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Snow... what is it good for?

by Stephen - 0 Comment(s)

It’s been awhile since we have had a truly snowy holiday season like this one. While you are taking some time off with family and friends this year, be sure to take advantage of this winter wonderland while it’s here (and you aren’t trying to commute in it). Here are a few fun titles from the Calgary Public Library to get you in the mood!

Snowmen at Work

Snowmen at Work by Caralyn Buehner

What do snowmen do when we’re all asleep? An awful lot it turns out as we learn about all of the important jobs snowmen do when the sun sets and we’re all asleep. This fun (if also somewhat terrifying) idea makes for a great book to share with the family on a cold winter day. If you like this one, be sure to check out the other 3 in the Snowmen series.

100 snowmen

100 Snowmen by Jen Arena

What’s better than one snowman? How about 100? This is a beautifully illustrated numbers book depicts snowmen sliding, having snowball fights, playing hide and seek and just plain enjoying the snowy landscape. Great for young children, who are beginning to grasp basic addition, this is a fun way to introduce children to math (and snowmen).

On Linden Square

On Linden Square by Kate Sullivan

Stella Mae Culpepper’s winter vacation is off to a slow start as she spends the first morning watching her neighbours going about their daily lives in Linden Square. She recognizes them all, and yet she’s never spoken a work to any of them and they’ve never stopped to say hi to her. All of that changes when a sudden blizzard fills Linden Square with snow. As most children know snow = potential and Stella is soon sculpting and playing in the cold fluffy goodness which her neighbours can’t resist for long, even if they are grown-ups.

Snow Play: How to Make Forts, Slides, Winter Campfires, plus the Coolest Loch Ness Monster and 21 Other Brrrilliant Projects in the Snow.

The title pretty well says it all for this wonderful winter activity book of projects and games to keep children busy during those sub-zero days. Each activity includes colour photos and detailed illustrations to help children (and adults) along. Aimed at older children, young ones will need an adult to help with many of these activities.

Picture Perfect Parties

by Lorrie - 0 Comment(s)

Since we are heading into a season with some serious celebrating you may want to check out some books about putting on the best party on the block. Some people are known for their ability to throw fabulous parties and luckily they are willing to share their knowledge with the rest of us. Why not check out some party books to give your New Year’s bash that little extra something.

Picture Perfect Parties by Annette Joseph gives you multiple ideas to plan that perfect party. A step-by-step book is always nice when you want to put on a fabulous party for your closest friends. Picture Perfect Parties gives you step-by-step instruction for creating the kind of party you really want. It tells you what kind of food and drinks you should serve, how to set the table and decorate the house. Everything is done with the budget conscious in mind including using household items to decorate.

The idea behind this book is to make your party fabulous without tons of money or labour involved. The recipes are tested, simple, delicious and easy to make. Planning is key to having a successful event with helpful suggestions like setting the table a day ahead and choosing recipes that can be cooked ahead.

Martha Stewart was one of the first to create a book for entertaining that pulls together planning, decorating and recipes with your own sense of style. The word entertaining took on a whole new look when Martha Stewart came out with her book Entertaining and now you can find many good books on how to put together a memorable gathering. Martha has a newer title called Martha's Entertaining with updated ideas and a more easy going style.

Simple Stunning Parties at Home by Karen Bussen is another title that offers no-fuss entertaining while showcasing your personal style. All these books present themed detailed plans for parties throughout the year that give you tableware to lighting as well as food and decorating. Personally the food will make or break a dinner party no matter how great the decorating is but if you can have a fun innovative party theme and great food you will have everyone talking about your parties.

Selectors' Favourites

by Stephen - 1 Comment(s)

The book selectors at the Calgary Public Library see thousands of books over the course of a year as they look for new and exciting materials for the Library's collection. Although it is impossible to remember all of them, every year a few books stand out above the rest. Here are four of the selector's favourite reads from 2013!


RelishRelish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley.

It is a joy to read this graphic memoir celebrating the author’s life-long love affair with food – from her mother’s perfect chocolate chip cookies and a great recipe for huevos rancheros, to an appreciation for junk food that her father, a chef, finds unbelievably frustrating when she enters a McDonalds in Italy. Readers will find both the story and the included recipes worth their time.



Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala.Wave

Wave is a heart wrenching memoir about the devastating 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Sonali Deraniyagala, her husband, two sons and parents were enjoying their Christmas vacation in Sri Lanka when the tsunami hit and in an instant Sonali lost her entire family. How does a person continue to live when everything they know is taken from them? Wave is a powerful book about grief, loss, anger, healing, honesty and most importantly love.


The Day the Crayons QuitThe Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.

