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Celebrate the Year of the Tiger

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Millions of people in Asia and throughout the world are preparing to celebrate the New Year. According to the Chinese zodiac, which is based on the lunar calendar, we are about to enter the year of the Tiger. The year will begin on February 14th, 2010, and will end on February 2nd, 2011. Traditionally, the Tiger is a symbol of bravery, but it is also associated with impulsiveness.

Why not learn more about the Chinese zodiac by browsing our catalogue? Learn what you can expect financially, and romantically. Find out which traits your children may have, if they’re born in this year.

As well, be sure to celebrate with us! Chinese calligraphy, fan dancing, and a martial arts demonstration are just some of the programs we’ve got planned!

For more information, and to register, visit Year of the Tiger at the Calgary Public Library.

Celebrate International Women's Day!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I’m addicted to podcasts. I recently listened to one from CBC radio, the topic of which was whether or not Women’s Studies programs ought to be re-named “Gender Studies” or some other name that presumably sounds more inclusive. From the issue of names, the dialogue meandered through women’s history, women’s place in academia and politics, and feminism in general. Conversation morphed into debate, and I was rapt! There are so many interesting aspects of women’s experience!

When I was a university student (and the name was still “Women’s Studies”), I studied how parents treat newborn children. In one experiment, a baby, when dressed in pink, is told how pretty “she” is. When dressed in blue, “he” is told how strong he is. How early our gender roles are entrenched! Indeed, our first question to new parents (Is it a boy or a girl?) betrays that we wouldn’t know how to treat the little bundle of joy, without first knowing the gender. This need to confirm gender prior to interacting with someone is especially evident when we encounter someone about whose gender we are not certain. We often feel incredibly disoriented. We don’t know how to treat others until we know whether they are male or female. Such is life in a gendered society.

And since we do, undeniably, inhabit a gendered society, we need to examine the roles we play. We need to examine notions of strength and beauty, family and love, sex and relationships, work and money. Truly, gender is enmeshed with each one of them.

Join us at the Calgary Public Library, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, on March 5. Attend because you are a woman, or you’ve got a wife, mother, daughter, or girlfriend who happens to be one. Attend and meet other like-minded individuals, or have your mind changed! Attend to network, to be inspired, and to share ideas. Attend to celebrate womanhood!

Register for International Women's Day at the Calgary Public Library. Join us for lunch and a thought-provoking panel discussion with successful, local business women.

Nudes at the Glenbow!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

“Head and shoulders, knees and toes”!

Nudes, glorious nudes! Is there anything more enduringly compelling to humans than our own bodies? I’m no art historian, but I suspect not. From the Venus statues of Willendorf Austria, to Michelangelo’s David, there is something inherent about the human form that inspires us to re-create it. As an audience, we seem to be perpetually curious about the human form. Not only that, but surprised, and sometimes even outraged by how artists depict it.

Join the Glenbow Museum on February 13th for a very special event. It’s the opening of an exhibit called The Nude in Modern Canadian Art. The exhibition features works of art from major Canadian museums and private collections and includes paintings, drawings, sculpture and photography. There are so many reasons to attend! The event is pay-what-you-can, and includes a free drink ticket. Not only that, but it coincides with the opening of another exhibit, Kent Monkman: The Triumph of Mischief. How many chances do you get to visit a museum with the caveat that the exhibition “contains mature content”?

Join the Glenbow in celebrating nudes! I’ll be there. The only question is: what should I wear?

Listen: Black History Month

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

February is Black History Month. I plan to celebrate, recognize and reflect upon Black culture and achievements, by reading and finding out more. But that’s not all. I’ll create a master playlist of my favourite Black artists. Why not check out the music collection at your local library branch?

Who’s on my list?

Alicia Keys. This soulful songstress is part pop, part hip hop, and totally amazing. Singer, songwriter, pianist and poet; she’s sure to please!

