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