Author Archives: winnipegpublibrary

The Drum is Calling Us In

“there were men of good faith
Robbing babies from their cradles
Like the monsters we used to tell each other about
Ripping children out of their mother’s arms
To be imprisoned in the houses of a god
Whose teachings were love

But the things that were done were not love”

On September 30, we recognize Orange Shirt Day in solidarity with Phyllis Webstad whose brand new orange shirt was taken from her on her first day at residential school.

“When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”

“Our nation is built above the bones of a genocide”
“We are not free to shed our history
Like an inconvenient skin

If you wore an orange shirt because every child matters, you can augment your act of reconciliation by vising the Millennium library to view the exhibit entitled Framing Residential Schools Narrative, Landscapes of Resiliency by Vanda Fleury-Green. Vanda has spent the last 10 years visiting the locations where residential schools once stood and has photographed what is left of them. She has made some haunting discoveries.

“and sometimes the medicine we need most
Comes from remembering who we were
So we can reconcile it against who we wish to become

The drum is calling us in”

This tobacco is in acknowledgement of the children taken and the parents left behind; of Survivors who walked these grounds while sharing their stories

                In this exhibit, you may touch the bricks of the residential schools and witness the tiny baby blankets and child size moccasins that emphasize how young the children were. Some windows have broken glass and mirrors that fracture the viewer’s image in the same way that the students’ lives were fractured from being taken away from their homes. Every object is thoughtfully arranged to carry the viewer into the past for remembering and also forward towards reconciliation.

MacKay Indian residential School 1914–1933 Fisher Island Manitoba

“Our fight is not meant to be with each other
Our fight is to be better
Always improving
Moving toward what we wish this nation to be

We can be better”

                The Framing Residential Schools Narrative is currently showing in the 2 windows on the main floor of Millennium Library by the New and Noted area. In early December the exhibit will expand into the 8 windows by the Richardson Reading Terrace. In tandem, the exhibit Reflections on Shoal Lake Water is on the 2nd floor in the Wii ghoss area and both exhibits will be showing until the end of February 2020.

“At the core of our values
Is dignity
And yet we strip mine a culture of its identity
Allow our leaders to erode each treaty
And stab flags into the land
As if mountains can be owned
As if water is property
Where is our dignity
If we cannot hold true to the promises we make?”

                Winnipeg draws its drinking water supply from Shoal Lake and the undignified building of the aquaduct is a constant reminder of broken promises for Kekekoziibii, the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation who were displaced, isolated and robbed of their own drinking water. In Urban Eclipse : Rising Tides of the Kekekoziibii, filmmaker Jesse Green travels back to his home community interviewing people about the impacts of the aqueduct in the 100 years since it was built. Through the film, viewers will come to understand the complexities of colonialism; how the web of politics, displacement, residential schooling, and the role of media affected the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation.

Letter from Chief Redsky asking for the payment for the Shoal Lake land
Source: Library and Archives Canada, MIKAN no. 2075667, item 138.

“If the world brings a challenge to one of us
It brings it to us all
We rise and fall together”

                Urban Eclipse will be screened at the Millennium Library on November 2nd 2019, at 2pm in the Carol Shields auditorium.  Admission is free of charge. Join Vanda and Jesse as they introduce the film and talk about their journey in bringing their vision to life. Come listen to the beat of their drum, it calls us in.

All quotes in orange are by Shane Koyczan’s Inconvenient Skin Theytus Books. 2019.


Stories and Faces

Like many library employees, I love books—mostly fiction, and the bigger the better. When my kids were younger they started bringing home graphic novels, and I must admit I didn’t really appreciate them at the time. I love words, and the pictures just seemed to get in the way. Fast forward a few years and I was picking up a hold for one of my children. It was the graphic novel Maus, a Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History, by Art Spiegelman . It is not surprising that this Pulitzer prize winning book, sometimes referred to as the greatest graphic novel of all time, drew me right in. Written over 30 years ago, Maus was a game changer, proving that complex mature themes can be retold with impact in a graphic narrative.

In recent years, amidst growing numbers of displaced people (1 in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee), there have been a number of excellent graphic novels published that put a face to the struggles that refugees endure. They provide us with a way of ‘understanding the individuals behind the numbers’, which can only encourage compassion when it is so needed.

