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Reading Advantage

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

In the fall of 2010 the Reading Advantage program, one of the Calgary Public Library’s core literacy programs, celebrated ten years of helping adult literacy learners improve their reading and writing.

Using a student centered learning approach, Reading Advantage volunteers work one on one with adult learners to achieve an assortment of goals pertaining to reading and writing – getting a driver’s license, pursuing post-secondary education, improving employability and reading to a child. In addition to the measurable improvements to a Reading Advantage learner’s reading and writing abilities, the relationship and rapport that develops between volunteers and learners is truly immeasurable.

With the help of a Library volunteer, Maryon, has been working on improving her writing skills and is taking a writing class. For her class she has written an essay titled “A Public Library Card” where she talks about the Reading Advantage program at the library, and what it can do for adults looking to improve their reading and writing skills:

If you are interested in helping a learner like Maryon improve his or her literacy skills or know of an adult literacy learner who could benefit from the program, please contact the Reading Advantage program by telephone 403-260-2729 or email

To learn more about this program click here.

No More Praying Tutors

by Katherine

During a recent trip to Las Vegas, I toyed with the idea of gambling, but ultimately decided not to. After all, the house always wins, but beyond that, I just don’t have the math skills to make quick decisions about doubling down or anteing up. Alas, I was one of those kids (and now am one of those adults) who makes calculations by counting on my fingers. And the other players at the blackjack table simply don’t have the patience for “...15, 16, 17,’ll stay!”

If you’re someone who never quite mastered the basics, then check out Math for Grownups, by math educator Laura Laing.

Many years ago, my math tutor told me that he would pray for me, before a big exam. The exam went well, but I’ve never been able to forget the feeling that if God had to intervene on my behalf, then I was surely a loser who was destined to forever struggle with math. A book like this one may have helped me more in the long run than a plaintive prayer from a frustrated tutor.

If you’re brushing up on your math skills or upgrading for continuing education courses, then browse section 510 for textbooks at all grade levels. If you’re anticipating writing a diploma exam or its equivalent, we’ve got The Key study guides, too.

Bob’s Your Uncle

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Okay, I don’t have an uncle Bob. My uncles are Gavin, Colin, Allan and John.

I work in Research Plus, where we get all sorts of questions about genealogy. Customers want our help in tracking down their birth parents, or their great aunt’s obituary, or the name of the guy who lived beside their parents’ house, in 1952.

Do you have a question related to genealogy? Visit the 4th floor of the Central Library, where our well trained staff will help you find old city directories, newspaper clippings, high school yearbooks, family histories and more. Or check out the basement level of the Central library, for newspapers on microfilm. Or, contact Research Plus, and for a fee, we’ll do the work for you!

Check out our program guide for free genealogy programs, and read our Community History and Family Heritage blog, too!

Happy 50th, Massey Lectures!

by Katherine - 2 Comment(s)

I’m a huge fan of CBC’s Massey lectures and the new one is on our shelf today. It’s called Winter: Five Windows on the Season, by Adam Gopnik. Place a hold today, and make a note in your calendars: the lectures will be broadcast on CBC’s Ideas, November 7 – 11 at 9 PM.

The CBC has commissioned the annual Massey Lectures since 1961, so this is the 50th year! If you’ve never delved into one, I highly encourage you to explore. Here are some Massey lectures that I’ve read and loved:

The Educated Imagination, by Northrop Frye

Myth and Meaning, by Claude Levi-Strauss

The Malaise of Modernity, by Charles Taylor

On the Eve of the Millennium, by Connor Cruise O’Brien

Becoming Human, by Jean Vanier

Beyond Fate, by Margaret Visser

The Ethical Imagination, by Margaret Somerville

The City of Words, by Alberto Manguel

Payback, by Margaret Atwood

The Other F Word: Frugality!

by Katherine - 3 Comment(s)

One of my goals is to manage my money more effectively. So I typically browse through basic books or blogs on budgeting (spot the alliteration, kids!). In the reams of top 20 lists and collections of tidbits and tips, one piece of advice resounds again and again: use your library. Libraries allow you to borrow books for free, but it’s much more than that. Here are some more ways that your library allows you to stay frugal:

Libraries might encourage you to cancel your magazine or newspaper subscriptions, because many of these can be read online, with your library card. You might decide to borrow a movie rather than renting one, or perhaps you’ll attend a free screening in the library’s theatre. You might learn a new skill by attending a free program – perhaps one about budgeting – or renting an instructional DVD. You could use library books or databases to learn about fixing a car, bike or appliance, and spare yourself the cost of buying a new one. Explore our collections about cooking and learn to prepare healthy, frugal meals. Home cooking is a huge opportunity to exercise frugality! Attend some of the library’s special programs and speak with a lawyer, doctor, or career coach, for free! Check out the program guide for free concerts, and free access to our Writer in Residence.

Not all of our entertainment and enjoyment need be expensive. In fact, the library is a great place in which to instill a sense of frugality in your children. And children who have a sense of how money can be saved in simple ways will be well on their way to managing money when they’re adults.

The Great Stagnation, by Tyler Cowen

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

Check out this popular new book, for an interesting account of how the United States went from superpower to super broke. Cowen has no bias against either Republicans or Democrats, and he doesn’t seek to lay blame, but rather to enlighten readers about the causal factors involved in the recession of an economy as large as the United States’. His explanations are clear and reasonable; this is everyday economics for folks who are drawn to real world examples rather than complex theories. David Brooks of the New York Times states that this is “the most debated nonfiction book so far this year”. Check it out today.