From our Bookshelves to Yours

Library staff are hard at work providing virtual services and programs, sharing information and building community connection. On our own time, we’re turning to stories that comfort and engage us. Here are some of our recent favourites. You can find most of them as downloadable books by getting the free Libby app or going to Simcoe.overdrive.com.

Michael is “re-reading The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, my favourite Marvel Superhero. She solves problems not with her fists, but through understanding and comedy! A highly recommended series, and family friendly.”

Nicole has been exploring our e-book collection, and just found The Last Affair by Margot Hunt. She loved it!

Betty says that she recently read that it’s been 100 years since Agatha Christie published her first Hercule Poirot novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles.  “Reading that line encouraged me to re-explore the mysteries of Agatha Christie. I was thrilled to be able to download this title on Libby. The edition available is a collection of the first three Hercule Poirot stories. There are twenty-six titles by Dame Christie you can access on-line.”

Kim read Mercy House, by Alena Dillon. “An unexpected and moving story with some unlikely heroines! Fierce & funny!”

Jenn’s been listening to lots of downloadable audiobooks, and one of her recent favourites has been Steven Rowley’s Lily & The Octopus. It’s “a heartwarming and heartbreaking read, but it is funny! The narrator is perfect at delivering Ted’s sarcastic and deadpan humour AND Lily’s urgent enthusiasm.”

Faith found a favourite, Richard Wagamese’s Medicine Walk, available as an e-book. If you read 2019’s Starlight, Wagamese’s last book, Medicine Walk shows us the same characters decades earlier. Fans of his thoughtful, poetic writing and heartfelt characterization will love Medicine Walk.

What are you reading these days?

Find updates, and links to lots of great shared resources, here and on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. We hope you’re staying happy, and healthy, and that we’ll see you again soon!

This is the Place – Online!

The Library may be closed right now, but we still have a lot of ways to satisfy your reading & learning needs – at home, online, for free, using just your library card!

Get the free Overdrive app on your phone or tablet, or use your computer or e-reader, to check out our ebooks and e-audiobooks. At any time, there are tens of thousands of books available to you, by great authors including James Patterson, Danielle Steel, Lee Child, Janet Evanovich, Mary Balogh, and more. Check them out on your schedule, without leaving home.

We’ve got ebooks for kids – picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, and exciting non-fiction reads. Find them in our Tumblebook Library, in lots of different formats – readalongs and videos included – along with other amazing content like math stories, French stories, and puzzles and games. Explore Tumblebooks in the Kids’ section at www.midlandlibrary.com/edatabases-page.

You also have access to magazines like Chatelaine, GQ, Forbes, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, Vogue, and many more, through our Flipster subscription! Take a look at www.midlandlibrary.com/e-books-audio-books.

Lynda.com is part of our online collection. With thousands of courses taught by industry professionals in everything from design, business, photography, to learning to play musical instruments, these videos, learning paths, and certifications can help you meet your personal and professional goals. All it takes is your library card and an internet connection.

We also have lots of other great online resources. Teen Health and Wellness can answer your questions in an age appropriate way. Auto Repair Source and the Small Engine Repair Center can help you save money by showing you how to make fixes yourself. If you’re wanting to learn a new language, log in to Mango Languages – there are over 70 languages to choose from! You can find all our offerings at www.midlandlibrary.com/edatabases-page.

Find updates, and links to lots of great shared resources, at www.midlandlibrary.com/library-service-and-the-novel-coronavirus-covid-19 and on our social media pages. We hope you’re staying happy, and healthy, and that we’ll see you again soon!

Home Children in Fiction & Family

Kim McLaughlin

One of my recent reads has been The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham.

This is historical fiction, following the journey of a young girl named Winny,  in England in 1936. She becomes a ward of Dr. Bernardo’s Home Children Society. Ultimately, Winny is sent to Canada, with hundreds of thousands of other young wards, to an unknown future. Her tale is a one of triumph over harrowing tragedy. Certainly a page turner!

I cried at her heartbreak, was outraged by the injustices she faced, and laughed at her candor and sense of humour. In the end I was encouraged by Winny’s resilience and fortitude.

If you like The Forgotten Home Child you might also like Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate.

Did you know that 12% of Canadians are descended from Home Children?

While researching my own family history using MPL’s fantastic resources, I discovered my own paternal grandfather was a Home Child who was adopted through the Salvation Army!

Email me at kmclaughlin@midlandlibrary.com to set up a one on one appointment to find out about your ancestors!

Thrillers to distract you!

By Sandy T.

If you love a good thriller, here are a few great reads that will take your mind off things. No matter what’s going on in the world, a good book can provide comfort and an escape. These books are available in e-book or e-audio book format, found on Libby/Overdrive.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. Alicia is a famous painter living a seemingly perfect life, married to an in-demand fashion photographer.  When her husband returns home late from work one night, Alicia kills him, and never speaks again!  While serving her sentence at an institution, her psychotherapist tries to discover the truth by getting her to talk. Instead he is sucked into the mystery.  This book will keep you thrilled with unexpected twists until the last page.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. This is her debut novel and she nailed it! You will not be able to put this down. After a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille is faced with a disturbing assignment:  she is to cover the murders of two preteen girls. She is fighting to confront her psychological demons, while staying with her neurotic, hypochondriac mother and 13 year old beautiful, spoiled half-sister, whom she hasn’t spoken to in years.  This story is full of complex characters. She must unravel her own psychological puzzles to find the truth of these young girls’ murders.

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. Jessica Farris is a struggling freelance makeup artist in New York City who joins a well-paid psychological study of morality and ethics. After completing the questionnaire she works with the cunning and manipulative Dr. Field. A book full of lies and deceit, it is hard to know whom or what to believe.  A psychological study on morality turns into a game of cat and mouse.

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter. What if someone you know and love turns out to be someone entirely different?  Andrea’s mother, Laura, is not who she thinks she is. Laura’s real identity is exposed after a horrific act of violence. For thirty years Laura has been hiding from her previous identity.  Andrea needs to piece together this mystery, following a trail through her mother’s past, or there will be no future for them.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell. Three siblings who have been out of touch for many years struggle with their unsettling childhoods. Twenty-five year old Libby inherits her family home. Twenty-five years ago police were called to this address, finding three dead bodies in the kitchen, and the four other children that lived there were gone. Libby must unravel this “can’t look away story” of three families with dark secrets living under the same roof.

Five books to read when you finish binge-watching The Tiger King

Jenn Paquette, Adult / Teen Services Coordinator

The Tiger King series on Netflix has provided some much needed distraction for those of us at home during the COVID-19 crisis. Finished binge-watching? Still craving the absurd? Check out this list of book recommendations for Tiger King fans – all available in e-book or e-audio book format via Libby/Overdrive!

A book with unusual characters:

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell – If Tiger King taught us anything, it’s that the world of animal entertainment attracts eccentrics!  The Bigtree family in Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! doesn’t disappoint! Set at an island home and gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades, this character-driven novel follows thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree and her other oddball family members who are plunged into chaos after her mother, the star of the family’s gator-wrestling show, dies of cancer and her grandfather is sent to a nursing home.

A book about crime at the zoo:

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips – Murdered husbands, arson, assassination plots – it seems that the people who hang around zoos are just as dangerous as the animals! Gin Phillips’ heart-pumping thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat. For Joan, what started out as a simple afternoon at the zoo with her son turns into a terrifying fight for survival with an active shooter on the loose.

A book about a big cat:

Life of Pi by Yann Martel – Many people who appeared in Tiger King developed a strong bond with the tigers they cared for. But can we co-exist with these dangerous wild animals? In Martel’s Man Booker prize-winning novel, Pi Patel, son of a zookeeper, lives with Richard Parker – a 450-pound Bengal tiger – on a lifeboat for 227 days. Or did he?

A book about political pursuits:

The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis – Joe Exotic was unsuccessful in his run for President of the United States despite the hard work and dedication of his campaign manager Joshua. Terry Fallis’ Best Laid Plans also features an unlikely candidate and a young political aide, but this story ends with very different results. We hear the third book in this series is on its way!

A book about bizarre true crime:

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that changed America by Erik Larson – Fact is stranger than fiction; just ask Eric Goode, director and producer of Tiger King. Like Goode, Larson has a keen eye for the devil in the details and reveals that things aren’t always what they seem. Larson’s acclaimed historical true crime book tells the tale of a cunning serial killer who used the 1893 World’s Fair to lure his victims to their death.

Join us in the MPL MakerPlace!

I’m Michael Rogowski, Midland Public Library’s new MakerPlace Coordinator. Within my first week, I’m feeling very at home in the MakerPlace. I’ve always been passionate about my work, and I’ve never been more excited to start. It blends two deep interests of mine: connecting people with the tools and resources they need, and innovative technologies.

The space brings together new tech, such as the laser cutter and 3D printer, with classic tech, such as sewing machines and button makers. As much as I love emerging technologies, my thought process has always been about applicability. Blending those technologies that have been around for decades with the shiny new gadgets will create something really special.

With a background in audio visual technologies, it’s no surprise how excited I am to help the community with their audio visual tech needs. With all the resources and tools available in the Media Lab, the possibilities are nearly endless. Whether you’re interested in launching your own podcast or YouTube page, recording that song you’ve had in your head forever, or converting an old vinyl record to digital, there is something in this space for everyone to experience.

I love the cyclical nature of the space we have and its technologies. It’s meant to spark people’s imaginations, which in turn will broaden minds and help create tomorrow’s projects. I’ve already seen this with some of the ideas from our patrons who have come into the MakerPlace. The love and wonder you bring into the space is infectious, and I hope to emulate this passion.

As with any piece of technology, collaboration is key. This is what makes it so fun and exciting. There’s nothing more exhilarating than showing off something you’ve just created, and inspiring someone else to try it themselves. Working together, we can help you create new and exciting projects, and make those big ideas a reality. That’s really what I’m most excited about.

Michael Rogowski is the new MakerPlace Coordinator at the Midland Public Library. Find out more at www.midlandlibrary.com/the-mpl-makerplace/

2019 Community Survey

This summer MPL again conducted a survey at the Library and out in the community. We received 175 responses – thank you all; you’ll help us determine how to best serve our community!

11% of you visit daily! Wow! 52% weekly; 22% monthly. That’s more daily and weekly visitors than last year – we’re glad you’re finding value in coming to your library regularly! What do you do? 70% pick up your holds and check out materials; 40% attend library programs and spend time with your family; 28% love the help you get from Library staff. Lots of you also volunteer or use the public WiFi and computers.

70% of you say we provide excellent customer service (90% excellent or good). 52% say MPL is excellent overall (87% excellent or good).

Other elements of library service people were pleased with were our children’s, teen, and maker programs – we offered more than 700 programs for all ages in 2019, and we’re not finished yet. You were disappointed in the loss of interlibrary loan services due to provincial cuts. They’re back: individuals can now borrow two items at a time, for free from other libraries (we can’t provide services to book clubs, but individuals can request their own book club reads). You appreciated our recent investments in French collections, and other new collections like our Wonderbooks, as well as online resources like Lynda.com online learning. In the year since we opened the MakerPlace on the 2nd floor, many of you – 6 walk-ins or booked appointments each day, plus program attendees! – have come in to make, create, and learn.

What do you value most about your Library?

“It is vital for self-education and to keep us all connected. It’s for meeting and keeping friends for social and emotional health.”

“I do like how what with the times changing, that is, technology advancing and having its influence on everything, the facility is adapting. Keep it up.”

“It provides endless hours of adventure, allowing me to become lost in other people’s imaginary worlds, at little or no cost to me.”

Celebrate! @ your library

We have lots to help you get in the holiday spirit! Check out Pancakes and Pajamas December 7 (registration required), and family movies will be shown over the winter break. Preschoolers can also celebrate Noon Year’s Eve, with crafts, snacks, and a countdown to noon, on December 30.

Tweens ages 8-13 can prepare gifts for the holidays in our MakerPlace, with our free Christmas Maker programs on November 26, December 4, and December 18. Register in advance to save your place and find out about the great projects. School age kids can also participate in our Raiders of the Lost Locker escape room on January 2 – teams of up to 8 people can register together, or we’ll make up teams for you!

