Author Archives: winnipegpublibrary

New Features in the WPL to Go App


We’ve got some new features in our WPL to Go app that we’re sure you’re going to enjoy. If you’ve got the app already installed, the features are live already (no need to install an update, just open your app and explore!)

wpltogoappmainNew Look

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that we’ve updated our app icons… our old icon set was looking a bit dated, so we’ve gone in and done a bit of a makeover. The new look is cleaner and sleeker – we hope you like it! If something’s not where you expect it to be in the app, note that all of the services that you’ve been using the app for – searching for books, checking your library account, contacting the library – are still there; we’ve just rearranged things a bit to make room for some new content.

Leave your card at home

The most anticipated new feature is the app’s ability to store your library card number and display your barcode for scanning at the checkout desk.   That’s right, you can now leave your library card at home (or lost in the back of your wallet, whatever) and just scan your app instead!

To show your barcode at checkout, you need to first save your library card in the app. If you use the app to place holds on items all the time, you’ve probably done this already – just check the “Remember login” box on the My Account sign in page.

wpltogoapplogin   wpltogoappshow   wpltogoappcard

Once you’ve signed in, you’ll now see a line that says “Library Card (#####): show card for scanning.” Tap this and a version of your library card will appear on the screen. You can show this to the staff member at your local library’s checkout desk to access your account, or use it on any of our self-checkout machines (note that you may have to turn your screen brightness up to 100% to get the scan to work).

cool new content

wpltogoappcontentWe’ve also added more library content on the front page of the app, so you can launch all of your favourite WPL services with a tap of your finger. We’ve always included a quick link to our available OverDrive eBooks and eAudiobooks (and that’s still there) but now we’ve also added quick links to our hoopla digital (movies, music and audiobooks) and Zinio eMagazines services, too.

We’ve also added a quick link down at the bottom of the app that takes you to our full library website, for those occasions when you find you need to access a library service that isn’t included in the app (after all, it’s an app, it can’t do everything).

what’s happening at the library this week?

wpltogoappcalInterested in checking out a program at the library? Want to know if there’s any interesting programs at your local branch this week? Or looking for computer classes to help brush up on a skill? Tap on Programs and Events to open the complete list of upcoming library events – and then search the Calendar list for something you’re interested in.

Enter your local branch name in the search box to find events near you, or search for a descriptive word like “story,” “ipad,” “HELP” (yes, we have programs that match that term!)

Try it out!

If you haven’t already downloaded the WPL to Go app, you can do so right now just by going to (the page will redirect you to your device’s app store so you can install it right away – it’s free!).

You can also try it live before installing the app by going to on your device. You can try this on your computer, too – just go to the page and then shrink your page window down to phone size.

We hope you enjoy it!


Cartoons for the Reluctant Adult

Let’s face it: being an adult is hard. You have to go to work, pay the bills, do your own laundry… there are days where it all seems a little overrated. Don’t you ever wish you could go back to being a kid, even just for a little while?

Well, they say that growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional, and never has that been more true than today. The upper age limit on formerly youthful pursuits like video games and social media is constantly rising. Gone are the days where we put aside childish things, and nowhere is this truer than in the realm of animation. Cartoons used to be for kids, but have been gradually and steadily becoming more mature. Sometimes it’s simply adult humour; other times, it’s more serious plot lines; and in many cases, it’s a simple appreciation of the talent and beauty in the art itself. Whatever the appeal is to you, the library has a number of titles available to grown-ups who just want to watch some Saturday morning cartoons.

Cover of "The Simpsons" DVD featuring Ralph Wiggum

The Simpsons
Hailed by both Time and The A.V. Club as one of the greatest shows of all time, The Simpsons is the show that launched adult cartoons into the mainstream. Though its primary aim is to parody American culture and satirize the middle class, The Simpsons has always done so with great heart, emphasizing the importance of family and friendship above the shallow, fleeting distractions of modern American life. No wonder it’s still going strong in its 26th season.



