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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!

CyberSeniors Connect Programs

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

The Calgary Public Library’s newest volunteer program is happening in Cyberspace!

CyberSeniors Connect brings together teen volunteers with mature adults who want to buff up their computer skills. The program is open to participants who are 5o years and up. With one-on-one help from their own teen computer coaches, these CyberSeniors are learning to navigate the Web.

The students have a chance to explore their own interests at their own pace. Some are learning keyboards shortcuts; some are mastering Google Maps; others are finding out about Twitter and Facebook. Who better to learn from than a youth mentor?

To volunteer for this program pleas contact Katie Radke.

Phone: 403-221-2036 E-mail:

Indian in the Cupboard

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

If you love to cook, why not drop by your local library branch, and check out the 641’s? Cookbooks are some of our most popular items. They’re gorgeous and inspiring, and we’ve got tons of them! Whether you’re cooking for a crowd, you need gluten-free solutions, or you’d just like to expand your repertoire, browse our collection.

I like to consult the books on Indian food. It’s something that I love to eat (OK – inhale!), but I don’t always have the confidence to attempt at home. If you’d like to try your hand at a new dish, browse our catalogue for “Indian cookery”.

Can't get enough? Read CPL's food blog for recipes and tips from our resident food guru!

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.

Headphones: Bjork

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Over the years, Icelandic singer Bjork has earned a reputation for being weird. But, listen to her albums, and you’ll see that the coverage about her now infamous “swan dress” (google it!) belies her true greatness as a singer, songwriter and performer. I was fortunate enough to see Bjork live in Montreal during her Homogenic tour. What a fabulous concert! Fireworks in Parc Jean Drapeau! If you’ve never listened to Bjork, you’ve been missing out!

Here are my top three picks for an introduction to Bjork:

Start with sophomore album Post, which is more refined, complex and variant than debut album (aptly titled), Debut. I love “Hyperballad” for its soaring vocals and “Army of Me” for its brooding intensity. The remarkable thing about this album is that it doesn’t seem to age. Each song sounds as modern today as when the album was released in 1995.

Homogenic, her third album, is Bjork with a dash of darkness. Beats are heavy and complex, and a little more anger is expressed lyrically.

Vespertine is Bjork’s fourth album. I once heard this collection of delicate, intricate songs described as what freezing to death might sound like. It’s definitely an album I gravitate towards in the winter months, as it just seems to evoke stillness, and twinkling snow. It’s gentle, minimal, quiet and poetic.

If you’re not listening to Bjork, then you’re just not listening! Check out her albums today!


Sopranos on DVD!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Tony. Carmella. Dr. Melfi.

The Sopranos has been called “the greatest show in television history”, and whether or not you agree, it’s well worth watching. If you love reruns, or haven’t yet seen the series, then check it out today! I happen to know that when the University of Calgary offered a class about The Sopranos in its Film Studies program, the waiting list to get into the class was enormous!

Of course, The Sopranos is not likely to be enjoyed by everyone. It’s most certainly violent and relentlessly crass. But then, would you have your New Jersey mob boss – and his sketchy crew - any other way? The Sopranos explores so many themes: marriage, family, anxiety, violence, obligation, duty, and many more. Why not get some “gabagool” and invite your associates over for a Sopran-o-thon?

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