News and activities at Norma Marion Alloway Library, Trinity Western University

Month: March 2017 (Page 1 of 2)

How a kind librarian changed author Richard Wagamese’s life


How a kind librarian changed author Richard Wagamese’s life

Marsha Lederman’s obituary of Richard Wagamese on Saturday described his life-changing experience in a St. Catharines, Ont., library when he was a homeless teenager. I am a librarian in Oakville, Ont. In September, 2013, I attended a reading for Richard’s book Ragged Company, along with my colleague Ruth Borst. His words that night were unforgettable.
Ragged Company tells the story of four homeless people who find a lottery ticket and win $3.5-million. It’s a powerful, beautifully written novel that deepens one’s understanding of the homeless.
After Richard’s talk, someone in the audience asked him to speak about his education and the important teachers he’d had. He asked how many librarians were in the room. Ruth and I put up our hands along with about 15 other people. He then told us about the St. Catharines librarian who changed his life.
Richard spent every day in the library there, where it was warm and dry, behind a stack of books on his desk. He told us more about the special librarian who answered his questions patiently, recommended books and quietly brought him food.
One day, Richard asked her about a musician he’d been reading about, named Beethoven. He said, “Did you know he was deaf and still composed symphonies, and he could put a hand on the lid of the piano and recognize the notes by their vibration?” The librarian asked Richard if he would like to hear some of Beethoven’s music, and she took him to the listening room.
Shortly after, she took him to see Beethoven’s opera, Fidelio, in Toronto. This was followed by outings to see Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet and to art galleries. She opened the world for him. He told us that the librarian taught him to read, see, hear and feel through everything she introduced to him.
Richard left St. Catharines and turned his life around. He lost touch with the librarian but never forgot her. He became a journalist and became the first aboriginal writer to win the National Newspaper Award for column writing, in 1990. Stories about his win appeared in all the newspapers. One day he received a card from the librarian. She told Richard how proud she was of his accomplishments. Richard was touched by those words then, and still so emotional about them that he had to pause, speaking through his tears. He realized the librarian probably didn’t know what a big part she played in his success.
Two years later, he got a call from one of the librarian’s children. She had died and her family asked if he would come to the funeral.
So he flew from Alberta to St. Catharines. At the church, he got out of the car and was surrounded by the librarian’s five adult children.
They had never met Richard, but they embraced him in a group hug. They told him he was a central figure in their upbringing. Their mother always talked about Richard at home, telling her kids about what he was reading or learning. They said they were never allowed to complain about their own lives or struggles in school, because their mom would say, “Look what Richard is doing and he has so little.” The kids felt they owed much of their own success to Richard’s inspiration.
We’re fairly certain that Richard ended his talk by encouraging us to treat the homeless with respect, and to help them. We can’t be sure though, as Ruth and I were so emotional and looking at him through tears. We were both thinking about the homeless customers who spent time in our library, and how we might help them.
I never felt so proud to be a librarian as I did that evening, or more resolved to treat the homeless with respect and understanding. I will miss Richard’s voice. Canada has lost a great storyteller and writer.

New Titles Tuesday, March 28

Included in this week’s sample of the 128 new titles are some of the award-winning children’s literature that Alloway Library has recently acquired in the past week.
Click on a title for more information. Use your barcode number to place a hold on any of these print items.

AWARD-WINNING (Children’s)Literature
An imaginary friend waits a long time to be imagined by a child and given a special name, and finally does the unimaginable--he sets out on a quest to find his perfect match in the real world.

Airborn/Kenneth Oppel.
In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.

Marie-Louise Gay has scribbled, sketched, scrawled, doodled, penciled, collaged, and painted the words and pictures of a story-within-a-story that show how brilliant ideas creep up on you when you least expect it and how words sometimes float out of nowhere, asking to be written. 

Written in an accessible, conversational voice and packed with anecdotes and case studies from across history and around the world, this book helps foster independent thought and curiosity about how a government works — or doesn’t work.


Skrypuch returns to the subject of Canada’s internment camps with Dance of the Banished, a young adult novel that also deals with the Armenian Genocide. Based on true events, this compelling story of love and hope, which will be published on the 100th anniversary of Canada’s World War I War Measures Act, will help commemorate humanity’s courage and resilience to survive against terrible odds.