You’d think that being the mastermind behind one of the most significant shows in television history would be enough for Simpsons-creator Matt Groening, but no. In 1999 he launched a second animated-for-adults series about a pizza delivery boy who’s cryogenically frozen on New Year’s Eve, only to re-awake in the year 3000. Philip J. Fry must navigate a future world full of alien species, retrofuturistic technology, and an evil robot manufacturer named ‘Mom’, among other things. On the surface, much of the show may seem to rely on wacky premises and low-brow humour, but savvy viewers will quickly realize it’s one of the smartest shows to ever air – even going so far as to invent its own mathematical theorem.

Avatar: The Last Airbender
Forget about the widely panned movie of the same name; the cartoon that was its 2015-03-20_Avatarinspiration is highly acclaimed by viewers and critics alike. Avatar takes place in a world where certain people are able to use a combination of psychic abilities and martial arts to manipulate the elements of earth, water, fire, and air. The story follows 12-year-old Aang and his friends as they try to save the Earth, Water, and Air Nations from a war led by the Fire Nation. The well-developed characters, complex themes, and high-quality art (a blend of anime and American cartoon styles) helped this children’s show cultivate a devoted adult audience. (If you count yourself among them, don’t miss the excellent sequel, The Legend of Korra.)

(Japanese animation, or anime, has a fervent audience, and varies in ways far too detailed to discuss here. For those interested in testing the waters, consider starting with the many award-winning films of master filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki.)

Adventure Time
Continuing the trend of cult favourites, 2015-03-20_AdventureTimeBMOAdventure Time is one of the clearest examples ever seen of “you either get it or you don’t”. Devoted fans praise the animation, complex-yet-absurd stories, and use of both subtle and overt humour; others seem to get genuinely angry at how darn weird it is. Taking place in the magical land of Ooo, this colourful cartoon follows Jake the Dog and Finn the Human on their many adventures, which include everything from stopping the evil Ice King, to jamming with Marceline the Vampire Queen, to exploring any and every dungeon they come across (they’re more common than you think!).

Bob’s Burgers
In the world of adult-oriented animation, shows generally follow one of two Cover of Bob's Burgers DVDhumour styles: the “how inappropriate and offensive can we be” (think South Park and Family Guy), or a blend of low-brow humour and extremely clever references (the aforementioned Simpsons and Futurama). Bob’s Burgers falls into the latter of those two categories. Following the travails of the Belcher family, who own the titular hamburger restaurant, the show is just as likely to make a fart joke as it is to reference an obscure piece of literary canon. For music fans, Bob’s Burgers also guarantees hilarious, catchy songs at the heart of nearly every episode, some of which have been covered by musicians like St. Vincent, The National, and Sleater-Kinney.

So go ahead. Watch some cartoons. Heck, eat a whole carton of ice cream while you do it. Who’s gonna stop you? You’re a grown up.

Share your favourite grown-up cartoons with us in the comments! Is the library’s collection missing your favourite title? Make a suggestion, and we’ll look into purchasing it!


Searcher beware

In our internet age, it can seem as though the library is losing its place as a provider of information. I just want to say that can’t be farther from the truth! Sure, you can Google any kind of information, or YouTube many of the DIY videos available out there, or even Wikipedia just about any subject. But unfortunately, much of that information may be erroneous, misleading or biased. It’s not rare to get a message like this from Wikipedia:wiki

Or find joke YouTube channels like this one, which purposefully mispronounces words for no reason at all. And don’t get me started on all the misinformation one can get from a Google search.

The internet can be a great starting point, but I find I end up doing more research than necessary to figure out if that information is accurate.

Of course the library has many books on just about any subject, and the publishers often have better fact checkers than… whoever fact checks on the internet, if anyone does! But that’s not all the library has to offer. We have many online resources that provide accurate information, which anyone can access at home. Let me list a few databases as alternatives.

Instead of Wikipedia, check out Grolier’s Multimedia Encyclopedias and Oxford Reference. Grolier’s has articles for all reading levels, as well as videos and timelines, and Oxford Reference is a helpful resource with articles ranging from mythology, history, dictionaries, law, biographies and so much more.

