Sunday, 26 June 2016

Sunday June 26th, 2016 Summer Projects

Summer has arrived and now that the weather is finally warming up, it’s time to tackle those outdoor projects. The Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL) has books to inspire and guide you along the way, from outdoor entertaining to building projects such as installing a deck, garage or treehouse.
Whatever you want to accomplish this summer, your Library is here to help you. The sky’s the limit.

If you are simply looking for ways to entertain outside this summer, Selina Lake’s book Outdoor Living provides stylish ways to enjoy your outdoor living area. Her beautiful pictures and colourful ideas will have your guests converging on your backyard. Matthew Mead’s Backyard Style also provides different ways to add character to your backyard space and fun ways to entertain your guests, as well as a handful of delicious recipes.

Starting with a blank canvas can be fun because the possibilities could be endless, but it could also be overwhelming as you try to decide where to actually begin. 1001 Ideas for Outdoor Spaces by Brett Martin is full of coloured pictures providing the reader with a variety of ideas for designing their outdoor space along with information on the many options available for building materials and finishes.

If you would like to add more greenery to your surroundings, TBPL has a large collection of vegetable and flower gardening books. But before you begin to dig, check out Understanding Garden Design: The Complete Handbook for Aspiring Designers by Vanessa Gardner Nagel. Nagel shares her knowledge and expertise to help you from start to end with developing a garden design to adding your own personal touches with garden art and lighting.

Are you a DIY person?  TBPL has no shortage of books with DIY project ideas and instructions. Building your own outdoor furniture gives you the opportunity to design furniture that fits your space and meets your needs. The Complete Guide to Outdoor Carpentry has step-by-step instructions with pictures to help you build more than 40 different pieces of outdoor furniture. For more ideas, check out Easy-to-Build Outdoor Project by the editors of Popular Woodworking and Outdoor Furniture by the editors at Skills Institute Press.

Installing a deck can create space to entertain, relax and enjoy the outdoors. The Complete Guide to Decks discusses everything from planning and building your deck to customizing your deck with accessories such as benches and planters. Full colour photographs accompany the step-by-step instructions. Even if you have someone building the deck for you, this book along with others such as Decks Complete: Expert Advice from Start to Finish will give you an idea of the size and look you want.

Sheds and garages can provide extra storage, space to work, and somewhere to park your vehicle. Sheds and Garages: Detailed Plans and Projects for your Storage Needs by Jean Zaputil and Debra Prinzing offers readers different design options to get the space you desire. Add your own stylish touch to your shed or garage using ideas from Sally Coulthard’s book Shed Decor: How to Decorate and Furnish Your Favourite Garden Room.

Backyard Building by Jeanie and David Stiles includes building ideas for treehouses and other backyard buildings. Stiles book includes a few pictures but most projects are shown as sketches with accompanying instructions. For more ideas on creating play spaces for children, check out Playsets: Ideas and Plans for Outdoor Play by Better Homes and Gardens which provides tips and advice for planning your backyard playground and step-by-step instructions for building ten different play structures.

Hopefully we have a beautiful summer this year so we can outside and enjoy the wonderful outdoors.

Lindsey Long

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Sunday June 19, 2016 Thunder Bay's Writing Community

Thunder Bay is cultivating quite a vibrant and active local writing community.  We have had a literary connection for a while - the genesis being in the early 90s with the arrival of Charlie Wilkins as the writer-in-residence at the library.  It seems to me, though, that lately we are hearing more and more success stories:  local people being published in literary journals and magazines, qualifying for and receiving Ontario Arts Council grants, being short listed and even winning literary prizes, being signed with larger publishers and getting writing advances! With the proliferation and promotion of e-publishing platforms, we are seeing local authors successfully navigating the waters of e-publishing!

It was a thrill for me to join the local literati at the 2016 NOWW (Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop) Literary Awards Party in early May.  It was a wonderful affair.  We heard from Thunder Bay's own, Michael Christie.  And it is only "one of our own" who can poke fun at us and Thunder Bay's inferiority complex!!!  Michael's first novel If I Fall, If I Die is set in Thunder Bay, and I must say it was wonderful to read a story of this caliber set in my home town!  We also got to celebrate great news about Jean E. Pendziwol, Amy Jones, and the successes of some other amazing local writers and Award winners Sue Blott, Roy Blomstrom, Susan Rogers, and H. (Heather) Leighton Dickson just to name a few.

But writing is more than fiction, short stories, memoires and poetry.  Having participated in this year's 10 x 10 play showcase, I can attest to the vibrant playwright scene as a subset of the overall literary renaissance. What a fabulous group of playwrights we have to fill that quadrant as well.  10 local playwrights were chosen from a plethora of submissions and then 10 local directors pulled it all together to create a 10 minute short - no easy task!!

Just look to the Walleye magazine or the very similar US publication - North Woods.  In there we find great articles by Gord Ellis (an award-winning outdoor columnist), Elle Andra-Warner and others.

I for one feel that from a literary standpoint, Thunder Bay can hold its head high.  Now of course, all these writers need readers!  And that is where we librarians play a role.  You can always count on the Thunder Bay Public Library, its staff and its website to offer reading suggestions.  If you haven't joined a book club, check out the new club at the County Park branch - they meet on a Thursday afternoon, once a month.  If you want some ideas for your next novel, check out our online source NoveList for great read-a-like suggestions.  If you want to be part of a bigger reading event, be sure to check out the launch of the first "One book/ One community" event tomorrow at the Waverley library.  One title will be selected and the whole community will be invited to read the book and attend local events to share their thoughts. Check out after the launch to see all the activities surrounding this event.

