Everyone Has a Story

I love watching TED talks. I think some of the most fascinating ideas and people being presented in this format. So, when I came across StoryCorps, the idea appealed to me on so many levels.

It began when founder David Isay found out his father was gay, and began looking into an interesting story about gay rights in the 1960’s. After doing several interviews with people who were once banished from acceptable society, he found talking to them and asking questions about their lives was not only rewarding, but fascinating. So, he decided to start a project where people could record stories with important people in their lives, to be kept for posterity in the American Folklife Centre at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. All artwork, photos and other important memorabilia are scanned and returned to the owner, but the recorded interview and a wonderful cartoon are uploaded and available for access through the StoryCorps site.

Isay wasn’t sure whether anyone would want to participate in his project, but he created the recording booth in the heart of New York City’s Grand Central Station to see what would happen. So many people….children, teachers, soldiers, grandparents….delighted in the idea of having their voices and stories saved for generations to hear. It was so appealing, the project expanded.

It’s not only the wonderful short stories in a question and answer format (often) that are appealing, but the artwork depicting each interview. I could sit for hours and watch each of these short works and never get bored. Sometimes, they’re heartwarming and will bring a tear to your eye, and other times they’ll make you laugh. But it proves that everyday people like you and like me, all have stories to tell.

The best part is that YOU can participate as well. You can drop by one of the locations, or request a special recording. How nice would it be for your children’s children to hear their great Grandma’s voice many years from now? Or to be able to access a long-forgotten family tale. It’s amazing how easily family stories can disappear from our memories.

I love the fact that this site also offers up a series of questions based on the person you want to talk with. There is a list of general questions that you could easily use at a dinner party or business conference where you might not know a lot of people, or find making conversation difficult. Give one a try! A bet you’ll have people talking about themselves in no time.

You can see Isay’s TED talk below. Take a few minutes to go through some of the great stories on the StoryCorps website, too. You won’t be disappointed.

Did You Know?

screenIf you haven’t been using our new website, we think you should give it a try. It might look different from our old catalog, but it’s got lots of great new features. And one of the best is our ONLINE RESOURCES!

If you click on the tab on the left of the page that says, Online Resources, you’ll come to a new menu that allows you to explore the resources based on what you’re looking for. Try “Genealogy and History” if you’re looking for links to Ancestry.com library edition, the World History Collection, or Our Ontario. Or click on “Health and Wellness” if you would like an easy way to find information about a medical problem or health question, choosing Consumer Health Complete, a Multilingual Health Database, or even a Teen Health and Wellness link. It’s easy to search any of these databases, either from home or while you’re at the library. It’s a great resource that we’re proud to offer to our patrons.

One of the great “book” related links is called NoveList (or NoveList K-8 for the younger set). Click on that link and you’ll be brought to a fantastic search engine that will help you search for books by your favourite author, see what’s coming next in a series, and even get recommendations for authors who write in a similar style. No more wondering what to read next!

You can find all of these links at our online catalog. Take a few minutes to explore it. You might be surprised at what we have to offer!

Where Have You Been?

150122114524-01-dr-seuss-0122-super-169Last week marked the 25th anniversary of OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO by Dr. Seuss. Not only is this a popular children’s book, but it has become a standard gift for recent graduates. Not only does the book have a message of encouragement, but it tells the truth–that times won’t always be easy, and that not all things will go your way.  You might think that’s harsh information for children, but it’s something that rings true no matter what your age.

Written by Theodor Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) during the last months of his life, it is thought that he was reflecting upon his own life and career, and wanted to pass on the lessons he learned. It is believed that this is the last book he worked on from start to finish, with several more books being released after this death, those of which were either completed by someone else, or the editing took place afterward.

Geisel always said he never wrote for children. “I write for people,” and this book demonstrates the huge crossover appeal that will probably continue for many years to come. The book is also being released in various formats, this year for babies (OH, BABY, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO), so you might want to pick one of those up for the new parents in your life.

What a lovely way to finish off a career! Thank you, Dr. Seuss.

Creative? Read this!

BuzzFeed has put together another fabulous list, this time with 37 Books Every Creative Person Should Be Reading.

creativeThere are plenty of wonderful books on this list—books for writers, books for people who like to make things, books by actors, directors, artists and business people. But don’t just pick up the books that apply to your line of work. The whole idea about creative thinking is to look outside the box and come up with new ways of doing things. There are so many great books on this list, I don’t know where to start…..maybe at #1.

