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Gift Ideas for Teens and Tweens

by Betsy - 0 Comment(s)

These are just a few thoughts for gifts your readers might find enticing around the holidays this year, if you're already thinking about what to buy or send away for family. If your avid readers have already read these, don't hesitate to ask us for other suggestions!

Night Gardener The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier. Molly and Kip are Irish orphans who find themselves indentured at the Windsor Estate, a place that itself is under a mysterious curse. Molly uses her strong storytelling gifts to help the two of them along, while Kip has a more literal prop, his crutch, Courage. This spooky novel was shortlisted for this year's Governor General's Literary Award.

We Were Liars

We Were Liars by e lockhart. Sixteen-year-old Cady Sinclair is spending the summer vacationing on her grandfather's private island, after having spent a summer away with her father in Europe. Now she is back at Beechwood, trying to piece together how she came to hurt her head and lose her memory two years before. She comes from a very privileged and dysfunctional family - readers are shown the Sinclairs through Cadence Sinclair Eastman’s eyes and they will meet her cousins Johnny and Mirren, as well as Gat, her aunt's husband's nephew, with whom became romantically involved. The “liars” are her cousins, herself, and Gat. This is a book that will make you want to start re-reading it almost immediately.

The BoundlessThe Boundless by Kenneth Oppel. Kenneth Oppel's latest newest book throws in everything, from evil villaiins and train robberies, to circus acrobats, sasquatches and Canadian history. When Will ends up in possession of the key to a train car containing priceless treasures on the maiden voyage of The Boundless, the longest train in the world, he becomes the target of sinister figures from his past. The part of his past from three years ago when was invited on a train trip by Cornelius Van Horne and just ended up happening to drive in the last spike on a train trip. The same Cornelius Van Horne, railroad magnate, whose body now lies in state in the train car to which he is now guarding the key. Guarding the key from a murderous brakeman named Brogan. The train car that is only seven miles and 900 cars away from his father.

If I've missed your favorite, let me know. If you and your reader(s) have already read one or all of these and would like another suggestion, let us know that, too.

Gift Ideas for Younger Children

by Betsy - 0 Comment(s)

If you need to buy a present for someone with younger children, or just like to share a great picture book with your own kids, these are a few of my recent favourites:

This Book Just Ate my Dog! by Richard Byrne

Following somewhat in the footsteps of the very popular Press Here, this is a picture book with a bit of interactivity, in which a young girl named Bella out for a dogwalk is very surprised when her dog disappears into the margin, followed quickly by her friend, Ben. When that seems to be just the beginning of this voracious book's appetites, it may just be up to the reader to sort things out and help save Bella, Ben, and all of her would-be rescuers, in a book that may just become a family favourite.

The World According to Musk Ox by Erin Cabatingan

Readers are familiar with musk ox, who stood front and center through both the alphabet and a counting odyssey. After all, it is all about him. Now, in their third outing, the two traipse all around the globe, with zebra introducing facts about each continent, while musk ox is, well, musk ox.

The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier

With the 100th Anniversary of Hockey Canada, it seems terribly appropriate to also have a hockey book for Christmas. What could be better than the 30th Anniversary edition of the classic Canadian title about a young boy's horror when his mother ends up replacing his #9 jersey not with another of the great Maurice Richard, but with a jersey belonging to ... the horror, the Toronto Maple Leafs? This isn't done in a town where the boys dress like the Rocket, act like the Rocket, comb their hair like the Rocket. How can he show his face again? This edition also comes with a bonus DVD.

And Two Boys Booed by Judith Viorst

On the morning of the talent show, after a lot of practicing, a small boy had practiced "a billion times." Judith Viorst presents a cumulative tale about a very realistic fear about performance anxiety with wonderful illustrations and flaps that show how this performer deals with a few detractors in a story that will resonate with anybody that has or will ever sing a song, play an instrument, give a speech, tell a story, or do anything in front of a crowd.

It's a great year for fantastic picture books! If you've found others, or would like other suggestions, drop us a line in the comments. Don't forget that you will find these, and other great titles, in your local Library!