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Threads: From the Refugee Crisis- Kate Evans

Threads takes us into the French port town of Calais where a city has developed within this ancient city of lace. Aptly known as the ‘Jungle’, hopefully a stepping stone to the UK , it is home to thousands of refugees, mostly from the Middle East and Africa. Kate Evans travelled to the Calais Jungle and gives a vivid firsthand report, ‘both capturing the wrenching reality of a seemingly intractable problem and making an eloquent argument for its solution: open borders.’ I thought Threads was an incredible, moving, raw read.

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Illegal- Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

Bestselling author Eoin Colfer, of Artemis Fowl fame, along with Andrew Donkin, published Illegal in 2018. This graphic novel, although found in the children’s section, does not shy away from difficult topics. It is heart-wrenching and real in its retelling of the story of Ebo, a young boy from Ghana who makes the epic journey across the Sahara Desert to Tripoli, and eventually into the merciless sea, always hoping against hope to be reunited with his family and a new beginning.


The Strange- Jerome Ruillier

Peopled by animals, The Strange tells the story of one refugee’s journey as he tries to bring a new life in the West, where he is unable to speak the language. The story is told by a number of different narrators, people he has crossed paths with—police, neighbours, strangers, helpers. The illustrations are strikingly done in black and white, with splashes of red and orange. Ruillier collected material for the novel from “the accounts of undocumented immigrants and their families, as well as police officers and other people close to the issue”


The Arrival- Shaun Tan

The Arrival, by author Shaun Tan, is a wonder of a book. It is completely wordless, but that doesn’t detract from the story, instead drawing you in to look closely at a landscape that looks both fantastical and real. Brian Selznick (author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret) remarks, ‘how it slowly dawned on me that this bizarre world was how any immigrant might see the new place they go…everything is different and scary and magical.’

You can also check-out these other titles from the Winnipeg Public Library catalogue:

Baddawi; Escape from Syria; and Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

Like games? Created in Winnipeg by Michelle Lam, Refugee Journeys is ‘based on a simple “snakes and ladders” game concept—players move forward, backward, or miss turns based on the cards they draw or the spaces they land on. Cards include integration experiences of real refugees, drawn from academic research, news and media, and the game creator’s personal experiences’.


Music to my Ears

As many of you may have heard, the Winnipeg Public Library, in partnership with Sun Life, is now lending musical instruments. How cool is that? So if you’ve never played a guitar, but always wanted to try, now is your chance! For more information on the lending library check out the Sun life Musical Instrument Lending Library page. Now that you know you can borrow instruments from the library, you, naturally, want something to play. Unless you are a songwriter, then by all means, create! I myself love to play the piano and was so happy to discover a little known secret about the library… we have music scores available to borrow! I was thrilled to hear this as I could have fun trying out different music books, and if I really enjoyed one, and hadn’t memorized the song, I could purchase the book elsewhere knowing that I would enjoy the scores inside. Not to worry if you are not a piano player, we have books for guitar, violin, mandolin and so much more! Here are just a few newer scores we received. Take a look and keep the music playing!

Queen: Piano Solo Collection

First up, Queen! Though their popularity really hasn’t dwindled, since the new biopic Queen music is everywhere. If I may say so, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is lots of fun to play on the piano. Play like the great Freddie Mercury with this collection of some great Queen hits.

Broadway Songs for Classical Players: 12 famous melodies from the stage: violin & piano

Learn to play some well-known and beloved Broadway songs on violin (and piano as well). Add such classics such as “Bring Him Home”, “Tonight” and “Memory” to your repertoire.

First 50 Licks You Should Play on Guitar by Troy Nelson

This collection is perfect for those new to the guitar and those who want to learn some must-know licks in a variety of guitar styles to help you master this instrument. From Eric Clapton to Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King and many more.

Campfire Songs: 70 songs with lyrics, melody lines, and chord frames for standard ukulele, baritone ukulele, guitar, mandolin and banjo by Mark Phillips

As the title suggests, this book has chords for all types of string instruments for some top-notch campfire songs that will have everyone singing along. From Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”, Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and The Beatles’ “Yesterday”, it is a perfect book for some impromptu jam sessions on those cool fall nights.

These are, of course, just a taste of the new music scores added to our collection. For a full listing of scores visit our online catalogue, and if you want more resources to learn how to play all the different instruments we offer, make sure to check out our Musical Instruments Resource Guide—Happy Playing!