This entertaining picture book chronicles the dramatic labour dispute between Duncan and his crayons through a series of letters outlining each colour’s grievances. Grey is sick of colouring in all of those enormous elephants and whales, black is sick of being limited to outlining everything and yellow and orange can’t agree on who should be responsible for the Sun. With charming illustrations and a great sense of humour this is the best kind of picture book for parents and children alike.





CanadaI could not put down Richard Ford’s memorable book “Canada”. His sparse and lyrical writing eloquently captivates the harsh reality of Dell Parson’s life as he is traumatically separated from his family to begin life anew in 1960’s rural Saskatchewan. When his parents are arrested and imprisoned in Montana, he is smuggled across the Canadian border and put under the care of mysterious American, Arthur Remlinger. The story is powerfully told through young Dell’s eyes as we see his struggle to redefine himself and develop his own moral compass. Despite the underlying current of violence, this is ultimately a story of hope.

eReaders vs. Tablets

by Shannon C - 3 Comment(s)

Thinking of buying an eReader or tablet? You’re in good company. More and more stalwart print book fans are purchasing eReaders and tablets this holiday season. And with your Calgary Public Library card you can download “all sorts of awesomeness” like free eBooks and eMagazines from our website.

What do you need to know when buying an eReader or tablet? Read on!

Can I borrow eBooks from the Library?

With your library card you can download free eBooks from our OverDrive and Freading collections and eMagazines through Zinio like US Weekly, The Economist, Martha Stewart Living, Rolling Stone and over 350 others.

Which devices can I use to borrow Library ebooks and eMagazines?

Many of today’s popular devices work with OverDrive, Freading:

Kobo Arc 7HDKobo Arc 7HDeReaders

  • Kobo Aura, Glo, Mini, Touch
  • Sony Reader WiFi, Touch
  • Barnes and Noble Nook


  • Kobo Vox and Arc
  • Blackberry Playbook
  • iPad, iPad Mini, iPod Touch
  • Microsoft Surface
  • Barnes and Noble Nook
  • Samsung Galaxy
  • Google Nexus
  • Sony WiFi-PRS-T1
  • Kindle Fire

Zinio eMagazines can be viewed on any computer, tablet or smartphone through a two-step process.

Want to download Library eBooks? Search OverDrive’s list of compatible and incompatible devices to make sure your chosen device is compatible. Note that some of the newer devices won’t yet be included on the list. 

Considering a Kindle? You can use the Kindle Fire tablet with OverDrive in Canada by downloading the OverDrive Media Console app to your device. The Kindle Fire works with Freading also, with a few extra steps.

Which eReader or tablet should I buy?

Do your research before buying a new device. We have Consumer Reports in print at all our locations and you can access it online in our E-Library (have your library card ready)!

Here are a few things to consider when making a purchase:

  • Cost: Prices are generally lower for eReaders than for tablets. Expect to pay between $80 to $400 for an eReader. Tablets cost from $200 to $850 depending on storage size and connectivity.
  • Weight: eReaders are lighter than tablets — the Kobo Mini weighs in at 134 grams, while the Apple iPad2 weighs 1.33 pounds. Try a friend’s if you can or try a few out at the store to see what feels most comfortable to you.
  • Screen Size: The Kobo Mini measures only 4 inches by 5 inches while tablets like the Apple’s iPad are double that at 7 by 10 inches, closer to the size of a magazine, or hard cover book.
  • Screen type: In general, tablets have LCD screens and are back-lit, emitting their own light, but the print can be less sharp. EReaders have e-ink (electronic ink) screens that reduce glare and reflections in bright-light conditions, but rely on reflected ambient light to light up the screen.
  • Functionality: What do you want to do with your device? Do you just want to read, read and read some more? If that’s the case you might want to choose an eReader, specifically designed to create a great reading experience. If you want to do more with your device, like search the Internet, download apps, take photos and watch video, choose a tablet.
  • Battery Life: Tablets use a lot more energy than eReaders do, due to their screen type and processing power, and need frequent charging with high-use. EReaders on the other hand can go for weeks without charging.

iPad AiriPad AirFor more information visit:

How can I learn about borrowing eBooks from the Library?

We offer great programs on getting started with eBooks at the Library:

  • eBooks: A Library on the Go
    Library staff demonstrate how to download an eBook using OverDrive, and answer your questions.
  • The eBook Doctor
    Drop in for one-on-one help with your eBook and E-Reader questions and learn how to use OverDrive and Freading.

Check back December 16 for our 2014 programs — they fill up fast!

What if I need more help?

Check out our Getting Started information for OverDrive, Freading and Zinio online.

Still not finding what you need? Feel free to call us at 403-260-2782 and our staff will be happy to help!


