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Black History Month: The Big O

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

No, not that Big O. I mean Obama. As in Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States of America.

With only about 10 months remaining until the next American presidential election, it’s time to put Obama’s accomplishments into perspective. Has he managed to clean up Bush’s messes, or has he only exacerbated existing problems? Will his contentious health care reforms prove to be beneficial for the average American, or not? Is the world safer with Obama at the helm, or is Obama merely a pawn in corporate America's game? No matter where you stand on the political issues, it’s undeniable that Obama is a groundbreaking, historic figure.

Imagine: it was only decades before Obama ascended to presidency that Rosa Parks was being asked to move to the back of that fateful bus. Now, read that sentence again.

Check out some of these titles and learn more about America's first black president:

Obama on the Couch: Inside the Mind of a President, by Justin A. Frank

Obama and the Middle East, by Fawaz Gerges

Deconstructing Obama: The Life, Loves and Letters of the First Postmodern President, by Jack Cashill

The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad, by Tariq Ali

And don't forget that Obama is an author, too! Check out The Audacity of Hope and Dreams from My Father.

February is Black History Month. Learn more at your local library branch!

After America, by Mark Steyn

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Mark Steyn is too conservative for me. Or, is it that I’m too liberal for Mark Steyn?

I’m reading his new book, After America: Get Ready for Armageddon, and although he mocks and critiques many things that I think are crucial, I’m enjoying the experience of having views to which I don’t subscribe spelled out in a cogent and articulate way. Steyn is an uncommon combination of erudite and cheeky, and I find myself smirking, even when I disagree with him.

When I picked up the book and saw that its back cover has a glowing endorsement from Ann Coulter (insert gagging noise here) I was sure that I should just put the book down and move on. But the amateur philosopher in me knows that in order to understand my own views, I need to understand others’ views, too. I need to listen to the people who differ from me, in order to gain a better and more nuanced understanding of the views that I do hold.

So, dear reader, I encourage you to select a book whose author you don’t like, appreciate or understand. Challenge yourself to read both sides of a debate.

We’ve got books about all the contentious stuff: politics, religion, sex, war, and so on. Ask our librarians for a recommendation!

What's Druh been up to?

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Today's post was written by one of my favourite former co-workers. Here it is:

One of the many promises I constantly make to myself is to be more active in my community and this includes being more aware of what my elected representatives are doing for neighborhood I live and work in. Sadly, like most of my intentions, I have not followed through as much as I'd like. Like many Calgarians I keep finding myself in a voting booth, stubby little pencil in hand, wishing the choice I was about to make was more informed.

This Thursday night, at the Louise Riley Library Program Centre, citizens of Ward 7 have a wonderful opportunity to find out what Alderman (or, if you like, Councilor) Druh Farrell has been doing on their behalf over the past year, with a question period to follow. What a great way to connect with City Hall! We all hear that politicians need to listen to the people, but don't the people themselves have a responsibility to know what's going on?

One Year Later: Civic Update

Thursday, Oct 06 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Louise Riley Program Center (Just North of the Louise Riley Library)

You can register in person at any library branch, on-line at calgarypubliclibrary.com or by calling 403-260-2620

The Great Stagnation, by Tyler Cowen

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

Check out this popular new book, for an interesting account of how the United States went from superpower to super broke. Cowen has no bias against either Republicans or Democrats, and he doesn’t seek to lay blame, but rather to enlighten readers about the causal factors involved in the recession of an economy as large as the United States’. His explanations are clear and reasonable; this is everyday economics for folks who are drawn to real world examples rather than complex theories. David Brooks of the New York Times states that this is “the most debated nonfiction book so far this year”. Check it out today.

Eat, Drink and Make Mayor-y!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Calgary’s upcoming civic election will arrive at a great time – just after the Thanksgiving holiday.

By the time we’re ready to cast our ballots, we’ll have had the chance to connect with family and loved ones, and talk about the things for which we’re thankful. This frame of mind can be especially helpful as we think about creating the city we want to live in. That’s what happens when we vote; we create.

If you’re thankful for good health, then think about the kind of city that might facilitate that health. A city with bike lanes? A city with more recreation facilities?

If you’re thankful for good food, then search out the candidates who support community gardens, and municipal collection of organic and compostable waste.

Thankful for that recent vacation? Would an airport tunnel have changed or improved your trip?

Break all social rules and talk about politics at your dinner table. Share ideas and why they matter to you. Challenge your loved ones to articulate what’s important to them, and what kind of city they’d like to build.

What will Calgary’s mayoral candidates be thankful for? Your attendance at our Mayoralty Candidates Forum, from 12 – 3 on Sunday October 10th.

Who's your MP?

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Do you know who your MP is? How about your MLA? (Do you know what those acronyms stand for?)

Online government information is easy to access – if you know where to look! On December 8, from 12:15 – 12:45 PM, let our Government Documents librarian give you a brief overview of the sites we use most often. We’ll show you how to find information about civic, provincial and federal governments, and we’ll highlight websites that are timely, authoritative and comprehensive.

Join us on the third floor of the Central library. Bring your lunch, watch demonstrations, and have your questions answered!

Can’t attend the session? From our homepage, click on e-library, and then "Best Websites". Our list of frequently used websites is stored on Delicious, so you can easily find the sites that we use and recommend.