It’s Time to Read: Slaughterhouse-Five

Dear Readers, when I was in high school and bored to tears reading The Stone Angel I did what many teenagers did, I turned to the internet.  But, being the weird child that I was, I did something that maybe not a lot of my peers were doing online:  looking up the curriculums for other English classes in other countries.  Because in my mind, at the time, there had to be something better on offer than Margaret Laurence.

It was during this hunt that I first discovered Slaughterhouse-Five (This month’s Time to Read podcast book club selection).  A novel whose title I recognized from my mother’s expansive bookshelf, but it was the internet that told me Slaughterhouse-Five was a popular choice among U.S. high school curriculum.  And I quickly grew envious as descriptions of the novel spoke of time travel and aliens, topics that spoke more to my teenage heart than a reflection on life in a small prairie town. 

I wish I could say I was blown away by Slaughterhouse-Five.  But, honestly, I don’t remember too much about it other than it being just weird, dark, and funny enough for me to try other Kurt Vonnegut novels.  Novels like God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater or Cat’s Cradle with which I fell in love.

But, I am excited to read Slaughterhouse-Five, having learned since my teenage years that sometimes it takes time, experience, and context to fully appreciate an author and their work.  A lesson learned, in part, with my experience with Margaret Laurence, whom I wrote off in high school but came to appreciate years later when I discovered The Diviners.

But those are just thoughts going into this.  We’d love to hear your thoughts on Slaughterhouse-Five or Kurt Vonnegut.  Let us know on our Time to Read Facebook group, our website, or by writing to us at

And don’t forget to check out this month’s episode in which we discuss the burning question:  Why doesn’t “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” have a question mark in its title?  Available now!

~Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

Database – an overly complicated word for “great stuff”.

Database. I don’t like the word. It’s supposed to tell me something, but I’m not quite sure what, and it sounds too technical and inaccessible. I don’t know about you, but if I don’t like how something sounds I tend to avoid it…like databases. Yet, I can distinctly remember when databases became relevant in my life, and I quickly came to appreciate them – a lot!

My introduction to databases came during university. I had to write many papers and needed to back up my arguments with reliable sources. Post-university, they’re still relevant in my life, especially in a world of misinformation.

A database is a one-stop shop for tons of good and reliable information about a particular subject.

There are databases that focus on shopping, music, learning a new language…the scope is endless. Here’s a quick video that tells you more.

The Winnipeg Public Library subscribes to a number of databases for you. All that you need is access to a computer or mobile device and your library card and you’ll be all set to explore them.

I’ll highlight several and invite you to check them out. If you’re looking for more, all of them are listed on our A-Z Database page.

From digital cameras to mattresses, hearing aids to sunscreens, through the Consumer Reports database you can search for reviews and ratings on thousands of products (8,500+) and services to help you make informed purchases. This database includes the full text of Consumer Reports Magazine plus videos, blogs and forums.

Explora is easy to search and browse and provides information from the world’s leading magazines, reference books, news articles, and Associated Press videos. You can browse categories organized by popular topics and topics of current debate, or start learning more with Topic Overviews that give a starting point for understanding.

Road to IELTS provides more than 120 hours of interactive learning materials, helping you to prepare and practice for each module of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam! If you like to learn online, this is where to start.

Note: Road to IELTS works with these Internet browsers: Chrome v51 or later, Firefox v47 or later, Safari v9.0 or later or Edge v40 or later. It is not accessible using Internet Explorer.

Winnipeg Free Press Archive includes more than 2 million historical pages from the Winnipeg Free Press and all its earlier titles, such as the Manitoba Free Press. Dating back to 1874, the pages are fully searchable by name, keyword and date, making it easy for you to quickly explore historical content, research your family history, or simply read about a person or event of interest.

Unlike me, don’t let a word like “database” get in the way of you connecting with great information. If you have questions about ours or need help searching them, let us know. We’re happy to show you around.

~ Reegan

Reading My Nightstand

One of the best things about working at a library is the fact that you are surrounded by so much reading material. While I tend to read one thing at a time, every now and then, a whole bunch of books make their way into my life at once and my bedside table becomes overcrowded with options. This latest group of books is particularly eclectic, ranging from fiction and non-fiction to poetry and a play. I hope something catches your eye, as it did mine!