A highly-acclaimed anthology about growing up Native. A collection truly universal in its themes, Dreaming in Indian will shatter commonly held stereotypes about Native peoples and offers readers a unique insight into a community often misunderstood and misrepresented by the mainstream media. 

Elijah of Buxton /Christopher Paul Curtis.
In 1859, eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free-born child in Buxton, Canada, which is a haven for slaves fleeing the American south, uses his wits and skills to try to bring to justice the lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to buy a family's freedom.

Finding Winnie: the true story of the world's most famous bear /by Lindsay Mattick ; illustrated by Sophie Blackall.
A woman tells her young son the true story of how his great-great-grandfather, Captain Harry Colebourn, rescued and learned to love a bear cub in 1914 as he was on his way to take care of soldiers' horses during World War I, and the bear became the inspiration for A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh.

Flotsam/David Wiesner.
 In this Caldecott Medal winner, a day at the beach is the springboard into a wildly imaginative exploration of the mysteries of the deep, and of the qualities that enable us to witness these wonders and delight in them.

Part of a series of hilarious non-fiction books about disgusting creatures, this book examines head lice. It covers such topics as head lice habitats (human heads only, dogs are gross), anatomy (his body is slightly see through, so he can always see what he ate for lunch), and parenting practice (the female louse sticks eggs to human hair and uses the leftover glue for her model airplanes). Although silly and off-the-wall, Head Lice contains factual information that will both amuse and teach.

With more than three hundred pages of original drawings, and combining elements of picture book, graphic novel, and film, Brian Selznick breaks open the novel form to create an entirely new reading experience. Here is a stunning, cinematic tour de force from a boldly innovative storyteller, artist, and bookmaker.

In a story based on the life of the author's husband, little Paul and his family, Hungarian Jews, are sent to Bergen-Belsen, survive many hardships, are put on a train to nowhere, and rescued by American soldiers.
A lyrical evocation of Philippe Petit's 1974 tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers.

Primrose Squab, the star of Horvath's Newbery Honor title Everything on a Waffle(2001), returns in this delightful sequel, chronicling the latest goings-on in her British Columbian fishing village

Tastes like music: 17 quirks of the brain and body /by Maria Birmingham ; illustrated by Monika Melnychuk.


Galinsky urges parents to instill in their children a grasp of different kinds of knowledge to best tap inborn "sense" and foster self-motivation. The big message is simple: teaching children to think may be the most important thing a parent can do. It doesn't take a village and it doesn't require fancy courses or equipment-Galinsky's everyday, playful, parent-child learning interactions offer a place to start. 

Statistics for the terrified /John H. Kranzler.

Low back disorders: evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation /Stuart McGill., Phd, University of Waterloo, Canada.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Kluger brings to life a bloody clash between Native Americans and white settlers in the 1850s Pacific Northwest. The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek is a riveting chronicle of how violence and rebellion grew out of frontier oppression and injustice.

On the eve of Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations comes a richly rewarding new book from acclaimed historian Charlotte Gray about what it means to be Canadian. Now, in The Promise of Canada, she weaves together masterful portraits of nine influential Canadians, creating a unique history of the country over the past 150 years.

Rethinking the Fur Trade exposes what has been called the “invisible hand of indigenous commerce,” revealing how it changed European interaction with Indians, influenced what was produced to serve the interests of Indian customers, and led to important cultural innovations. 

Rome, the Greek world, and the East/Fergus Millar ; edited by Hannah M. Cotton and Guy M. Rogers.
v. 1. The Roman Republic and the Augustan revolution -- v. 2. Government, society, and culture in the Roman Empire -- v. 3. The Greek world, the Jews, and the East.
Unsettling Canada: a national wake-up call /by Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson ; with a foreword by Naomi Klein.
From his unique and personal perspective, as a Secwepemc leader and an Indigenous activist who has played a prominent role on the international stage, Arthur Manuel describes the victories and failures, the hopes and the fears of a generation of activists fighting for Aboriginal title and rights in Canada. Unsettling Canada chronicles the modern struggle for Indigenous rights covering fifty years of struggle over a wide range of historical, national, and recent international breakthroughs.


