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The Library Celebrates Two Teen Volunteers

by Christine P - 0 Comment(s)

We would like to congratulate two of our library volunteers, Sarena Dharshi and Alisha Ebrahim!

Sarena was the recipient of the City of Calgary’s prestigious 2012 Calgary Awards in the youth category. Volunteer Resources nominated Sarena for her outstanding commitment to the community and her contributions to the Calgary Public Library’s youth volunteer programs. Sarena is a long-time library volunteer, having been with us since 2008, and has volunteered for five different programs as well as serving as co-chair to our Youth Advisory Council. To see all of the City of Calgary’s Calgary Awards recipients click here.

Alisha entered the Imperial Oil Foundation Famous 5 Middle School Contest and was one of five lucky recipients of an Apple Macbook laptop! Alisha has only been a Calgary Public Library volunteer for 7 months but has already contributed a great deal to our programs and we are very grateful to have her as part of our team of youth volunteers! To learn more about the Famous 5 Foundation’s youth awards program click here.

Congratulations Sarena and Alisha!

Sarena Dharshi and Azmin Poonja

Sarena Dharshi, Calgary Awards winner, and Azmin Poonja, Manager of Volunteer Resources at the Library.

Picks of the Litter(ati) July 25, 2012

by Katherine - 3 Comment(s)

A while ago, I read and quite enjoyed How To Be Black, by Baratunde Thurston. Its deft and humourous examination of blackness in America really got me thinking about race and race politics. So, when I saw No matter what...they’ll call this book racist: how our fear of talking honestly about race hurts us all, by Harry Stein, I grabbed it. I can’t wait to read more about this topic.

Two other titles that I’m interested in reading are Here Come the Brides! Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage, edited by Audrey Bilger & Michele Kort and Debating Same Sex Marriage, by John Corvino and Maggie Gallagher. The latter is from Oxford University Press, which is typically an indication that great quality brain food is only a flip of a page away.

The Calgary Public Library gets new books daily! Browse our New and Notable shelves, ask a librarian for a suggestion, use our databases to find books that suit your preferences, or subscribe to our electronic newsletters. We’ve got everything you’re into!

Skinny, Skinnier, Skinniest...

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

If you’re a documentary fan, then check out Thin, an amazing little film from HBO. Thin explores the progression of several women who are residents in an eating disorder recovery centre in the United States. One resident is a wayward teen and another is a university educated psychiatric nurse; it quickly becomes apparent that anorexia doesn’t discriminate based on age or education. But, I wonder – given that nearly every one of the residents was Caucasian – if there are some patterns related to ethnicity...? But, I digress...

The women in the centre are each close to or under(!) a hundred pounds and still believe that they have weight to lose. They obsess over every morsel ingested, and then try their damndest to eliminate those morsels by either vomiting or using diuretics, or squeezing the food out of their feeding tubes (yuck!). Sometimes they hide food rather than eating it at all. It’s an enormous struggle – and a tearful event – when one woman is obliged to eat a whole cupcake. With psyches this complex, it’s no wonder that the women have to receive treatment from a whole team of practitioners: counselors, doctors, dieticians, and others.

The film is really well made. It definitely shows the women in an unvarnished light, and the viewer will at times feel both repulsed and sympathetic. But ultimately, this is not a film about anorexia. It does not explain how anorexia comes about or can be prevented; it does not speculate about why or how these particular women fell victim to such skewed views of body and food. Rather, this is a film about women; about feelings; about obsession. And like a lot of other HBO productions, there is no happy ending offered. Indeed, the fates that befall some of the women who are forced to leave the centre are quite saddening. But this isn’t suggary scripted TV; it’s real life. Er - I guess I should say: It’s not TV. It’s HBO. So be prepared for a bit of grit.

Browse some of our documentaries today! And if docs aren’t your thing, then check out HBO’s dramatic shows. Six Feet Under, The Sopranos and Rome are all fabulous!

Where art thou, BFF?

