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It's Alive!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Libraries house and maintain vast collections of wisdom. The history of our cultures, the reasoning behind our sciences, and the stories and images that help us make sense of our world: they all live at the library.

However, text is not the only format which serves to store and transmit knowledge. Human beings are also repositories of knowledge, experience, and insight. We store it in our hearts, minds, memories and stories.

Join us for a special event at the Central Library on October 2, called The Living Library. It’s an opportunity to borrow people rather than books! Sit down and chat with a diverse spectrum of people, and learn what life is like from their point(s) of view. Follow this link to the Living Library website, and check out the huge range of "books" who participated in March of this year.

"Books" are typically those persons who represent social identities frequently confronted with prejudices and stereotypes, and who are often victims of discrimination, social exclusion or just the subjects of curiosity. A “reader” can be anyone who wants to learn more about the diverse nature of the people in his or her community.

Ask questions to understand more. Speak candidly in a non-threatening, non-judgmental atmosphere. Make connections with someone who can broaden your outlook, give you tips or advice, or explain a new or strange concept.

For more information, please email, or call (403) 221-2094.

For information about our sponsors and funders, please see the following:

Calgary Centre for Culture, Equity and Diversity

United Way of Calgary and Area

City of Calgary Family and Community Support Services (FCSS)

All the World Loves Margaret Atwood!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I first started reading novels by Margaret Atwood when they appeared on my “recommended reading” lists, way back in high school. Having won a slew of awards, Atwood is one of Canada’s best-known writers. Indeed, her writing has earned her recognition from around the world (although that’s a fact I only recently came to realize).

Interestingly enough, one of my ESL students asked me if I was planning to hear Atwood speak when she comes to Calgary. I told him that I didn’t realize she was so popular outside of Canada, to which he replied, “Oh, yes. She’s very famous, you know!”

In the course of our conversation, I found out that The Handmaid’s Tale is one of my student’s favourite novels – definitely something I wouldn’t have predicted about a young, Iranian computer programmer. Talk about a lesson in not judging books by their covers!

Literature has the amazing ability to unite people from varied backgrounds. Individuals who have read the same book are individuals who share an intangible, (though certainly not identical!) experience. Immediately after my student told me about reading Atwood’s books, I felt as if I knew him better. I felt like the ocean that separates his land from mine had suddenly shrunken, and so had our cultural divide.

On September 29th, make your way to Knox United Church for an evening with the legendary Margaret Atwood. Tickets will be sold through the WordFest box office at 403.237.9068 for $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Copies of The Year of the Flood will be available for sale courtesy of Pages Books on Kensington, and Margaret Atwood will be available to sign after the reading.

For more information, see the following:

Atwood at the University of Calgary

Atwood at Knox United Church

Year of the Flood tour dates and locations

Top 25 Canadian Immigrants

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

Calgary Public Library Volunteer Rossbina Nathoo, has been chosen one of the top 25 Canadian Immigrants in 2009. Nathoo fled war torn Uganda at the age of 16, coming to Canada and establishing herself as an independent and socially engaged citizen.

Founder of F.O.C.U.S. on Seniors, Rossbina works tirelessly to make her adopted hometown of Calgary a great place for immigrants and established Canadians alike.

Volunteering at CPL in various programs – including computer literacy and ESL classes – Rossbina provides immigrants access to valuable settlement resources.

Green Before it was Cool

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

At 93 and 86, my grandparents are the oldest environmentalists I know. But if you ask them why they do what they do, you’ll find that practicality is their greatest motivator.

Grammie grows fresh produce, because she loves to bake with rhubarb. It’s cheaper than purchasing from the grocery store, and she enjoys working in the garden.

Grampie walks short distances, rather than driving. He isn’t concerned about emissions; he walks because he enjoys the exercise, and chatting with his neighbours.

Most months of the year, laundry is hung out to dry. Sure, it saves energy, but Grammie loves the smell of clean sheets, after they’ve dried in the breeze.

Everything is saved. Plastic containers are always reused (to the chagrin of my mother, who reaches for what she thinks is margarine, and gets potato salad instead!) and the wax paper from cereal boxes is set aside so that it can be used when Grammie bakes.

Of course my grandparents appreciate the beauty of the natural world. However, their environmentalism springs principally from their frugality. They’ve lived through depression and hardship, changes and uncertainty. They are green because it both makes sense and saves cents.

Why not browse our catalogue for “eco” and check out the variety of publications that are coming out almost daily - everything from green homes to green weddings!

Read our Eco-Action blog for book reviews, and information about environmental community events.

And of course: use your library! Every year we save water, paper and energy by ensuring that materials are used by many, rather than one.

Going green is practical. Going green is a statement about morality. Going green is planning for the future. Going green is trendy. Going green saves money. Going green allows you to meet good looking hippie types!

Visit the library (the original recycler!) and find your own reason to go green…although my grandparents already beat you to it!


Learn at Lunch

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

Every Tuesday, staff from the Business, Science and Social Sciences department gives an overview of the specialized resources included in our e-library. When we assist customers in branches, and speak with the public during community and outreach events, we consistently find that many people don’t know what our e-library is, or the tremendous scope of material that's at their disposal.

If you’re in the downtown area on Tuesdays, drop by the third floor of the Central Library from 12:15 – 12:45, for E-Resources for Everybody, a series of half-hour overviews of some of our favourite and most well-used databases.

We show you how to find newspaper and magazine articles, legal information, resources for small business, auto-repair information, and much more!

Bring your lunch, learn something new, have your questions answered, and make the most of your library card!

So Fresh and so Clean!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I have vivid memories of summers spent on the absolutely unique treasure known as Prince Edward Island. One memory stands out in particular: I was taken to an organic farm, where I was able to tour fields of potatoes and other vegetables, and see how a single horse could contribute so much to a small farming operation. My host was an older gentleman who, when we were finished the tour, reached down to the ground, pulled out a single carrot, and after wiping the dirt on the front of his pant leg, handed it to me. I took the small, crooked carrot and found that it was delicious! It was one of the best pieces of produce I’ve ever had.

Some time ago, I completed (OK, “tried to complete”) a master cleanse which called for lemons, and so I purchased organic Meyer lemons from Community Natural Foods. Again, I was stunned at how much better organic tastes than non-organic. These lemons were so sweet that you could almost eat them as candy. Unbelievable!

I love the taste of organic food, and I don’t mind paying extra to ensure that the food I eat tastes great and is free of pesticides and preservatives. However, organic food is about much more than taste and price.

One film that highlights some of the issues related to organic food is called Fresh. Fresh illustrates how farmers who operate outside of the industrial complex are able to produce healthy, robust animals, without the use of antibiotics, hormones, and the like. It shows how shared gardens can be a nexus for community revival and food security, while at the same time, offering a sensible response to energy shortage. It reveals that traditional, responsible methods of small scale animal husbandry can actually be more productive than the industrial model of factory-farms.

What resounded in me most strongly after watching this film is the following line: “There is no such thing as cheap food”. Some farmer, wage laborer, animal, river, or internal organ will surely “pay” for the low prices we currently enjoy.

Join us on September 26th, in the John Dutton theatre, to watch Fresh. This is an award winning, inspiring, and approachable film. You’ll leave wanting to be a gardener, a hog farmer, an activist, or at the very least: someone bound for the farmer’s market.

For more information:


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