Sunday, 25 October 2015

Sunday October 25th, 2015 Last Minute Halloween

There are only six days left to get ready for Halloween!  Are you worried that you won’t have enough time to carve your pumpkin, make the perfect costume, or plan your party?  Then head over to the Thunder Bay Public Library. Our resources have lots of ideas to help get you ready for next Saturday.

What Halloween is complete without carving a pumpkin?  If you’d like to carve one but don’t know where to start, check out Edward Palmer’s Pumpkin Carving. It has basic carving instructions and includes some face and design templates you can use for your pumpkin. How to Carve Pumpkins for Great Results by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell is another basic book full of great tips for carving, storing, and reinvigorating dried out pumpkins. If you want to get a bit more advanced, then check out Extreme Pumpkin Carving: 20 Amazing Designs from Frightful to Fabulous by Vic Hood and Jack A. Williams, which shows you how to relief-carve a pumpkin with both basic and woodcarving tools. Relief carving allows you to create actual depth on your pumpkin’s face, making it look more realistic than when you just cut out solid shapes.

Another really fun part of Halloween is dressing up. If you’re looking for costume ideas, you can flip through 1000 Incredible Costume & Cosplay Ideas: A Showcase of Creative Characters From Anime, Manga, Video Games, Movies, Comics and More! As the name suggests, this book is a photo gallery with 1000 pictures that are sure to inspire your next costume. If you’re a sewing whiz, you can try The Fantastic Costume Book: 40 Complete Patterns to Amaze and Amuse by Michelle Lipson and Friends. Along with sewing patterns, Lipson’s book has some costumes that can be made quickly with little to no sewing necessary, so it’s definitely worth a look if you’re pressed for time. We’ve also got Kathryn Harrison and Valerie Kohn’s Easy-to-Make Costumes, which is full of fantastic ideas, many of which only need cardboard, scissors, paint, and glue.

If you want some Halloween crafts to make with your kids, recipes to make for a party, or decorations for your house and yard, then look no further than Ghastly-Good Halloween: 201 Spooktacular Recipes, Crafts & Decorating Ideas by Gooseberry Patch. While full of tons of decorating and craft ideas, where this book really shines is in the recipes. From the Brew-Ha-Ha Punch to the Witch’s Cauldron Chili, you’re sure to find the perfect Halloween treat. Some similar all-in-one books include Happy Halloween! Bewitching Parties and Recipes, Enchanting Pumpkins and Decorations, Plus Lots of Other Spine-Tingling Ideas by Country Living, which has some fantastic recipes and a section on carving pumpkins (and pineapples!) with other fruits and vegetables as props. Extreme Halloween: The Ultimate Guide to Making Halloween Scary Again by Tom Nardone is a book devoted to yard and party “tricks,” including making pumpkin monsters and ghastly party drinks (Bloody Brain Shots or Brain Goo, anyone?)  And Halloween Recipes and Crafts by Christine Lyseng Savage, Rosa Poulin, and Tamara Eder has some last minute costume ideas and includes recipes to make your own makeup. It’s also got a list of older Halloween movies and some game ideas to make any party extra fun.

Thinking of Halloween makeup, stop by our Makerspace tomorrow afternoon; makeup artist Rhiannon will be sharing her amazing makeup and costume techniques between 3 and 5pm.

While there are only six days left until Halloween, there's no reason to panic. If you need a bit of help carving a pumpkin, making the perfect costume, or planning a party, be sure to stop by your local library. With our help, you’ll be ready in plenty of time for next weekend!

Shauna Kosoris 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sunday October 18th, 2015 International Festival of Authors

The International Festival of Authors is returning to Thunder Bay for the fifth year running.  Each year, we are delighted by authors both familiar and new to us as a reading audience.  Often one name will catch my attention which leads to the discovery of new authors to enjoy.  This year we are so very lucky as to have four authors coming to read.  They are:  Alexander MacLeod, Dionne Brand, Elizabeth Hay, and Miranda Hill.  I see some people borrowing the latest works by the authors coming, while others (myself included) may have good intentions to read their writing but don’t quite get around to it. Partly it’s a lack of planning, but more importantly there’s something magical about being introduced to a book by the author.

So I confess, I have not read recent works by any of these authors and the last book I read by Dionne Brand was “Earth Magic:  Poems” which means I’m in for more of a treat.  I expect to be surprised and delighted by these authors on November 4th.  This strategy has worked well for the past several years, thus ensuring a good stock of new reading for winter.  The timing of this event seems ideal for those of us preparing for the coldest months of the year, you can be introduced to new authors and build your reading list.

However, you may choose to spend the next few weeks getting to know these authors in advance.  In that case, we have a lot to offer regardless of whether you want to dip lightly into each or delve deeper into the works of one in particular.

 As recommendations, if you wish to read Dionne Brand you could pick up “At the Full and Change of the Moon” or “Love Enough” or even delve into “Earth Magic” which is housed in the Children’s collection.  Be not afraid of where the books are found as you never know what will be right for today. Perhaps short stories are what will fill your reading tank today, Alexander MacLeod can help with “Light Lifting” as can Miranda Hill with “Sleeping Funny”.  We are quite simply spoiled for choice with this year’s authors, before even looking at the works of Elizabeth Hay.  Whether you choose to read “Late Nights on Air”, “Alone in the Classroom”, “His Whole Life”, or one of her other works you shan’t be disappointed.

So what will you do?  Read ahead and prepare or await the magic November 4th?

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Sunday October 11, 2015 Family History Forum

If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about your family tree, then the Family History Forum is your chance to get some help from the experts. The Thunder Bay Public Library is holding its second annual Family History Forum at the Mary J.L. Black Branch Library on Saturday, October 24th from 1-4pm.  This event was launched in 2014 and nobody was entirely sure what to expect in terms of public attendance; which turned out to be an unnecessary worry as the family history enthusiasts came out in droves. Based on that success and the feedback received from participants, this year’s forum is going to be even better.

Local genealogist Dave Nicholson will be the host for the afternoon’s activities. “There isn’t a specific theme for the Forum; we want to have a variety of discussions based on three concepts – technology sources for genealogy, a family historian sharing their personal research experience, and traditional records not found on the Internet.”

While commercials for ancestry websites can make it seem as simple as a couple of clicks to find your entire family tree, not all the answers can be found online. Basic family history research techniques include talking to relatives about the stories of their ancestors and working back from the present to the past, one generation a time.

The afternoon sessions include Sharing Your Family Archives Online with Sara Janes (City of Thunder Bay Archives), Using DNA Tests To Find Your Family with Clare Cook (Thunder Bay Branch – OGS), and Genealogy and the Funeral Home: What Can I Find and Where with Sheleigh Dika (Everest Funeral Home). There will be a Q&A session to wrap up the afternoon as well as a variety of door prizes for those in attendance. Light refreshments will be available.
The Library is also offering an Ancestry Library Edition database class on the same day from 11am-12pm, pre-registration for this class is required and space is limited. Call 684-6815 to register.

The Family History Forum is free of charge and takes place from 1-4pm on Saturday, October 24 at the Mary J.L. Black Branch Library. No registration is required. Connect with this event on Facebook to get updates leading up to the day. Contact Jesse Roberts at for more information or with questions.

Jesse Roberts

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Sunday October 4, 2015 Lakehead U In Conversation

This fall, Lakehead University is once again bringing lectures on a variety of topics to the Thunder Bay Public Library. On Saturday, October 17th, Dr. Carney Matheson, Chair of the Department of Anthropology, will be presenting “Ötzi: Forensic Investigation into the Last Days of the Iceman” in the Waverley Auditorium at 2pm. Ötzi’s body was discovered in the Alps in 1991. Dr. Matheson will be looking at what forensics can tell us about Ötzi’s last days and hours 5,300 years ago. But if you don’t want to wait until the 17th to look into Ötzi and forensic anthropology, why not stop by the library before that?

Konrad Spindler’s The Man in the Ice is one of the first books written about Ötzi. As such, the information is dated, but Spindler gives a good historical account of what we first believed when we found the Iceman. Ötzi is one of the oldest mummies we’ve ever found, which makes his body a very valuable scientific treasure. That’s why there was a lot of fighting for control of his body when it was discovered. Brenda Fowler provides an excellent account of the political drama concerning Ötzi’s discovery in Iceman: Uncovering the Life and Times of a Prehistoric Man Found in an Alpine Glacier. Spindler’s book also gives a rundown of this political drama, but Fowler’s book is much more in depth.

If it’s ancient mummies you’re interested in, be sure to check out Heather Pringle’s The Mummy Congress: Science, Obsession, and the Everlasting Dead. Pringle is a science journalist who was sent to cover a conference on mummy research, which experts from across the globe attend to share their findings. Pringle’s book is perfect for anyone who is new to this field of study and wants to learn more about mummies and the scientists who research them.

Along with books on mummies, the library has books on prehistoric cultures. A really interesting one is Rodney Castleden’s The Stonehenge People: An Exploration of Life in Neolithic Britain 4700-2000 BC, which presents Castleden’s interpretation of Stonehenge. He tries to build the Stonehenge society up from the basics, showing what life would have been like for the people living in that time and place.

If you’re after books on forensics, look no further than Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death by Jessica Snyder Sachs. Sachs provides a great historical overview of humanity’s quest to find out exactly when someone has died. But if you want to look at more specific cases, you should check out both Death’s Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab the Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell Tales and Beyond the Body Farm: a Legendary Bone Detective Explores Murders, Mysteries, and the Revolution in Forensic Science, which were both written by Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. Dr. Bass is a forensic anthropologist who created the Body Farm, a scientific laboratory dedicated to studying human decomposition. In these two memoirs, Dr. Bass details some of the unusual and exciting cases he has helped solve over his career. Or try Coroner’s Journal: Stalking Death in Louisiana by Louis Cataldie, MD. Cataldie was the deputy coroner and later chief coroner in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In Coroner’s Journal, Cataldie shares the bizarre, heartbreaking, and disturbing cases he has dealt with over the course of his career.

If you’re interested in learning about these ancient cultures and modern murder cases, be sure to stop by your nearest library. Along with these books, we have some dvds and ebooks on all of these subjects and more. And be sure to stop by the Waverley Library to hear Dr. Matheson’s lecture on the Iceman at 2pm on October 17th.

Shauna Kosoris