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Who is your best friend? I’m willing to guess that whoever he or she may be, you met each other more than a couple of years ago, not recently. In fact, it can be pretty hard to go from “newlymets” to best friends; building friendship takes time – an increasingly rare commodity in this busy, busy world of ours. And where to go, when searching for a new best friend? It’s not like you can date around, the way you would if you were looking for a significant other. Or can you?

I’m reading a great new book (with an unfortunately lame title) MWF seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend, by Rachel Bertsche, which is both an examination of what friendship is, and the chronicling of Bertsche’s social experiment: 52 friend dates in one year.

As I read through it, I’m discovering that Rachel sounds like a girl I’d like to have as a BFF. She loves books and brunch and good bad TV. She’s not yet ready for kids, but feels too old for some of the Gen Y’s she meets. She wants to be a full time writer. She even has curly hair, like me! How cute we’d be, brunching and book clubbing and writing together…

I’ll admit that keeping track of the litany of friends' names can get a bit tedious (see the appendix for a full listing!) but what I really appreciate about Bertsche's writing is that it is so frank and honest. Admitting that you would like to find a new or another best friend might make you feel insecure – after all, what kind of total loser would find herself in the friendship “market”, anyway? But that’s just your inner bully talking. The fact is that it’s easy for former friends to drift apart, and for a void in our social lives to appear. Why not learn how we can find and sustain new friendships, and then actively put those strategies into practice?

I’m not all the way through the book just yet, but I’m enjoying it so far. Check it out in print or electronic format!

Active Learning

by Christine P - 2 Comment(s)

Navjot Virk exudes warmth, friendliness and intelligence. She and Piyush have been reading partners in the TD Read With Me program for the past two and a half years. They’ve met once a week for an hour over that period at a Calgary Public Library branch to read and enjoy literacy together. Piyush graduated from the program in June 2012, following the completion of his Gr. 6 school year.

According to Shalini, Piyush’s mom, his graduation comes a few years too soon. ‘I would have liked it if he could have stayed in the program through his junior high years. Navjot has really helped him, not only with his reading, but also with personal growth. He sees her as a role model and a ‘big sister’. Their personalities matched very well. You can’t just give him a book and sit and read straight for an hour. Navjot recognized that and made program sessions interactive for him, playing board games and doing different activities with him, and kept him engaged.’

Piyush agrees, stating that working with Navjot over the years has been ‘really good.’ He has improved his reading skills a lot. He elaborates that Navjot ‘helps you with your homework, if you have some. [Our program sessions] were interesting. It was never the same thing…[the activities were] always mixed-up…so it wasn’t just reading all the time but we played games together too. It was fun.’

Navjot concurs. ‘Piyush is awesome and I think I learn more from him than he does from me. The coolest thing has been seeing his self-confidence increase. We’ve been paired together for so long that we’ve really developed a relationship and it’s been neat to see him make progress through the years’.

Shalini has no doubt that the next child paired with Navjot in the program will see similar benefits from her support. The staff at Calgary Public Library could not agree more.

Thank you, Navjot! And best of luck in Junior High in the fall, Piyush!

If you want to learn more about the TD Read With Me program, click here.

Baby's first Audiobook

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Sure, I’d taken out books on CD before. But, I’d never downloaded one from Overdrive, our provider of free e-books and audiobooks.

Now that I’m finally(!) an iphone user, I’m anxious to download as much free content as I can – everything from university courses to music, movies and books.

The first title that I downloaded was The China Study, and I listened to it over the course of a few evenings, as I walked around my community. Next, I might check out fiction, or perhaps some cookbooks. Downloading these items was so easy! You really do not need to be tech savvy to click or tap your way to hundreds of new titles. Just download the free Overdrive app, and you’re off to the races.

If you need any assistance, just give us a call (403-260-2600) or strike up a chat with us, from our homepage.

And if you haven’t yet heard of The China Study, then may I suggest you make it your first download? Chock full of staggering epidemiological research into the effect of dietary protein on rates of disease in North America and China! I especially recommend it to those for whom a family history of cancer is a concern, and those who may be evaluating or re-evaluating their intake of meat.