Library Moments: Royalty

queen victoria

Iconic photograph of Queen Victoria by Alexander Bassano, 1882

Bessie Sullivan, County Library: Hello, I’m Bessie Sullivan from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

Victoria Day is next Monday and Canada is the only country in the world that commemorates Queen Victoria with an official holiday, she was known at the “Mother of Confederacy” so it somewhat makes sense. Queen Victoria was born on May 24th, 1819. We celebrate the holiday on the Monday preceding the 25th of May. Although Canada does have a constitution, we recognise Queen Elizabeth II as our head of state along with the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Queen Elizabeth turned 91 on April 21st and is still fulfilling all her royal duties. It is certainly something to think about, a job that you are born into and can never leave.

Today on Library Moments, Nancy Therrien and I will each talk about a work of fiction; one about Elizabeth II and one about Victoria.

the uncommon readerNancy Therrien, Programming and Outreach Coordinator: The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett is a 120-page novella about the queen’s growing fascination with books. She comes across a bookmobile on the grounds of the palace and borrows a single book out of politeness. One tale leads to another, and soon the Queen develops a voracious appetite for reading. Her staff members discourage her newfound hobby at every turn. They believe that reading is a selfish pursuit that distracts the Queen from her duties, but the Queen won’t be stopped. She foists her love of reading upon everyone she meets and through reading she develops empathy and a truer sense of the lives of her subjects.

The Uncommon Reader drops names of many famous classic authors and uses high-brow language including words such as amenuensis, and opsimath. In case you’re wondering, an amenuensis (/əˌmanyəˈwensəs/) is a literary assistant and an opsimath (/ˈäpsəˌmaTH/) is a person who learns later in life. The story is witty and humourous. It will remind you of the best reasons why you read and how much reading enriches your life. If you love books about books, like short stories, or enjoy tales about royalty, The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett may be for you. It is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.

victoria goodwinBessie: In 1837, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria – sheltered, small in stature, and female – became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young Queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; and resolute about meeting with her ministers alone. In the novel Victoria, writer Daisy Goodwin relies on Queen Victoria’s diaries to bring the young queen richly to life. I love learning about history through reading novels. I am always inspired to read further on a subject when reading about historical people or events in a novel. I want to verify that the fictionalization has been handled accurately, but also a well told story makes me genuinely want to know more about the time and its people. What I have learned from reading this novel is how close the relationship was between the monarch and the prime minister of England. The book has also reinforced that those born into monarchy have very limited life choices.

You however, have many choices, over 50,000 items on our shelves and countless more in downloadable products available from our website. Stock up for the long week-end at any branch of the Haliburton County Public Library or check out our website at

That’s it for this week’s Library Moments thanks for listening here on 100.9 Canoe FM.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM, May 14 – 20, 2017.


Library Moments: National Mining Week

Bessie Sullivan, County Librarian: Hello, I’m Bessie Sullivan from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

The week starting the second Monday of May every year is “National Mining Week”. According to the royal proclamation establishing this week, mining has made a significant historical and economic contribution to the development of Canada; minerals and metals mined in Canada contribute significantly to Canada’s economy, including international trade; and a prosperous mining industry committed to sustainable development will continue to play a major role in job creation and in the economic well-being of all Canadians. That said, not all with mines means rosy economic boon. Mines are dangerous places and accidents happen. Sometimes the people who work in mines are doing so because their employments choices are limited.

Today on library moments Erin Kernohan-Berning and I will each talk about novels where mining plays a significant role in the plot.

MiNRsErin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: There are environmental and political concerns when it comes to mining, and both aspects are explored in Kevin Sylvester’s junior sci-fi novel MiNRS. In the future, Earth has depleted all of its resources, and the Melming Mining Company has looked to unlock the precious resources of space. They terraform and colonize the asteroid Perses, mining it for minerals and ore to send back to Earth. Christopher is one of the colony’s kids, his mother a teacher and his father a supervisor in the mine. When Perses orbit with Earth is about to result in a two month communication blackout between the colony and Earth, Christopher and his friend Elena want to throw a party to keep spirits up. But when communications go down, bombs start falling.

