Journey to Justice

February marks Black History Month, and we’ll be showing a film on Thursday, February 7th called “Journey to Justice” by filmmaker Roger McTair. It’s part of our National Film Board Movie Night series, which we run all year round.

The film is about 45 minutes long and pays tribute to a group of Canadians who fought for Black civil rights from the 1930’s – 1950’s.

The film will start at 7pm. Admission is free and popcorn and drinks will be provided, so make sure to get here a few minutes early to get a good seat! It’s going to be an interesting night!

Advertisements

Frivolous (or not so frivolous) Friday

Can you imagine posting your salary, and then listing what you spend for an entire month for anyone in the online community to read?  Me either. But Refinery29, a space touted as a “modern woman’s destination for how to live a stylish, well-rounded life”, regularly asks women to track their spending for a month, and send them the gory details to post. Then, the backlash begins.

Often, the site receives letters from people who make judgments about the women, and comment on what they are doing right–or very wrong—in their lives. It can be brutal. BRUTAL.  I have no idea how some of these women recover from this. You can follow one such participant’s experience taking part and find out what changes she made (if any) as a result by clicking here.

Beware, once you read one of these money diaries, you’ll fall down the rabbit hole and spend the next hour perusing the spending habits of women you don’t know. This is brave stuff. And it makes me wonder why they don’t also track the spending habits of men who’d like to participate. It would be as equally revealing, I think.

Would you participate in something like this and allow your spending habits to be viewed by the world?

Get Ready for 2019!

The new year should be about doing a little bit of work up front to make your life easier and more enjoyable. Forget resolutions…start planning!

Aim to close out the year and get ready for the new one, both at work and in your personal life. Focus on what you really need in your life, and get rid of the rest.

Figure out the numbers

Do you care about statistics? You might, it if means something to your productivity or directly for your business. But what about all of those stats you haven’t even thought about? Take a few minutes and go through your records for things like the number of lunches you have to make in a year, or how many times you shopped at the grocery store outside of your regular weekly visit (you can check your online banking records for this). Knowing the numbers can make you more aware of the time you’re spending doing tasks, and might help you plan better (and even save some money) in the year to come.

If you’re looking at work stats, make sure you collect everything you need before you start back in January. Know your numbers—including costs for items, number of visits to your store or website, and how many people followed up after a conference visit or show.  If you do the work now, you can think of better ways to do things the next time. It’s worth all of the work.

Revisit the trends on social media

We’re not talking about unfriending people on Facebook, but rather, taking a close look at your personal and professional social media accounts. Are there people you never see posts from? (Yes, we know the algorithms can be frustrating.) Take a few minutes to look through their accounts to see if they are interesting enough to keep following. Then, like a post, or comment on something. Your social media accounts will start looking better really soon.

Unfollow or hide any accounts that aren’t in line with your business anymore, or those who don’t fill your feed with a positive vibe. It’ll also give you room to follow others. Don’t be afraid to try some new social media as well. Not on Twitter? Join, and find conversations and people who are aligned with how you think! Not sure how to take great photos on your phone? Join Instagram and start looking at accounts you do like, and figure out what they’re doing that you enjoy. It’ll make you a happier person to learn something new.

Review your accomplishments

This is a great idea. Look back over the year and think about all of the great things you’ve done, even if it doesn’t feel like a huge noteworthy accomplishment. Had dinner with old friends? Paid off your car? These things make us feel good, so go ahead, get those endorphins flowing!  And plan a few new things you’d like to accomplish for the upcoming year. Goals are great to have, even if you don’t meet all of them.

Start listing the books you’ve read

This might feel like a library thing, but it’s fun to be able to look back on a year and think about the great books that kept you entertained, educated, and moving forward. It’s also a great way to remember authors that might have upcoming books, and recommend books to your friends when they ask what you’re reading.

Making a list of books you’ve read is also a great way of visualizing an accomplishment. Did you read one book a month? Five? Set a new goal for the new year and try to beat your previous year. Reading is escapism, and it’s also a stress reliever. Incorporate more of it into your daily routine and you’ll start to see a difference in your life.

Once you’ve organized your social media, set reading goals, drawn up a plan for chores, and started an accomplishments list, you’ll be all set to ring in the new year with excitement and purpose.  Happy New Year!

 

Small Talk

Small talk. It should be an actual course in school, say, in Grade 5. Way before high school, at the very least. It’s not hard to make small talk with friends or co-workers you know fairly well, but get stuck in a room with strangers, and it’s tough! For our Friday Frivolous Post, we’re going there.

As Canadians, we seem to learn how to make small talk about the weather from day one. But what happens when you have more time to kill, or want to chat up that fascinating person across the room during a conference? You can’t rely on the other person to do all the talking–you need to learn how to have conversations, especially in this world of social media and cell phones.

But how? Do you memorize a list of general questions you could ask anyone? (What type of work do you do? Have you been on vacation this summer? What do you think of all this construction? Do you like this restaurant/hotel/yoga class?) After a while, you’ll lose someone with those run-of-the-mill questions. To really engage a stranger, you need to keep a conversation going. But it would be nice to also glean a few tidbits of interesting info from them as well.

