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Horses are People, Too!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I have to say it: the death of a horse on the first day of this year’s Calgary Stampede has me feeling pretty upset. Why, in this century, must we use animals for entertainment?

And yet even though this vegetarian animal lover typically recoils from the rodeo and all that it entails, I’m wise enough to know that I can’t just stand at the gates of the Stampede grounds and shout something like: Horses are people, too!

In order to sustain discussions about morality and ethics, we need to reason carefully, and with attention to nuance. Exactly what is it that’s wrong with the rodeo?

How are rodeos and circuses different from zoos? Is it acceptable for us to eat animals, or to be entertained by them? What about to hurt them? Where do the differences lie, and what makes those differences important? Do animals have rights? If so, how can we formulate and better understand them? These questions live within the realm of ethics, and if they interest you, you might want to browse our philosophy collection.

In particular, I recommend Peter Singer, a philosopher who’s written countless books about ethical thinking.

Ask Us! The Statistics Act

by Katherine - 2 Comment(s)

A customer came to the third floor of the Central Library, looking for information about the Statistics Act. The Act itself is located in our Law Alcove, but the customer wanted to make sure that he had all the information he needed, given the amount of revisions that have been made, over the years. We’ve got print indexes to the Federal Acts that include amendments, and so consulted them, to find the information our customer was looking for. The act and its revisions are also indexed in the Canada Statute Citator.

Sure, we could have used CANLII or the Justice Laws website, but our customer was interested in print rather than online sources.

Sometimes it takes teamwork for us to provide a thorough answer to your question. But that's what we're here for!

Call us at (403) 260-2782, chat with us online, or visit Ask A Question.

On Leadership

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Toastmasters is a club wherein people hone their public speaking and leadership skills. We learn to plan effective meetings, give constructive evaluations and recognition awards, set and achieve annual goals, and more.

I was flattered (to say the least!) that my club elected me president for the next year. But, I have to admit that I’m also feeling a bit trepidacious. I want to contribute and lead, but I’ve never had experience in this field. I’ll have to find a mentor, make a strategy, and learn as I go.

Here are some titles about leadership. I think I’ll check them out:

  • Leadership Rules: How to Become the Leader you want to Be, by Chris Widener
  • Leadership the Hard Way: Why Leadership Can’t be Taught and how you Can Learn it Anyway, by Dov Frohman
  • The Intangibles of Leadership: The 10 Qualities of Superior Executive Performance, by Richard A. Davis

You don’t have to be part of an international organization to be a leader. Leadership can happen within a family, book club, or a volunteer group. Check out some of these titles and learn to apply leadership principles to any aspect of your life.

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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