Sunday, 31 July 2016

Sunday July 31st, 2016 Gershwin Prize Winners

One thing I love about working in a library is that you learn something new every day. The other day a patron came into the library and asked me if I knew who Smokey Robinson was. I replied that he is a singer. This very kind gentleman, who I hope is reading this article, started to tell me more about Smokey Robinson and even made me a photocopy of an article from the Chronicle Journal so I could read more about this talented artist.

The article I’m referring to appeared in the paper on  July 6th and was about The Library of Congress presenting Robinson with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Reading that this award came from The Library of Congress, I wanted to learn more so I went to the Library’s website. The Gershwin Prize commemorates George and Ira Gershwin for their dedication to song and culture. Every year the award is presented to an artist to honor their work “entertaining and informing audiences, for drawing upon the acknowledged foundations of popular song, and for inspiring new generations of performers on their own professional journeys” (  The recipient of the award is selected by the Librarian of Congress and a board of individuals with a diverse knowledge in music. The Gershwin Prize has also been presented to Willie Nelson, Billy Joel, Carole King, Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon.

If you are interested in listening to the music of Smokey Robinson or learning more about his life, as well as the music and life of the other award winners listed above, then head down to your Thunder Bay Public Library. Our CD collection contains music either performed and/or written by these talented artists. You can also temporarily download music from Hoopla, TBPL’s online access to thousands of movies, TV shows, audiobooks and music. For more information on how to access Hoopla go to

TBPL also has a biography section that contains works about the incredible careers of these artists. Country music legend Willie Nelson talks about his amazing life and career in his biography It's a Long Story: My Life. Written by music journalist Fred Schruers, Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography discusses everything from Billy Joel’s family history and his childhood to his award winning career as a singer and songwriter. The only female artist to receive the Gershwin Prize so far, singer and songwriter Carole King shares the details of her life from starting her musical career to her role as an activist in her book A Natural Woman: A Memoir. In his own words, songwriter and composer Burt Bacharach takes readers on an intimate journey through his life and music career in his biography Anyone Who Had a Heart: My life and Music. Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney by Howard Sounes is written using original research and interviews to put together a story of McCartney’s life before and after The Beatles.  And finally, if you only know his music with Art Garfunkel, then you may want to read Marc Eliot’s book Paul Simon: A Life which delves into Paul Simon’s music career from the beginnings to his current work as a solo artist.

You will also find biographical information on these artists and more in the Library’s online databases. Log in to My Giant Search with your library card number and PIN number and select the database Biography in Context. You will find biographies, images, audio news and more.

Lindsey Long

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Sunday July 17th, 2016 One Book: One Community

In a commendable effort to bring our community together the Thunder Bay Public Library and Community Action Panel (CAP) have started a new project called One Book: One Community. Everyone who chooses to participate will read the same book, at the same time thereby manifesting in part some of Amy Jones’ new book We're All In This Together. You will find all the details at

Not familiar with CAP? Community Action Panel meets regularly to contribute ideas and provide input on Library services, collections and programs. Anyone is eligible to join and provide valuable input in ensuring the Library is meeting and exceeding the needs of the community. Application forms are available on the Library’s website at

Amy Jones’ first novel is set in her adopted hometown of Thunder Bay, and the author cleverly weaves in references to local culture and scenery. Themes in her book include family relationships and emotional wellbeing. The musings of this novel are all related to the mysteries of human behaviour and the realization that things are seldom what they seem.

One of the characters, Kate Parker, goes over Thunder Bay’s Kakabeka Falls in a whiskey barrel taken from her son-in-law’s backyard bootlegging venture. The video of this goes viral, the result of which is the return home of her daughter Finn, who had moved to Mississauga to pursue a writing career.

The Friends of the Library have generously donated ten copies of this book, as well as a ‘Book Club in a Bag’ (set of ten books) for book club discussions. A list of potential discussion raising questions is available in pdf format on the TBPL website. As always you can place a hold on this book with your library card and pin, and in turn download it from Overdrive.

One Book: One Community was launched on Monday June 20th at the Waverley Library.  You now have the remainder of the summer to read the book and reflect upon it. September and October will offer some fun events in conjunction with this endeavour. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to participate in fun weekly challenges about the book, starting in September.

On Saturday, September 17 from 10 to 11 am there will be a Geological Tour of the Kakabeka Falls area to explore the history of the site where the book is set. Meet in the Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park parking lot.  

On Tuesday October 4 from 6:30-8:30 pm in the Waverley Auditorium there will be a presentation of We're All In This Together: Mental Health Panel. You will see and hear from people and places in Thunder Bay with a focus on mindfulness, self-awareness and resilience.

One Book: One Community Celebration will take place on Saturday, October 22 from 2 to 4 pm in the Waverley Auditorium where you will meet the author and listen to CBC's Cathy Alex interview her, discuss the book, ask questions, enjoy refreshments and even win prizes! For more information contact Joanna at

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 of the Optional Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at UBC, and her fiction has appeared in Best Canadian Stories and The Journey Prize Stories. Her debut collection of stories, What Boys Like, was the winner of the 2008 Metcalf-Rooke Award. Says Amy, "There's so much that I love about this city and I really want people, and the rest of Canada, and the rest of the world, to understand the feeling of the place, and what it is that I love
about it."

Caron Naysmith

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Sunday July 10th, 2016 The Battle of Mount Sorrel

The Battle of Mount Sorrel began at 8.30 am on June 2, 1916 when the Germans unleashed a hail of gunfire which continued until 1pm. The Germans overran the Canadian trenches on a front of about 1000 metres and captured the heights of Mount Sorrel, Hill 61, Hill 62, as well as the eastern portion of Observation Ridge by early afternoon.

