Monday, 26 December 2016

Sunday December 25, 2016 (Published Monday December 26)

2016 has been, in many ways, a difficult year. On top of the deaths of some beloved celebrities, like David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, and Harper Lee, the world appears to be a deeply divided place The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union during the summer in a very close vote (51.9% voted in favour of leaving). And thanks to the 2016 American Presidential Election, we’re now seeing just how split their country is, with both halves fearing the other. Thanks to our modern world’s 24-hour news cycle, we’re seeing all kinds of negativity in front of our faces all day, every day. But it is often removed from us, happening “over there” or “to someone else.” In an odd twist, thanks to social media, which should be bringing people together, we’re becoming even more isolated from differing cultures and viewpoints thanks to what’s been called the social media “filter bubble;” we’re seeing information that only agrees with our world views.

With all of this going on, bringing the world together may seem like an insurmountable task. But there’s no reason why we as a city can’t strive to be more respectful and inclusive of differing cultures and beliefs. And what better place to start than with a visit to your local library? The Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL) is the hub of the community, bringing different viewpoints and people together in one place.

As you might expect, TBPL has many books, both fiction and nonfiction, that can help you learn about different people, cultures, and viewpoints. Want to know about Islam? Try reading What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam by John L. Esposito. How about Mexican history? Try the novel Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry. Want to learn about what is tearing modern-day Europe apart? Try Flashpoints: the Emerging Crisis in Europe by George Friedman. Or what about modern Aboriginal culture? Try the novels Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese, or Birdie by Tracey Lindberg. Want to learn about Canadian leftist politics? Try This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate by Naomi Klein. More curious about the right? Give Blue Thunder: the Truth About Conservatives from Macdonald to Harper a try. We’ve also got books like Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You, the original book on the filter bubble phenomenon if you’re interested in reading that.

But TBPL has so much more to offer than just books. The library brings a wide range of people with diverse interests together under one roof. Along with offering our in-house programs, such as puppet shows, children’s storytime, the Youth Advisory Council, book clubs, and one-on-one technology coaching, TBPL has partnered with many different organizations to make a much larger offering of programs available for you. For example, thanks to our partnership with the Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop (NOWW), we have writing workshops and readings in the library. Our partnership with Science North has made Northern Nature Trading possible at Mary J. L. Black. The Ontario Genealogy Society runs genealogy classes here at the library. Our partnership with Lakehead University has made the In Conversation lecture series possible at TBPL. We also have staff sitting on various community committees, helping to plan events for the city and looking at how Thunder Bay is doing holistically.

And of course, TBPL has many services that also make us a community hub, like our free to use computers, WIFI, and internet databases.

Your local library is a powerful place that connects people of all ages and backgrounds. I hope you’ll stop by and take advantage of our many free resources and programs. A visit to TBPL will help make the world a truly inclusive place.
Shauna Kosoris

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Sunday December 18th, 2016 Hurry Hard!

Thunder Bay Public Library has a variety of books on the sport of curling. Here is a sampling of some of them.

One book of local interest is A century of curling : 1887-1987, 100 years by the Port Arthur Curling & Athletic Club Inc. Though small in size, a lot is packed into this book. This publication starts in the early years of the curling club when they played on a small facility with natural ice, players brought their own stones, and standard games lasted 16 ends plus extras when needed. It continues through to the time of the inclusion of women, and tells of the rebuilding, upgrades and expansions of their facility. A century of curling reveals the many challenges there were keeping the club running through the lean times. It is illustrated throughout with pictures of players, teams, and other items. Included are stories on teams, bonspiels, fund raising and much more.

Another book looking at curling history locally is A history of the Fort William Curling Club, 1891-1949, and of the Fort William Curling and Athletic Club, 1949-. Though not at glamorously put together as the Port Arthur Curling book there is much inside this publication to make it worthy of a read. Starting off with Fort William curling that predates the club this publication chronologically explores the club, its various buildings, prominent members, non-curling sources of income for the club, charity fundraisers, etc. Some interesting non-curling historical information is interspersed in this document through mention of technological, social and economic changes that affected the club.

If you like trivia and odd facts, Curling Etcetera: A whole bunch of stuff about the roaring game by Bob Weeks contains stories, facts, quotes, and more dealing with curling trivia. A few examples of the trivial that lies within are: the origin and meaning of the name curling (from old Scottish word "curr" that refers to the roaring sounds the stones made as they slid over the frozen lochs), unusual curling rink locations (transformed ballroom of the Aladdin Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas), the outrage when Labatt tried to changing the Purple Heart crest when it took over the Brier sponsorship, and some background on Al Hackner's "The Shot".

For those new to curling or looking to start playing Bob Weeks has also written Curling For Dummies. It gives some background on the sport, explains how to play and the equipment needed to play. It goes through rules and terminology, the different kinds of curling shots, suggestions for practicing, and more.

For Canadian curling history be sure to check out Canada Curls : the illustrated history of curling in Canada by Doug Maxwell. This book starts from curling's origin in Scotland, explores curling’s introduction into Canada, examines the earliest curling clubs, and then continues on to cover modern times. The changes in rules and equipment over time are delved into. A greater part of the book explores in detail various championships: the establishment of the men's national championships known as the Brier, women's national championships, World Championships, Olympics plus other less known competitions. As you could guess by the book’s subtitle, plenty of illustrations are in the book with most pictures being players or teams but also some trophies and medals.

If your interest leans more towards books more biographical in nature there are a pair of books on Sandra Schmirler: Sandra Schmirler: The Queen of Curling by Perry Lefko, and Gold on Ice: The Story of the Sandra Schmirler Curling Team. Other biographies available include Throwing rocks at houses : my life in and out of curling by Colleen Jones with Perry Lefko and Hurry Hard: The Russ Howard Story by Russ Howard.