Our new Chilton’s Auto Repair database is a wonderful alternative to looking up YouTube DIY videos or sifting through pages and pages of online forums.

For those of you looking for proper English pronunciation, make sure you get the right one and look at Pronunciation Power. This wonderful database helps those who want to improve their English pronunciation hear the different sounds of English and includes recordings of a wide range of words.

Getting proper medical information on the internet can be very tricky, so make sure to reference our new online database: Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties. CPS is the standard for drug monographs and will have all the information you need.

Online reviews can be deceiving or contain little explanation for their ratings. Some product reviews are even written as a form of sarcastic entertainment (such as the BIC Cristal for Her Ball Pen). Make sure to get serious, independent reviews for all your next purchases with our subscription to Consumer

Finally, the database of databases, EBSCOhost, includes 8 databases that you can search at the same time. From academic articles to newspaper and magazine articles regarding all kinds of subjects, this resource will help you with almost any school or university project. It will even help you find that article you read a few years ago in Maclean’s…

And of course, if ever you need help navigating these databases, never hesitate to call your local library or visit the information desk there. We will gladly help you!


List: Books to read on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53AM

Saturday March 14, 2015 (at least for countries that are willing to write out dates in that order) is “perfect Pi day.” Why perfect? Because at 9:26:53 AM, the date and time match the number pi [π] to nine decimal places: 3.141592653.

Pi day is a day for two things: celebrating math, and eating pie. Why? Because both are awesome! Happy eating, fellow nerds!

[π] : A Biography Of The World’s Most Mysterious Number 

We all learned that the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter is called pi and that the value of this algebraic symbol is roughly 3.14. What we weren’t told, though, is that behind this seemingly mundane fact is a world of mystery, which has fascinated mathematicians from ancient times to the present.


Pie : 300 Tried-and-true Recipes For Delicious Homemade Pie 

Pie is the most comprehensive and accessible book ever written on the subject of American pie. An instructive, anecdotal chapter walks home bakers through pastry making how to’s. Answers to questions home bakers want to know. The only resource a home baker needs.


Why Pi? 

This entertaining follow-up to DK’s popular Go Figure!, Why Pi? presents even more mind-bending ways to think about numbers. This time, author Johnny Ball focuses on how people have used numbers to measure things through the ages, from the ways the ancient Egyptians measured the pyramids to how modern scientists measure time and space.


Pie It Forward : Pies, Tarts, Tortes, Galettes, & Other Pastries Reinvented 

“It’s a conundrum I can’t understand. Someone’s hankering for pie; you can see the pie-longing in their eyes. They want a delicious flaky crust, something with buttery overtones. They want fresh fruit – not a vague whisper of berry in a butter cream, but overt chunks of apple, discernible bites of berry. But it’s just not done. You don’t serve pie at special events like fiftieth birthdays, dinner parties, silveranniversaries, or, God forbid, at a wedding. To which I reply, ‘Bullpuckies.'”


Alligator Pie 

Alligator pie, alligator pie, 
If I don’t get some I think I’m gonna die.
All the favourites you remember from your own childhood are recaptured in this collector’s edition: “Wiggle to the Laundromat,” “Bump on Your Thumb,” “Peter Rabbit,” “Psychapoo,” “Billy Batter” and all the wonderful poems you treasured as a child are here for your child to love, too.


The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes From The Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop 

This stunning collection features more than 60 delectable pie recipes organized by season, with unique and mouthwatering creations such as Salted Caramel Apple, Green Chili Chocolate, Black Currant Lemon Chiffon, and Salty Honey. With its new and creative recipes, this may not be you mother’s cookbook, but it’s sure to be one that every baker from novice to pro will turn to again and again.


The Pie And Pastry Bible 

The Pie and Pastry Bible is your magic wand for baking the pies, tarts, and pastries of your dreams — the definitive work by the country’s top baker. More than 300 recipes, 200 drawings of techniques and equipment, and 70 color pictures of finished pies, tarts, and pastries.


