Jennifer and the Land of Nod

Whenever we have a children’s event at the Carleton Place Public Library, I like to call the Carleton Place Canadian to see if we can get a bit of local newspaper coverage.  Over the past year,  developed a great connection with a super photographer, Jennifer, at the paper.  It was easy enough to contact her and she was sure to show up at our event and take pictures.  And we were lucky enough to grace the newspaper several times recently.

I just read a few weeks back that she was leaving the paper though to go on a trip of her dreams….to drive across North America, I believe. (Sorry, Jennifer, if this doesn’t encapsulate your trip exactly.)  So I was sad to read that she was leaving the area, but happy for her to follow her bliss. She is going to chronicle her trip on her own blog called Land of Nod and you can read her first few entries if you follow the link.

Good luck, Jennifer and have a great trip!


The funkiest library around!


Vanity Fair magazine is always up on the latest fashions and world happenings.  I am never sure what to think of this magazine, which is a mixture of fashion, beauty and models but always has page after page of interesting and informative articles relating to world events or hot topics.  In the April 11, 2008 issue, their travel writer, Victoria Mather let the world in on her favourite library ever.  (The beautiful photos were taken by Barbara Kraft.)

carlisle_bay_536x250_lib2Carlisle Bay Antigua is a luxury resort that sports its own library for the many guests that travel through.  But it isn’t just any library with dog-eared copies of dusty beach reads. This library has fiber optic lighting which changes colour throughout the evening and sports the top ten beach reads of the moment.  And what happens when a book is well read?  They pop in a new copy so that their guests can read fresh pages and have crisp spines on their books.  You can visit their site here.

Now that is luxury!

Seeing is Experiencing?

We have many patrons that are visually impaired.  When you think of a library, you don’t readily think of people who cannot see.  There are books in braille, of course, but we don’t really carry them in our library, although I’m sure that we could order some in if necessary on loan from another library.  We have many patrons that order books on tape or CD so that they don’t have to forgo their reading experience, and it seems to work very well.

Recently, at a children’s librarian meeting, another librarian was showing us some new books that she had just purchased for her library.  One of them was “The Black Book of Color”  by Menena Cotin and Rosana Faria.  It is a fabulous and creative children’s book which includes braille for the text as well as pictures that are textured so that visually impaired children can also enjoy the book.  The most interesting thing about it is that every page is completely black!  This would be a really fascinating book to almost any child, whether they can see or not.  The option of touching each page is very exciting.  You can see more of this book here.

Since I am getting ready for a vacation myself in a few weeks, I came across a fascinating article about visually impaired people and travel.  What is the one thing that we all do on vacation?  We take go sight-seeing and take photos.  But sight-impaired people just don’t have that luxury, so what is the option?  Of course, there are many tour companies now which cater exclusively to the blind, encouraging them to experience a place through sound, smell and touch.  The article that spawned this idea can be found here

Even though we might not be aware of all of the services that are available to seeing-impaired people, when we do come across something we hadn’t thought of before, it is wonderful to think that there really are so many things that can not only make their lives easier, but much more enjoyable.

Dangerous places?

One of my co-workers has gone to New Orleans for the long weekend. And wouldn’t you know it….a storm is brewing in the south.  Since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has done its best to rebuild and make the city into the landmark that it used to be. (We’re sure that Lillian is enjoying it, regardless of the weather!)  But is it dangerous to travel to places that have gone through such a large event?

There are many dangerous places in this world, and we see visuals of many of them on the news each night.  So it seems logical that people would write books to tell their tales of survival.  We have a very interesting book in the library called “Wild : Stories of Survival from the world’s most dangerous places”.  It is a compilation of some of the best writing by people who have been in the danger zones and lived to tell their tales.

If you are looking for something similar to get your adrenaline going, you might also look for “The World’s Most Dangerous Places”  by Robert Young Pelton.  He is a bit of a daredevil who has traveled all over the globe and seen things that most of us will never want to experience.  He is also the force behind the exciting website called “Come Back Alive”.

Come Back Alive is a site devoted to people who love to travel for adventure, or those who must travel for work.  It gives very up-to-date listings on the danger zones on the planet right now, and allows readers to add their own stories and pictures, as well as tips on staying safe wherever you are.

Hopefully Lillian won’t have to deal with another disaster like Hurricane Katrina while she is away, but if you are planning on traveling, you might want to check out this site first.