Gift Ideas for Gourmands

by Betsy - 0 Comment(s)

Several articles recently have pointed out that it isn't uncommon at all for Canadians, and Calgarians in particular, to consider online shopping for their Christmas presents. It is a very convenient thing to do for the holiday season, and the very hard-working gentlemen that put up the Christmas lights on Stephen's Avenue reminded me that it's never too soon to ponder what to put under the tree.

America's Test Kitchen's The New Family Cookbook

This is the kind of thorough cookbook that brings to mind The Joy of Cooking , a book my mother used to rely on. This is a revised edition of The America's Test Kitchen cookbook that not only contains 1100 new recipes for every possible occasion, it also starts with a discussion about all of your kitchen implements and how to use them. Each recipe begins with a paragraph on "Why This Recipe Works," guaranteed to provide novice and practiced chefs alike information on why that recipe made the cut for this hefty and enticing book. This is a book that will become a valuable tool for any home library, including lots of valuable advice on finicky things, such as preparing a rack of lamb, buttercream, and shaping challah.

National Geographic's Kids Cookbook

It's hard to believe that National Geographic hasn't ever produced a cookbook for children before, but it's true -- this is their first.. This cookbook is intended to entice kid's to the fun and wonders of the kitchen, and it does all that and more. It is organized seasonally, has lots of pictures of the calibre you'd expect from National Geographic, an introduction that includes cooking tools, techniques, and safety, and throws in activities that your budding chef can do, or that you can do together, courtesy of chef/National Geographic Explorer Barton Seaver.

Sally Butcher's Salmagundi: a Celebration of Salads from Around the World

One-pot meals have always had a certain appeal, as they offer the potential for a somewhat limited clean-up, even if the reality doesn't live up to the dream. Salads have the same kind of mystique. You know you should eat them, but do you really want to? This book offers the best of all possible worlds, especially when contemplating New Year's resolutions. The word Salmagundi itself is derived from a 17th century English expression used to describe a salad with more than 19 ingredients. Here, salad fans (and anyone adventurous enough to try something new) will find 150 different takes on salads that cover things as varied as meats, cheeses, and salads for puddings. Recipes are helpfully provided tags such as "super healthy," "skinny-minny," and "main course" to help with meal-planning.

Don't forget that many of these are available in our catalogue or in Overdrive and 3M as an e-book, if you'd like to add them to your own reading lists. Next week I'll tackle book ideas for younger kids!

Interlibrary Loans 101

by Jan S - 4 Comment(s)

Your first stop when looking for a particular book, movie, CD or any title is to try searching our catalogue. If you find that we don't have what you are looking for you have two options. You can use the Suggest a Title feature on our website, or you can request an item through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

To request an ILL, search for your title in the Alberta Library Online. Once you find what you are looking for simply follow the instructions to submit your interlibrary loan request.

If you can’t find the item in the Alberta Library Online, visit your local Calgary Public Library location and ask staff to help you fill out an ILL request form.

Want to know more about ILL? Here is some basic information to get you started:

What can I request?

  • Print BooksTAL OnlineAlberta Library Online
  • CDs
  • Book CDs
  • DVDs
  • MP3s
  • Microfilm/fiche (In Library Use Only at Central)
  • Photocopies of articles from magazine/journal/newspapers
  • For any format listed above, titles can only be requested if we don't already own copies.

How many items can I request?

  • You may have up to five ILL requests at one time.

How will I know when my item arrives?

  • You will be notified by phone or email depending on how you normally receive your hold notifications. You can also check My Account on our website to see if your item has arrived at your home branch.

Is there a cost?

  • We will always try to locate your title from a library that will lend items for free. However sometimes this is not possible. If we can only find locations that charge we will contact you to ask if you will accept the charge before we request the item. For any Photocopying there is a minimum charge of $5.00.

How long will it take for my ILL to arrive?

  • Depending on the title requested and where we are able to find it; an interlibrary loan may take on average 3 to 6 weeks to obtain if it is coming from within Canada. International items can take longer.

How long can I keep an ILL item for?

  • The loan period for most ILL items (but not all) is 4 weeks. DVDs are 1 week. If in doubt, check the due date listed on the book band that came with your item.

Who can use the Interlibrary Loan Service?

  • Anyone who has a valid Calgary Public Library card.