Sir Cumference And The Dragon Of Pi : A Math Adventure 

Sir Cumference, Lady Di of Ameter, and Radius are back in their second Math Adventure! This time, a potion has changed Sir Cumference into a fire-breathing dragon. Can Radius change him back? Join Radius on his quest through the castle to solve a riddle that will reveal the cure. It lies in discovering the magic number that is the same for all circles.


175 Best Mini-pie Recipes : Sweet To Savory 

Mini pies are one of the most popular trends in baking, leading the way in the mini-dessert craze. Everyone loves these adorable, fun-sized desserts and savory morsels that are perfect whether on the go, hosting an elegant party or just snooping for after-school snack ideas.


Cinnamon, Spice & Warm Apple Pie : Comforting Baked Fruit Desserts For Chilly Days.

Nothing beats a home-baked fruit dessert served warm from the oven. Whether bubbling up with delicious juices, fragrant with spices, or encased in crisp buttery pastry, fruit desserts are comfort food at its very best.

Real life adventure and survival titles

I enjoy the comfort of my middle class home in the West End, but when the sun goes down a good read about adventure and survival can vicariously transport me into a whole other world…a world of raw living and potential death. And all true-to-life stories. What are the life lessons these books are teaching me, I keep asking. Stay safe, or risk something for what it may bring? What do I need to risk? So much to ponder.

Years before watching Les Stroud’s  ‘Survivorman’ religiously on TV, I vividly remember reading Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors and later, closer to home, Paddle to the Amazon. I know I was hooked with non-fiction adventure and survival stories. And thankfully I still am. Have you read any of these titles?

UnknownAlive: The Story of the Andes Survivors  bv Piers Paul Read
“In 1972 a plane carrying a team of rugby players crashed into the remote, snow-peaked Andes. Out of the forty-give original passengers and crew, only sixteen made it off the mountain alive. For ten excruciating weeks they suffered deprivations beyond imaging, confronting nature head-on at its most furious and inhospitable. And to survive, they were forced to do what would have once been unthinkable…”

index-1.aspxPaddle to the Amazon: the ultimate 12,000-mile canoe adventure by Don Starkell
“It was crazy. It was unthinkable. It was the adventure of a lifetime. When Don and Dana Starkell left Winnipeg in a tiny three-seater canoe, they had no idea of the dangers that lay ahead. Two years and 12,180 miles later, father and son had each paddled nearly twenty million strokes, slept on beaches, in jungles and fields, dined on tapir, shark, and heaps of roasted ants. They encountered piranhas, wild pigs, and hungry alligators. They had lived through terrifying hurricanes, food poisoning, and near starvation. And at the same time they had set a record for a thrilling, unforgettable voyage of discovery and old-fashioned adventure.”

index.aspxWind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“….captures the grandeur, danger, and isolation of flight. Its exciting account of air adventure, combined with lyrical prose and the spirit of a philosopher, makes it one of th most popular works ever written about flying.”


index.aspxThe Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard
“Cherry-Gerrard, who accompanied Robert Falcon Scott to the Antarctic on the explorer’s doomed quest for the South Pole, recounts the unforgettable journey across forbidding, inhospitable terrain. He was also a member of the search party that ultimately discovered Scott’s frozen body along with his last notebook entries…this tale of adventure stands out as a literary accomplishment as well as a classic of exploration.”

index-1.aspxInto Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
“When Jon Krakauer reached the summit of Mt. Everest in the early afternoon of May 10, 1996, he hadn’t slept in fifty-seven hours and was reeling from the brain-altering effects of oxygen depletion. As he turned to begin his long, dangerous descent from 29,028 feet, twenty other climbers were still pushing doggedly toward the top. No one had noticed that the sky had begun to fill with clouds…”

index.aspxInto the Wild by Jon Krakauer
“In a compelling book that evokes the writings of Thoreau, Muir, and Jack London, Krakauer recounts the painting and tragic mystery of 22-year-old Chris Mccandleuss who disappeared in April 1992 into the Alaskan wilderness in search of a raw, transcendent experience. His emaciated corpse was discovered four months later.”

