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by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

My favourite 18-letter word!

I had lunch today with an old friend. He works as an elementary school teacher, and gives piano lessons in the evenings. Another close friend works with developmentally delayed adults, and offers one-on-one fitness training in his spare time. I work at the Calgary Public Library, and teach ESL on the side (we sometimes study the idiom “under the table”).

If you dream of self-employment, it can be easier than you realize. First, consider your talents and skills. People are willing to pay for just about anything – whether that’s a product, service, or instruction. Next, explore the market. Who offers a similar product / service / instruction, and to whom? What are their rates, and hours of service? Then, make a business plan. Who’ll be your customer, and where will expansion lead you? Are there niche markets that still remain untapped? Finally, set up shop and count that hard earned cash!

Am I over-simplifying? Yes. But entrepreneurialism is something that can be achieved in less time and with less effort than you may suspect.

Visit our Small Business Fair and speak with a variety of people who can help you start your own business. Chat with knowledgeable library staff. Ask us about business licenses, lists of competitors, market share reports, and current statistics. Make contact with Calgary agencies who serve entrepreneurs – valuable contacts to have in your network! Finally, meet real entrepreneurs who have become successful here in Calgary. Attend lectures and ask them your questions!

Register for the Small Business Fair and all of our programs.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Redux)

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I recently had dinner with a family friend. Originally from Africa, he’s had a long and interesting career with the British Royal Marines and as an independent counter terrorism advisor. “Lieutenant-Colonel Thorpe” (although he didn’t make us address him that way!) was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and is fluent in Kiswahili. He’s worked on the open seas, and in the darkest heart of Africa.

While he was visiting, it occurred to me that our dinner party was like an updated version of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. This time, however, rather than shattering stereotypes about what black people are and are not, my stereotypes about white people were shattered! The African born, Kiswahili-speaker is Caucasian!

When I think about racial stereotypes and racial profiling, I always think about the “other”. I happen to be Caucasian, and so I tend to think about how racism and stereotypes might affect non-white people. I’ve never stopped to consider what my stereotypes about white people are, or the fact that I have them at all!

My uncle loves to tell a story about the Lieutenant-Colonel’s brother, with whom he used to jog. These men were hulking, slow moving joggers – each hovering near 240 pounds. Nevertheless, they were decent athletes. When the Lieutenant-Colonel’s brother competed in a triathlon, a group of skinny black runners passed him and mentioned (in Kiswahili) something about a “whale”. Clearly, they too didn’t expect a heavy-set white man to be a Kiswahili speaker! What a surprise to find out that the whale could understand every word!

If you’ve never seen the classic film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, then catch it at the John Dutton theatre on November 4th. It’s part of our “Thursday Afternoon at the Movies” series.

The Business of Bikini Boot Camp

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I operate a (very!) small business, and so I’m always interested in what other entrepreneurs are doing. Although no job is perfect, the idea of self-employment is appealing for so many, because it typically allows for lots of flexibility and freedom. You can be master of your own destiny; you can pursue a dream; you can sleep in.

As part of our upcoming Small Business Fair, we’ve got a special treat for you: A lecture by Lindsay Nealon and Dawn Koloski, of Bikini Boot Camp.

Bikini Boot Camp began in the spring of 2004 with 1 program and 8 registrants. It currently boasts over 70 programs, in 9 cities and 4 provinces!

Join us at 6 PM on Wednesday October 20th, and find out how this local small business became so successful! Don’t worry – no bikinis required!

Register for this program and tons of others in the branch of your choice, online, or by calling 260-2600. Then, drop and give me 20!

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?

October 10th is our Mayoralty Candidates Forum!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Since I’ve started attending Toastmasters on a regular basis, I see the world through the lens of the “um / ah” counter. Every time someone addresses a crowd, I’m counting false starts, and all instances of “um”, “uh”, “like”, “you know”, and so on. I am especially excited about our upcoming Mayoralty Forum, because I’ll get the chance to check out the speaking skills of those who would be mayor of Calgary.

Are ums and uhs important in the grand scheme of civic elections? Perhaps not. Oration is an undervalued skill in the age of the sound byte. Still, the ability to think on one’s feet, and to give coherent but impromptu speeches is a skill that we can all learn, and which government representatives certainly must hone. OK, enough with the Toastmasters evangelism.

Now, here are just a few of the reasons why I’m excited about the election, and why I’m looking forward to our upcoming forum:

1) Now, voting matters. At the time of the last civic election, I was a student living at home. I’m now a homeowner and I want my taxes spent wisely and transparently.

2) I don’t have a car. And I don’t plan on buying one. I want to know how my candidates will ensure Calgary is a place where I can continue to live and work, unburdened by the necessity of having to own a vehicle.

3) Diversity! It’s so refreshing to see that the candidates are not exclusively white Anglo-Saxon men.

There are tons of other reasons why I’m excited about this election, and why you should be, too! Meet your candidates on Sunday October 10th, 12 – 3 PM, at the John Dutton Theatre (Central Library), and get excited about casting your vote on the 18th! I’ll be there. So will CBC. Will you?

For more information about the forum, please click here.

For information about all of our upcoming programs, please click here.

Social Entrepreneurship

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I don’t typically read The Economist cover to cover, but then I don’t usually find myself in an airport with two hours to kill. The August 14 - 20 issue contains an article about social entrepreneurship that I found really interesting.

Social entrepreneurship is the application of business principles to social problems. But instead of creating financial profit, we create social capital. We create intelligent citizens, peaceful and healthy communities, spaces for people to play and grow and learn.

If you’re interested in these ideas, then join us at the Central Library on Friday November 12th where Dr. Mark Durieux and Dr. Robert Stebbins, authors of Social Entrepreneurship for Dummies will discuss the past, present, and future of this exciting trend in Alberta.

Register for programs online, in the branch of your choice, or by calling 260-2600.

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