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May 2012

It's always darkest before the Fall

May 24, 2012 | Denise | Comments (0)

The end of the TV season has arrived. Are you wondering how to fill the time until the next season begins again? Do you have that sense of disorientation that we experience when our connection to our characters' lives is broken by the artificial cruelty of network programming?

What to do? How to fill the empty hours while we stress about how the drama will be resolved in the next season?

Luckily, our summers are long and unpredictable enough (weather-wise) to allow us to focus our loyalties on other diversions. Such as - watching full seasons of previously screened TV series that we might have somehow missed.

Here are a few ideas to replenish that delicious absorption you crave, without the dreaded months-long wait to find out what really happens and with all the reassurance of being able to watch to the (sometimes) bitter end.

Forsyte Saga
For Downton Abbey lovers, who are enthralled by the period drama and the interpersonal conflict - have you watched The Forsyte Saga and its sequel The Forsyte Saga, Series Two?  Interestingly enough, this series, based on the books by John Galsworthy, was made twice. Initially in 1967, then again in 2003 with the impressive Gina McKee. Did anyone mention dysfunctional families?

The wire

Then, of course, there is The Wire for those who suffer from a tension deficit disorder. Check all seasons out at your local branch, but beware - this is a very addictive series.



On the much lighter side, sweetie dahling, if you enjoyed Absolutely Fabulous, try French and Saunders, a great comedy series. Or even Chef!  in which Gareth Blackstock could probably rival Gordon Ramsay's temper tantrums. 


Was Bones your favourite? Try your luck with Waking the Dead. Cold cases are taken on by a mixed bag of forensic scientists, psychologists and investigative detectives. This series looks more gritty than Bones, with plenty of interpersonal drama to liven things up...

And now for TV shows that, for me, have no comparable alternative. A very intense Michael Kitchen plays the lead in Foyles War. He's a reluctant detective, coerced to stay home and solve local crimes rather than go to fight for England in World War II. The series moves chronologically through the war years and has a marvellously authentic feel to it.
Singing detective
The Singing Detective stars the multi-talented Michael Gambon. Don't let the fact that this series was originally made in 1986 put you off. It is a brilliant  depiction of an author, Dennis Potter, bedridden, who hallucinates his own detective stories.


And finally, an oldie but goldie - enjoy the medieval haunts of Brother Cadfael with the incredible Derek Jacobi in the starring role. Poison, back-stabbing, betrayals - who could ask for more?


Fines can be Fine

May 16, 2012 | Jorge | Comments (2)

Nickel    Quarter    Dollar    Twoonie    Quarter    Nickel
Oh yes, I totally get it – nobody likes spending more money than they need to;  I’ll be the first one to tell you that.  I know some of you are thinking, “touché and true-say to that brother.”   Sometimes though, fines can be a good thing that benefits everybody, including you!

In recent months, I’ve been getting calls from our members about library fines: some accepting the responsibility of being late, while others are troubled by the concept.  Let’s talk about it for a moment.

Envision a library without a fines collection program, what would it look like?  For starters, people would not have a reason to return borrowed materials on time.  Library materials would be held onto longer than they should be and it would be very difficult to predict when they would be returned to the library so the next person could benefit.  How does that affect you as a borrower?  The pool of published resources that Toronto values would be less accessible, disorganized, and outright inefficient... scary isn't it?

So the next time you incur fines, remember the bigger picture and keep in mind that fines collected ensure the integrity of YOUR library.  Above all, fines are reinvested to improve library services to better serve you.

If you still don't welcome the idea, be sure to return your library items on time... here are some tips on how to avoid fines and pay them if you get to that point.

Nickel    Quarter    Dollar    Twoonie    Quarter    Nickel

Here Comes the Bride

May 8, 2012 | Claire A | Comments (0)

It’s already May which means that wedding season is upon us.  Chances are that you are taking part in a wedding this summer.  I know I've already been invited to 4 and am expecting a few more invitations to show up in my mailbox.  Having planned a big wedding already once in my life, these days I’d much rather attend as a guest.  But I find that the best way to get my wedding fix is to read about them (it's much cheaper).  If you love weddings as much as I do, here are some suggestions of fun bridal literature. 

12033455     The wedding writer     Hitched

Savor_moment     The wedding beat cover     Confetti Confidential

Getting Over the Cognitive Gap

May 2, 2012 | Jorge | Comments (2)

I said this before and I say it with confidence again – Information is powerful.  Whether we realize it or not, we use information to solve our problems.  Librarians and information professionals like to call the absence of information in the wake of a problem a ‘cognitive gap.’

Gap and bridge

Here is a classic example of the dissolution of a cognitive gap at the library reference desk.  By the way, this is a very true story that has happened several times.

An elderly lady approaches me at the reference desk.  Before saying anything, the expression on her face reads exhaustion, confusion and melancholia.  It is clear that she is not feeling well.  When she begins to ask her question, it is also clear that she is having a hard time finding the words to speak, so I ask her the simple question, “How are you?”

I discovered that her life-time partner, friend and husband passed away and she needed support materials to help her deal with grief.  So I asked her if she is looking for personal stories, psychology/self-help books, and social support groups.  Her facial expression appeared instantly brighter as if she saw a glimmer of light nearby.  Although she did not say it, I could tell that she was fascinated by all the information and social supports available for her.  It was almost as if she knew the materials were there to help her cross the ‘cognitive gap’ so she could restore her well-being.

By the way, she comes to visit ever so often to remind me how grateful she is.  She even participates in our senior programs and has met some new people in the neighbourhood.  Here are some books that touched her:

On-Grief-and-Grieving-Kubler-Ross       A Widows Story F       Healing fried finding peace

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