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Celebrate Pride: Curtsies not Required!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

What are you doing this Sunday night? Or next Sunday…or the one after that….?

Why not take in some local performances that are original, comic, strange and – best of all! – free of cover charge?

I’m talking about the Sunday night Drag (as in Queen) Show at the Twisted Element. Admittedly, it’s a scene that perhaps only an anthropologist could truly appreciate. Young and old, men and women, gay and straight, all hollering in unison at men dressed as ladies, who lip-sync to the latest pop song, or occasionally an old jazz standard. Sound weird? It is! But, our reactions to drag queens reveal so very much about what it means to be participants in a gendered society. Truly, drag queens give us insight into beauty, masculinity, femininity, performance, gender, attraction, bodies, and choice.

If you’re interested in more, check out these titles:

Guy to Goddess: An Intimate Look at Drag Queens, by Rosamond Norbury

Vested Interests: Cross Dressing and Cultural Anxiety, by Marjorie Garber

Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism, by Pat Califia

For a view from the other side, I recommend Self Made Man, by Norah Vincent. This autobiographical work has Norah Vincent cross-dressing for eighteen months, and working, dating and enjoying social outings as a man. The great thing about this book is that the reader isn't encouraged to be particularly sympathetic to either men or women; rather, just more enlightened about the challenges that both face.

Do drag queens have to be intellectualized? Of course not! Enjoy them simply for what they are: performers who are, (according to my boyfriend, who recently attended a show): “pretty….um…..convincing”.

If you'd like to get a glimpse of Calgary's "queen scene", be sure to participate in PRIDE 2009, on Sunday September 6th!


Celebrate International Literacy Day!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Imagine living life unable to read. Not only would every aspect of your day-to-day existence be challenging, but you would have to bear the additional burden of trying to conceal a "shameful secret".

Sadly, this frustrating and embarrassing situation is more common – yes, even in Canada - than we realize. After all, the fact that one can speak fluently is no indication that he or she can read or write, or fully understand what has been read.

On September the 8th, International Literacy Day, take the time to read with your children. Not only will you expand their vocabulary and improve their grammar, but you’ll show them that they are important, and deserve your undivided attention. Sharing a story is a magical experience for children and adults alike; through stories we experience compassion, exercise our imaginations and learn to solve problems. Reading is so much more than just recognizing words on a page! In fact, why restrict reading to only your children? The Calgary Public Library can connect you with an adult who needs assistance reading, or learning to read. For more information about how you can share the joy of literacy, check out Calgary Public Library volunteer opportunities. Invest just a few hours a month, and you could change a life!

Also, if literacy is your passion, then be sure to visit the Central library on September 8th, when Alberto Manguel will speak about the important role that libraries, reading, and our collective memories play in our search for meaning. Register here.

If knowledge is power, then illiteracy is powerlessness. On September 8th, whether in the library or from your home, celebrate literacy and the tremendous power that is a natural by-product of the ability to read.

For more information, visit Literacy Alberta.

Countdown to Alberto Manguel

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Alberto Manguel is an award winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction books. He’s an essayist, an editor and a translator, too. He’s delivered Massey lectures and received honorary degrees. He’s a giant in the world of literature!

On September 8th, come and listen to Manguel, at the Central Library. He’ll join a panel from 12 – 1:30, to discuss the renaissance of the book, digital trends, and the influence technology plays on our literary lives. Then, from 7 – 8:30, he’ll discuss the important role that libraries, reading, and our collective memories play in our search for meaning.

Calgarians are very privileged to have this renowned writer in our city! No doubt he’ll enlighten and inspire us – especially on International Literacy Day! Space is limited, so register today!

The Life You Can Save, by Peter Singer

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Renowned philosopher, Peter Singer, is at it again. The Life You Can Save is a short but powerful book about world poverty, and the ways in which citizens of rich nations can combat its scourge.

If you were wearing $100 dollar shoes, and saw a child drowning in a nearby lake, surely you would ruin your shoes, in order to swoop in and save the child. Yet, why is it that you won’t donate $100 to an international charity, when that donation could help hundreds of needy individuals? Frankly, we do not feel the same compulsion to help those who are far away, as we do towards those who are close. It is precisely this way of thinking that Singer seeks to enlighten readers about, and ultimately, remedy.

Singer is an ethicist. He is concerned with what is right, what is good, what we are required to do for others, what we ought to do for others, and what duties apply to us.

If you’re interested in poverty, justice, ethics, and the timely and interesting nexus created by all three, check out The Life You Can Save today!

Mind Your Own Business!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I often fantasize that I am self-employed. In those fantasies, it isn’t clear how I actually earn a living, but I know that I sleep in, drink my mid-morning tea while checking e-mails, and spend the majority of the day in my housecoat. Food TV drones on in the background, and I have the liberty of stopping work if there’s a recipe that I simply must jot down.

In reality, people who are self-employed do not have the luxury of waking, dressing and working when they please. They have to be responsible, organized, motivated self-starters with well-managed schedules, and meticulous attention to detail.

If this description sounds like you, why not start the road to self employment at the Calgary Public Library?

  • Find books about starting any kind of business you could imagine, and detailed business plans for a huge variety of industries.
  • Use our business directories to find out if there are similar businesses in Calgary, and obtain their contact information.
  • Search through the last few years of Canadian newspapers (online!), to see if your industry has been in the news. Our digital indices make your search quick and efficient.

To get started, browse our catalogue. Find books and magazines about your business.

For information in electronic format, start from our homepage, click on e-library and then "Business, Business Directories and Investment".

Also, don’t be afraid to contact our Business, Sciences and Social Sciences department. Helping you find the right sources of information is our business!

For those who need more assistance, consider Research Plus, the fee-for-service division of the Calgary Public Library. Let us do the research for you!

Interested in free business programs? Check them out, and register here!

What is the Sound of a Billion Stomachs Rumbling?

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

This month, Muslims throughout the world will observe Ramadan. Through fasting, they will practice self control and learn sympathy for the hungry. Fasting is the fourth of five pillars, which every Muslim must satisfy. What are the others? Use the Calgary Public Library to find out!

Check out our collection, and browse for “Islam”, and “Muslim”. We’ve got books about the history and development of Islam, Islamic theology, Islam and women, Islam and the Western world, Islam and global politics, and so much more! My personal recommendation is anything by Karen Armstrong, one of the greatest living scholars of religion. Also, check out our DVDs! We’ve got documentaries about women and Islam, Islamic art, even children’s DVDs about the prophet Muhammad.

Use our e-library to find all sorts of information, including “Need to Know? Islam”, “Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World” and a full text version of Islam's sacred scripture, the Qur’an. Our databases provide you with access to academic journals; we’ve got thousands (!) of articles about Islam.

Read about Islam and you’ll read about struggles and battles, faith and community, and extraordinary artistic and mathematical achievement. Islam is a rich and dynamic tradition - learn more about it today!

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