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