Drop into the library to pick one up, if you’re interested. We have a few from the list, and we can always do an interlibrary loan for anything you might want to read. If your New Year’s resolution is to try new things or turn your creative hobby into a career, these are a must. Happy reading!

Ringly, Witricity & the Selfie Stick

Today, our Frivolous Friday post aims to make your life better in some way! If you have no idea what any of those words in the title of this blog post mean, you’re not alone.  But some people are already well-versed in their usage. They are three of what Time Magazine is calling “The 25 Best Inventions of 2014″.  And yes, that means you should know about them.

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Each year, the people at Time put together their lists to keep the rest of the world up to date. And this year, many of the inventions are apps. Download to your phone, or use them on your iPad and your life is sure to be better, from an app that uses a small clip attached to your shirt to sense whether your posture is correct, to a ring that not only looks good, but buzzes to let you know you’ve received an important text or email on your phone in your purse.

Many of the items on the list will help make your life easier, but there are also some here that strive to improve not only quality of life, but solve a major problem. (All right, so the Selfie Stick doesn’t really solve a major problem, but it will make taking those candid shots a lot easier, especially if you happen to have short arms. #firstworldproblem)

If you have a few minutes, take a look through the list. It’s fun, and you might find a few things to get that special person for Christmas. Happy surfing!

 

 

Start Planning!

We’re more than three weeks away from 2015, but now is the time to start thinking about those New Year’s Resolutions. If you jumble something together at the last minute, you’re more inclined to quit faster, I think.  But what if you took some time to plan—to really plan something—and then hit it full force on January 1st? All of the time you put in might be great motivation, so let’s get planning.

EASIER RESOLUTIONS

Instead of trying to make yourself over day by day, why not work on your surroundings this year? Clean up that clutter, get organized and make your life simple for once. We have a wealth of great books and magazines to get you started on organization. Purchase attractive baskets to put all of your loose bills, schedules and ticket stubs in. Clean out your front closet and buy some nice shelves or containers (at Boxing Day sales!) so that everyone has their own space to put hats, mitts and scarves. Your closet will look amazing, and you’ll save time cleaning up after everyone.

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MORE TIME

 If you want more time to do the things you really care about, you have to make the time. That means scheduling your free time as an important part of your daily activities, not just hoping you’ll get to put your feet up at the end of the day, or finally make it to the gym. Part of making resolutions work is having a way to incorporate them into your life so that you’ll stick with them. You won’t shop for that healthy food if you only have ten minutes to get everything for the week because of a crazy schedule, so really factor in how much you do, and make sure you leave a slot free just for you.  We have some superb books on time management at the library, so drop in to pick one up so you can read it over the holidays. Incorporate one or two ideas and that might be all you need to finally start that art project you’ve been wanting to try!

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BETTER EATING = FEELING BETTER

One thing we all tend to do during the holidays is overeat. That leaves us feeling bloated and upset with ourselves when January rolls around. Pants that you can’t even squeeze into anymore might be good incentive to get you exercising and eating right for a few weeks, but what about when February arrives and you’re sick of veggies and fish? There are so many wonderful cookbooks that come out every month, and we love pouring through them. Make a plan now to research the types of food you’d like to eat (vegetarian, gluten-free, low-fat etc.), and find a book at the library to try. If you have a plan for a new cookbook each month, it might make you excited about making healthy food. Try out each recipe and blog about them or post your creations on Facebook or Instagram. You might get a whole lot of people interested in your idea and sharing recipes!

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Whatever you choose to do for yourself in 2015, stop being so hard on yourself. And save yourself some money by dropping into the library to get the latest books, DVDs, magazines and more. You might even find a fun program to boost your creativity! We have it all at the library.

Ahoy, Mateys!

Yes, it’s that time of year again….International Talk Like a Pirate Day! And what could be more fun than pirate books!

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There is never a shortage of pirate-themed books, it seems, ranging from picture books, to craft books to YA fiction and even adult. So, hoist them sails and get ye o’er to th’ library fer some excitin’ pirate tales!

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And if you’re looking for fun ways to celebrate today, check out the variety of Pinterest boards based on the theme.