Will Scheibler

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Sunday December 11th, 2016 Hockey

My name is Joanna and I’m a hockey mom.  Ten years ago I did not know what “off side” meant, thought “icing” was only for cakes, and that “PeeWee” was something you did in the bathroom.  Now thanks to a great deal of learning on the job and a few good books, I know the ropes.

If you’re a novice or professional hockey mom, grandpa, aunt or supporter of any kind, your Library can help you learn more about the game our kids love.  We have all sorts of books about hockey:  handbooks for coaches, hockey history, biographies of great players as well as fiction books for all ages.  Here are a few of my favourites.

The hockey sweater by Roch Carrier
This Canadian classic tells the tragic story of a young boy in Quebec who suffers the humiliation of having to wear a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey sweater. This quote from the story is on the back of our five dollar bills:  “The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons. We lived in three places - the school, the church and the skating rink - but our real life was on the skating rink.” Enchanting for both children and adults.

My day with the cup by Sidney Crosby
Hockey moms will appreciate the photos of Mrs. Crosby’s puck-marked dryer in this book! It’s filled with great pictures of Sid and the Cup on his sea doo (both wearing life jackets), at his elementary school and Sid washing the Cup with his parents’ garden hose.

The hockey dad chronicles:  An indentured parent’s season on the rink by Ed Wenck
Ed Wenck is a real life hockey dad who took notes throughout one season of his ten-year old son’s hockey career.  Cleverly written, Wenck sheds insight onto why we sign our kids up for a sport that involves “strapping knives on a kid’s feet, hurling a hard rubber disc at him, and telling him to smack it with a club.” One of my hockey mom friends has been known to take notes at games – I wonder if she is working on a book like this?

The hockey coach's manual : a guide to drills, skills, tactics and conditioning by Michael A. Smith
If you want to get the most out of your back yard rink, or take the kids to the ODR (Out Door Rink) for some quality time, plan ahead with this book.  Learn a few fun drills to put the kids through their paces, and sit back and watch their skills improve during games.

King Leary by Paul Quarrington
I have recommended this wonderful fiction book to many of my hockey friends. You may remember it as the 2008 Canada Reads winner. MacLean’s magazine noted it is “a dazzling display of fictional footwork....the author has not written just another hockey novel; he has turned hockey into a metaphor for magic.” I think that says it all. Quarrington artfully weaves the story of kid who grows from a delinquent sent to reform school into a hockey super star. You may find yourself trying to prefect the "St. Louis Whirlygig" on this ice this winter after reading this book.

Don’t forget your noisy mitts, warm blanket and special coffee to make this hockey season the best yet by enriching your experience with one of these books. See you around the rinks!

Joanna Aegard

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Sunday December 4th, 2016 Christmas At Your Library

Like everywhere at this time of year, the library is full of Christmas. Whether it’s books, music, or movies that invoke the holiday season, or materials on Christmas crafts, baking or decorating, the library is a great source of free information and entertainment.  The holiday season is usually budget-breakingly expensive, so it’s extra nice to be able to occupy the children or spoil yourself without spending a dime.

Everyone is familiar with the classic Christmas tales, be it “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens or “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss but each year a variety of Christmas titles are published hoping to give their readers the spirit of Christmas .

For those who wish for a more traditional Christmas story, there are a number of new choices including “The Angel of Forest Hill” by Cindy Woodsmall, “An Amish Family Christmas” by Shelley Shepard Gray, “A Baxter Family Christmas” by Karen Kingsbury or “Twelve Days of Christmas” by Debbie Macomber.

If you are in the mood for a holiday romance then perhaps, “The Trouble with Mistletoe” by Jill Shalvis, “Winter Storms: A Novel” by Elin Hildenbrand or  “A Shoe Addict’s Christmas” by Beth Harbison  which are a mix of the light humour and passionate sparks. These are a great choice for those like me who live for the Hallmark style movies that appear on television throughout the yuletide.

The history of the Season is long, so finding new books about the holidays occurring in the Old West are to be expected. This year’s choices include “A Colorado Christmas” by William W. Johnstone and a surprise entry by Country and Western legend Willie Nelson  with his book “Pretty Paper: A Christmas Tale”.  The novella is based on the inspiration for Nelson’s Christmas song of the same name and concerns a poor Texas street vendor selling ribbons and paper to support himself.

The dark nights of the winter season can also inspire dark deeds, so a number of authors are happy to present their audiences with the gift of a juicy murder mystery.  The late P.D. James has left us, “The Mistletoe Murder: and Other Stories”, while writer Joanne Fluke has a new culinary mystery “Christmas Caramel Murder”. If you get a chance try the recipes included with her stories, they are always wonderful. Anne Perry who writes a number of mystery series finds time each year to release a book that is a combination of Victorian charm and mayhem set in during the Yule season.  This year’s book ,“A Christmas Message” will be her number 14 in the series.

For a few writers, Christmas is really their genre of fiction.  Author Donna VanLiere is a New York Times bestselling author whose holiday stories regularly end up adapted for television.  This year’s offering “The Christmas Town” centers on the life of Lauren Gabriel who grew up in foster homes and now at 20 still feels a longing for a place to call ‘home’.    One night while driving around to avoid going back to her empty apartment she drives around till her gas tank is nearly empty. While on her drive she witnesses a hit and run accident and goes to help the victim. Those actions along with an advertisement for a “family” that she places on the internet will change her life.