Couch Surfing

Makena Beach State Park, Maui

Travel books are a dime a dozen, it seems. You can always find information about a place that you’d like to visit, and usually, there are a few good tips. Fodor’s and Lonely Planet books are wonderful when you are serious about a certain area of the world. They will help you find a hotel, book a restaurant or a tour and even find something unique to visit while you are there. (I must admit, one such book helped us to find a little known parking lot in crowded Bar Harbor, Maine when there were absolutely no places to park the car for blocks.) We have many of these books for various places around the world available in our library, so if you are going on a trip, please stop by to pick one up.

There are wonderful “travel” adventure books written by people who have done something very interesting, all in a quest to see the world or a part of it.

Long Way Down, by Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman

This is a really interesting book that tells the tale of these two friends and adventurers at heart as they make their way from the northernmost tip of Scotland to the southernmost tip of South Africa….on motorcycles! This is actually their second trip on bikes. The first was in 2004, when they traveled around the “world” on their motorcycles, meeting all kinds of interesting and crazy people along the way. These two journeys were also documented on film. You can find out more about the trips and the books on their website here.

The Voyage of the Northern Magic by Diane Stuemer

This is the tale of a family from Ottawa, Canada (only a short drive from here), who decided to leave for a trip around the world on a 40 year old yacht. The Stuemers and their three young sons gave up their lives back home to have an adventure after Diane Stuemer had a health scare. She documented their trip with weekly articles in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, and later turned the travel adventure into a fascinating book. You can also see more about this trip on this website:

But what if you’d like to travel and just don’t have the means to do it? How about finding alternative lodging. There is an interesting new website called CouchSurfing which was started by someone who just wanted to travel, but couldn’t afford hotels. So he put out an email asking for a couch to sleep on while he was visiting and area…..and the response was overwhelming! You can register as having a couch to sleep on, or a someone wishing to sleep over and the site will help to match you up.

What vacation adventure do you want to go on next?

Lonely Planet…or just strange planet?

On the weekend, I caught a television show on the Outdoor Life Network which often showcases travel. This particular show was an episode of The Lonely Planet series, which also comes in the form of books, and has a fabulous website. Now, we often have people come into the library and ask for The Lonely Planet books when they are about to travel, as the books are informative and usually give great tips that are slightly off the beaten track for travelers. If you are adventurous, these are the books to read when planning a trip. (We have several in our library, from Canadian destinations to other parts of the world, but we can certainly order one in for you from another library through interlibrary loan if we don’t have what you are looking for.)

As this episode began, I thought, what an interesting way to present the city of Berlin. It brought out the highlights of the city and gave the viewer a good idea about the people who live there. That was when it took a turn. I’m not saying that every city in the world is like this, but it sure made me view this particular city in a new light. From an interview with a creative puppeteer, to a performance artist that the host met while playing rooftop golf, to a bizarre creation called “Chess-Boxing” (it is EXACTLY what you are thinking…..rounds of chess played in between bouts in the ring!). I’m including a snippet of the program here so you can get a feel for the show, but you might want to look around the Lonely Planet website as well if you are thinking of traveling.

Lonely Planet


( Photo of Clayoquot Wilderness Resorts and Spa in British Columbia, Canada)

It is another Frivolous Friday and today the topic is……Glamping! So, what exactly is glamping? It is the newest trend in travel….glamorous camping! Since we are all going to be thinking about heading out on summer holidays, we should start planning now. With the ever rising cost of gas, camping is usually a great alternative, although glamping takes it to a new level. There is no roughing it here!

Glamping has begun to emerge as a new option for the adventure traveler, but one with a big bank account, keep in mind. This is not for the budget conscious! Tour companies all over Canada and Europe are now offering interesting packages, filled with luxurious tents, gourmet meals and yet still the feel for the outdoors. No more running into the forest at night if nature calls! Some of these places have “indoor” plumbing, expensive bedding and even heat!

You might want to check out a few of these interesting websites that specialize in this form of leisure:

Of course, most of us will never experience camping in this way, so if you are planning a summer camping vacation, we have some great books with lots of advice for the novice camper right up to the more experienced.

The Happy Camper, by Kevin Callan details all sorts of interesting ideas and advice to help make your vacation safe and fun!

Leave No Crumbs Camping Cookbook by Rick Greenspan will help you whip up a fantastic meal right over the campfire.

So, explore in style, or rough it……which do you choose?