When I came across this list of 16 Interesting, Better Small Talk Questions, it was something I had to share. Some of these are BRILLIANT, and I plan on using them the next time I’m lost for words.

How about something like:

  • What are you reading/watching/listening to right now?

We ask this question casually at work all the time, just not in this particular way. When people ask us for book recommendations, we often ask them about the last great book they read, or what type of book they usually enjoy. Why can’t this be a “regular” conversation question? You might find your next favourite book or Netflix binge-worthy show.

  • What are you doing this weekend?

Okay. This seems like a no-brainer, and we often go through this conversation with friends or family right before the weekend. But what if we did it with strangers? (I don’t recommend asking someone on the bus, or in line at the bank…seems a little weird.) I could totally see a conversation like this playing out with someone sitting beside you at the doctor’s office, or the cashier at the grocery store. Just an easy question, and it gets the other person talking about things THEY’RE excited about. Plus, you might get a great tip on something fun to do!

  • What’s the best thing that happened to you today?

I feel like this one is for people you know a little bit already. Otherwise, it ends up sounding like one of those inspirational Facebook posts by a self-help author. (List the five best things that happened to you today! Wasn’t that an Oprah thing?)  But with someone you know…an old friend, your kids, etc., and you could totally pull this off.

There are plenty of other great questions to ask, with lots of wiggle room and the obvious…segues into more conversation! Give them a try and let us know what you think? Or….do you have some favourite conversation starters that work well? Leave us a comment!

 

TIFF and the Books that Inspire the Films

If you were following all the red carpet events at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, you probably heard about some of these films that have been based on best-selling books. While some of these films will be shown in smaller venues, you might like to read the books they were based on before seeing the movies. The books are always better than the movies anyway, right?

Angie Thomas’ THE HATE YOU GIVE was one of the most talked about YA books of 2017, and the movie is sure to be popular as well, and it won’t just appeal to the teen crowd. Thomas’ writing has been lauded as fresh and real, and hopefully, the movie will be true to her vision.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

 

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

 

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

BEAUTIFUL BOY: A FATHER’S JOURNEY THROUGH HIS SON’S ADDICTION by David Sheff is one of the more heartfelt films on the list, from all accounts. And the book will probably delve into the subject matter even more.

What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted David Sheff’s journey through his son Nic’s addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery. Before Nic became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets. David Sheff traces the first warning signs: the denial, the three a.m. phone calls—is it Nic? the police? the hospital? His preoccupation with Nic became an addiction in itself. But as a journalist, he instinctively researched every treatment that might save his son. And he refused to give up on Nic.

 

And one of the other popular films at TIFF this year was IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK by James Baldwin.

Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions–affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where pas sion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.

The novel has been called stunning and honest and has a bit of humour mixed in with the emotional themes. It’s definitely one that shouldn’t be missed.

Have you seen any of the TIFF movies? Are there any others you’re looking forward to seeing or reading? Place a hold on any of the books, download an audiobook or ebook, or ask us for an interlibrary loan on anything we don’t have in our catalog. Get reading…and then get watching!

NFB Film Night at the Library

Join us tonight for not one, but FOUR  great National Film Board movies! It starts at 7pm, and we’ll serve popcorn. You can find out more about the films below….

National Film Board Movie Night
September 7th, 7PM
Free admission, free popcorn!
We will be showing 4 short films by indigenous artists from the NFB’s AABIZIINGWASHI (WIDE AWAKE) Film Festival.

FILMS:
Three Thousand – In this short film, Inuk artist Asinnajaq plunges us into a sublime imaginary universe—14 minutes of luminescent, archive-inspired cinema that recast the present, past and future of her people in a radiant new light.

Breaths – In this evocative short documentary, Inuk singer-songwriter and humanitarian Susan Aglukark weaves together stories of artistry, family, and belonging as she explores the complex cultural shifts of the last 50 years of Inuit life.

Mountain of SGanna – Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter spins a magical tale of a young man who is stolen away to the spirit world, and the young woman who rescues him. The film brilliantly combines traditional animation with formal elements of Haida art, and is based on a story inspired by a old Haida fable.

To Wake Up the Nakota Language – “When you don’t know your language or your culture, you don’t know who you are,” says 69-year-old Armand McArthur, one of the last fluent Nakota speakers in Pheasant Rump First Nation, Treaty 4 territory, in southern Saskatchewan. Through the wisdom of his words, Armand is committed to revitalizing his language and culture for his community and future generations.

No registration is necessary. Just be here a little before 7pm to get a great seat.

Stuff

When we head off to the Ontario Library Association SuperConference in January, there is always a fun pop-up store on site, with lots of great “library-ish” things to purchase. Along with lots of great books, there are fun socks, totes, stuffies, and silly notepads…like this one above.

But they’re not just limited to librarians. Did you know that the Ontario Library Association has an online Marketplace? Drop by and pick up some fun items for yourself, or someone else. There are tons of fun things, and you might even get inspired to start something new (writing, drawing, librarianship).

I have the “Do Something Amazing Today” checklist, similar to the one above, that keeps me motivated and on track at work. But hey, it’s not all about being productive. Sometimes, you just need to have fun!