Richard Paul Evans is back as well. His newest book “The Mistletoe Secret” follows his “The Mistletoe Promise” and “The Mistletoe Inn”.  Like VanLiere, Evans has made his career on capturing the possibilities of love and the magic of Christmas.  His latest book is the tale of a young man who has fallen in love with a woman he’s never met but whose internet blogs touch his heart.
Lori Kauzlarick

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Sunday November 27, 2016 Cohen's Final Waltz

On November 7th, the great Canadian musician Leonard Cohen passed away at the age of 82. Fans all across the world responded with broken hearts at the announcement of his passing. Cohen will fondly be remembered for his poetic lyrics that touched on many different themes, notably on love and romance, pain and loneliness, redemption and spirituality. What made Cohen such a versatile lyricist was his ability to combine opposing themes into a single ballad. This contrast can be famously observed on one of his greatest hits, “Hallelujah”:
  Your faith was strong but you needed proof,
  You saw her bathing on the roof,
  Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you…

This duality of romance and spirituality would become a highlight in Cohen’s eclectic career. “Hallelujah” was recorded for Cohen’s 1984 album, Various Positions, which brought Cohen worldwide acclaim. More so than any album, Various Positions challenges its listener to contemplate difficult subject matter.  The album opens with the haunting “Dance Me to the End of Love”, a song that can be powerfully interpreted as chronicling the fates of concentration camp prisoners. 

Cohen’s connection to the past can also be seen in his 1969 album Songs From a Room. He frequently makes references to past historical events, or even biblical stories, by evoking wartime imagery and angry deities. Cohen’s effort to conjure up the past can be heard in the “A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes”, “The Old Revolution”, and his hypnotic cover of “The Partisan” about the French resistance movements against Nazi Germany during World War II.  On the other hand, “Story of Isaac” was inspired from a parable in Genesis that accounts one man’s unwavering faith to a fear ruling God.
More so than anything, Cohen will forever be known for his poetic expressions of love and doomed relationships. The 1998 album I’m Your Man contains a number of songs to that effect. “Everybody Knows” is a song that about societal troubles that come in the way of true love. “Take this Waltz” is a seductive number about Cohen’s burning affection for a poetess who had a lasting impact on his songwriting. Cohen’s romantic and sometimes idealized view of woman can be heard on I’m Your Man, where songs like “Suzanne”, “Sisters of Mercy”, and “So Long, Marianne” express his curiosity and  longing, as well as betrayal by the women in his life. Cohen explored similar themes outside of his music. Cohen’s novel Beautiful Losers, which precedes his songwriting, follows a love triangle set during the tumultuous 60s.

Beautiful Losers is now considered a seminal piece of post-modern Canadian fiction. During the last five years of his life, Cohen’s songwriting took an equally beguiling turn as he began to examine spiritually darker themes. His 2012 album Old Ideas shows Cohen acknowledging his mortality, particularly in “Going Home” and “Show Me the Place”. Cohen’s peaceful acceptance of death can be heard on You Want It Darker (2016), a bleak but lovely summation of his life that Cohen uses to bid farewell before departure. Listen carefully to “Leaving the Table” and you can hear Cohen reconciling past grievances and indiscretions in favour of peace and tranquility. As such, the listener gets the impression that he knows this will be his final musical offering. Cohen’s acceptance of his fate displays a powerful sense of closure rarely displayed by another artist, a sentiment we would not expect from anyone other than Leonard Cohen.   

Petar Vidjen

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Sunday November 20, 2016 The book was better...

It’s not uncommon to hear people talking about books being made into films, , but have you considered books into television series? Perhaps you’ve even enjoyed some of these programs without knowing that there’s more to discover by reading the books. It can be a bit trickier finding these gems as the titles often aren’t simply the same as the book title.

For example I was enjoying watching The Expanse (a space opera with a case to be solved) when I found it seemed oddly familiar. It was only after looking it up that I discovered that the series is based on Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey. The book is the first of a series of nine that are collectively share the title of the television series , but having a gap of years between reading the book and watching the show I didn’t immediately make the connection. On the other hand there are books that some of us were first introduced to as television series. For many the show Bones was the introduction to Kathy Reichs’ writing. The screenwriters even have some naming the character Temperance Brennan (Bones) writes about in her fiction after Kathy Reichs.

A popular means of naming the show is to take the main character from the book series. In these cases as long as you know the character the series will be recognizable. Two examples that immediately come to mind are Wallander and Vera. Both are British television series, the first based on Henning Mankell’s Swedish crime series and the latter based on Ann Cleeves’ novels set in Northumberland. One more thing these programs have in common is casting well known actors as their lead characters, with Detective Kurt Wallander played by Kenneth Branagh and DCI Vera Stanhope by Brenda Blethyn. There are a significant number of television series casting actors we would typically consider movie actors working on the smaller screen. I like to imagine that they enjoy the larger canvas of a series where their characters have more time to develop than in a two hour film. I hear much less frequently that "the book was better" in reference to television series than films.

Mysteries really seem to have a corner on the books to television market. We have the aforementioned examples of Bones, Wallander, and Vera; all of which use the name, or the nickname in the case of Bones, of the lead character as title and that theme continues with some of the classics. In the case of Agatha Christie’s popular mysteries the makers of the television series wanted no doubt in the viewers’ minds as whom the titles refer. Thus we have Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Agatha Christie’s Marple, rather than the single name titles of some of the other programs. With the enduring popularity of her work it’s no surprise that the producers wanted to ensure that we know we’ll be entertained by her stories.

