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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!

Whence the Jack-o-lantern?

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Why the Jack-o-lantern, and how did this custom come to be? Where did Halloween first start to be celebrated, and what’s the connection between Pagan festivals and corny costumes? Your library has the answers!

Borrow books and magazines from our collection and find inspiration for Halloween crafts, parties and costumes. (Hint: Martha Stewart reigns supreme!)

Explore World Folklore and Folklife Today on our e-library. Find comprehensive information about rituals, customs, beliefs and stories. A great source for research papers and class presentations!

Bring your little ones to Babies Go Boo Storytimes. Register here.

I love Halloween! A night of inhibition including risqué costumes, alter-egos, bad clichés, and too much chocolate! What more could you ask for?

Burka-ing Up is Hard to Do!

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

Freedom. Liberty. Choice. Religion. Power. Feminism. Exploitation.

Mention burkas, and these words won’t be far behind!

A burka is a garment worn by women – typically, but not exclusively Middle Eastern Muslims. This garment covers the entire body, and only the eyes are revealed – if anything is revealed at all.

It seems everyone has something to say about the burka. Men and women, religious folks and atheists, the well informed and the naive. Everyone wants to tell you why the burka ought to be banned, or not.

Your library is a wealth of information about religion and religious rites, festivals and garments! Use our encyclopedias (in your branch and online), search for news and magazine articles, gather statistics, find images, watch documentaries, and more! In a recent Living Library event, the Muslim “book” was one of our most popular; everyone had questions for her!

Wearing a burka is not easy – certainly not in a culture where most women don’t wear it. Before you decide whether a French-style ban is the answer, find out more about burkas, Muslims and Islam.

Where to start? My pick-of-the-moment is Sea of Faith, by Stephen O’Shea.

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.

Our Favourites

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Here at the Calgary Public Library, it’s our pleasure to answer millions(!) of your questions every year. Some are easy, and others require a whole lot of collective noodle scratching.

One place that we always make sure we search is our own list of best websites.

Our expert librarians have compiled a list of websites that are reputable, current, authoritative, and free to use. As well, we’ve “tagged” the websites with a number of keyword descriptors, so that you can search the list easily, and intuitively.

If you’ve got a question about business, careers, health, or any other topic, check out the websites that we’ve compiled for you.

From our homepage, select e-library, and then the red hyperlink named “Best Websites”. Search by tag bundles on the right hand side.

If you like what you see, you’ll be glad to know that you can store your own favourites online, just like we do. Check out the website, Delicious, and start storing your favourite websites remotely.

Oh, Canada!

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

What a country! We’ve got water and wood and diamonds, and people from every corner of the earth.

We’re liberal and friendly and funny and free!

Make a trip to your local library and learn about all that surrounds you, here at home.

Borrow a guidebook and plan a hike in glorious Kananaskis country.

Join a free program about Canada’s immigration law.

Get lost in great Canadian fiction.

Check out the Canadian content on our e-library.

There’s so much to discover about our country! Start at the Calgary Public Library!

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