The best thing about ILL is if you can’t find an item, we will do our best to find it for you! We'll start by looking in Alberta, but if we can't find it in Alberta we will look in other libraries in Canada and in some cases the United States.

Back to School

by Pam - 0 Comment(s)

September has arrived and fall is definitely in the air. It's back to school for all ages. I always looked forward to starting the school year - new shoes, new crayons and a great new schoolbag (remember those). Whether you celebrate or dread the school year Calgary Public Library has lots of great new resources, both print and electronically, to ease into the school year.

One of the best ways to introduce your children to the school experience is to share a book with them. New on our shelves this fall, for beginning readers, are "Tiny Goes Back to School" by Cari Meister and "Miss Bindergarten and the Best Friends" by Joseph Slate. Your children can listen to an e-audio book, such as "Pinkalicious and the New Teacher" by Victoria Kann, as you drive them to school.

Dan Gutman fans will enjoy his latest title in the "My Weird School" series - "Back to School, Weird Kids Rule!". Everyone knows what summer camp means. But Camp Ockatollyguary is different - it's a camp to get kids ready for school. It's up to Andrea and A.J. to rally the Ella Mentry School Gang to make the end of their summer memorable. Teens will enjoy the latest title from another popular author - James Patterson's "Homeroom Diaries" in either e-book or print format.

Every parent wants to ensure their child's success in school no matter what the circumstances. Parents facing the challenges of autism might want to read the updated edition of, "School Success for Kids with High-Functioning Autism" by Stephan Silverman. Just arrived on our shelves and getting some buzz is homeschooling parent Kip Harding's book, "Brainy Bunch: the Harding family's method to college by age twelve".

Our hardworking teachers can enhance their teaching experience with titles such as the second edition of, "The Creative Teacher: an encyclopedia of ideas to energize any curriculum" by Steve Springer. The e-book, "Learning to Teach" by Jonathan Glazzard provides new teachers with practical information and ideas.

Don't forget your lunch box with "The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet" by Laura Fuentes and enjoy school. Have fun learning!

Over 4000 Free Ringtones

by Laura C - 0 Comment(s)

Do you like to change the ringtones on your mobile device? Do you like to assign a different song or sound effect for each of your contacts?

Then Freegal Music is for you! Freegal Music is one of the newest resources in our e-library, it offers Calgary resident Library Card holders:

  • 3 hours of free music streaming a day
  • and, 3 free song downloads a week


The Freegal Music database, which boasts a collection of over 7 million songs, also contains over 4 thousand ringtones for you to choose from. Ringtones include: pop, rock, R&B, latin, TV and movie themes, and seasonal songs. Plus you can find basic chimes, sound effects and more!

With so much to choose from, you should be able to find the perfect sound to personalize your mobile phone.

Click the album covers below to take you directly to the Freegal Music database. And remember, you will need to sign-in with your Calgary Public Library card to stream or download your free songs.

Sounds and chimes ringtones Popular songs ringtones on Freegal TV and Movie theme ringtones Talking ringtones on freegal Holiday ringtones on Freegal

There are hundreds of fun sound effect and chime ringtones available for download, including things like: "popcorn", "coffee grinder", "seagulls", and "dentist in action" (eek)

You can find thousands of ringtones of your favourite songs like: "Girls just want to have fun", "Welcome to the jungle" or, "Poker face"

TV and Movie themes make great ringtones! You can find TV show themes like, "Knight Rider", "East Enders", "NCIS" or, even, "The Littlest Hobo"

There are a number of "speaking" ringtones on Freegal, but this album of Jonathan Winters ringtones is probably the funniest, even if you don't know who Jonathan Winters is.

Change your ringtone to suit the season. Get ready for Halloween with spooky and paranormal songs like, "Dr. Who theme song", "Witch Doctor" and, of course, "Monster Mash"

Want to find more ringtones on Freegal?

The best way to find ringtones on Freegal Music is to type the term "ringtone" into the search box, click "search", and then refine the search by clicking the "songs" tab. You can browse the songs at the bottom of the screen, and listen to them before you download.

If you find there are more than 3 ringtones on Freegal that you want to download, save the songs to your "wishlist" to download next week!

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