Under attack and with many of the colonists dead or severely injured, the kids head down into the winding maze like tunnels of the mine for cover. But whatever is after them is eager to follow. What’s worse, the idyllic life that Christopher thought he was leading on Peres turns out to have a dark side, so now on top of it all, the kids need to come to terms with their world not being as utopian as they were led to believe.

twenty-sixBessie: An explosion on May 9th, 1992 deep inside the Westray Mine in Plymouth, Nova Scotia killed 26 underground miners. The mine had been open less than eight months and had provided badly needed jobs in the area. In 2003 Leo McKay wrote a debut novel centred on the Westray mine disaster by writing about a fictional small town in Nova Scotia. The novel, entitled Twenty-six examines the lives of characters before and after the tragedy, and probes deeply into family loyalties, survivor guilt, and key issues (personal choices, economic pressures, family expectations) surrounding the very worst-case scenario of workplace safety: death on the job. Twenty-six manages to face the darkest depths of human tragedy while remaining an essentially optimistic book.

Libraries have an obligation to provide information from all angles of an issue. For non-fiction books on mining itself and for the books mentioned today, visit any branch of the Haliburton County Public Library. That’s it for this week’s Library Moments thanks for listening here on 100.9 Canoe FM.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM May 7 – 13, 2017.

Library Moments: Science Fiction


A building in London (UK) or a vertical colony from a science fiction story? Photo credit: Adam Birkett (

Erin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: Hello, I’m Erin Kernohan-Berning from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.


Science fiction is steadily becoming more and more mainstream. Once relegated to smaller genre publishers and shunned by large publishing houses, and even waived off by authors who didn’t want to be pigeonholed, science fiction can now be found along side big releases and on literary awards lists. Far from just spaceships and flying cars, science fiction deals with the big questions and fears of our time, evolving along with science and society – whether responding to the fear of the atomic bomb after World War II, or the thorny ethics of genetic engineering since the discovery of DNA. Newer science fiction adds artificial intelligence and climate change to the list – both very present realities. Recently some classic science fiction has gained newfound popularity, indicating that some old fears have cropped up again – or maybe never went away.

Today on Library Moments Bessie Sullivan and I will each talk about a piece of science fiction – old or new – that reflects some of the fears and insecurities that we are experiencing in the world today.

handmaid's taleBessie Sullivan, County Librarian: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood was published in 1985. It was made into a movie in 1990 and now has had a resurgence in the form of a TV show. The TV show, in which Margaret Atwood has a cameo, has been dubbed as being “anti-Trump” but ironically predates his life as a politician. Set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government, the dystopian novel explores themes of women in subjugation and the various means by which they gain individualism and independence. The issue causing the most difficulty for women in the story is reproductive rights and control of one’s body. Restrictions on women’s rights that are happening right now all over the world are mirrored in this story. Science Fiction can explore current fears which is why this novel has made a comeback. Margaret Atwood has never defined herself as a Science Fiction writer because I think she felt it jeopardized her status as a prominent literary author. Clearly some of what she writes, including The Handmaid’s Tale, falls squarely in the category of Science Fiction.

american war.jpgErin: While not being marketed as science fiction, Omar El Akkad’s American War certainly has all the trappings of it. The years 2074 to 2095 mark the second American Civil War. Once again the North and South are divided, but this time biological warfare, unmanned drones, and runaway climate change feature heavily. The story focuses on 6-year old Sara T. Chestnut, who calls herself Sarat after a teacher misreads her name during roll call. Growing up in rural Louisiana, Sarat and her family live in a shipping container in the nearly underwater state. Other states are underwater as well – Florida is mostly gone, the federal government now resides in Columbus, Ohio, and Augusta, Georgia is now a major port. Fossil fuels have been outlawed, which is why the country is at war. When Sarat’s father is killed while trying to get a Northern work visa, and the fighting grows closer to their home, Sarat’s mother is forced to flee with her children to a refugee camp in the MAGS (Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina territory – otherwise known as the Free Southern State) – where they rely on aid brought on ships from China and the Middle East, and Red Crescent workers struggle to get people the care they need. But coming from a “purple” territory, life in “the Red” is perilous, and as Sarat grows older she is befriended by a mysterious functionary and turned into a deadly instrument of war.

country of ice cream starAmerican War, like all good science fiction, looks at the world and asks “what if”. What if society can’t weather the runaway effects of climate change? What if one of the world’s most influential democracies crumbles under the pressure? What if our weapons of defense are turned inward on us? As with all my favourite science fiction, including Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam series, The Mercy Journals by Claudia Casper, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman, Omar El Akkad’s post apocalyptic future contains enough call-backs to our present to allow the reader to find themselves immersed in that world – whether they want to be there or not.