Morris Award Finalists

by Betsy - 0 Comment(s)

Yesterday, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) announced the five titles that are the finalists for the 2014 William C. Morris Award. The Morris Award, honouring a book written by a previously unpublished author, is presented each year in January at the American Library Association's Youth Media Awards.

The titles chosen this year represent a diverse and rich sampling of young adult literature. Readers will find deep themes and fantastical elements as well as contemporary and historical literature. All five will be eligible for the Morris/Nonfiction reading challenge on YALSA's The Hub website, which begins Monday, December 9th, and which encourages readers to sample all of the titles before the winners are announced on January 27th.

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn. Readers are introduced to Andrew Winston Winters's story in two parts, the first being Win’s present in the boarding school where he has spent the past several years and now wonders if his increasingly violent temper has finally caused him to do something truly terrible, and the second his past as Drew, where he has yet to deal with a horrible family incident.

Sex and Violence by Carrie Mesrobian. Evan Carter has always had whatever he wanted without thinking about the consquences, including sex. When a hookup leads to a particularly brutal attack upon both him and the girl in question, leaving him physically and emotionally devastated, Evan is forced to deal with long-lasting ramifications for the first time in his life.

Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos. James hasn't been having an easy time of it at home or school, which you'd expect if you have to ride the "short bus", so much so that his only respite has come from poetry, "yawping" the way his idol would have, and talks with his imaginary therapist, a bird he calls Dr. Dora.

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. Maude Pichon left her family home in Brittany against her family's wishes with dreams of making it big in Paris. She never dreamed that she would end up working as a repoussoir — a beauty foil, for the Durandeau agency. In 1800s Paris beauty is everything, so much so that the rich hire foils, plain women, whom they believe will make them stand out by comparison. When Maude is hired by a countess for her daughter, Isabelle, without telling Isabelle, Maude's poverty forces her to comply, and as Maude gets closer to Isabelle, she finds it increasingly difficult to choose between her friendship and her livelihood.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. Mary Shelley Black is dealing with a turbulent time in San Francisco: WWI, the Spanish Flu pandemic, and citizens caught up in the thrall of spirit photography. Could her childhood sweeheart really be sending her messages from beyond, and if so, how can she deal with his brother, spirit-photographer Julius, to find out, when she can't bring herself to believe in what he does?

Charm and Strange Sex and ViolenceSex and Violence Dr Bird's AdviceDr Bird's Advice Belle EpoqueBelle Epoque Shadow of BlackbirdsShadow of Blackbirds

"Super-Nanny" to the Rescue!

by Katie R - 1 Comment(s)

‘Super-Nanny’. That’s how Vivian, age 11 and currently in Gr. 6, and her parents, Daniel and Sandra, refer to Eileen, the volunteer who’s been working with Vivian in the TD Read With Me program since February 2009. For an hour a week during most weeks since then, Vivian and Eileen have met at a Library branch and shared reading in order to help Vivian develop her English literacy skills.

Vivian’s parents Sandra and Daniel are originally from South America and their first language is Spanish. When Vivian first started learning to read in English at school, they were a bit concerned as they felt they couldn’t provide as much help to her at home as they would have liked in this area. They decided to seek extra support for her through the Library's TD Read With Me program.

Enter Eileen and her dedicated, kind and patient help. Daniel explains: "Each week, we met with Eileen and saw Vivian progressing and becoming more confident. We started to notice how much help she was providing to Vivian and even to us, as parents. Vivian is now so confident – she corrects us on our pronunciation in English and sometimes serves as our ‘personal translator’. She also shows a special love for books and a love of learning in general. We feel this development is not only from the school environment, but also because of the friendship with Eileen. This is not just a reading program to us. We have developed a strong relationship with Eileen and we’re grateful for her time and knowledge. It’s more like a family relationship with her, for the whole family." Hence, ‘Super-Nanny’.

Vivian provided her own feedback about working with Eileen in the program:‘"I like being with her because I get a bit of social life with her and I enjoy reading with her. We read books on lots of topics. I like the program of the Library. It’s actually very good. I learned so much from Eileen’s experiences and all the words she’s taught me. It’s helped me in school. Eileen’s really nice and kind and when I don’t get something, she explains it until I get it and she’s a great person."

The feelings are mutual, as Eileen shares: "I've thoroughly enjoyed working with Vivian and her family. She’s kind of filled a gap for me because my grandchildren are all grown-up. I’ve always loved reading. We have fun."

Eileen and Vivian currently comprise the longest-standing match in the program, and they will have been working together for 5 years as of February 2014. What an amazing feat - to build such a strong and enduring bond! Thank you, Eileen, for all the time and energy you have dedicated to volunteering with Calgary Public Library! And best of luck to you, Vivian, in Junior High next fall!