index-1.aspxThe Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
“A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon…What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?”

index.aspxTouching the Void: The True Story of One Man’s Miraculous Survival by Joe Simpson
“Joe Simpson, with just his partner Simon Yates, tackled the unclimbed West Face of the remote 21,000 foot Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in June 1995. But before they reached the summit, disaster struck. A few days later, Simon staggered into Base Camp, exhausted and frostbitten, to tell their non-climbing companion that Joe was dead. For three days he wrestled with guilt as they prepared to return home. Then a cry in the night took them out with torches, where they found Joe, badly injured, crawling through the snowstorm in delirium.”

UnknownAdrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea by Steven Callahan
“…an autobiographical account of the second solo voyage Callahan attempted on the twenty-one-foot yacht he had designed and built, the Napoleon Solo, and his harrowing two-and-a-half-months adrift on a five-foot inflatable raft after the yacht collided with a whale and sank.”

index-2.aspxThe Voyage of The Northern Magic: A Family Odyssey by Diane King Stuemer
“Ever dream of selling up and running away to sea? Diane Stuemer and her husband, Herbert, were once a typical suburban couple entering middle age, with a comfortable home and three boys under twelve. A year later they had sold their business, rented out their house, and were setting out to circumnavigate the globe in a 40-year-old yacht. Their entire sailing experience consisted of six afternoons on the Ottawa River. Over the next four years, squeezed into quarters no bigger than the Stuemer’s old bedroom, the family of five would become seasoned mariners. They would battle deadly storms at sea and evade real-life pirates. Dodge waterspouts and lightning strikes and witness the bombing of the USS Cole. See the staggering beauty of Borneo’s rainforest, and its destruction from logging. Be arrested at gunpoint and entertained like visiting royalty. In all, they would visit 34 countries and cover 35,000 nautical miles.”

index.aspxWave by Sonali Deraniyagala
“A brave, intimate, beautifully crafted memoir by a survivor of the tsunami that struck the Sri Lankan coast in 2004 and took her entire family. Sonali has written an extraordinarily honest, utterly engrossing account of the surreal tragedy of a devastating event that all at once ended her life as she knew it and her journey in search of understanding and redemption.”

And lastly:

index-1.aspxWild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
“A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe–and built her back up again.”

– Lyle

What a Difference a Year Makes

It has been said that human beings are “causation” seeking animals. We want and need to be able to see patterns in our world. The field of history could be categorized as the champion of imposing order as well as declaring magical turning points. Sometimes these attempts are completely arbitrary and sometimes they are accurate and truly historic. Although history may be valued, for most people it is the here and now which is considered most vital and crucial.  That is why we are susceptible to such statements as “this election will be the most critical ever”,  implying  all of the previous elections ever held were trivial. As such, it is hard to judge and assess how important the events we are experiencing now compare to past events. But it is fun (OK, I have a weird sense of what constitutes fun) and sometimes enlightening to look back at past historical periods in terms of similarities and differences. Maybe there is some order to our evolutionary chaos? Here is my sampler of critical years:

YearThe Year 1000 : What life was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium : An Englishman’s World by Robert Lacey, provides an intriguing survey of the resources and inventiveness of the people living in the first millennium. From managing Viking raids, to managing their personal hygiene, it is an interesting read.



1066 : The Hidden History of the Bayeux Tapestry 1066
by Andrew Bridgeford, documents the transitory period of the end of the Anglo-Saxon Britain and the coming of the Normans. Often viewed as a propaganda tool for Norman ascendance, Bridgeford makes a case there may be more nuance in the images of the tapestry.



14341434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance by Gavin Menzies is a speculative account suggesting that such a visit imparted ancient Chinese wisdom to the west, inspiring the great scientific and intellectual revolution of the Renaissance. Where is it written that you have to be historically accurate to have fun?