If you have never read science fiction because it brings to mind the spaceships and scantily clad female aliens of 1980’s pulp fiction covers, it’s probably time to try it again. You have so much to choose from whether it’s the timeless work of Atwood, Asimov, or Lovecraft, 2017’s Canada Reads runner up Madeline Ashby, or a book adapted to the screen like Stephen King’s Dark Tower Series or Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick, you’re bound to find an author or sub genre that will capture your imagination. Science fiction changes with the times and – well – the times they are a changin.

That’s it for this week’s Library Moments, where we also change with the times – but not too much – here in 100.9 CANOE FM.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM April 30 – May 6, 2017.

Library Moments: April Online Book Club

the waste landErin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: Hello, I’m Erin Kernohan-Berning from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

In 1996, the Academy of American Poets stood on the steps of a New York City post office handing out T.S. Elliot’s poem The Waste Land to people waiting to mail off their tax returns. The poem begins, “April is the cruelest month…” and there, April as National Poetry Month was born. Or so the story goes. National Poetry Month is now celebrated in both the United States and Canada, and is meant to celebrate poetry and it’s important place in our culture.

There are many great collections of poetry available at the Haliburton County Public Library, but for our April online book club we decided, in a twist on poetry month, to look at novels written by poets. So today, Sherrill Sherwood and I will each talk about a book written by a poet.

the bell jar.jpgSherrill Sherwood, Collection Development Coordinator: The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath’s only novel, was originally published in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The novel is partially based on Plath’s own life and has become a modern classic. Celebrated for its darkly funny and razor sharp portrait of 1950s society, millions of copies have been sold worldwide. The story is about Esther Greenwood winning an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953. She is elated, believing she will finally realize her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther’s life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiraling into depression and eventually attempts suicide, as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take women’s aspirations seriously. As well as The Bell Jar, Haliburton County Public Library’s collection includes The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath: 1950 – 1962 plus the movie Sylvia starring Gwyneth Paltrow, celebrated for her portrayal of Plath.

the nightingale won't let you sleepErin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: In The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep by Steven Heighton, Elias Triffanis – a Greek-Canadian – joins the military to appease his dying father. After a traumatic incident in Afghanistan, Elias is shipped to a facility in Paphos, Cyprus to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder – but also to keep him away from public scrutiny. A trip to the coast to visit relatives, a hook up in a bar, and a roll in the sand on a dark beach interrupted by punchy Turkish soliders result in Elias making a quick escape under a barbed wire fence into the abandoned city of Varosha – which is a real city, abandoned in 1974 during a coup that saw Cyprus ever since split between Greece and Turkey with Varosha frozen in time between them. But in the novel there are people living secretly in Varosha, living off the abandoned goods that still survive, under the occasional glance of Turkish Colonel Erkan Kaya – and Elias’ presence there is upsetting a delicate balance. In what has been dubbed a literary thriller, secrets and intrigue unfold among the ruins of Varosha. The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep has received mixed reviews, and it seems both the positive and the negative are owing to Heighton’s prowess as a well-decorated award winning poet and how that has influenced his writing in this novel. When I see mixed reviews, I often want to then read the book, just to see what is in it that has polarized readers so much.

Anyone can participate in Haliburton County Public Library’s Online Book Club by choosing to read one or more of four books selected each month. You don’t even have to read from a particular month’s selection you can just go online and make comments about books and reading in general. Just go to and click on the “g” for Goodreads.

That’s it for this week’s Library Moments. Thanks for listening here on 100.9 CANOE FM.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM.

Library Moments: Books to Movies and TV

filmSherrill Sherwood, Collection Development Coordinator: Hello, I’m Sherrill Sherwood from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

When there is a film adaptation for a book, there is talk in the library world. For one thing,the book may have been sitting on the shelf for six months and all of a sudden it enjoys increased circulation and perhaps we will need to purchase more copies. And, of course, there is always the “is the movie as good as the book” conversation. 2017 will be a great year for many authors – I found a website marketing “19 Books To Read Before They Hit Theaters In 2017”. The big screen is not the only place to find the created visual to a well-loved book – that same website lists no less than 11 TV shows premiering in 2017 that are based on books. Today on Library Moments Erin Kernohan-Berning and I will each talk about an adaptation that we are looking forward to this year.