Stevie Wonder. Adjectives fail. He’s gifted and prolific! If you want his early pop, start with Greatest Hits (volume 2!). If you want your Stevie a little funkier, then check out Original Musiquarium. And, you can’t go wrong with the decades-spanning Definitive Collection. Just try to keep from dancing!

Erykah Badu. For intelligent, soulful and inventive hip hop, it’s Erykah Badu for me. Turn to her latest two releases, New Amerykah Part 1 and Worldwide Underground for beats and rhymes. Mama’s Gun, however, is my favourite. It’s amazingly chill, and an album you can enjoy again and again! In the age of i-pods, I turn to this album on an “old fashioned” CD.

Gnarls Barkley. I’m guessing that most people heard about Gnarls Barkley a few years ago when their smash hit “Crazy” became ubiquitous. That’s how I did. But since then I’ve spent a while with albums St. Elsewhere and The Odd Couple, and I’ve loved every minute! Not only are the lyrics introspective, but the music itself is exuberant and inventive. Above all, I love the vocal stylings of Cee-Lo Green. His tone is pure Motown and utterly timeless!

Jill Scott. She’s a singer. She’s a poet. She’s amazing. For an indication of just what she’s capable of, check out my personal favourite, her live album, 826+. Her studio albums, though, are amazing in their own right. Start with Who is Jill Scott, Words and Sounds vol. 1.

Who else is on my list?

Smokey Robinson, Al Green and Marvin Gaye are more of my top picks. So are Dianna Ross and Lauryn Hill. I also love Macy Gray, and (believe it or not) Kanye West. The list goes “on and on”, as Erykah might say…

Drop by your local branch this February! Celebrate Black History Month by listening to music, researching notable Black figures, or reading novels by Black authors.

Also, join us as we celebrate Black History Month with drumming, spoken word performances and a panel discussion about Black History.

Celebrate the Freedom to Read!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

When I was a young philosophy student, John Stuart Mill’s famous maxim (that he may disagree with the content of your speech, but will gladly fight for your right to say it) made a strong impression on me. I hope that this maxim will be studied and internalized by all sorts of young people, well into the future. After all, surely everyone can recognize that freedom of speech and expression is fundamental. Right?

Well, not exactly.

Throughout the years, there have been several banned books. Some were written for adults and others were written for children. They’ve provoked outrage because their content – profane, sexual, or otherwise – has been deemed offensive. In the debate about literature and censorship, public libraries are crucial, because they are typically the institution defending the literature in question. Indeed, not only do libraries defend an astonishing breadth of material, but they ensure that the material is widely circulated within the community.

I recently heard an argument that is an extension of Mill’s claim. It goes something like this: not only should the public merely tolerate objectionable views. Rather, we ought to have them included in the marketplace of ideas for the very reason that they are objectionable. It is only through exposure to what is objectionable that we learn to discern the true from the false, and the acceptable from the unacceptable. We need to be exposed to that which is ridiculous, shocking and offensive precisely so that we can form well considered opinions; so we can examine, scrutinize and come to valid conclusions. Banning certain material from the marketplace of ideas denies us the exposure which is so paramount in developing critical, analytical skills. Not only do individuals have the right to produce offensive content, but we all ought to have the right to consume it, if we choose.

If your junior high school student is interested in the Freedom to Read, then have him or her submit an essay to the Calgary Public Library. Winners will receive a prize, and have their essay posted on our website!

Vital Conversations 2010

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

If you have something to say about the future of your city, then here’s an event you won’t want to miss:

Vital Conversations 2010

Join us on Friday January 22nd, from 6 – 8 PM, at the Central library. The Calgary Public Library and the Calgary Foundation, with support from the City of Calgary’s Office of Sustainability, will host an evening of discussion and networking, followed by a reception.

Come and talk about Calgary’s 2009 “VitalSigns” Report. What’s working and what could be better?

For more information, and to register for Vital Conversations, please visit

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