An increasing number of epic fantasy, science fiction, horror, and even literary fiction have been adapted for televsion rather than for film as we might expect. In addition to the massively popular Game of Thrones and Walking Dead series you will also find Outlander, The Shannara Chronicles, Under the Dome, and The Book of Negroes.

Whether the books lead you to the television program or the reverse I hope you enjoy all the means of getting a great story.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Sunday November 6th, 2016 World War One Thunder Bay Centennial Project

Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL) supports and provides access to information for those who are interested in researching World War One. Visit the World War One Thunder Bay Centennial Project ( to read council minutes (courtesy of City of Thunder Bay Archives), newspaper extracts, death notices, obituaries and soldiers letters for the period 1914 – 1918. These resources provide a very full and human picture of the impact of World War One on the local community. It is fascinating to learn about what was happening in the City and on the Western Front 100 years ago. 

On the Home Front, the Port Arthur City Council formed a committee with the goal of securing quarters for a battalion to be stationed in Fort William during the winter months. A letter of assurance was sent to Col. Little indicating that provisions were being made for their accommodations. Council received a letter from B.J. Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the British Red Cross regarding a Red Cross appeal. Council granted a request made by the 141st Battalion to provide light and phone services for the battalion’s mess located at 309 Dufferin St. Council authorized the purchase of $25,000 worth of British War bonds, maturing in 1921. 

The Port Arthur News Chronicle reported that recruitment continued in the Lakehead. The Canadian Army Service Corps required chauffeurs, machinists, teamsters, clerks, warehouse men, bakers, farriers, butchers, wheelers and saddlers. The 242nd Forestry Battalion sought two sawyers for immediate overseas service. The 212th American Legion Battalion also continued to recruit. 

The Chronicle also reported that Colonel Carrick came home after visiting the troops in action and described the conditions at the front and the wonderful work being done by the allies. He explored dugouts and other positions taken by the enemy and marvelled at the efficiency developed by the British in the last year. He said the Canadians were confident of ultimate victory. 

The Fort William Daily Times Journal noted that Captain Guinness, travelling throughout Canada, arrived in the Lakehead to promote the recruitment for the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve. With speaking engagements at the Victorian Hotel and Lyceum Theatre, Guinness spoke at length of naval life and the British and Canadian need for enlistments with the naval reserve. 

On the Western Front, the Battle of Ancre Heights and the Battle of Transloy Ridges began on the Somme. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Divisions attacked Regina Trench. The 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion suffered a number of casualties, including six men from Port Arthur and Fort William.

Thomas Whittaker (born England 1887) was a carpenter who enlisted in April 1915 and is remembered at Albert Communal Cemetery Extension and at the Port Arthur Collegiate Institute, Port Arthur. Norman Fleet (born England 1892) was a clerk who enlisted in September 1915 and is remembered on the Vimy Memorial. 

Charles Teddiman (born England 1897) was a teamster who enlisted in March 1916 and is remembered on the Vimy Memorial and at St Paul’s United Church, Port Arthur. 
Harry Gray (born England 1887) was a butcher who enlisted in May 1915. He received a severe wound to the head and left leg in June 1916. He died of his wounds at No. 10 General Hospital and is remembered at St Sever Cemetery, Rouen. 

Thomas Ringrose (born England 1889) was a teamster who enlisted in September 1915 and is remembered at the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium, Manor Park and at St Paul’s United Church, Port Arthur.  James Deagle (born Port Arthur 1883) was a teamster who enlisted in March 1915 and is remembered at Maroeuil British Cemetery and at St Andrews Roman Catholic Church, Thunder Bay.

If you have any information, family history, anecdotes, stories, photographs, diaries or artifacts relating to World War One, we would like to hear from you; please feel free to send an email to

John Pateman  

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Sunday October 30th, 2016 Monstrous Music and Spooky Sounds

Add extra fun to your Halloween festivities with some spooky music!   You can borrow some now through the online platforms  hoopla and Naxos or visit us to check out some CDs.

 Hoopa is an online collection of music, movies , TV shows, eBooks and eAudiobooks that you can access 24/7.  To get started go to and follow the link.   Create your hoopla account, and you'll be all set to go!  You need to have an email address and set a PIN on your library card. You can also download the free hoopla digital mobile app on your Android or IOS device .
This month Hoopla has added categories  for all your Halloween needs:  music for adults, party music for children, and Halloween soundtracks.  Here are a few of my favourites.

"50 Freaky Halloween Sounds"  is just  that!  From the expected bone-chilling screams, creepy footsteps and creaky slamming door to the macabre eye popper and nightmare noises, this record promises to keep you on your toes all night long.  Each sound plays for about three minutes.  This would be fun to have playing while you give out treats!

On a lighter note, "Drew's Famous Party Singers 57 Kids Greatest Halloween Songs, Games and Stories"  is fun for the whole family.   Teach your kids the hand jive and the Monster Mash, and share the fun of the Addams Family Theme, Jump in Line, and The Candy Man.  This record includes some  short (most less than a minute) sound effects as well.

You'll have sixteen scary movie sound tracts to choose from on hoopla, from classics like Jaws and Poltergeist to Scream 3 and Corpse Bride.  Is is the music or the action that makes movies scary?

Naxos is an online collection of classical, jazz and world music.  You can access it through My Giant Search at Log in with your Library card number and PIN and find "Naxos Music Library" in the list of resources.  Naxos has put together a "Monster Mayhem" collection for the season which gives you over an hour of spooky serenade.   Tracks include Shostakovich's "Hamlet",  Price's "Goblin and the Mosquito", Cowell's "The Banshee" and "Ghost" from Beethoven's Piano Trio in D Major.

If CDs are more your style, we have a variety of Halloween music available for you to borrow in this format as well.  "Wiggly Halloween", "Halloween sing-along", and "Kidz Bob Halloween" are a few favourites.  If you have more classical taste, Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre and Berlioz's Dreams of a Witches' Sabbath from Symphonie fantastique will give your Halloween festivities extra flair.

Joanna Aegard

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Sunday October 23, 2016 IFOA: Lit on Lour

The Thunder Bay Public Library, along with Lakehead University, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and CBC Radio is pleased to be hosting the 6th annual Lit On Tour Festival of Authors reading on November 1 at 7 pm at the Art Gallery.  This year we will be hosting authors Cordelia Strube, Andy McGuire, Karen Connelly and our very own Amy Jones.  Tickets ($15) can be purchased at the Art Gallery or at the Brodie and Waverley Libraries.

Karen Connelly is the author of ten best-selling books of poetry and fiction, the most recent being Come Cold River, a family memoir in poetry.  In 2017, her new long-awaited novel The Change Room will be published by Random House Canada.  Burmese Lessons, a love story is a prose memoir that chronicles her time in Burma and Thailand in the late 1990’s.

Amy Jones won the 2006 CBC Literary Prize for Short Fiction and was a finalist for the 2005 Bronwen Wallace Award.  She is a graduate from the Optional Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at UBC, and her fiction has appeared in Best Canadian Stories and the Journey Prize Stories.  Originally from Halifax, she now lives in Thunder Bay where she is associate editor of The Walleye.  Amy’s latest novel We’re All in This Together was the title of TBPL’s first One Book, One Community.

Andy McGuire is from Grand Bend, Ontario, and currently resides in Toronto.  He is pursuing an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph.  McGuire’s poems have appeared in Riddle Fence, Hazlitt and The Walrus.  Andy will present County Club, his debut poetry collection.

Cordelia Strube is an accomplished playwright and the author of nine critically acclaimed novels.  Winner of the CBC literary competition and a Toronto Arts Foundation Award, she has been nominated for the Governor General’s Award, the Trillium Book Award and long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.  She will present On the Shores of Darkness There is Light.

As always it will be an enjoyable evening of readings followed by a question/answer session with Lisa Laco of CBC Radio emceeing the night.

Hope to see you there.

Barb Philp

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Sunday October 16, 2016 Series Fiction or Spending Time with Old Friends

Looking at any fiction bestseller list, it’s easy to see that among the titles are a mix of books that fall into the series category.  Like tuning in to your favourite television show each week, many readers come back to their chosen protagonists in book after book.  Most genres feature series but mystery, intrigue, action-adventure, and espionage novels dominate the list.  Whether it’s Sherlock Holmes, in his many incarnations through the last hundred years, or James Bond saving the world from the machinations of Spectre, it’s the character that the readers identify with, rather than the action that occurs within a particular novel.  While Rhett and Scarlett are tied forever to pages of Gone with the Wind, a character like Miss Marple can turn up anywhere.

The list of new and upcoming titles destined for bestseller status is no exception with many of the world’s top authors returning with books for the upcoming holiday season.  If you haven’t tried this type of fiction it can be daunting as many of the series run over a dozen titles.  The In Death series by J.D. Robb recently released Apprentice in Death which is number 42 in the series. Most series though aren’t quite such a commitment.  You might find that you favour a particular type of character who can show up in the works of a number of authors.  Ian Rankin’s John Rebus, or Harry Hole by Jo Nesbo or Kurt Wallander by Henning Mankell are all overworked, social inept policemen with hearts of gold but terrible personal lives and are characters I return to as often as possible.

If you find the world of espionage intriguing, you will probably enjoy Order to Kill, the latest Mitch Rapp adventure. The series was created by author Vince Flynn who sadly passed away from cancer but is being continued by Kyle Mills. The tale follows Mitch through the Middle East as he attempts to prevent a terrorist organization from obtaining nuclear warheads stolen from Pakistan.  Jack Reacher will be returning in Lee Child’s new book Night School.  The new novel travels back into Jack’s time in the army when he and his friends, an FBI agent and a CIA analyst were called upon to stop a Jihadist sleeper cell in Hamburg.  David Baldacci is also back with his Special Agent John Puller series in No Man’s Land, a novel where Puller is forced to retrace a family tragedy that may lead to shocking international consequences.

As a lover of mysteries, I’m happy that many of my favourites are returning in new novels this season. The Trespasser by Tana French is the latest in her Dublin Murder Squad novels. The books feature different members of the Squad as the chief detective of a particular tale but there is a continuity of place and other prior characters play important roles. Author Michael Connelly brings back his most famous creation Harry Bosch in The Wrong Side of Goodbye.  Bosch, now retired from the LAPD after thirty years, has become a private detective and is given the assignment of tracking down someone who may never have existed.  The Obsidian Chamber by co-authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child bring back their long running character A.X.L. Pendergast as missing and presumed dead. It is up to Pendergast’s ward and bodyguard to determine his fate.  These novels are not your standard mystery fare as there is always a strong thread of the supernatural throughout each book.  Finally, John Sandford has released a new Virgil Flowers mystery, called Escape Clause.

Whether the series has just begun or has a few dozen tomes behind it, plunging into series fiction is a great way to spend the upcoming months of more indoor friendly weather.

Lori Kauzlarick

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Sunday October 9th, 2016 Family History @ Your Library

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 third annual Family History Forum at the Mary J.L. Black Branch Library on Saturday, October 15th from 11-4pm. Local genealogist Dave Nicholson will be the host for the day’s activities. This event is intended to bring together family history enthusiasts at all levels. It is an opportunity to learn about new or different information sources, share stories, and get to know the faces of the genealogical community in Thunder Bay.

The morning session will run from 11am-12pm with an introduction to genealogy basics (such as steps to get started and an overview of standard resources). This hour will be particularly useful to anyone who is brand new to the genealogical process.

The afternoon session will begin at 1pm and includes talks from Shawn Patterson (Fort William Historical Park) and Susan Hughes (Thunder Bay Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society). 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 also be offered (sponsored by Rose N Crantz Roasting Co).

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 Thunder Bay Public Library works closely with the Thunder Bay Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society as well as with local organizations and community groups with a vested interest in preserving and promoting access to local history and genealogical resources.

The Family History Forum is free of charge and takes place from 11-4pm on Saturday, October 15, 2016 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, 25 September 2016

Sunday September 25th, 2016 Celebration of the Written Word

Culture Days, an exciting Celebration of the Written Word of Northwestern Ontario is taking place in the Waverley Auditorium on Saturday, October 1 at 2pm. Presented by Thunder Bay Public Library and NOWW (Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop), this will be a celebration of the local and regional community of writers and storytellers. There is a rich history of writing in this area which has developed into the current environment of great storytelling. Join in this event and hear readings from a selection of stories created and published locally over the years, interspersed with a creative interactive storybuilding activity presented by members of NOWW. It will be a fun afternoon of stories, music and refreshments.  

NOWW is a group of writers both seasoned and novice who get together to provide inspiration and support.  TBPL and NOWW also join forces to bring you the Writers' Nights series. Dynamic readings of prose, poetry and nonfiction are presented by fine authors in our region. Qualified readers are chosen from amongst the membership. Join us for readings, workshops and open mic poetry with local writers. Readings and workshops are free and open to the public. Dates, times and locations can be found at or by visiting NOWW’s website at

Saturday, November 19 from 10am-3pm, you can join author H. (Heather) Leighton Dickson and award winning author Jean E. Pendziwol for an extended workshop covering the essential elements necessary for publishing a book.  The workshop will focus on children's, young adult, non-fiction, and adult books. The workshop is free but space is limited so register by going to

You will no doubt want to save the date for this upcoming event at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. On Tuesday, November 1 at 7 pm TBPL, Lakehead University, NOWW, CBC Radio and of course the Thunder Bay Art Gallery are pleased to host the 6th Annual International Festival of Authors (IFOA). IFOA Ontario brings together the world's best writers of contemporary literature, presenting events across the province. Tickets ($15) for the Thunder Bay event will be available at the Waverley and Brodie Libraries and the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. This year we welcome Thunder Bay’s own, Amy Jones, to share the stage with Cordelia Strube, Karen Connelly, and Andy McGuire. Call 684-6811 for more information.

As well as being the place to be to celebrate the written word, TBPL also has many great resources in its collection to help hone your writing skill.  Writing Fiction: a Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway is a bestseller through eight editions. Writing Fiction explores the elements of fiction, providing practical writing techniques and concrete examples.

Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel by Daniel Cooney is his brand-new book which gives detailed instruction in many aspects of graphic novel composition including creating characters and plots and transforming them into dynamic illustrations.

Writing and Selling Your Memoir: How to Craft Your Life Story So That Somebody Else Will Actually Want to Read It by Paula Balzer. This book talks the reader through the process of telling a personal story in a relatable and readable manner.

The library is the place to be, whether you are a reader or writer - you won’t want to miss any of the above events. You’ll find information about these events and others on TBPL’s website and online calendar at See you soon, @ Your Library.

Caron E Naysmith

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Sunday September 18th, 2016 Peculiar Reads

In 2011, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs was published. This young adult novel had an unusual hook: the characters and story were inspired by bizarre vintage photographs of children the author collected from flea markets. Riggs says, “I began to wonder who some of these strange-looking children had been [...] there was no way to know. So I thought: if I can’t know their real stories, I’ll make them up” (author interview, 2013 edition). The enigma of these odd characters attracted readers, and the book became a bestseller, quickly followed by two other titles in the series: The Hollow City and the Library of Souls. The movie adaptation arrives in theatres on Sept 30, and a graphic novel version is already available. The completed trilogy is very popular here at TBPL with both teen and adult readers due to its haunting atmosphere, original characters, and supernatural mystery.

There are other books that offer a similar mixture of atmosphere, whimsy, fantasy, and magic. Many of these begin in a world that seems like our own, but are slowly revealed to be just a little… unsettling. There might be a restricted swamp in an otherwise normal town, or ghosts who refuse to stay quiet. Characters work through supernatural mysteries or quests in these stories set partly in the liminal space between the real and unreal, where things are often quite peculiar.

Scowler by Daniel Kraus: Imagine your father is a monster. Would that mean there are monsters inside you, too? Nineteen-year-old Ry Burke, his mother, and little sister scrape by for a living on their dying family farm. Ry wishes for anything to distract him from the grim memories of his father's physical and emotional abuse. Then a meteorite falls from the sky, bringing with it not only a fragment from another world but also the arrival of a ruthless man intent on destroying the entire family. Soon Ry is forced to defend himself by resurrecting a trio of imaginary childhood protectors: kindly Mr. Furrington, wise Jesus, and the bloodthirsty Scowler.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

The Book of Lost Things: High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own -- populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.

Laura Prinselaar

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Sunday September 11, 2016 hub:north

On June 16th, the Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL), in partnership with the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) and the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre (NOIC), launched hub:north, the new small business incubation zone at the Waverley Library. hub:north will allow a vibrant and innovative culture to develop in Thunder Bay’s downtown core. By providing the space, tools, and training, hub:north is equipped to help entrepreneurs grow their ideas into fully-fledged businesses at a very low cost.

It's about providing professional spaces where entrepreneurs, innovators, and small businesses can congregate to work, to share ideas, to socialize, and get help from a variety of on-site resources,” says Stephen Hurrell, Director of Systems at TBPL. “I'm quite excited by the possibilities for business, social and community building this project [provides].”

Location is key for making hub:north into a business and community hub. Not only is the small business zone located in Thunder Bay’s desirable downtown core, it is also located next to the makerspace on Waverley Library’s ground floor. Having the makerspace on hand is ideal for anyone who wants to make a prototype or needs some help programming an app.

Around hub:north are plenty of desks that everyone is welcome to use daily for free. Entrepreneurs can rent a dedicated desk for a small monthly fee of $50 a month, or share a desk with other entrepreneurs for $25 a month. The second option is ideal for anyone who doesn’t need the dedicated space on a full time basis. Anyone who is renting a desk can also rent a storage locker for a $35 security deposit.

Waverley Library has two new bookable meeting rooms that are part of the hub:north space. The smaller meeting room can fit 5 people comfortably, while the larger one can fit 8. An auditorium seating 120 chairs is also available for a fee; no matter the size of your meeting, the Library has the space to accommodate you. hub:north has business services available such as free wifi and access to printers. And business advisors from NOIC and CEDC are on hand at designated times to help!

TBPL is an ideal place for a small business zone because along with all of these perks, you have access to our many business resources. Anyone is welcome to use the on-site resources at the library, including our current business books, our magazines, and our databases; library cards are free for Thunder Bay residents. We have brand new books on topics of interest for entrepreneurs, such as The Startup Equation: a Visual Guidebook to Building, Launching, and Scaling Your Startup by Steven Fisher or The Crowdfunding Handbook by Clifford R. Ennico. We have print versions of business magazines such as Canadian Business, and access to many more business publications online through CBCA Complete and CPI.Q. Our other databases, including PCensus and InfoCanada, let you do market and statistical research. And our friendly and knowledgeable staff are always on hand to help with your research needs.

hub:north is currently home to five businesses who are part of NOIC’s 13 week Costarter program, an intensive program that helps people grow their ideas into a full business. The five businesses are Intridio, an app designed to expedite the hiring process; Brainshift, an app to help patients regain motor function,, an online marketplace and news hub for skiing; HAIL Cosmetics, environmentally friendly beauty products; and Microbiate, a chemical neutralizer for cleaning hazardous spills safely. At the end of the Costarter program, these businesses may continue to remain in hub:north; we’re looking forward to seeing their innovations become a reality!

For more information, visit or call Stephen Hurrell at 684-6807.

Shauna Kosoris 

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Sunday September 4th, 2016 Back to School

 The beginning of a fresh school year is a wondrous time at the public library. We are eagerly anticipating the influx of class visits (both in library spaces and in local classrooms), literacy based programs, new books, educational events, and more.

Working closely with local schools has always been a priority for the Thunder Bay Public Library. Younger students can take advantage of a wide range of options, including class visits to the Library for puppet shows and story times. High school, college and university students have the opportunity to participate in research workshops that library staff will customize to meet class needs.  These in-class sessions help familiarize students with how to effectively use research material from books, databases, and online sources.

For many of us September feels like a return to routine even if we’re not going back to school.  At the library that routine includes resuming our regular Children’s programming.  This means parents with young children can look forward to the return of regular library programs such as Baby Time, Tales for Twos, and Preschool Storytime.  Read, Sing, Play! also returns this fall with new sessions at our County Park branch in addition to those offered at Brodie and Waverley.

Kids who need a boost with their reading or teens looking for volunteer hours may be interested in the Readers are Leaders program.  Children in grades 1, 2 or 3 are matched with (trained) volunteer partners from the community. The program runs at the Mary J. L. Black Branch Library and the Waverley Resource Library. Volunteering is a valuable and enjoyable experience to help instill lifelong reading skills. If you are 13 years old or over we encourage and welcome you to join us. Accumulated hours can be put towards high school community service requirements. Application forms for participants and volunteers can be found online here or at the above specified library locations.

Other volunteer activities include our Youth Advisory Council (YAC) and helping run some of our kids programs.  This fall you could help out with the Star Wars Reads Day on October 8th or Fantastic Beasts in the Library on November 26th.  If you’re interested in YAC check out our website for registration forms.   Basically it’s a way for teens to have a say in what their library is going to be.  This can take the shape of suggesting program ideas or participating in an offsite visit to Chapters to buy new books.   Each year YAC is just a little different depending on the interests of the group.  Expect two meetings at Brodie and a shopping trip this season.

Parents, guardians, and babysitters, we’ve got you covered too.  If you’re not sure what to do with a rainy Saturday consider the many puppet shows and other activities we have on offer throughout the year.  A few highlights are the Family Lego Club at Brodie, the Old Witch Rescues Halloween puppet show at Mary J.L. Black, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree story time and Craft at County Park, and the Sing-a-long Concert at Waverley.  Please check our newsletter or website for dates and times.  Some of our programs require registration or free tickets for entry.

There’s so much more to share as we head back into the school year (Science Literacy Week anyone?), but alas we have only so much space so I encourage you to explore our website for more Fall fun.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Sunday August 28th, 2016 See You At The Movies

With the end of August right around the corner, the fall season is perhaps every cinephiles favourite time of year.  Each September, movie lovers around the world turn their attention to one of the biggest film events of the year: The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Exciting new blockbusters and independent films make their grand premiere to adoring fans. Although the films are yet to be released, here is a look at some filmmakers making their debuts at this year’s festival.

Montreal native director Denis Villeneuve is returning to TIFF with of the season’s most anticipated films, Arrival. Based on the short story Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang, Arrival concerns humankind’s first contact with extraterrestrials that have mysteriously landed on earth. Villeneuve’s previous efforts are part of the reason Arrival is generating so much excitement. His sophomore film, Polytechnique, is an ambitious and challenging film about the true story of the 1989 Montreal school massacre. Villeneuve’s most recent film, Sicario, finds two FBI agents attempting to bring down a dangerous drug cartel. With the enormous pedigree Villeneuve’s name carries, Arrival is sure to be a hit.

Canadian influences continue to permeate with the latest from Pedro Almodovar’s Julieta, based on the three short stories adapted from Alice Munro’s 2004 Runaway. Almodovar is a world-class filmmaker, with a career spanning over twenty years, containing rich and complex films that defy categorization. Critics frequently cite Almodovar’s All About My Mother as one of his best: a daring film about a mother coming to terms with a tragic loss in her family, while using the contrivances of the plot as a means of exploring tragic issues in a human way. On the other end of the spectrum, Almodovar’s 2006 Volver is a lighthearted look at mother and daughter relationships that are put to the test by bizarre circumstances.

For suspense fans, J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls is sure to bring the right amount of thrills and action to the beloved Patrick Ness book, from which it was adapted. No one seems better suited than Bayona to bring this tale of a misunderstood boy who finds help from a tree monster to help him cope with his mother’s illness. Bayona’s previous films were both visually and emotionally striking about children similarly dealing with grown up situations. The 2007 thriller The Orphanage is a gripping tale of a woman who comes across a ghost story in the orphanage where she once lived. Director Oliver Stone also knows a thing or two when it comes to real life events. Stone’s newest film, Snowden is based on the true accounts of the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden who leaked classified intelligence to The Guardian. Stone’s film promises to be one of the talked about films of the year. Stone has similarly covered controversial figures in his previous films, everyone from ancient icons like Alexander the Great in Alexander, musical legend Jim Morrison in The Doors, to political figures such as Richard Nixon in Nixon and George W. Bush, in W.

Plenty more filmmakers will be showcasing their new work at TIFF this year. Check out the Thunder Bay Public Library’s catalogue and online collections for more from contemporary to up and coming filmmakers. Be sure to share your enthusiasm for these films with the Library as well as through our many social media platforms. In the meantime, we’ll see you at the movies.

Petar Vidjen

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Sunday August 21, 2016 Nurturing Natural @ Your Library

Have you ever been out in the wilderness and found a bug or a bird or some kind of living creature and wondered what it was? Or maybe you’ve stumbled across an interesting rock or shell and wanted to know more about it and where it came from. The Thunder Bay Public Library offers plenty of opportunities to help you identify all the beautiful living and/or created things that surround us in Northwestern Ontario.

Let’s begin with those tiny insects. Bugs of Ontario by John Acorn is a great place to start; it is a fun filled guide to the coolest 125 species of bugs that our province has to offer. Kids of any age who are fascinated with bugs may enjoy flipping the pages of Ultimate Bugopedia: The Most Complete Bug Reference Ever by Darlyne Murawski and Nancy Honovich. This edition within the National Geographic family is full of fun facts and colorful, sometimes creepy pictures of popular bugs.

Speaking of popular insects will always lead to a discussion about bees. The unfortunate and frightening decline in this vital population has inspired a surge in publishing. Learn more about the different bee species in our area and how we can support the bee populations in The Bees in your Backyard: A Guide to North America's Bees by Joseph Wilson. Developing a bee-friendly space with the help of The Bee-Friendly Garden by Kate Frey might not seem like much but if one person does it chances are another will follow suit, and another and another.

Butterfly enthusiasts will enjoy perusing The ROM Field Guide to Butterflies of Ontario. This book will help in identification of these beautiful creatures, including colored photos and information about caterpillar and butterfly varieties. Anyone who has spent time catching tadpoles and frogs with a net will be interested in the National Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians by John Behler and Wayne King. Originally published in 1979, this updated edition provides answers to important questions such as why some frogs are able to freeze solid and still survive. For a look closer to home, try the Familiar Amphibians and Reptiles of Ontario by Bob Johnson.

Lions, and tigers and bears, oh my! Well not exactly. You will find bears in Northern Ontario but the closest to a lion and tiger would be a cougar, lynx and bobcat. In Bear: Spirit of the Wild, Paul Nicklen showcases his photography of several species of bear including the familiar black bear. Another familiar sight around here is deer and moose. In 2012 Dr. Jerry Haigh wrote his third autobiographical book, called Of Moose and Men: A Wildlife Vet’s Pursuit of the World’s Largest Deer. This handbook contains a wealth of information about this unique animal from all corners of the world. An overview of moose biology is featured, along with the history of moose on earth and the marked fluctuations in populations that have occurred over time.

As always, there is even more information to be found amongst the online database collection with collections geared towards all ages and interest levels.

For discoveries of a more inanimate nature, check out the Northern Nature Trading program located at the Mary J. L. Black Branch Library. Northern Nature Trading is a special kind of swap shop!  You can bring in the natural things you've found and trade them for things in our collection. You can trade things made by nature -- like rocks, shells, fossils and pine cones.  Trading is based on points.  We award you points for what you know about your item, what makes it different from similar ones and the quality (clean, good condition). Additional details about this program are available online at

Lindsey Long