little big liesErin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: Lauded by Stephen King as “A hell of a good book.” Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty focuses on the story of three women in the same small beachside town in Australia – a world of mommy wars, kindergarten politics, and who’s throwing the best birthday party. But underneath it all runs a dark current of trauma and domestic violence. Oh, and there’s a murder too. HBO’s adaptation of Big Little Lies stays close to the book – transplanting the story to California and fleshing out some characters – keeping the before-it-happened/after-it-happened back and forth stringing us along wondering whodunit and why. At first the show was passed off by some reviewers as just a sudsy soap opera with big name stars Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley there to give it some oomph. However, many critics – who hadn’t read the book – changed their tune as the story trades shallow cliches for a frightening reflection and social commentary on domestic violence and trauma. Both the book and the television series walk the line between fluff and substance, and humour and horror – laughs are often followed sharply by a queasy feeling as the action grows dark and uncomfortable. While we don’t carry television series at the library we still like to let you know when books are adapted to the small screen. So, check out Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty in print at HCPL, and then track down the tv series through the television provider of your choice.

wonderSherrill Sherwood, Collection Development Coordinator: While I don’t often read juvenile fiction, I picked up the chapter book Wonder by R.J. Palacio in 2014 and it turned out to be one of my top ten favorite reads that year. Palacio started writing Wonder, her first book, after an incident at an ice cream shop. She was sitting on a bench outside the shop next to a little girl with craniofacial difference and was trying very hard to ensure that her two sons did not react adversely to the girl. Despite her good intentions, efforts to keep her three year-old from seeing the girl led to spilled milkshakes and quite a scene. The girl’s mom said simply, “It’s time to go.” Palacio said that the incident was not what she wanted to happen, and she knew it wasn’t right. Eventually she realized that she reacted out of fear, of both her son’s reaction and the girl’s feelings, and instead she should have acted out of kindness. The book she wrote is about August Pullman, born with a facial difference that up until now has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past August’s extraordinary face. Wonder begins from August’s point of view but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. The movie release date is November 17 this year. Filmed in British Columbia, August is played by Jacob Tremblay, the Canadian child actor whose breakout performance was as Jack in Room, for which he received critical acclaim. August’s parents will be played by Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. With months to go before the movie comes out, I highly recommend reading the book first.

Books have been adapted to the screen since silent films in the late 1800’s. People who lack the time or interest to read books are given the opportunity to enjoy a good story in a few hours and people who love to read can experience a tale in a new way. That’s it for this week’s edition of Library Moments, thanks for listening here on 100.9 Canoe FM.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM.

FUN FACT: The Death of Poor John, filmed in 1901, is the oldest surviving film based on a Dickens character.

Library Moments: 2016 Annual Report

Annual report infographic 2016Bessie Sullivan, County Librarian: Hello, I’m Bessie Sullivan from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

The Haliburton County Public Library’s Annual Report was released to the public on March 22, 2017. The library has eight branches situated throughout the County of Haliburton. The County supplies the library service including staff, library materials, and technology while each of the four municipalities supplies the buildings and furnishings.

This week on Library Moments Nancy Therrien and I will talk about some highlights from our annual report.

Nancy Therrien, Programming and Community Outreach: Hi, I’m Nancy Therrien, the Programming and Community Outreach Coordinator at the Haliburton County Public Library. Programming is an area that the Haliburton County Public Library constantly strives to improve. By utilizing the interests of our staff and collaborating with community partners, the number and type of programs offered at the library continue to expand in the most cost-effective way possible.

In 2016, 7316 people of all ages attended our programs and events. The programs offered varied from branch to branch. In 2016, the portable library popped up at multiple events including the Haliburton County Fair in Minden, Stanhope Heritage Day, the Wilberforce Agricultural Fair, and more. The Portable Library increased the library’s visibility, offered children’s crafts, and allowed people to sign up for cards outside traditional library walls. One special event offered by the library for the first time in December 2016 was the Try It Fair, where students and members of the public got hands-on experiences trying out all sorts of activities ranging from horseback riding to fly-tying. It was a huge success with over 250 people in attendance during the 4-hour event.

The Haliburton County Public Library’s computer, Internet, and online services were well utilized in 2016. The website was heavily used, averaging 6 pages viewed and 5½ minutes per session, there were more than 24,000 sessions in 2016. Public access computers were available at all branches, as was public Wi-Fi, which was available 24/7. In all, 16,571 people accessed the Internet using one of our Public Access Computers in 2016.

Bessie Sullivan, County Librarian: The Haliburton County Public Library has 9,124 cardholders who borrowed 164,729 library items in 2016. An item can be a book, a dvd, books on CD, ebooks,downloadable audiobooks as well as things like, pedometers and energy meters. Of the items borrowed 15,782 were electronic downloadable products. That means items from the library can be borrowed without ever leaving home, although we recognise that some of us have better connectivity than others. Our physical in-branch collection has grown to 52,465 items on our shelves across the eight branches. We added 7,090 library items last year, on average we get 136 new items every week that get distributed to the branches. As always you can ask for something from another branch and have it delivered to your home branch. You can also return your item of any of our eight branches no matter which branch you got it at. Our computer system will direct the item to where it is supposed to be.

