This month of February celebrates Black History Month. The inception of this historical custom involved the idea of one person and the support of many people to bring this to fruition.
In 1926, Carter Godwin Woodson (1875-1950), shown above, was the first American historian to recognize the need to commemorate Black History and the contributions Black People made in shaping North America. Woodson initiated Black History Week in February coinciding with the birthdays of two historical figures he respected: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. For the next fifty years, every second week in February, Americans celebrated Black History.
In 1969, residing in Kent State University, an association called, The Black United Students petitioned the government for Black History Week to be celebrated for the full month of February. This request was fulfilled in an official ceremony in 1976, when Gerald R. Ford made the announcement to the nation.
In Canada, a parallel evolution occurred. Historica Canada provides a detailed account of how this tradition began here:
In Canada, this idea was first celebrated in Toronto by railroad porters within the Black community by 1950; the porters had learned of it on their travels in the United States. The Canadian Negro Women’s Association also hosted a few celebrations. It was not until the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) was founded in 1978, and petitioned the City of Toronto by 1979 to have February proclaimed Black History Month that the celebration started to trickle into the entire community. The OBHS has successfully lobbied the federal government to have February declared as Black History Month. In December 1995, the Parliament of Canada officially recognized February as Black History Month, following a motion introduced by the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine, MP of Etobicoke-Lakeshore. (Historica Canada: Black History Canada)
Even though Black History Month may have taken almost two decades longer to achieve in Canada, the credit for its success depended on the support of Black communities and the Ontario Black History Society. Today, all of North America recognizes Black History Month.
If you are interested in participating in Black History Month events, the Toronto Public Library offers Programs, Classes, and Exhibits available at libraries across the city.
Here are more Canadian Black History events and websites worth perusing:
Here are some titles available for more information on the history of Black Canadians and Black Americans.
Here is a link to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day blog posted in January. Martin Luther King, Jr. plays an important role in Black History and is worth a second mention.
For those who enjoy music, Bob Marley's Redemption Song - The Canadian Connection blog provides entertaining information on Black history, art, and music culture.
Enjoy this month's celebrations and events to reflect on how far Black Canadians and Americans have strived and achieved through the pages of history.
Question: what do a 1980s science fiction book, a comical Swedish picaresque tale, an Italian novel steeped in sadness, a tough guy thriller, a history of the native peoples of North America, a teen romance, a true story about a deadly trip into the Alaskan wilderness, a vegan cook book, and a ghost story from that questionably coined category "chick lit" have in common? The answer is that all of these radically different books were recommended to me by library patrons.
People often ask librarians for book recommendations, which we happily provide. But the relationship works the other way around too -- library patrons enthusiastically suggest books to library staff. If you encounter a librarian who jots the title you tell her about on a little scrap of paper and shoves it in her back pocket, that's me. When these scraps start to resemble an indoor snow storm I add them to my will-never-finish-it-in-a-lifetime-but-will-have-a-great-time-trying reading list.
Below, I offer a sampling of the books I've read based on the recommendations of library patrons. Why these books in particular? I guess it's because they remind me of a surprise package -- remember those mysterious paper bags filled with treats that you blew your allowance on when you were a kid? Sometimes you'd get something really delicious, a tasty treasure. Then there were the items that were new and strange to you, that you bit down on curiously, open to the new experience. And once in a while there was something you really didn't like, but you ate it anyway.
There's a fiction book on this list that I loved. And a non-fiction book that got into my dreams. And, to be honest, there were a couple of books I didn't like, but I finished anyway. Thank you for all your recommendations. I like to explore outside the borders of my reading comfort zone once in a while, even if I don't always like what I find there. Sometimes I stumble across treasure that way. What's really interesting to me is that all of these books are treasure to someone. It just goes to show, we are not all the same. Vive la différence! Please keep the recommendations coming!