1491 : New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus 1491
by Charles C. Mann can be described as a powerful corrective where Mann documents the sophistication and grandeur of native American societies pre-European contact.



WorldThe World in 1800 by Olivier Bernier documents changes where absolute monarchy’s are fading, and the demand for democracy, combined with the growing power of industrialization and the rise of capitalism, is threatening the old order.



The Ninth : Beethoven and the Year 1824 by Ninth
Harvey Sachs includes Haydn the loyal servant of the
court, Mozart the perennial free agent, and Beethoven,
who provides the template for the crash and burn romantic “rock star”. Individualism, liberty, egotism – everything for the pursuit of art.  Beethoven definitely set the standard.



19131913 : In Search of the World Before the Great War by Charles Emmerson contains profiles of 20 cities around the world.  Discussion focuses on the social, cultural, as well as political perspectives of these various cities, documenting attitudes from different time periods.  Although chapters include London, Paris, and Berlin, Emmerson’s research is so far reaching that Winnipeg shares an entire chapter with Melbourne – that in itself is worth a read.


Paris 1919 : six months that Changed the World by Paris
Margaret MacMillan is the gold standard in historical
analysis chronicling the negotiations and also the behind
the scenes activities of the Versailles Peace Treaty that
created the modern-states of today.



We even have competing subtitles, and both years make credible claims:

19591959 : The Year Everything Changed by Fred Kaplan, AND



19691969: The year Everything Changed by Rob Kirkpatrick



Phil D.



A Year in the Life

Hello from waaaay up on the fourth floor of the Millennium Library!  The one constant in any library is change – from the streams of different people coming to our desk, to the new titles finding their way to our shelves (and eBook platforms), to the displays our staff put together to help you find your next great read.

Recently our Information Services (adult non-fiction) staff at Millennium Library put together a display called “A Year in the Life.”  The concept pulled together a wide range of titles detailing life experiments of various individuals undertaken for a year – sort of like New Year’s resolutions on steroids. Titles were snapped up quickly – a testament to how much people like to live vicariously through others.  Here’s a taste of what piqued our customer’s curiosity:

AYearA Year Without “MADE IN CHINA”: One Family’s True Life Adventure in the Global Economy by Sara Bongiorni is an account of one family’s attempt to live outside the reach of part of the global economy and not buy anything “made in China” for a whole year.  Take a look around your house – or even on the tags of the clothes you’re wearing – and imagine that.



BigYearThe Big Year : A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik proves there’s a fine line between hobbies and obsessions. The Big Year recounts the adventures of three men who took part in a year-long birdwatching marathon in 1998 .  How many bird species is it possible to identify in an avian version of The Amazing Race?  Find out in Mark Obmascik’s book, which was also made into a movie starring John Cleese, Owen Wilson and Rosamund Pike.



OperatingOperating Instructions : A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anna Lamott points out the journey travelled by each parent or caregiver during the first year of their child’s life is unique and Anne Lamott’s story is no exception.  Formatted as a diary, Lamott provides readers with an intimate view into the joys and fears associated with her first year as a single mother.




AnimalVegetableAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle : A Year of Food Life by acclaimed novelist Barbara Kingsolver (check out titles like The Poisonwood Bible or The Lacuna) chronicled her family’s transition to a rural life where their goal was to only eat what they would grow themselves.  Packed with wit (see a chapter titled “Zucchini Larceny”), recipes, and an examination of the industrial nature of the American food supply, this is a well-rounded read.  You’ll also find this title with us in eBook, audio book CD and audiobook MP3 CD formats.

YearAnd last but not least, The Year of Living Biblically : One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs, who has made a career of putting himself through entertaining (for us!) personal experiments.  (Be sure to check out his other titles The Know-it All, The Guinea Pig Diaries and Drop Dead Healthy.)  In The Year of Living Biblically, Jacobs attempts to do just that – live literally by the myriad rules found in the Bible.  Not surprisingly, awkwardness and enlightenment abound.  You can watch a video of Jacobs talking about his experience here.

2015 is about one-sixth done.  What are your plans for the rest of the year?