The Annual Report can be found on our website at or in hard copy at any of our eight branches.

That’s it for this episode of Library Moments. And btw, because we in the library world keep track of anything that can be counted, this just happens to be episode 318. Thanks for listening here at 100.9 CanoeFM.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM.

Annual report infographic 2016

Text summary of our infographic:

  • 9,124 people in Haliburton County had a library card in 2016.
    • Compared to 9,707 in 2015.
  • 165,729 items circulated, including 15,782 digital items in 2016.
    • Compared to 160,495 in 2015.
  • We have 52,465 items on our shelves.
    • And we added 7,090 items to the collection in 2016.
    • On average we get a delivery of 136 new items for you to enjoy every week.
  • 7,316 people attended our programs and events.
    • That includes children, teens, adults, and seniors!
  • 16,571 people accessed the internet using one of our Public Access Computers.
    • We have free wi-fi available 24/7.
    • had over 24,000 visits by people from home and around the world.

View the full report on our website – > About HCPL > Annual Reports > 2016.


Library Moments: National Wildlife Week

loon by aaron berning

Loon on Dark Lake in Wilberforce Photo credit: Aaron Berning

Nancy Therrien, Programming and Outreach Coordinator: Hello, I’m Nancy Therrien from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library. Today on Library Moments Bessie Sullivan and I will each talk about a book that exemplifies National Wildlife Week.


National Wildlife Week is a major Canadian Wildlife Federation initiative designed to celebrate our country’s natural heritage and promote the cause of conservation in Canada. Proclaimed by Parliament in 1947, National Wildlife Week falls every year during the week of April 10 – the birth date of the late Jack Miner, one of the founders of Canada’s conservation movement. “Wild Goose Jack”, as he was known, is credited with saving the Canada Goose from extinction. National Wildlife Week honours Jack Miner’s contributions to conservation. Canada’s natural heritage is rich with flora, fauna and spectacular landscapes.

Today on library moments Bessie Sullivan and I will tell you about books that draw our attention to wildlife in our area.

algonquin park a portraitBessie Sullivan, County Librarian: We are so lucky here in Haliburton County to live nestled up to Algonquin Park which was established in 1893, it is the oldest provincial park in Canada. Algonquin Park also happens to be the home of a varied array of wildlife. In Algonquin Park: A Portrait by Jan and Martin Rinik readers are shown that besides the beauty of the park in the summer there are striking landscapes and wildlife that appear throughout fall, winter, and spring. This book features more than 200 colour illustrations, along with 125 photographs of the park in all four seasons. The result is a stunning and informative portrait one of the most diverse natural habitats in the world. Algonquin Wildlife: Lessons in Survival by Norm Quinn is a celebration of the multitude of wildlife studies ongoing in the park. It is likely that more research has been done in Algonquin than in any other protected landscape in the world. Norm Quinn’s experience and sense of humor combine to transform technical biological studies, on moose, wolves, fish and other creatures of the wild, into entertaining and inviting stories without losing the significance of the research. Both these books can be found in the library’s collection.

the place in the forestNancy Therrien, Programming and Outreach Coordinator: One natural heritage book that I have enjoyed is The Place in the Forest, R.D. Lawrence’s best-selling account of life in the Ontario wilderness. The “Place” referred to in the book is a forested parcel of land in Lake of the Woods purchased by R.D. Lawrence in 1960, where he and his wife built a cabin and studied nature. Like many properties in cottage country, it was initially intended to be a weekend escape from the city, as a retreat for fishing, canoeing and other outdoor pursuits. This book showcases the change of seasons and the circle of life of the many indigenous mammals, birds, insects and plants that inhabited the Place, including wolves, bears, beavers, turtles, hawks, raccoons and more. The descriptions of animal life and death, and human interactions in the wilderness make for a highly educational, realistic and enjoyable account of nature that we can often find right outside our doors. The Place in the Forest by R.D. Lawrence is available to borrow at the Haliburton County Public Library.

During National Wildlife Week, we can enjoy how awe-inspiring nature truly is by spending time in the outdoors, and by curling up with a good nature-themed book which will hopefully inspire us to spend even more time outdoors.

That’s it for this week’s Library Moments. Thanks for listening here on 100.9 CANOE FM.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM.