Things You May Not Know About TSPL – By Sharren Reil

Dale Carnegie library New Liskeard 2010

I am a fairly new Library Clerk at TSPL, and getting this job has really opened my eyes to all the library has to offer. Of course we have books, but there is so much more! Let’s start with the building that houses our collection. Our library in New Liskeard is one of 125 libraries across Canada that was funded by a very wealthy business man and philanthropist named Andrew Carnegie. He funded 111 libraries in Ontario, and worldwide he financed, through his foundation, 2509 libraries. He was a very strong believer in the power of free books and information to help level the playing field of life. He is quoted as saying, “There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.”

Our library in New Liskeard was awarded $10,900.00 from the foundation is 1910, and was built by the architects Angus and Angus. I still am in awe when I drive or walk by on my day off and think “I have the keys to THAT building!”

I was really surprised at what else can be checked out.  We have board games for all ages, as well as backpacks full of items for hiking and bird watching.  We have walking poles and the Haileybury branch has snowshoes.  We also have a large selection of DVD and Blu-ray movies as well as audio books.  We have magazines at both branches and also online. Our online applications give you access to audio and E-books as well.  We also have large print books, and we carry the weekly editions of two local papers. The newspapers are for reading here in the branch, but everything else is available to borrow with your library card. We also have a microfiche machine in Haileybury available for research.  We have computers in each branch that are open to the public, and you do not need a card to use them.  We have free Wi-Fi and do inexpensive faxing and photocopying for the general public. We also sell dog and cat tags as well as bus tickets and passes.

In New Liskeard, we have a special teen room set up with an Xbox, a Nintendo unit, a 3D printer, and three gaming machines.  Teens can play games, but also the Digital Creator staff will work with them to teach them specific digital skills.

Libraries often serve as meeting places, places to tutor, write exams, and study.  We are much more relaxed than years ago, and now patrons can bring their snack and a coffee into the building—as long as they aren’t using the computers.  I like to think of libraries as a safe place for all kinds of people to linger within!  A place to connect, to dream, and to find stories that remind us how marvelous it is to be human!


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Preschool Storytime by Alison McCorkle

Story time

I’m getting ready to start our Fall Session of Preschool Storytime.

This half hour program is for children too young for school who are accompanied by an adult.

We start the program with a simple colouring activity. The pictures are a clue as to what our stories will be about.

I’m usually able to read two or three stories aloud and I’m always encouraging some audience participation. Sometimes we sing, learn rhymes or action songs.

This Storytime program is a great introduction to the library and the many stories that it holds as well as being a wonderful precursor to school for the children. Every time they attend Storytime their ability to focus and sit still or even follow simple instructions shows improvement.

This library program is also a great opportunity for the little ones and their parents/caregivers to socialize with the others in attendance.

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Comfort Reading by Elesha Teskey


The end days of summer are here and our thoughts are turning to the cooler weather of fall and the comforts of a cozy blanket and warm beverages…or maybe pumpkin spice products if that’s your thing. Fall is traditionally a season of change as we prepare for the coming winter but sometimes it’s nice to hang onto the familiar, like a favourite book.

There are some people who don’t like to re-read books, but I’m not one of those. Like a favourite movie, there’s something wonderful about being able to delve into a story anytime you want. There’s comfort in the familiar, even if you already know the ending. One great thing about re-read books is that you can notice things you may have missed in previous reads, or if you’re re-reading a series, it can be interesting to see how the author wove it together now that you know how the story goes.

Sometimes re-reading can take you back to when you first read that book, like listening to a song can transport you back in time. Maybe it was a time of happiness or contentment in your life, and re-reading a book can help you tap into those feelings.