|A huge thank you to the man who recommended this -- I loved it! Downbelow station won the Hugo award (for science fiction) in 1982. It's impossible to give an adequate description of this big novel in so small a space, so I'll just give you some keywords: extraterrestrial colonization, trade, interstellar war, ambition, political intrigue, assassination, desperation, hairy aliens, and a big, fascinating cast of characters. The novel suggests that when humanity begins to colonize other worlds, we won't just bring the better part of our nature with us -- our demons will be along for the ride too.|
|American holocast: Columbus and the conquest of the New World is about the catastrophic impact Europeans had on the indigenous population of the Americas beginning in 1492. According to the author, ninety-five percent of the Native American population perished as a result of contact with Europeans, not only because of exposure to disease the indigenous peoples were defenceless against but also because of “purposeful genocide.” Though disturbing to read at times, this is an important piece of scholarship written in crystal clear prose.|
|The true account of a young man, Christopher McCandless, who sets out to ramble through America right after graduating from college. He leaves behind family, car, cash – all the trappings of a conventional life – and disappears into the wilderness of Alaska. Into the wild was a fascinating, compelling read. I liked it so much, I plan to read it again one day. An excellent recommendation from a young man.|
|Thanks to the teenager who recommended The fault in our stars, a heart wrenching book about two very sick teenagers who fall in love. Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters are delightful characters to spend some of your precious life with (and reading this book will remind you of just how precious it is.) Green's description of how difficult the simple act of breathing without machine support is for Hazel is so well done that for the longest time after I read this book I felt a sense of great fortune when I took a deep, unimpeded breath.|
|The library patron who recommended this book to me was so enthusiastic about it, she got it from the shelf and put it in my hands. I haven't read it -- it's a cookbook, after all -- but I've turned every page, oggled the pictures, and made note of recipes to try. (The black bean burgers look heavenly.) Thanks for recommending this beautiful new cook book, Isa does it: amazingly easy, wildly delicious vegan recipes for every day of the week.|
“Giordano's deeply touching debut novel immediately thrusts the reader into the lives of two individuals, at the moment when each of their young lives takes a sharp turn toward painful solitude: Alice has been crippled in a childhood skiing accident, Mattia is consumed by guilt after playing an unintended but key role in his twin sister's disappearance. Upon meeting in their early teens, they develop a frequently uncomfortable yet enveloping friendship.” (Book List Review.) Physicist Paolo Giordano's The solitude of prime numbers won the Premio Strega, Italy’s most prestigious literary award. A wonderful recommendation – I enjoyed this melancholy, beautiful book.
|A fast paced thriller that grabbed my attention from the first page. Lee Child’s thirteenth Jack Reacher novel, Gone tomorrow, starts with a bang – our hero finds himself riding the New York subway with a woman who is a perfect match for the Israeli counterintelligence profile of a suicide bomber. The knife fight between Reacher and two women, one old, and the other young, stunningly beautiful and possessing mad knife skills, was ridiculous, (Reacher is very tall and muscular) but aside from that it was a good page turner-type read.|
The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared. One day Allan Karlsson climbs out the window of his nursing home, steals a suitcase full of cash from a young thug in a bus station, and accumulates a set of colourful friends while he flees from criminals who want their money back. His past is as interesting as his present – mostly due to his talent with explosives, he gets involved with some of the key figures of the twentieth century -- Mao, Winston Churchill and Stalin, to name a few. I didn’t find this popular book quite as hilarious as many people did, but it had some good lines. My favourite: “People could do what they wanted, but Allan considered that in general it was quite unnecessary to be grumpy if you had the chance not to.” Words to live by.
Lara Lington, a young woman in her twenties, is haunted (but not in a scary way) by the ghost of her great aunt Sadie, who was a young woman in the 1920s. Sadie is a demanding pest of a ghost who alternates between sulking and shouting in people’s ears to manipulate them. I was rooting for Lara to hire a ghost exorcist to banish Sadie from the earthly realm forever. Not my cup of tea -- but some readers find Twenties Girl fun, breezy and funny. A light, confection of a ghost story with lots of references to the roaring 1920s.
Here we are again, it is the beginning of the year and I'm sure we are all filled with resolutions. One of the most common ones is to manage our money better, especially after spending over the holidays. New Year's resolutions seem to go by the wayside quite shortly after the new year.
In this fun and engaging talk, Bruce Sellery, columnist and author, will bring you "The Moolala Guide to Rockin' Your RRSP". He'll make retirement savings relevant to you, help you to develop a simple plan to rock your RRSP immediately and leave you inspired to get up and take action.
