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Buddy Up!

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

What happens when you bring together the curiosity of a young student and the enthusiasm of a teen volunteer? Computer Buddies!

Computer Buddies is a long-standing program at the Calgary Public Library. It started in 2002, pairing teen volunteers with students in Grades 1-6. Since then, hundreds of young buddies and just as many teen volunteers have been involved every season.

With an emphasis on safe surfing and fun projects, the Buddies tackle Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, as well as keyboarding, math games, and creating online comics.

Become a big buddy today! Click here to find out more about volunteering with Computer Buddies.

If you are the parent of a younger child (Grades 1–6), you can register your child for Computer Buddies here.

The Wire

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

HBO’s The Wire is a critical and unflinching look at the social problems within the streets of Baltimore. The Wire has an enormous cast: corner boys, teachers, police, journalists, city staff and many others populate its violent and shocking scenes. We witness corruption and back-room deals, the abject failure of the public education system, the dissolution of traditional forms of print media, and a vicious drug trade that leaves hundreds of dead in its wake.

So, why would you want to watch something so ostensibly disheartening? Because this is a series that has been critically acclaimed and touted as nothing short of “literature”. If it is literature, it’s Dickensian, to be sure. Narratives are played out in long arcs, and the pay off for viewers typically comes at the end of a 13 hour season. The Wire’s writers are not afraid to eliminate major characters, either. In fact, several of my favourite characters eventually “get got” and wind up being shot by enemies or close associates.

Once you’re beyond the initial shock of the violence and foul language, you’re immersed in a world that’s totally unlike the one you likely inhabit now. The acting is superior and the stories are gripping.

Check out The Wire today! Use your library card to place a hold, and we’ll deliver the DVDs to a branch of your choice.

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Volunteering in the ESL Conversation Club is rewarding

by Courtney Brinsmead - 0 Comment(s)

Mark volunteers for the Calgary Public Library’s ESL Conversation Club at Village Square Library. He has been dedicated to helping people improve their language skills there for over 5 years. Here’s what Mark has to say about his volunteer experience:

Volunteering in the ESL Conversation Club is rewarding. Not only do you learn about other people’s culture, but you also learn about the spirit of assisting new Canadians.

We have kept our member’s interest alive in the ESL Conversation Club by interacting with them on a personal level, making them feel welcome by holding potlucks and by utilizing library materials for them to take home, while at same time taking them outside their comfort zone and giving them an insight into Canadian culture.”

Picks of the Litter(ati) June 9, 2011

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Here are some brand new books that caught my eye this afternoon:

  • Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, edited by Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman. It was the hot pink cover that drew my eye, but the back cover makes me want to read. Here’s an excerpt:

“Reading Persistence is like attending a dinner party with people you never got the chance to talk to before – fascinating, brave, insightful people – some of whom are very well known and others are simply the people you want to get to know.”

  • Poke the Box, by Seth Godin. Godin is a well known writer, blogger and entrepreneur. His latest book is only 80 some pages, so I’ll be finished it in only a few days. PS: riding the C-Train is an excellent way to carve out some time for literature!
  • A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire, by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam. This one should be interesting, to say the least. By analyzing millions(!) of internet searches, videos, ads, websites and digitized romance novels, the authors were able to gain insights about sexuality that people tend not to report on surveys and questionnaires. Here are some teasers: men prefer plump women over thin ones (dear God, please let that be true!), and they often search for sexual images of women in their 50s or 60s. And apparently, women enjoy reading about two heterosexual men having sex. Time to find out more...

Your library has new materials arriving nearly every day! Check out the New & Notable section of your local branch.

Jealousy, by Catherine Millet

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

Even though I work at a library, I don’t always take the time for a leisurely browse. Last Friday afternoon, I did just that. I browsed our collection on love and relationships, and stumbled onto a great new read: Jealousy: the Other Life of Catherine M, by Catherine Millet.

Catherine M is perfectly content living a life of sexual liberation. She’s a Parisian writer and art critic who has both male and female partners, and enjoys several concurrent relationships. But, one day she finds that her primary partner, Jacques, maintains his own relationships with other women. The book is a chronicle of Millet’s reactions and feelings, as she unflinchingly recounts the jealousy she felt, but failed to predict.

It’s honest, raw, and remarkably insightful. It’s well written and articulate. But be warned: Jealousy might make you blush, while reading it on the C-Train. Millet spares no detail! Check it out today!

Fish, by T J Parsell

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

Since visiting the Calgary Remand Centre some time ago, as part of a Calgary Public Library outreach initiative, I can’t help but think seriously about people who for whatever reason, end up incarcerated. This is especially the case now that our conservative government has voiced intentions to build more prisons, and write tougher laws. How many of the Canadians who say “lock ‘em up and throw away the key” have ever set foot inside of a prison?

I just finished reading Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison, by T J Parsell. Truthfully, it was the literary equivalent of the proverbial car crash, from which you just can’t look away. Although I was aghast at what Parsell was forced to endure, I couldn’t tear my eyes from the book. It’s the story of young Tim, who goes to prison at only 17, and is repeatedly sexually assaulted by other inmates. Not only that, but the inmates flip a coin to determine who will “own” him. Tim finally makes a friend who seems to care about his well being, but then is transferred to another prison, never to see him again. More than merely a horrific tale of violence and abuse, this memoir is a reflection about youth, identity, manhood, and power.

What’s most unsettling, however, is the fact that Tim represents just one of thousands of cases in America, and in Canada, too. In Parsell's words:

Most people who want to be tough on crime don’t care what happens to inmates. But they should care, because 95 percent of all prisoners are eventually released back into society, indelibly marked by the violence they have seen or experienced.

I recommend this memoir for those who work in criminal and social justice, social work, psychology, and gender studies.

Check out the author’s blog, here.

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