There There is an amazing debut novel by Cheyenne and Arapaho author Tommy Orange. I started reading this book last fall and while I fell completely in love with the story and the writing, I didn’t finish it before its due date. I’ve picked it up again and it’s even more beautiful than I remember. The novel follows a large cast of characters living in the Oakland, California area who all end up at the same pow-wow. The further you read, the more you can piece together how these characters’ lives intersect. I cannot recommend this book enough, especially if you enjoy reading for language!

Written by Courtney Maum, I am Having So Much Fun Here Without You follows Richard Haddon, a British visual artist who is living in Paris with his wife, Anne, and their small daughter. Richard has cheated on his marriage and even considered leaving his family for the other woman. When the affair ends, Richard and Anne must grapple with each other’s actions, reevaluate their relationship, and fight for a second chance.

While I haven’t read a play since university, I couldn’t resist Drew Hayden Taylor’s Cottagers and Indians. Based on true events, this piece is about Arthur Cooper, an Anishnawbe man who decides to repopulate the lakes of his home Territory with wild rice. Disapproval from local non-Indigenous cottagers reminds us that land politics is as relevant an issue as ever.

I had the privilege of seeing Mohawk writer Janet Rogers perform spoken word in Winnipeg a number of years ago. When I stumbled upon her latest collection, As Long as the Sun Shines, I felt compelled to pick it up. Her poetry provides a stunning perspective on Indigenous culture, identity, struggle and womanhood.

In this concise piece of writing, David W. Lesch chronicles the history of modern Syria, from the Ottoman Empire to the current civil war. I’m certainly not going to retain every date or place mentioned in this book but I have been able to further understand Syria’s history and how current conflicts have come to be.


~ Stephanie

Start your engines

It happens to everyone sooner or later: you’re in a fender bender and you need to buy a new car. I was rear-ended a few weeks ago and the pleasure of a new car purchase was upon me.

Buying a new car can be stressful. Performing maintenance on a vehicle or finding someone to do it for you can be stressful. Let the library help⁠—we have a book for that! I’m going to let you in on a few well-kept secrets that I used to help me buy my new car and figure out maintenance schedules and repairs.

My first two choices were the Sanford Evans Gold Book and Phil Edmonston’s Lemon-aid new and used cars and trucks.

The Gold Book provides wholesale and retail prices for a number of makes, models, and years of vehicle. You simply find your car make, model and get the price. It’s handy to know the wholesale and retail prices to make negotiations easier. The Lemon-aid New and Used car guides offer a wealth of price information as well service manual information, defects, and internal service bulletins.

When it comes to repairing and maintaining your vehicle, we provide two solid names in manuals: Chilton’s and Haynes. Both offer tips, techniques, diagrams and schematics of your vehicle to help you take apart and repair what needs to be fixed. Ask our friendly staff to help you find the right manual and year for your vehicle.

You may also want to try our Chilton’s Auto Repair online database. Simply use your library card to access it and you’ll find repair schematics, wiring diagrams, recall information, and estimated repair costs for various fixes.

We’ve talked about repairing your vehicle, vehicles prices and brand reliability, but now, let’s talk negotiation. There are a few books that can help you when negotiating with a car salesperson.

In Never split the difference: negotiating as if your life depended on it, former FBI negotiator Chris Voss lays out how you can improve your interactions and bargaining power in an authoritative read. He uses examples from his former FBI career as well as current business dealings. An important point of his work is you need to take into consideration the other parties’ emotions and self interest.

Getting to Yes: negotiating agreement without giving in by Roger Fisher has been the classic negotiating book for years. How do you get the other party to say yes to your offer, barter, mutual self interest and compromise? A good grounding in negotiation tactics and strategy, this book has some interesting differences from Chris Voss’ advice. The two books make great complementary reading, and you may save yourself a few dollars when bargaining with the dealership.

Good luck and may your car(s) have many years of rust free life.



Happy Friday the 13th

And also, only 7 weeks til Halloween!

Is it ever too early to start thinking about Halloween? Personally, I love Halloween and all the various representations of the horror genre. Here are some books and movies that I hope will get you, too, into the Halloween spirit!

Let’s start with the movie Gremlins! Just because this film takes place around the festive season doesn’t mean it’s all holly jolly. It’s a great 1984 classic that begins with a father buying his son a pet for Christmas. The reluctant shop keepers sells the father a “Mogwai,” but this pet comes with 3 very important rules that must be followed… or else.