I admit that because there are many books I haven’t read, I have a hard time finding time to re-read books. This year I decided to re-read The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, which I haven’t read in over ten years. Being seven books, that’s a big commitment, so instead of physically reading them, I’m listening to the audiobooks. While I remember most of the story, it’s neat to experience it again especially knowing how it ends. (Anyone who had read this series and wants to discuss the ending, come find me.) Harry Potter is another series I love to re-read, not only because I love the world building, but also because of the way J. K. Rowling put the overall story arc together.

Are there books you find comfort in and enjoy re-reading from time to time?


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Calling All Royals Fans! by Hannah Wight

If you’re anything like me, then you’re captivated by the British Royal Family. I love reading and learning about all things Royal, and have thus discovered a great collection of books here at the library that have met this need. Below is a list of books that you may find intriguing:

the gown


1) The Gown by Jennifer Robson

The Gown is a captivating historical fiction novel about Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown and the women who made it. This novel jumps from London, 1947 to Toronto, 2016 and follows the lives of three women whose stories are woven together by more than just fabric.





the royal family


2) The Royal Family: Britain’s Resilient Monarchy Celebrates Elizabeth’s 60-Year Reign by Catherine Mayer
Mayer chronicles the life and times of Queen Elizabeth and the Royal House of Windsor. For readers who are looking for a bit of everything, this book includes information on the abdication, WWII, Elizabeth’s ruling, Princess Diana, and the next generation of rulers.





diana her true story


3) Diana: Her True Story by Andrew Morton

This is the closest we will ever come to an autobiography from Diana. Supplemented by interviews with Diana’s friends and pieced together by Diana’s own words given to author Andrew Morton in various secret meetings, this biography depicts Diana’s tragic life as a wife, mother, and the People’s Princess.






queen victoria


4) Queen Victoria: A Personal History by Christopher Hibbert
Ascending the throne at age 18 and ruling for 64 years, Queen Victoria’s reign was one that shaped a century. Hibbert fearlessly writes an entertaining and intimate look at Victoria’s life, ensuring readers an extensive look at the Queen who was both beloved and greatly disliked.






a royal duty



5) A Royal Duty by Paul Burrell
Taken from an excerpt of the book: “Paul Burrell- butler to Diana, Princess of Wales, and the man she called “my rock”- presents for the first time the untold story behind some of the most sensational chapters in the history of the House of Windsor.”






elizabeth the queen


6) Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
Saving the best for last (in my opinion) is the compelling portrait of Queen Elizabeth’s life by historian Sally Bedell Smith. This book covers Elizabeth’s entire life to date, beginning with her childhood, and continuing with her romance with Prince Philip, their marriage, motherhood, and her ascension and rule. Carefully researched and delightfully written, Bedell gives readers an “up-close view of a woman we’ve known only from a distance.”


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My Brain on Books! by Sharren Reil

blog July 30

I have always preferred a good book over a movie or T.V. show and now neuroscientists are telling me that this benefits my brain!  Recent studies into how the brain works are revealing that reading, and also listening to stories, has positive effects on brain development.  Listening to stories, like our available EBooks, makes your brain work.  Different areas of my brain light up depending on the topic discussed.

When we read or listen to words our brains makes pictures, or photos of what we are reading about.  I guess that is why when we see a picture of a radio host, we are often surprised that they look so different from what we pictured them to look like!

Reading about experiences is almost the same as living them. Our brains react as if we are in an experience when we read about it!  It is like athletes or musicians who think about playing and their brain stimulates the same areas as when they are actually moving those muscles.  This helps me understand why I love nonfiction adventure stories so much.  When I read about Shackleton and his crew, my mind thinks I am there and it is so exciting!

Neuroscientists have shown that story structure encourages our brains to think in sequence and expands our attention spans.  Thinking in sequence allows our brains to link cause and effect.  The more you read, the better the brain gets at thinking this way, and our attention span increases. read-515531_1280

Reading can also change our brain structure!  The more you read, the more white matter you develop in the language area of the brain.  That is so cool!  It really is true that what we do with our brain determines how it is wired and the areas that either grow or atrophy.  Use it or lose it, baby!

Deep reading, meaning reading that really makes you feel what the characters in a story feel, makes us more empathetic to people and more aware of and alert to the lives of others.  I feel that books have given me greater insight into other people’s motivations and choices.

I have not been able to find anything about the following attribute of books online, but reading has saved the world from my impatient wrath many, many times.  I am always on time and appointments or people that run late would drive me to homicide, were it not for books.  I always carry one, so I can read instead of seethe!  I really just can’t imagine live without books and reading.  And now, instead of wondering if I really should be doing something else, I can kick back and realize that I am growing my brain.  Really, what could be more important than that?

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What’s Your Reading Routine? By Alison McCorkle

We’ve been busy at the Temiskaming Shores Public Library with Summer Reading Contests for both adults and children who read in English and Défi de lecture for adults and children who read in French.

I’m sad to say that I think I’m only on my second book of the summer!  I read for pleasure every day but I’m not going through my book choices very quickly at all!  I think the reason is that I’m too tired and I usually do most of my reading when I go to bed at night.

What is your reading routine like?  Do you read in the morning with your coffee to get a quiet start to your day?  Are you a mealtime reader who prefers a book to conversation?  Do you carry your book with you wherever you go, be it the dentist’s office or the garage for your car’s oil change, and read while you wait?

Does the time of year influence your reading routine at all?  Do the lazy days of summer make you want to swing in a hammock and read away the afternoon?

Does curling up on the couch with a nice cup of tea and a good book on a crisp autumn day tickle your fancy?

Would you enjoy cuddling under a cozy throw on a snowy day, with a great novel and a hot chocolate?

Perhaps you would prefer the sound of rain on the roof, lamplight glowing and a story and tea that beckon you to rest awhile.

Whatever your reading routine is, or if you really don’t follow any particular reading routine at all, my advice is to just keep reading, whenever and wherever you can.

There have been many scientific studies done on the incredible benefits of reading.  Here are some that come to my mind immediately:

  • Reduces stress
  • Promotes mental health
  • Expands vocabulary
  • It is contagious, so you’re setting a great example
  • Improves general knowledge
  • Makes you more empathetic
  • Free entertainment if you use your library!!

That’s my opinion any way!

George R.R. Martin wrote in his novel A Dance With Dragons “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…The man who never reads lives only one.”  I feel there is truth in his words.


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Experience a Different Culture Through Fantasy by Elesha Teskey

Fantasy books are a wonderful escape to worlds full of potential and adventure. Typically thought of as a male savior with a sword or magic who sets off on a quest to defeat evil looking to conquer a world based on Western culture (Game of Thrones is a good example), the genre is much more than that.

What’s great about many fantasy books being released lately is that they are being set in non-Western cultures. These books give us a look inside a different way of life while still providing a great story with magic or myths.

Some we have at the Temiskaming Shoes Public Library are…


The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (Set in China)

The poppy warWhen Rin aced the Keju, the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.


Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Set in Nigeria)

They killed my mother.Children of Blood and Bone
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.


The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore (Set in post-apocalyptic Southern Egypt)

the perfect assassinDivine justice is written in blood.

Or so Amastan has been taught. As a new assassin in the Basbowen family, he’s already having second thoughts about taking a life. A scarcity of contracts ends up being just what he needs.

Until, unexpectedly, Amastan finds the body of a very important drum chief. Until, impossibly, Basbowen’s finest start showing up dead, with their murderous jaan running wild in the dusty streets of Ghadid. Until, inevitably, Amastan is ordered to solve these murders, before the family gets blamed.

Every life has its price, but when the tables are turned, Amastan must find this perfect assassin or be their next target.


David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa (Set in post-apocalyptic Lagos, Nigeria)

David Mogo


Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.



Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Set in Russia)

Shadow and BoneSurrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

We encourage you to take one of the books out and try something different.

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