For a more Regional taste, plan to attend a book reading by Minnesota writing Mark Munger.  Mark is no stranger to Thunder Bay, and is in town as part of Finn Fest.  His reading takes place June 24 at 2 pm at the Waverley Resource Library.

Be sure to check out your library for fabulous reading materials - either in paper format or online, either local/regional or national/international!  And watch for a literary celebration planned for the Fall during Culture Days.  Until then, happy reading!!

Barb Philp

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Sunday June 12th, 2016 Your Library Online

We love to see you in person when you visit one of your four Library branches, but we also love it when you use your Library online.  The Library website,, is the gateway to a wide range of services, collections and communities which you can access from the comfort of anywhere in the world where you can connect the internet on your favourite device.

Log in to your Library account online to place holds, renew items and even pay your fines if you have any!  You can search the Library catalogue and makes lists of books you want to read, and opt in to having our system save a list of all the things you sign out.  There are two videos on our website at which demonstrate all the things you can do online with your library card.

About six thousand eBooks are borrowed by our patrons every month.  Our main collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks may be found on OverDrive at  There you will also find instruction sheets detailing how to use OverDrive on eReaders, tablets and mobile phones.  There’s a handy app for reading on the go.

Hoopla is another source for eBooks and eAudiobooks, and also includes a huge collection of current music, movies, TV shows and comics.  Go to to get all the details.  There is a hoopla app available as well.

Do you like to read magazines?  Zinio is for you!  Visit to access this online magazine collection.  There’s an app for that as well.  Since this collection was launched in January the most popular weekly magazine has been Hello! and the most popular monthly magazine has been Canadian Living.  Almost 2,000 magazines have been borrowed from Zinio in the past six months.

Earlier this year we added a new online language learning program to our online offerings.  Go to to explore Transparent Language.  You can make an account and track your progress.  There are over 95 languages available, including English as a Second Language options.  The most popular language to date has been Spanish, and 86 people have logged in to 450 sessions.

If you need to check a fact, do some research or fix your car then head to and log in to My Giant Search.  This will give you access to a long list of databases containing magazine, newspaper and journal articles, reference books and other reliable information you can use for school and everyday life.

You can connect with your Library, and our community, on social media.  Go to for a list of, and links to, our social media sites.  We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube and have several blogs.  Follow us, like us and interact with us where you like to hang out online.

If you would like some help finding your way around your Library online, contact Margaret at or 345-8275 x7251 to make an appointment for personalized help at your favorite Library location.

Joanna Aegard

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Sunday June 5th, 2016 Let the Adventure Begin

This past May long weekend, Thunder Bay’s annual Ten Mile Road Race drew nearly a thousand dedicated runners completing the ten-mile course. Running a ten-mile race is by no means an easy task; months in advance of preparation are needed to successfully complete such a distance under a time constraint. For seasoned runners, the Ten Mile Road Race offers the opportunity to reach a new personal best. For novice runners, it can represent a chance to pursue new goals and challenges.

One of the pleasures of living in Thunder Bay is the wealth of athletic opportunity for its residents to take part in. From dry land to water sports, like running, rock climbing, to kayaking, there are plenty of activities for a new athlete to get involved in. With summer right around the corner, there is no better time to get involved with a new sport. And one of the best places to start your new journey is at the Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL).

One of the greatest appeals of running is the accessibility of the sport. Nearly any able-bodied person can begin to run. With minimal gear and plenty of enthusiasm, running can be embraced by nearly anyone. Ian MacNeill’s The Beginning Runner’s Handbook: The Proven 13-week RunWalk Program is a guaranteed useful tool for new runners. Written with professional insight, MacNeill’s handbook provides useful instruction that ranges from how to properly train, to setting goals, as well as the importance of maintaining a healthy diet.

If running is not for you, perhaps a water sport is what you seek. Lakes and rivers surround Thunder Bay’s geography, which make water sports easily accessible. Kayaking is a great hobby if you enjoy both the serene and/or extreme side of the sport. Falcon Guides’ Kayaking and Bill Mattos’ Kayaking Manual: The Essential Guide to all Kinds of Kayaking are immersive photographic books that illustrate different forms of kayaking. Along with basic introduction to paddling technique, these books will leave you hungry for the actual experience. Along with recreational enjoyment, competitive athlete Jodi Bigelow’s Kayaking For Fitness: An 8-week Program to Get Fit and Have Fun uses kayaking as a tool to increase core fitness.

If you are looking for a water sport that is labour intensive but not as extreme, consider taking up rowing. While rowing can be enjoyed from a competitive or recreational perspective, it is a sport that demands concentration and good technique, and rewards in fitness. Keith Mayberry’s Rowing: The Essential Guide to Equipment and Technique is a step-by-step approach that instructs how to prepare yourself and the boat, the importance of posture and balance, all the way to successfully rowing. With practice, rowing can become an exhilarating and rewarding experience. To better understand the dynamic between determination and reward, check out Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in The Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at The 1936 Berlin Olympics, the true account of eight rowers and a coxswain as they train to compete at the 1936 Olympics.

All the aforementioned resources are just some of the ways one can begin to get involved with the athletic scene in Thunder Bay. TBPL is a great place to network with other athletes and discover what community programs are available. Be sure to check the monthly calendars on the TBPL website using the “view all library events” link to see if any exciting events could take place. Meeting spaces are also available for community organizations to share information and experiences.

Petar Vidjen