Next is one of my favorite horror movies, The Cabin in the Woods. It starts like a typical horror movie: 5 friends going to a cabin that someone’s cousin just bought but no one has seen yet. But then the door to the basement blows open and the friends can’t resist looking at all the creepy artifacts unknowingly confirming their demise. All the while a group of technicians are placing bets, watching and manipulating the horrors as they unfold. The friends must come together if they have any hope of survival and escape from the cabin in the woods.

Now for some books; let’s start with Stephen King’s IT. A group of 7 friends begin their summer seeing strange and terrifying things. A group of 7 adults get a phone call asking them to come back home as promised. There’s an evil that wakes up every few decades as children go missing at an alarming rate, but none of the adults seem to notice. How can a group of 7 friends fight such an evil being?

Next is a YA pick: Slasher Girls and Monster Boys is a book of short stories by a variety of authors like Carrie Ryan (The Forest of Hands and Teeth), Leigh Bardugo (the Shadow and Bone Trilogy), and Kendare Blake (the Anna Dressed in Blood series) and so many other amazing authors. There are tales of horror, thrillers, supernatural creatures, and some that almost seem like reality.

The Haunted Mask 2 is by R.L. Stine. Steve decides he needs a new terrifying mask for Halloween and goes to the same shop his friend Carly went to earlier and almost had her face permanently changed. This year Steve found a mask that is even scarier than Carly’s, but what happens when he can’t get the mask off??

Last up is a graphic novel called Ice Cream Man by W. Maxwell Prince. It’s the first instalment of a series filled with a variety of short stories that are all connected by the Ice Cream Man. Wherever he goes delivering ice cream, sorrow, wonder and terror follow. Each story follows a character dealing with their own struggles and no matter what, the Ice Cream Man isn’t far behind. But who or what is the Ice Cream Man? Is he a God? A demon of some sort? Is he really your friendly neighbourhood ice cream man with a colorful musical truck?

All the best of terrors!


New Titles

Each fall we see hundreds of new titles land on our shelves, and we can’t wait to see what arrives over the next few months.  Summer was still busy, though, with 339 new adult non-fiction titles purchased in August alone.  Here is a snap shot of 7 of them:

No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference
by Greta Thunberg



Permanent Record
by Edward Snowden



Black Software: The Internet and Racial Justice from the Afronet to Black Live Matter
by Charlton McIlwain



The Nutrient Dense Kitchen: 125 Autoimmune Paleo Recipes for Deep Healing and Vibrant Health
by Mickey Trescott


Without Apology: The Abortion Struggle Now
by Jenny Brown



Becoming a Sommelier
by Rosie Shaap



Indigenous Reparation Handbook
prepared by Jisgang Nika Collison, Sdaahl K’awaas Lucy Bell and Lou-ann Neel



Want to browse what’s hitting the shelves? You can do that – and place your requests – on our New Titles search. Interested in other types of new titles? Visit all our New Titles lists.

Questions? Big or Small…
Fall is also when people of all ages hit the books, whether it’s going back to school or taking on a learning project on their own. Have a research question? We would love to help.

Contact us at 204-986-6450 or use our online Ask Us! form.

See you at the Library,

Monique W.

Time to Read: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Dear Readers, one of my favourite things about book clubs is the chance to read something you probably wouldn’t otherwise pick up. That’s why I’m excited to join you in reading this month’s Time to Read podcast selection: Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple.

From what I can tell, the book is a whimsical account of Bernadette, an architect and agoraphobe who, you guessed it, goes missing. It then falls to her 15-year-old daughter Bee to figure out where her mother went and why.

On my own, I probably wouldn’t read this book; not because it doesn’t sound appealing, but because there are just so many other books to read that Where’d You Go Bernadette wouldn’t make the cut. But now that I am reading it, do I ever have some questions!

  • Usually, a 15-year-old protagonist is a dead giveaway that a book is for teens.  Why is this book aimed at adults?
  • When something is very popular it makes me very curious to know why.  What makes this book so compelling that it spent one year on the New York Times Bestseller List?
  • The book is creative in that it uses emails, memos, and transcripts to tell the story. Will this be an effective story telling strategy?
  • Most importantly, why is there no question mark at the end of the title?

But those are just my questions going into this.  Do you have questions or comments of your own?  Be sure to let us know on our Time to Read Facebook group, our website, or by writing to us at

And don’t forget to check out this month’s episode in which we have a weighty discussion about The Changeling by Victor LaValleAvailable now!

~Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team