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Need Help with your Homework?

by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

homework help

Do you see that icon over there on the left that says “Homework Helper”? Do you have any idea what that is? If not, you're missing out!

Homework Helper lets you chat with Library staff online. We are available to answer questions, direct you to our electronic resources and help you find books.

The best part, especially if you are agoraphobic (if you don’t know what that means you can log in and ask us!), is that you can ask us questions from the comfort of your own home!

To login you will need your Calgary Public Library card. Just click on the picture when it says “Online,” enter your card number, and ask away!

Banned Books

by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

Have you ever read a banned book bound in black bindings? I haven't, but I have read banned books, and you probably have too. Banned Books

According to the American Library Association, the three most common reasons books are challenged are: sexuality, offensive language and inappropriateness for the intended age group. Most complaints come from parents and are directed at schools and school libraries.

Challenged books are usually those written for Children and Teens. In fact, the most challenged book from 2006 - 2009 is a children’s picture book titled And Tango Makes Three. It is a true story of two penguins at the New York Zoo that raise a young chick named Tango. So what’s the deal? The penguins are both male. For many parents in the United States and Canada, that is a very big deal.

Other frequently challenged authors you may have read include: Stephenie Meyer, Philip Pullman, Robert Cormier, Walter Dean Myers, Cecily Von Ziegesar, Judy Blume and yes, even J.K. Rowling (not everyone is a Harry Potter fan).

So what do you think? Should anyone have the right to decide what you can and can't read? If so, what reasons would qualify a book for banning? Something to think about the next time you're at your local library.

Me and the Media

by Alexandra May - 1 Comment(s)

The media is, was, might be, will be, has been blamed for, has been praised for, can do, can’t do, provides, causes and influences a lot of things. We are exposed to it in one form or another every day, if not every minute. Sometimes we choose to participate (like when you read this awesome blog) and sometimes a bus just happens to go by (how did it know I needed more mayonnaise in my life?!).

Yet, whether you choose to be exposed to commercials / films / sitcoms / news / books (have you ever read a book by accident?) / websites / posters, or not, odds are it’s going to happen. The only choice you have is what you do with this information.

I’m sure your teachers have stressed the importance of using reliable, authentic sources when writing reports and essays in school, and the information you use in your day-to-day life is no different. Although I’m sure many of us aren’t fooled by the purported pros of solar powered broom racks (they’re environmentally friendly!), things aren't always so obvious.

Can a picture lie?

Can you determine the difference between fact and opinion?

Who publishes websites?

Do you decide what is attractive to you? Is it biological, or is it something you learn?

There are many great resources dedicated to media awareness. is a non-profit organization with a great website which covers everything from surfing the web (should you fill out that online survey???) to the portrayal of men and women in the media. Did you know that the average model weights 20% less than the average woman? If you fit the dimensions of a Barbie doll, you would have to remove half of your liver and most of your bowels. Gross.

Although the “media” comes in many forms, the common factor is information. Make sure you know who put that information there and why, especially if it is information that you are basing your decisions or opinions on. For reliable online sources you can check out our E-Library collection of magazine articles, encyclopedias, business directories and other databases. You can also browse our catalogue online to search for books, movies, magazines, music… media.

There is a wealth of truly wonderful / awful / informative / ridiculous / strange / and fascinating information out there, but remember to use your ?’s as often as possible.

Non-fiction is Non-boring?

by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

As someone who studied literature once upon a time, I always considered the good books to be shelved in the fiction section. Non-fiction was strictly on a need to (forced to) read (forget about on my desk) basis. It seems I was missing out.

Sure there are a lot of manuals about proper photocopier maintenance and grass identification techniques, but the wonderful world of non-fiction (the world most of us actually live in apparently) can be every bit as entertaining as the world of Harry Potter, or whatshername Vampire girl.

I doubt it will come as any great surprise when I tell you the Calgary Public Library has a LARGE non-fiction collection. If fiction’s just not your thing, you want to try something different, or if your photocopier is making strange noises in the night, you might want to remember that non-fiction is fun, informative (yes the two can co-exist) and available at the Library.

Here are a few titles you may (should) want to (yes, want to) check out.

It's non-fiction, it's a graphic novel and it's awesome. Houdini the Handcuff King is an account of one of the legendary escape artist's greatest tricks. It's beautifully drawn, an interesting read and all around cool. This is a great book for anyone who loves magic, history or... handcuffs?