The Lakehead’s 52nd Battalion took part in the counter attack to the north of Hill 62 against Sanctuary Wood, and met up with Canadian units still holding the original front lines near the ruined village of Hooge.

Private W.C. Millar of the 52nd recounted the inspiring leadership of his commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel A.W. Hay, who raced back and forth encouraging the men forward, even with the shells blasting holes through the ranks.

The 52nd was shot to pieces before it even made it to the front; only  ‘D’ Company reached the jumping off position. The battalion took crippling losses of several hundred men before Hay too was killed by the incessant fire.

Archibald Hay was born in Quebec City in 1874 and became an insurance agent. He enlisted at Port Arthur in April 1915 and was commissioned as Lieutenant Colonel in the 52nd Battalion in October 1915. He died on June 3, 1916 at age 42 and is remembered at the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial and at St Paul’s United Church, Port Arthur.  

Major Alexander Young was also killed on June 3, 1916. He was born in Scotland in 1859 and became a career soldier with 24 years’ service with the Royal Canadian Regiment in Toronto and Quebec.  He served in the South African Campaign and received Long Service and Good Conduct medals. He was given a commission in May 1915 as a Lieutenant to become the Adjutant of the 52nd where his years of experience would benefit the battalion. He was promoted to Major in July to command A Company. He is remembered at the Menin Gate.

The two sides dug in trading small arms fire with the steady fall of rain, high explosives, shrapnel and gas adding to the misery. Little was achieved other than the slow creep of casualties. The Lakehead lost 20 men between June 2-5, but much worse was to follow.

On June 6, the Germans blew up four mines; the 28th Battalion lost two whole companies, including over 20 men from Port Arthur and Fort William. They are all remembered on the Menin Gate.

Perhaps the saddest loss was that of John H Woodside of the Algoma Hotel, Port Arthur, who had two sons in the 28th Battalion. John Morris Woodside was a machinist and his brother Allen Ray was a street railway motorman. They both enlisted on October 23, 1914 and became Privates in the 28th Battalion. They died together on June 6, 1916 aged 23 and 25 respectively. They are also remembered at Trinity United Church, Thunder Bay.

The battle claimed another officer’s life on June 22, 1916. Lieutenant Stanley Pringle was born in 1892 at Belleville, Ontario. He was a clerk and lived at 315 Dawson Street, Port Arthur. He was wounded by shrapnel in both feet on June 8, 1916. These had to be amputated and he died at age 24. He is remembered at the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.

Two weeks of fighting at Mount Sorrel had resulted in almost no change in the ground held by both sides. But the battle had cost the Canadians more than 8,700 casualties and the 52nd  Battalion suffered heavily. Three officers were killed (Hay, Young, Pringle) and seven were wounded. Among the other ranks 46 were killed and 168 were wounded. The death notices and obituaries of these fallen soldiers appeared in the local newspapers over the following days and weeks. These can be found on the WWI Thunder Bay Centennial Project website at along with their attestation papers and burial records.

John Pateman

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Sunday July 3rd, 2016 New Items at Your Library

Hey Thunder Bay, this may be a surprise to you, but the Thunder Bay Public Library has brand new items that you can borrow for free with a valid library card! This includes recently released movies, books, audio books, graphic novels, music cds, and magazines.

I know that some of you think we only have older or educational movies. While we do have some of those, we also have many recently released movies and television shows on dvd that you can borrow for free with your library card. Some of our recent dvds are listed in our newsletter, Connect, including Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, The Revenant, and Brooklyn. Some new family and children’s DVDs include Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, Hotel Transylvania 2, and The Peanuts Movie. All of these movies were recently in the theater (November 2015 for Brooklyn, December 2015 for Star Wars, and January 2016 for The Revenant). You can also check out the New and Upcoming DVDs list on our website, for our newest dvds, like Deadpool, Gods of Egypt, Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next, Orange is the New Black Season Three, Zoolander 2, and Game of Thrones Season 5.

Like our dvds, we have brand new books, too. Looking for the new Tilly Bagshawe, Clive Cussler, Janet Evanovich, Stephen King, Diana Palmer, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, or Stuart Woods? They’re all available at your local library. Want a new children’s or teen book? Those are here, too. Some of our new physical books and audiobooks are listed in Connect, while the even more recent titles are listed under New DVDs, books, and more on our online catalogue . Or check out our New & Upcoming list of adult books (available at our branches and on our website) to see what’s currently available.

Please note: after July our New and Upcoming Lists will be going on hiatus over the summer while we change to a new distributor. The lists will return this fall!

If you’re looking for our new music cds, the best list we have is in Connect. Our current issue’s list includes Santana’s Santana IV, Martina McBride’s Reckless, and Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals’ Call It What It Is. You can also look on our catalogue under New DVDs, books, and more for all the new music cds we have.

Our graphic novels and magazines are unfortunately not listed in Connect or in dedicated lists on our website. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have them! You can try running an advanced search of our catalogue to find the new graphic novels we have, like The Mighty Thor or Howard the Duck. You can also wander into one of our branches to browse through our collections. Or just ask us! Be aware that the collections at our different branches differ from one another.

I should warn you though: while we own copies of these recently released items, that does not mean you will see them in the library. Our super new releases usually have multiple holds on them (for example, at the time of writing this, Deadpool has 26 holds on it, and James Patterson’s Bullseye has 21). In most cases we have several copies of these items available, but due to the number of holds it may still take you awhile to get one. Things that have been out for a few months are more likely to be available when you wander into one of our branches, although they may also be out; if that’s the case, put it on hold to get the next available copy. And don’t forget, you can borrow all of our items for free with a valid library card!

Shauna Kosoris