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Film Night at the Glenbow Museum

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Visit the Glenbow Museum on Thursday October 7th, for a rare treat – a glimpse at archival films!

Did you know that the 1948 oil well blowout at Leduc was Alberta’s largest ever oil spill? It wildly spewed for six months and created a spill 5 times the size of the Exxon Valdez spill off Alaska in 1989. And like the more recent BP Gulf spill, endless attempts were made to stop the flow, including stuffing feathers, cement and cotton seeds down the well. The archival film footage at the Glenbow Museum is totally stunning, and you’ll get to see it!

Also, there will be a selection of Esso service station television commercials from the late 1950s, from the Imperial Oil Archives. Imperial Oil sponsored Hockey Night in Canada, and the “Happy Motoring Song” used in the commercials was also the Hockey Night in Canada theme music until 1968. Aging baby boomers will recognize the music at once and will probably be able to sing along!

The third offering will be a silent movie from 1925 called “Petroleum, Alberta’s Newest Industry”. There won’t be a piano player providing a musical background, but David Finch, who writes the weekly history column in the Calgary Herald and is an expert on oil history in Alberta, will give a blow by blow account of what is happening.

As Calgarians and Albertans, we’re surrounded by all sorts of talk about the oilsands. Why not learn more about their history at this FREE event?

For more information, visit the Glenbow Museum’s website.

Social Entrepreneurship

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I don’t typically read The Economist cover to cover, but then I don’t usually find myself in an airport with two hours to kill. The August 14 - 20 issue contains an article about social entrepreneurship that I found really interesting.

Social entrepreneurship is the application of business principles to social problems. But instead of creating financial profit, we create social capital. We create intelligent citizens, peaceful and healthy communities, spaces for people to play and grow and learn.

If you’re interested in these ideas, then join us at the Central Library on Friday November 12th where Dr. Mark Durieux and Dr. Robert Stebbins, authors of Social Entrepreneurship for Dummies will discuss the past, present, and future of this exciting trend in Alberta.

Register for programs online, in the branch of your choice, or by calling 260-2600.

Throw Mama ON the Train!

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

A recent article in the Calgary Herald noted that many Calgary seniors are concerned about public transportation. They’re not the only ones! Plenty of Calgarians, young and old, want to see more frequent bus service, improved safety, and so on.

Sure, Calgary’s public transportation system isn’t perfect. We don’t have LRT service to our airport, and lengthening our existing LRT lines is a time-consuming, expensive and sometimes controversial undertaking.

But, while the city makes long-range plans, we can at least use what we’ve got.

First, tell the seniors in your life about our free programs. We’ve got a variety of programs for all ages, as well as programs specifically for seniors. Visit our Seniors Resource Fair, join a book club, or meet other seniors for coffee and conversation. Learn how to plan for retirement or play with a Wii! Register online, by calling 260-2600, or by visiting the branch of your choice. Then, throw mama on the C-train!

Our Shawnessy branch is at the end of the Somerset line. It’s only a 5 minute walk from the Somerset station.

Our Louise Riley branch is just across the street from the Lion’s Park station.

Our Central library is only minutes from both Olympic Plaza and City Hall stations.

Visit our website for a complete list of our branches and the bus routes that serve them.

For program information, click here.

Don't Fear the Reader!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Upon hearing that I work in a library, many individuals ask whether I’m scared that e-books and e-readers might hasten the end of the public library system. While I’m tempted to launch into a lecture about libraries as community spaces and my “it’s so much more than books!” speech, I usually refrain. Admittedly, nothing kills a party faster than the word “database”. But perhaps next time, I’ll direct those inquiring minds to this blog post.

Here are some of my own reasons for adopting a no-fear attitude towards e-readers:

1) Personalization. You can’t ask the author to autograph your e-book.

2) Tactility! I want paper in my hands! I want to fold corners and crack spines (OK, as a bibliophile, I never do this, but I’ve got the option). Paper cuts? Bring ‘em on! I want my book to remind me that I’m alive!

3) Privacy. If I want to read the smutty parts over and over (and over!) again, I can. With digital downloads, Big Brother knows what you’re reading, and how often. Scary!

4) Old School is cool. Period. Just say no(!) to the planned obsolescence of new technologies.

5) Design. I love the way that books look. Stacked horizontally or vertically, organized by colour or size; they simply look great.

6) Remnants. I love the memories that start to cascade when a bus pass or train ticket falls out of a paperback. All of a sudden I’m back in Europe, on the overnight train from Florence to Paris. A photo or phone number stashed inside a book jacket give books lives and histories of their own.

7) Hugs. Can you imagine snuggling up for bed time and reading to your child, from a glowing screen? Somewhere, the sandman is recoiling! I want a child in my lap, and a book in front of us. I want my child to turn pages, point to words, and nod off gently in my arms.

8) Gifts. I have an old copy of The Beatles' Illustrated Songbook. It’s precious to me not because of its content, but because of who gave it to me, and when. It’s the object itself that I cherish.

Now, am I totally against e-readers? Of course not. They make reading easy and efficient, and they’re fabulous for travelers.

But, reading isn’t only about obtaining data. We read for pleasure, and because in addition to our edification - which is its natural result, the act of reading makes us feel good. When we open a book and read, we take our place in history, alongside all those who have read before us - and we honour them by using the same methods and the same technology.

I’m reminded of Marshal McLuhan’s famous phrase, “The medium is the message”. If that’s the case, give me a medium that’s accessible, personal, private, and classic.

For e-books, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, MP3s, and BOOKS, visit our website, or your local branch.

Calgary, the Cultural Capital?

by Katherine - 2 Comment(s)

I was recently asked to write a blog post about Calgary’s bid to be the 2012 cultural capital of Canada.

Wait. Calgary? The cultural capital of Canada?! What about our big three – Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver?

There are plenty of reasons why Calgary is poised to become Canada’s cultural capital – and why 2012 is the perfect year for us to make a bid. Let me share a few that excite me.

Firstly, there will be several Centennial celebrations in 2012. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that 2012 will be the Centennial year of the Calgary Public Library! It’s only 2010 and already we’re planning exciting events to get the whole city celebrating. The Calgary Stampede will also celebrate its Centennial in 2012. The Stampede is unarguably the biggest party of the year, and its hundredth anniversary is sure to draw both locals, and visitors from all over the world!

Calgary has a young, well educated populous. It’s also experiencing growth because of the many newcomers who choose to “put down roots” here. This combination of higher education and cultural diversity is sure to foment culture! And with a civic election looming, we can vote for the candidates who are just as enthusiastic about arts and culture as we are!

I’m excited to shake off our “cowboy” reputation and show Canada (and the world!) that Calgary is a hotbed of intellectual pursuit, artistic accomplishment, and all-things-cultural.

Bring on the food, dance, theatre, performance, music, lectures, exhibits, festivals, costumes and gatherings!

For more information, please visit


Headphones: Carol King

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

One word: Tapestry.

Stop everything you’re doing and listen to this album!

I grew up listening to it, although it didn’t make much of an impression on me while I was young. But, whenever I return to it, I appreciate the awesome power of the singer/songwriter.

Visit your local library branch for a ton of CDs. Jazz, Pop, Classical, International, and much more! We’re guaranteed to have something you’ve never heard of!

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