lose oneself to the wonderful worlds and characters created by some of the greatest writers of all time.

Attention all high school students:

Take Jane Austen, for example. Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice is a novel widely read by students all around the world. The story centers on the prickly romance that develops between (somewhat) judgmental Elizabeth Bennet, the second daughter of a plain country gentleman, and the mysterious, wealthy but prideful Mr. Darcy. Aside from creating two of the most memorable characters, the reader easily gets caught up in Austen’s depiction of 19th century society.

The subject of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird may bear some familiarity thematically to Austen’s Prejudice. Hailed as one of the most important novels ever written, Lee examines how human acts of kindness and hatred can change the lives of a single person and a whole community. As told from the young Jean Louise “Scout” Finch’s perspective, we see how her father, Atticus, defies the attitudes towards race during the time of the Great Depression.

However, Atticus’ moral character comes into question in Lee’s follow up, Go Set a Watchman. Current English students will be hard pressed not to ignore the presence of this follow up to Mockingbird. Released this past July, devoted readers of To Kill a Mockingbird were challenged when this novel altered the perception of the beloved Atticus Finch. Set many years after the events in Mockingbird, Scout is now a grown woman who visits her elderly father Atticus, and discovers a shocking truth about her father’s character. Go Set a Watchman is a challenging follow up to a classic novel, one that will surely provide much discussion and debate in English classes this fall.

A novel that can surely provide thoughtful discussion is Margaret Atwood’s radical A Handmaid’s Tale. Set in a society ruled by a military dictatorship, we observe the hardships imposed by this society through the eyes of  “Offred”, a women imprisoned to a way of life by the ruling class. The novel is a sharp examination of the subjugation of a weaker class by a powerful state, the misuse of power, identity, and freedom.

Freedom and ownership are very important to Duddy Kravitz, the anti-hero of Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. As an unconventional rags to riches novel, Duddy Kravitz is a young man growing up in the slums of Montreal who dreams big of coming into possession of great wealth and land by questionable means. Apprenticeship will no doubt divide its readers, but the journey to its conclusion is an unforgettable one.

So do any of these titles sound appealing? As students, you will be exposed to some of the best works in fiction. Classic works by aforementioned Jane Austen, Harper Lee, Margaret Atwood, and Mordecai Richler are sure to be taught and discussed in the classroom. At Thunder Bay Pubic Library, you can be sure to find these great titles along with many more, as well as published critiques and evaluations. Ask our passionate staff what they think about these writers. Perhaps you will find the topic of your next essay at TBPL!

Petar Vidjen