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Where will you be on August 23?

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Ah, biking…

There is nothing else quite like the thigh burning drudgery of an uphill climb, followed by the mellow coast of a gentle decline. Humanity has yet to invent a vehicle that can rival the elegance, fuel efficiency and simplicity of the humble bicycle.

Bike for pleasure, for transportation, or to explore your neighbourhood from a different vantage point. Bike because it’s good for the planet and your waistline. Bike because the wind through your hair is one of life’s simple pleasures, and because ogling spandex-clad race enthusiasts is fun, too!

If you’re free on August 23, and love to cycle, you must check out this event:

Ride the Road Tour and Bike Festival

I'll be there, wind in my hair!

Also, look for the Calgary Public Library tent. We'll be there to tell you about our green initiatives, and answer any questions you may have!


by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

The website, Delicious, is a replacement for the list of favourites that you may have compiled and saved on your desktop. Rather than having to use your own computer to access those favourites, your list (and ours!) is web-based, so that it can be accessed from any computer.

Each website that you save is “tagged” with keyword descriptors, i.e. a list of words that are associated with it. For instance, the website may be tagged with “CBC”, “news”, “Canadian”, etc. The best part is that you determine the tags (PS – you belong at the library if you're thrilled at the prospect of indexing according to your own terms!).

Why not check out the sites that Calgary Public Library has deemed “delicious”? Our expert librarians compile only what’s current, accessible, and reputable.

From our homepage, select “e-library” and then “Best websites”. Once our “delicious” page opens, you can browse our list of recommended websites, or choose the tags that are of interest to you, from a list on the right hand side.


ESL at the Library

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I have the pleasure of teaching English to new Canadians, and when they ask about resources, I never miss the opportunity to mention the library. Surely I have a vested interest in promoting the use of the library - I’ll be completely transparent about that. But, I honestly believe there is no other institution in Calgary which offers the same value for your dollar than the Calgary Public Library.

  • Calgary Public Library has materials in over 35 world languages.
  • We offer conversation clubs for those who want to meet new friends and practice English at the same time.
  • A variety of our programs are taught in Cantonese, Punjabi or Spanish.
  • Our online databases allow access to hundreds of daily newspapers from around the world.
  • Tell Me More, the award winning language learning software, is available at no cost, on our website. Your library card is your subscription.

The Calgary Public Library is proud of its diverse multi-language collection, and its wide range of services and programs for immigrants and newcomers. Check them out today!

Bodies, by Susie Orbach

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Given the title “Bodies”, it was difficult to predict what the content of this short book would be. I suspected that it might be something along the lines of our bodies being regarded as commodities, and the harmful effects that media has on our collective self-image and self-esteem. Bodies did cover this ground, but it delved much deeper into all sorts of psychological issues. No small task for this slim paperback!

Orbach is a psychoanalyst, and as such, has a unique and considered voice in the dialogue about bodies. She holds neither men nor women responsible for our current state of widespread bodily anxiety; there is no hint of judgment, whatsoever. Moreover, she manages to raise considerable and warranted alarm, without sounding shrill.

Bodies advances two arguments: that there is no “natural” body, and that bodies are made, and not born.

At times astonishing, at times tragic, this unflinching book is for all those who have ever struggled with body issues, anxieties or distresses, and yet suspect that there is a more complex, deeply rooted problem at work, than digitally re-touched advertisements or the big, bad diet industry.

I sincerely recommend it for all those who have a body!

The Atheist Craze

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Atheism is enjoying a moment in the spotlight, thanks to a few very prominent atheists - Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris being chief among them.

However, atheism is no new concept, and this will not be its first or last moment to shine. It’s a belief as old as ancient Greece – likely very much older. As the forces of scientific discoveries and cultural revolutions have played their parts in history, the popularity of atheism has waxed and waned. Still, whether you’re a believer or not, reading about atheism is well worth your time. The authors mentioned above are razor-sharp, deadly serious, and stunningly articulate. Reading any one of them is food for the brain, and although their beliefs are parallel, each has a unique “take” on atheism.

Dawkins believes that raising children in a religious tradition – any one of them – is tantamount to child abuse. His writing is not for the faint of heart; he uses his astounding range of vocabulary as a weapon in the battle against false beliefs.

The much milder (though still emphatic) Dennett treats religion as a natural phenomenon (not unlike music), which isn’t diminished whatsoever by close study. He wants to see how it evolves, and what evolutionary advantage religion might bestow on those who "use" it.

Hitchens provides all sorts of examples that refute the idea of (g)od’s greatness, and argues that throughout our recent history, religion has been a destructive and dangerous force, rather than a redemptive one.

Harris is worried about faith in particular. He wonders why it is that in the post-modern, highly scientific world, we could consider faith (and the devaluing of scientific evidence implied therein) virtuous.

These men write with such passion that readers cannot finish these books unaffected. For something that will really stir you up, I wholeheartedly recommend reading any one of them!

The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins

Breaking the Spell, by Daniel C Dennett

God is not Great, by Christopher Hitchens

The End of Faith, by Sam Harris

Letter to A Christian Nation, by Sam Harris

Look, Ma! No "uh"s!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Are you afraid to speak in public? Would you rather - as Jerry Seinfeld famously joked - be in the coffin than giving the eulogy? Why not join Toastmasters?

I joined Toastmasters two years ago, and it has been a great experience! I meet interesting people, bolster my confidence and learn new speaking skills. I enjoy writing and revising prepared speeches, but what really thrills me was giving impromptu speeches about a topic for which I have no time to prepare. The adrenalin rush (no, really!) is so satisfying! With armpits slightly moist, I leave each session of Toastmasters feeling energized and proud of myself.

Toastmasters provides a supportive, non-judgmental environment in which all skill levels are welcome. In addition to fostering public speaking skills, Toastmasters also has a leadership program.

Why not observe a session of Toastmasters? Drop in on Tuesday nights, 5:30 – 6:30 PM, Central library, meeting room 2. Register here!

You'll never feel "put on the spot" again!

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