The book Moolala Guide to Rockin' your RRSP: Start Rockin' in 5 Easy Steps was just released early January 2014. Actually, the Business Department just received its copy last week. Bruce Sellery has generously offered to give a copy of the book to the first 50 people to attend
Take a look at Bruce Sellery's five week financial challenge:
Go ahead, take the challenge, you've got nothing to lose - especially not your money!
At Toronto Public Library we have a lot of Finance Programs and workshops coming up which will help you maximize your income at all stages of life from student loans to living on your RRSPS. So why not start the year by being mindful of your financial goals, putting your plans into action and attending some free finance workshops?
Some of the finance programs coming up at North York Central Library are:
Please join us for an informative session to better understand fraud and learn how to protect yourself from being victims of fraud. Program is brought to you by Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.
Thursday, January 23, 2014 | 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. | Auditorium
Real Estate Broker, Investor, Developer, Author of two books, and University of Toronto Instructor Claude Boiron will give an overview of Real Estate ownership, buying, selling, leasing, financing, and answer all questions. This program is free.
Thursday, February 20, 2014 | 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. | Auditorium
Brian Quinlan, chartered accountant and co-author of 78 Tax Tips for Canadians for Dummies, will discuss "what's new in tax." Learn how you can minimize your 2013 taxes as well as plan for your 2014 taxes.
Monday, February 24, 2014 | 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. | Auditorium
You can call the Business Department at 416-395-5613 to register or you can always just drop in if space is available - we hope to see you there!
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a galvanizing force in the Civil Rights Movement in America. His approach through nonviolence for social change and his famous speeches continue to inspire people. He is revered as one of the most effective political leaders of all time, received five honorary degrees, and in 1963, represented Time's magazine first African American Man of the Year (Ryan, 1992).
Today, we remember Martin Luther King, Jr. and all the great contributions he made. Louisiana State University created a detailed biographical sketch of his life.
Here are some inspiring books on Martin Luther King, Jr. in our collection:
Below is a listing of more titles on The Civil Rights Movement:
The CBC.ca Massey Lecture Series Archives houses an audio recording of a speech made by Martin Luther King, Jr. in his last Canadian visit in 1967:
As America celebrates this federal holiday, may we all unite in remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as his legacy continues to inspire the world over.
Being two-faced is a good thing to start the New Year. One face reviews the past and reflects on glories and defeats. The other face surveys the future with hopeful goals to accomplish. The Roman God Janus represents beginnings, transitions, and passages through time and self-contemplation. The month of January is appropriately named for this time of year.
Despite its newness, January feels chilly and empty since the holiday celebrations ended. The next months ahead are filled with grey skies, cold winds, and fat heapings of sleet and snow.
Starting and staying motivated can be challenging if not outright disconcerting. Some people refer to this time as the January Blues. To assist in the New Year transition, one suggestion is to keep the momentum going by eating healthy and staying hopeful until the weather improves. To maintain feelings of positivity and inner warmth, here are some cheerful titles to browse:
Mark your calendar for next month! On Wednesday, February 5, 2014 from 7pm to 8 pm in the auditorium, North York Central Library is offering a program called, Beat The Winter 'Blahs': How to be Happier with guest speaker, Dr. Tami Kulbatski. Dr. Kulbatski will offer useful happiness-inducing strategies to survive and beat the dull weather blues.
Face it, we have a New Year to look forward to so why not live life to its fullest with all the great resources at your disposal.
It’s that time of year again. It’s the end of the year and the time where people pick their favourite books published this year. There are a number of lists out there: best science, children’s, business and e-books.
I've decided to share some of the best cookbooks of the year. Here are the best cookbooks selected by various media/news organizations (click on the organizations for the full list):
Did you get an e-reader for Christmas? You can also find some of the favourites from this year in e-book format:
I hope you’ll enjoy these cookbooks over the holidays. Do you have any favourites from 2013?
So, if you are stuck on what to do when the temperature dips below zero degrees Celsius, here are some winter activity suggestions available:
North York Central has a good selection of titles available on winter outdoor activities:
Enjoy the upcoming Holiday Season and try some fun and cool adventures.