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Happy Valentine's Day!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Just who is St. Valentine, anyway? The cynic in me suspects that he’s the patron saint of heart-shaped candy, cupid decorations and dinner reservations. But, I can’t give that answer to a customer…

Here at the Calgary Public Library, we answer all sorts of questions. Recently, a question arrived through our Ask A Question service, and it was “Who is Saint Valentine?” Here’s how we’ll look for the answer:

First, we’ll look through our catalogue. We’ll search for books on St. Valentine, as well as holidays and saints.

Then, we may turn to our e-library and browse our databases. One of my favourites is World Folklore and Folklife Today.

We may then use our encyclopedias - both print and electronic. We’ll use these to find succinct overviews from reputable, authoritative sources.

We may even use our list of best websites, to see what information is freely available online.

So…here’s the scoop on St. Valentine’s Day:

Its origins are murky, as there were several people by the name of Valentine, in early Christianity. The holiday may even be related to a Roman feast of fertility, which would have pre-dated Christianity. Handmade Valentine’s cards have been exchanged since the 17th century (well before the advent of Hallmark!), but it’s not certain whether these commemorated a saint’s bravery, or the love of a prisoner for a jailor’s daughter, or a priest’s stand against a Roman emperor. All of these stories are related to Valentine’s Day.

No matter who St. Valentine may have been, why not take the opportunity to celebrate February 14th by making cards for your friends or loved ones? Our poetry and craft books may be just the inspiration you need!

Until next time, this blogger can be found eating large quantities of heart-shaped chocolates…

Happy Valentine's Day!

I [heart] Maclean's Magazine!

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

I love Maclean’s magazine! That’s not to say that I always agree with its editors, or that its content always aligns with my own views. Rather, I love it because it consistently gives me food for thought. Feature articles are interesting and timely; everything from politics to religion, to Canadian culture is examined. I also enjoy the interviews – candid conversations about every topic under the sun! Even the obituaries are wonderfully written tributes. And that’s all in addition to coverage of Canadian news stories.

If you haven’t read Maclean’s (or haven’t read it lately), why not give it a try? If you’ve got a library card, you’re already a subscriber!

From our e-library, select Newspapers and Magazines. From the list of available databases, choose Canadian Newsstand. The database will open to a search screen, but rather than searching, simply select the “Publications” tab, and then type “Maclean’s”. Notice that you’ve got access to every article since 1992!

Maclean’s magazine and hundreds (!) more are available on our e-library. Check it out today!

"Smart, Fearless Journalism"

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Does the idea of just that – smart, fearless journalism – appeal to you? Well, such is the promise (and slogan) of Mother Jones magazine. And, if you’ve got a Calgary Public Library card, you’re already a subscriber.

From our e-library, select Science, Technology and Environment. Then, from the list of databases provided, select GREENER. Once GREENER opens, you’ll notice an “advanced search” tab near the top left. Simply type “Mother Jones” and use the drop down menu to indicate that this is the Publication Title. You’ll find the three most recent articles, as well as a list of over 600 earlier ones.

What ype of articles will you find? Check out some of these titles:

Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

Shock and audit: we dissect the Pentagon's budget so you don't have to.

Paying through the hose: why is wasting water so damn cheap?

Out of mind, out of sight: inside the psychiatric hospitals the world forgot.

Class is the new black: how I had to look beyond race and learn to love equality

America's most dangerous librarians: meet the radical bookworms who fought the Patriot Act--and won

Addmittedly, a lot of the content is American, but the topics are timely, and very interesting. If you're a lover of non-fiction and current events, then be sure to check it out! Mother Jones and a huge variety of other popular and academic publications are available on our e-library.

Access Science!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Access Science is a fabulous tool for high school students and post secondary students alike.

Encompassing encyclopedia entries, information about discoveries and developments, news stories and biographies, this database is comprehensive, current and very easy to use. From agriculture to veterinary medicine, Access Science is sure to help with science projects, term papers, or as a general reference source. I wish I had known about it during my “it’s due tomorrow?!” days.

For instance, if you’re doing a project about cell division, Access Science will provide you with encyclopedia entries, biographies about geneticists, relevant news stories, and even animations of meiosis. It’s a one-stop shop!

Check out Access Science and a wide variety of other scientific databases on our e-library!

From our e-library, select Science, Technology and Environment, and then Access Science from the list of databases.

"I'm in PR"

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Any devoted Sex and the City fan will recall that Samantha, in between flings, works in PR. Although we see her attending parties in various episodes, PR is about much more than socializing. Indeed, in order to be successful in PR, you must have tact, diplomacy, and a way with words.

If you’ve got a Calgary Public Library card, you can access Effective Writing Skills for Public Relations, by John Foster, from home. Here’s how:

From our e-library, select Dictionaries and Encyclopedias. From the list of databases, choose Gale Virtual Reference Library. From the list of topics, choose Business, and you’ll see this book there, among many others.

Whether you need to brush up on your grammar, or you need a bit of direction in determining which style may be appropriate, check out Effective Writing Skills for Public Relations. Take your writing from fine to “fabulous”, as Samantha would say.

Blessed is he that readeth

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

The Calgary Public Library gives cardholders access to so much! If you’ve never checked out our e-library, take the time to noodle around and see how much is there!

From the e-library, choose a subject that interests you. Then, start exploring databases. You can find newspapers, magazine articles, academic journals, car repair information, a variety of dictionaries and encyclopedias, health information and more!

Recently, I found that we’ve got a King James Version of the Bible in our e-library. I thought that I’d check it out so I could write a witty post, peppered with words like “hath” and “ye” and “giveth”. I was skimming through the Revelation of Saint John the Divine, and what should stand out, but the following line: “Blessed is he that readeth…”.

From our e-library, I chose dictionaries and encyclopedias, and then CREDO, which is one of my favourite collections of reference materials. The screen opens to a basic search, but by selecting “find a book” at the top right, I was able to see a comprehensive list of all of the books in the database. Under “religion” I found the King James Version of the Bible. But if the Bible’s not the book for you, why not check out the Qur’an? Both sacred texts are easily accessible and organized by book or surah.

Imagine: For thousands of years, sacred books were read by only a few, and typically, only by candlelight or natural light. Aren’t you fortunate that you can read them any time you like, on a back-lit screen?

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