Seniors can join in on our second Seniors’ Crafternoon, making Christmas mugs with our Cricut. We supply all the materials and instruction for $5 / person on December 12. For all ages, we’re having a free gift wrapping party for those last minute gifts, December 23 (you can also create a laser cut gift label for $2!). People ages 12+ looking for adventure can join in on a beginners’ Dungeons and Dragons game on December 30.

We’re thankful to the Huronia Community Foundation for sponsoring our Ukelele Lending program, and you can join in on the fun with free workshops for teens on December 5, and ages 7-12 on January 13. Watch for more sessions for all ages in 2020, or borrow one yourself with a tuner and guidebook for two weeks, when not in use for our workshops.

Don’t miss the Christmas Market! On December 14, 9:30am-3pm, shop local and get your Christmas presents from great local artisans and crafters. There’s also lunch for sale, a Cookie Walk, and a gift basket draw!

Pick up a program guide or visit www.midlandlibrary.com/events/ for all the dates and details.

Love Your Library #OPLW

We’re celebrating Ontario Public Library Week, October 20-26, with lots of events, fine forgiveness, and some special new collections for you to try!

All week long, bring in a non-expired, non-perishable food item to receive $1 off (up to $10) your fines.

We’re launching a library app to keep you connected, and two new lending collections: ukuleles, with tuners and instruction books; and wifi hubs to let you borrow the internet! For our patrons in areas lacking good, consistent internet service, these hubs can be borrowed for 3 weeks and allow unlimited use for up to 15 devices (no roaming). Find out more during Ontario Public Library Week, and on our website.

On Sunday, October 20, we launch our new learning and lending ukulele collection with a special performance at 2pm. This collection was made possible by a grant from the Huronia Community Foundation.

We’re going digital on Monday, October 21! First with a digital storytime at 10:30am, for preschoolers and families, and then with a MakerPlace open house for all ages, from 3:30-5:30pm.

On Tuesday, October 22, seniors can join us in the MakerPlace at 2pm to make their own personalized bookbags ($5 / person). Then we’re having our first Community Concert, with the Sistema Youth Orchestra, the Children’s Community Choir, and Vox Femina, starting at 6:30pm. Join us for free for some beautiful music!

Did you know it’s the 50th birthday of Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar? On Wednesday, October 23, we’re celebrating with a very special Very Hungry Caterpillar Party! Join us at 10:30am with the whole family.

Finally, it’s the return of Brews & Bots! From 6-9pm on Thursday, October 24, come build and battle robots while sampling tasty craft beers. We’re thankful for the support of Ciboulette et Cie and Good Morning Apocalypse! 19+, $15 / person, and proceeds support the MPL MakerPlace. Tickets are available now!

4 Books for Fall

Fall is my favourite season: pumpkin spice lattes, sweater weather and great fall book releases.

Midland Public Library is bursting with great reads this fall. Below are a few recommendations to add to your to-be-read pile.

• The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood: Readers get a deeper look at Gilead and its inner workings, as we learn what happened after the cliffhanger at the end of The Handmaid’s TaleThe Testaments is on all the literary prize lists and is sure to be a favourite with fans of the television series (also at your library).

• Albatross, by Terry Fallis: Adam is a budding writer and expert golfer who doesn’t really like playing golf. Albatross is another great example of Fallis’s brand of outlandish circumstance and charming humour. Meet the author when he visits Midland Public Library, on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for adults, and $5 for seniors and students.

• Love From A to Z, by S.K. Ali: S.K Ali’s Saints and Misfits won Midland Reads 2017. In Love From A to Z, Ali writes a diverse love story of two Muslim teens who learn to recognize and celebrate their differences in a world that encourages conforming to societal norms. We’re thrilled to be a partner in Ali’s visit to Midland this October as a part of Lit On Tour: Midland, presented by the Toronto International Festival of Authors.

• Empire of Wild, by Cherie Dimaline: Joan stumbles into a preacher’s tent in a parking lot and discovers that the charismatic Reverend Wolff is actually Victor, her husband who has been missing for almost a year. Wolff has no memory of Joan or their life together.

I can’t wait to read this modern retelling of the traditional Métis story of the Rogarou. You can hear from Dimaline during Gathering: Festival of First Nation Stories, on Sept. 21, at the Huronia Museum.

Jenn Paquette, Adult and Teen Services Coordinator