Finally, our love of Monarchies and our love of violence have come together in one book! Royal Murder is the story of ten unfortunate royals and the horrible things that happened to them. If you're not sold already, it also has photos!

"It is good to give a girl compliments
Don't go crazy with them though."

How to Talk to Girls is full of great advice from author Alec Greven who wrote it at age 8.....

Read All Summer

by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

You may be aware of the Calgary Co-op Summer Reading Adventure, but did you know that the Calgary Public Library has a summer reading contest for adults too?

The Just for Adults - Read All Summer contest is a great way to get the most out your summer reading. Every two weeks a new reading activity will be released with a challenge to explore something a little different, whether it be a biography, a novel by a Canadian author, or an audiobook.

When you've completed the activity you can return your ballot to any Calgary Public Library location to enter our draw for weekly prizes.

Next time you visit the Library be sure to pick up the latest reading activity and spend the summer reading with us!

The Summer Job

by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

Job Hunter

It’s summer!

No essays to write, no reports to hand in, no tests to stress out over. Yep, for the next two months, it’s sunshine, relaxation and oh yeah… time to find a summer job.

Although it may not be the most fantastic way to spend the school break, a summer job is a great way to earn money, get work experience and learn a little bit more about what you might want to do (or not do) as career when you finish school for good.

The Calgary Public Library has many resources that can help you find employment this summer. Be sure to take a look at a few from our E-Library and Answers Online:

Career Cruising: an excellent online resource with career matchmaking tests and job profiles. A website geared specifically towards finding work in Calgary. Includes resume writing tips, interviews with people working here in Calgary and answers to frequently asked questions.

. . . And don't miss the great career books we’ve got in our collection! Try the ones below!

Place a hold Place a hold

If you're more civic-minded, why not volunteer? There are lots of programs at the library that you can help out with - just click here and scroll down to "Youth Volunteer Opportunities."

The Edgars

by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

Every year, the best mystery books are honoured with the Edgar Allan Poe awards. Paper Towns, this year's winner in the young adult category, is definitely a must-read.

Quentin Jacobsen has been in love with his next door neighbour, the popular and exciting Margo Roth Speigelman, ever since they were children.

One night, she appears at his window, dressed all in black and requesting his help.

After a night of rotten catfish, Sea World, and revenge, it seems that things might finally be looking up. But the next day, Margo has disappeared.

The police have stopped looking and her parents don't seem to care, but Quentin needs to know what happened to the girl he loves, but barely knows.

Be sure to check out the other nominees also available at the Calgary Public Library:


by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

In the spring of 2007 DC comics released its first book under the new Minx line of graphic novels. DC comics, known primarily for the caped crusading men of steel (and ill-fitting costumes) was pleased to introduce the line which was aimed primarily at teen girls. It was a bold and interesting idea, which recruited the talents of known comic artists and talented young adult writers to create something decidedly different from what was already on the shelves.

After a little more than a year, the Minx line was closed… so what happened?

The first Minx release, The Plain Janes by young adult author Cecil Castellucci is a well crafted (and well reviewed) graphic novel which set many of the standards by which the rest would follow. The Minx line eschewed the superhero tradition (especially the ill-fitting costumes) for a more realistic kind of storytelling. The books tend to focus on “real” people with “real” problems such as Jane’s struggle to fit in at a new school while dealing with the past (she survived a terrorist attack in a nearby city), or Shira’s difficult relationship with her father and new interest in shoplifting in Alisa Kwitney's Token. The artwork was also a departure from the usual superhero standards which depicted women (and men) in impossibly proportioned bodies, bulging from spandex suits three sizes too small. The women in Minx's line were drawn to reflect the same realism which set the stories aside from the usual comic book fodder. What this perhaps the problem?

Was a focus on realistic stories and realistic bodies what teen readers were looking for? The most popular teen fiction out there is populated by vampires, wealthy debutants and wizards. Are readers looking for people who look, talk and act like them, or are they looking for an escape, a vision of who or what they would rather be?

There have been many reasons suggested for Minx’s demise. Some blame marketing, some say the books simply weren’t shelved in the right place at bookstores, while others think Minx just needed a little more time to find its audience.

What do you think? The Calgary Public Library has several titles in the Minx line, so if you’re interested place a hold on a copy and let us know what you think. Was DC on right track? Do girls enjoy comics as much as guys? Take a look and let us know!

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