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Get a Jump on the Christmas Season!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Okay, I can’t believe I’m actually typing this in November, but...

The Christmas season can cause an inordinate amount of stress. We’ve got to manage family visits, cooking and baking, decorating and gift giving – and all while trying to survive in less than ideal weather conditions, and while wearing ever tightening pants.

Get a jump on your to-do list and you’ll have more time to relax, as the day approaches.

The Calgary Public Library is a great place to begin! We’ve got tons of books and magazines about decorating, a huge repository of Martha Stewart’s tips and tricks, and an enormous collection dedicated to cooking. We make our Christmas books and music available well before the holiday, too!

So, put to together a master playlist of Christmas music, decide on a menu, and get this season under your firm control!

Ask our information desk staff where to find music, cookbooks, decorating magazines, and information about the history and traditions associated with Christmas.

Don’t celebrate Christmas? We’ve got lots of information and resources about other major holidays and festivals, too.

And be sure to browse through our programs! We've got holiday themed programs for children and adults, and festive live music throughout the month of December.

Great Kids in our Midst

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

It’s not too often that a young Calgarian gets to shake hands with our Premier. At the Fantasyland Hotel Ballroom on October 16th, Aminah Farzana got to do just that.

Aminah was one of 16 recipients from around the province (and one of just four in her age category) to receive a Great Kids Award for 2010. These Awards are given by the Government of Alberta to recognize youth who demonstrate compassion, determination, courage, generosity, and strength of spirit. (You can learn more about the Great Kids Awards here and watch a video of the ceremony here.)

A frequent volunteer with the Calgary Public Library, Aminah was a natural choice for this nomination and we are so pleased she was selected as a winner! She’s made quite an impact on the world around her already.

Aminah came to Canada at the age of seven. Returning to Bangladesh at age ten for a visit, Aminah was struck by the poverty there. "This experience made me thankful to be in Canada, because although my mom was from a middle class family, my dad grew up in a very poor family. My dad managed to break the cycle of poverty through education, and he inspired me to take education more seriously. Now, I'm a firm believer of 'the pen is mightier than the sword' and I hope to engage myself in a profession that will allow me to give back to the society that I am a part of, and that is part of me."

The Library has four programs supported by youth volunteers, and Aminah has volunteered with all four. She has been a technology coach for young children and seniors alike, tailoring lessons to differing ages and skills levels. A self-described "big fan of books", Aminah has shared this fondness with younger readers. More recently, she has led engaging activities for her newcomer peers, encouraging them to develop their spoken English in ESL Teen Talk.

Throughout her volunteer career, Aminah has had a hand in opening the door to new worlds of education, inspiration, and enjoyment.She has found volunteering to be beneficial for herself as well as those she helps. "The hours I put into volunteering give me a sense of fulfillment because I'm doing something productive by helping others."

Aminah's contributions don't stop there. Active in her school community, Aminah is a valued member of the Social Justice Club. Her commitment to thoughtfully living her values, sharing her views respectfully, and hearing others with the same respect, has made an impression on her teachers and fellow students. Her Social Studies teacher has this to say:

“Over the course of the last two years, Aminah has become an active citizen trying to raise awareness and arouse action in relation to her passion for ending discrimination and prejudice. In particular, she spearheaded and spent countless hours on a ‘Safe Classrooms’ campaign in which she designed, created and then posted ceiling-to-floor posters which depict the various religions, ethnicities, gender and sexual identifications represented at our high school. This visible demonstration against the marginalization of minorities got students and teachers alike talking about who makes up our communities and what it means to be a global, engaged citizen.”

Along with a sleek statue for her memento shelf, Aminah received a new IBM ThinkPad laptop, a gift certificate for her and her family to enjoy the attractions at West Edmonton Mall, and other gifts.

Congratulations, Aminah!!

Kung Fu Reading!

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

Meet Paul, TD Read with Me Volunteer

Paul Jassar enjoys working with kids and, according to my pre-teen source, the feeling is mutual. The tall basketball player is easy-going and calm with a good sense of humour. Currently enrolled in the final year of his elementary education degree, Paul volunteers because 'it’s a chance to feel a sense of community and help out those who are a part of it. Volunteering also allows me to network and meet new people and that is important to me’.

Paul began working with Tony, his little buddy in the TD Read With Me program in January 2009. Tony, a cheerful and energetic boy, hasn’t always been the most enthusiastic of readers and had a short attention span for the process when they first began working together.

Tony is a big martial arts fan, so in some sessions when Paul noticed Tony’s focus was starting to wane after they’d read for a while, they would go into the library stacks to find books on martial arts, read about some of the stances or moves and then quietly practice them together. Over time, Tony’s attention span and appreciation for reading have developed and today, he regards himself as a ‘reader’.

Tony had the following comments about Paul in October 2010:

‘I think he’s a really positive person. He’s a good person to work with and a fun person to play with…a good partner. We don’t always read together right away; sometimes we play games or go on the computer. He discusses about something and tries to cheer me up.

He’s helped me a lot. Now I can actually read chapter books and I’ve improved so much. He helped me break the letters up’.

According to Lieu, Tony’s mom, ‘Paul is really trustworthy, a good teacher and person’.

Paul and Tony plan to continue working together for at least the rest of the 2010-2011 school year. While Tony will ‘graduate’ from the TD Read With Me program sometime next year, the legacy and benefits of the fun and learning he’s shared with Paul through the program will last a lifetime.

Use it or Lose it!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

We’ve all heard that without regular physical and mental exercise, our muscles and minds can atrophy. I’d like to suggest that the same is true of public libraries.

If you want to ensure that your Calgary Public Library system remains a priority in the eyes of our new city council, the best thing you can do is to use the library! Renew that old library card, join a free program, and borrow to your heart’s content! Make sure to cruise our website, too. Here’s why $12 per year (the cost of an adult library card) is the best deal in town:

  • It pays for your subscription to the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun.
  • We’re getting new DVDs all the time! Feature films, documentaries, TV series, and more! Borrow up to 30 at one time!
  • Programs are free! Interested in painting, or small claims court, or playing chess? We’ve got a huge variety of programs for people of all ages, and in a variety of world languages.
  • We’ve got stuff you’ve never heard of! Seriously. Browse our art and music collections. No matter how savvy you already are, you’ll find something you’ve never heard of, here.
  • Learning is free! Check out schools around Calgary, and you’ll find that art, music and languages classes are not inexpensive. Instead, come to the library and get started learning something new. How do you cook a turkey? Should you work with oils or acrylics? What are some basic Italian words that all travellers should know? Your library card pays for the answers...
  • Your children are worth it. Children who master their language at a young age are empowered. Being able to read and write allows for creative expression, and an increased sense of self esteem. When your children are young, they will learn to read. But, for the reminder of their lives, they will have to read to learn. Visit the library and expose your children to the wealth of options that lie within. We have storytime programs, youth book clubs, and librarians who are thrilled to make suggestions (and we’re betting that the part-time Christmas staffers at Indigo are not as invested in your child’s literacy skills as we are...).

An adult can enjoy all these benefits and more for only $1 per month. Come on, Calgary: use your library!

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