Sunday, 27 March 2016

Sunday March 27th, 2016 Spring Cleaning

The past few weeks we’ve experienced typical Thunder Bay spring weather, but now that it’s technically spring my thoughts are turning to spring cleaning.  Those few really warm days have allowed me to open the windows and air out the house thus signalling it’s time to clean.  Why is spring cleaning such an event in our culture?  Perhaps it’s because houses tend to get a closed up smell over winter, especially once it’s warm enough that the furnace is no longer running.  Since spring cleaning has been around long before central heating and truly well insulated homes I did a little reading up on the matter.

On the Encyclopaedia Britannica blog I read that in the past people engaged in spring cleaning to get all the soot and ash out of their houses and belongings.  Everything would be cleaned thoroughly after having spent a season closed up with a fire keeping them warm.  Thinking of how grungy everything must have felt makes me love my furnace all the more.  So a tradition developed of cleaning house that has survived to modern times.

 In our era of hyper efficiency and the constant busyness we’re all looking for the quickest way to get the house clean.  Google “spring cleaning” and you will be given a definition, but most results will be either checklists or articles on spring cleaning tips.  Whether you prefer Canadian Living, Martha Stewart, Style at Home, or some other source they offer cleaning guidance.

With your library card you can gain even more access to articles that may not be freely available on the Internet. Just go to and follow the instructions. The Home Improvement Reference Center has great articles on cleaning from sources like Mother Earth News and excerpts from books on specific cleaning topics, e.g. how to clean your greenhouse.  Searching another database (Canadian Periodicals Index Quarterly) I was instantly granted full text of thirty-six articles on spring cleaning.

Perhaps you’re like me and while the online search is enjoyable you also relish the feel of a book in hand and the authority that comes with print.  We also have a solid collection of cleaning books in the library with topics ranging from environmentally conscious cleaning to cleaning quickly.
For those of the planet friendly bent check out Planet home: Conscious choices for cleaning and greening the world you care about most by Jeffrey Hollender and The naturally clean home: 150 super-easy herbal formulas for green cleaning by Karyn Siegel-Maier.  Between the two you’ll get great house cleaning tips and the ability to create your own cleaning products.

In a rush and just want to get the job done?  If this is your reality we have Express housekeeping: How to speed clean, lighten the laundry load, cleaning tricks & tips by Anna Shepard.  This well organized book has all the basics for keeping your home clean and minimizing the time it takes to do so.  Finally Simpler living:  A back to basics guide to cleaning, furnishing, storing, decluttering, streamlining, organizing, and more by Jeff Davidson may not be a guide to doing the job quickly, but Davidson is there to set you up to keep things simple in the future.

There are many more books on cleaning available at your library; those listed above are merely a sampling of what you can borrow with your library card.  As the last book references in its title we also have scores of books on decluttering, organizing, and making your space just right for you.  That’s a whole other column though.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Sunday March 20th, 2016 Just in Time for Easter

One week from today, it will be Easter, and everyone is sure to remark at the speed of passing time: “How did Easter arrive so quickly?” Easter always marks an exciting time of the year: the transition from a long winter to spring, as seen by the warmer weather and longer days. And for many of us, Easter will have gone by as quickly as it arrived. But why not make the most of Easter this year at the Thunder Bay Public Library, where you can find plenty of resources to help make this a memorable Easter for you and your family.

The best place to learn and enjoy everything there is about Easter is at TBPL’s Children’s and Youth Services. Children particularly enjoy the Easter season. With all the excitement, kids can have the opportunity to learn about the history of Easter, as well as take part in the activities, such as crafting, decorating, baking, and egg painting! So with the warm weather, come down to your local TBPL branch, where you can be sure to find a great Easter book or activity to take part in. Here are some notable items:

Shannon Knudsen’s Easter Around the World is a classic and must for kids willing to learn about the Easter theology and traditions around the world. With vivid illustrations, kids can see how people from different cultures celebrate his holiday, along with the traditions maintained to commemorate it. Easter Traditions Around the Word by M.J. Cosson is a great complimentary title that further explores cultural practices around the world. Easter: Parades, Chocolates, and Celebration by Elaine Landau skillfully connect the origins of Easter all the way to modern day traditions, symbols and celebrations.

Of course, no Easter festivities would be complete without the decoration of the Easter egg. Easter Eggs: 40 Fabulous Projects for the Whole Family is a wonderful addition on anyone’s checkout list looking to create family activities. This all-inclusive book provides instruction on enduring craft classics that can be created with basic household items. The Easter craft book and Easter crafts are an ideal starting point for young up and coming crafters. With plenty of bright pictures and easy to follow instructions, young kids will be inspired to spend all afternoon crafting and decorating.
The Ukrainian Easter egg is a pinnacle Easter tradition that has been adopted by other cultures around the world. Ukrainian egg decoration: a holiday tradition provides the reader with a rich history of where the Ukrainian tradition and folklore of the “pysanka” originated. Eggs beautiful: how to make Ukrainian Easter eggs provides step-by-step instructions for beginner crafters, as well as advanced techniques for more experienced egg decorators. Plentiful illustrations are added along the way to inspire your creative ideas.

If you and your family would like to share any of the great Easter crafts and lore you picked up from these books, then be sure to attend the “Hoppity Hoppity” event. On March 26th, at the Waverley Resource Library in the auditorium, families and kids of all ages are welcome to come and make Easter crafts and listen to some stories to celebrate Easter.  

Petar Vidjen

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Sunday March 13th, 2016 SuperWhoLock

On Thursday March 17, teenagers are invited to celebrate the SuperWhoLock fandoms at our Mary J L Black library program. There will be a cosplay contest, fun fannish activities, cake, other snacks, and trivia. Registration is not required; just drop in from 6:30 to 8:00pm. You don’t need to know all about SuperWhoLock to attend – total newbies are welcome! Participation in this event is restricted to teens ages 12-19.    

You may be wondering – who or what is SuperWhoLock? I wasn’t sure myself at first, but the teens soon looped me in. Online fandoms like to name themselves something catchy and straightforward so that other fans of the same show, celebrity, or book can find them. Doctor Who fans are called Whovians, The Mortal Instruments fans call themselves Shadowhunters, and fans of Taylor Swift are called Swifties. SuperWhoLock refers to three shows: the long-running American tv show Supernatural, Doctor Who, and BBC’s Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. SuperWhoLockians are fans of all three shows.

So what unites fans of these three different shows? Supernatural is a tv show about the adventures of two demon-hunting brothers fighting the forces of evil. Doctor Who features a time-traveling immortal alien with a human companion on adventures through all of time and space fighting the forces of evil. And Sherlock is about two men in modern-day England… fighting the forces of evil (in the form of criminals rather than fantasy or science fictional elements, but the pattern still stands). Even more significantly, I would argue that these shows feature families of choice: characters who make conscious decisions to spend time together and have strong emotional (but not necessarily romantic) feelings for each other. While the characters in Supernatural are admittedly blood relations, most adult siblings don’t choose to spend all their time traveling together in an old car, so I consider their bond to be something special.  In our collection at TBPL, we have seasons of these shows available on DVD in addition to all sorts of official tie-in materials like audio books, prose, and graphic novels. However, fans of these shows can also find tons of other books and comics that feature close friends fighting the sources of evil.

Supernatural watchers will enjoy mysterious thrills in Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen, and The Demon Trapper’s Daughter series by Jana Oliver. Necromancing the Stone and Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride are more fun, fast-paced stories of the paranormal.

For fans of iconoclastic, memorable detectives, try You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin, or one of the many updated Sherlock stories available. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro is set in the present day with descendants of Sherlock and Watson trying to work together despite their differences. However, if you are interested in mysteries that include the science fiction or fantasy elements found in Doctor Who and Supernatural, try Jackaby by William Ritter. Described by the publisher as “Doctor Who meets Sherlock,” the Jackaby series follows an eccentric detective and his new assistant as they investigate supernatural goings on in 1892 New England.

Intergalactic travel more your style? The Prom Goer’s Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy delivers in spades and has the goofy asides and memorable aliens found in some favourite Doctor Who episodes. Every Doctor Who fan should read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (he even wrote a few episodes!), and Circus Galacticus by Deva Fagan is another action-packed trip across the universe.

Laura Prinselaar

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Monday March 6th, 2016 March Break Fun at Your Library

March Break is only a week away! If you’re wondering what you and your kids are going to do for the week, be sure to check out the programs the Thunder Bay Public Library is offering - they’re completely free! As always, there are programs happening all week at Brodie, Mary J. L. Black, and Waverley. But this year we are also bringing March Break programming back to County Park!

Please note that many of our programs require either tickets or that you preregister your children because seating is limited. Everyone (including adults!) needs a ticket to attend our puppet shows, concerts, and magic shows. 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. Registration also opens two weeks before the program.

On Monday March 14 there are three 2:30 pm programs to choose from. At Brodie you can catch Waking Beauty, a hilarious puppet show about a prince trying to wake a snoring princess. At Mary Black you can catch ‘Literacy is Magic’ with Martin Wonderland, a magic show exploring the world of books. Or if you’re 7+ you can head to Waverley to learn how to knit; just be sure you’re preregistered for this event.

Tuesday at 10:30 am has Read, Sing, Play at Brodie, a 100% literacy based drop-in storytime. Then in the afternoon at 2:30, you can drop-in at Brodie to join the Intergenerational Weaving Art Project. People of all ages are invited to help make a woven piece of wall art for the library. You can also head to Mary Black for the interactive musical fun of Jim ‘n I, a well-known local duo. Or you can preregister for Waverley’s Big Nate Blasts Off, where you can crack the code, build a Cheese Doodle structure, or participate in the Messy Locker race.

On Wednesday morning at 10:30, head to Mary Black for Craft Palooza, a drop-in program where kids get to make any of the surplus crafts we have from the last year. Then at 2:30 pm you can catch the Grumpy Grandpas at Brodie or Magic with Michael, the award winning comedic magician, at Waverley. These are popular shows so make sure to get your tickets fast! Or you can head to the new County Park for Bunch of Munsch! This ticketed program will feature Robert Munsch stories and puppets from the Paper Bag Princess.

Thursday morning at 10:30 is Baby Time at Brodie, a drop-in literacy program for babies from birth through 24 months old. Then at 2:30 pm, drop-in for the Make Tracks with Thomas! program, featuring stories and activities with everyone’s favourite Tank Engine. Or you can choose between one of the two Leprechaun puppet shows at 2:30 at Mary Black and Waverley for St. Patrick’s Day! Little Green O’Glenn and the Lazy Leprechauns is at Mary Black, and Leprechauns Never Lie is at Waverley.

Finally, on Friday, there are two activities at Waverley. At 10:30 am, everyone 3-6 years old is invited to Happily Ever After: Fabulous Fairy Tales! This storytime will feature the new puppet show Goatilocks and the Three Bears. Just make sure you’re preregistered for it! Then at 2:30 pm, it’s Science North: Game On! For this program, families work together to play science and math-themed games. All family members who are attending must also be preregistered for this program.

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

Shauna Kosoris