The Boxer Uprising (a.k.a. the Yihequan Movement) of 1899-1901 was  one to the darkest  hours for missionaries in China. This little book recounts how some of the China Inland Mission workers were able to escape the hands of the Boxers.

This thoroughly revised edition of Sider's bestselling book outlines the progress that has been made in the last four decades--and the work that is still left to do. Sider explains poverty's complex causes in this new edition and offers concrete, practical proposals for change.

A sociology of religious emotion /Ole Riis and Linda Woodhead.

The vertical self /Mark Sayers.
Sayers reveals how our primary way of knowing ourselves is shallow and based horizontally - on our social relationships, possessions, and desires to be cool, sexy and glamorous. Using countless examples from the hip-streets of Tokyo to the rooms of a Catholic monastery, this book calls for a return to a vertical self, which identity is based on our understanding of being made in the image of God. Caught in the tension between the horizontal and vertical callings, the difficult solution is to live a life of radical holiness, and discover our true selves. (source)
Equal parts cultural analysis, political manifesto, mall-rat memoir, and journalistic expose;, No Logo is the first book to put the new resistance into pop-historical and clear economic perspective. Naomi Klein tells a story of rebellion and self-determination in the face of our new branded world.

Taste  power  tradition: geographical indications as cultural property /edited by Sarah May, Katia Laura Sidali, Achim Spiller & Bernhard Tschofen.


24 by 24: the 24 Hour plays anthology /edited by Mark Armstrong and Sarah Bisman.

From Artstor: The women who shaped America … in photographs

Unknown; Young women holding a sign which reads, 'Self Supporting Women.' Several other women grouped near the banner are holding balls; 1914. This image has been made available by the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University
Unknown; Young women holding a sign which reads, ‘Self Supporting Women.’ Several other women grouped near the banner are holding balls; 1914. This image has been made available by the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University
March is Women’s History Month, and we’re celebrating women who shaped the political and social landscape of America with a tour of an expansive photographic archive documenting their experiences.
The Schlesinger History of Women in America collection contains 36,000 images from the archives of the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library at Harvard University. The Schlesinger Library’s collections encompass women’s rights and feminism, health and sexuality, work and family life, education and the professions, and culinary history and etiquette. It documents women’s experiences in America between the 1840s and 1990s and is sourced from donations made to the library, including the papers of many prominent female activists, politicians, and leaders. In making the stories of women’s lives available to all, the library combats assumptions that women’s roles have been tangential in the course of American history.
A fascinating characteristic of the Schlesinger archive is its blend of professional photographs, in the form of news and formal portrait photography, with vernacular photography. Vernacular photographs are images taken by non-professional photographers documenting the everyday: a new bicycle, parties, pets, family members, and more. Your phone, social media, and family albums are full of them. These images provide a window into the public and private lives of the women represented in the archive, their families, friends, homes, vacations, trips abroad, and more. In “Doing the Rest: The Uses of Photography in American Studies,” Marsha Peters and Bernard Mergen note “though each photograph records only one instant in an event, the cumulative body of these photographic moments can provide information about cultural values and attitudes as well as about the style and design of a society.” When we delve into personal snapshots, we can gain a sense of the individual through the visuals, ideas, and people that repeatedly surface in their images.
Let’s take a look at a few of the exceptional women represented in this collection:
Maud Wood Park
The Schlesinger archive originated from a donation of materials related to the Women’s Suffrage movement by Maud Wood Park, a graduate of Radcliffe College and the first president of the League of Women Voters when it was founded in 1920. Photographs of Park with friends and colleagues, news coverage of the 1913 Suffrage parade in Washington D.C., celebrations of the ratification of the 19th amendment, and snapshots from conventions for the League of Women Voters document the private lives and public battles of women demanding the right to vote in the early 20th century. Also included are Park’s own images from a trip around the globe taken between 1909 and 1910, many of which document the experiences of women outside the United States and Europe.
Edith Spurlock Sampson
The archive also includes photographs from the files of Edith Spurlock Sampson, a social worker, lawyer, and the first African-American woman to become a delegate of the United Nations. Spurlock became the first African-American woman to be elected as a judge in the United States, serving in Cook County, Illinois (the Chicago area) between 1962 and 1978. Spurlock’s photographs are delightful in their contrasts. In a striking 1951 image we look over Spurlock’s shoulder as she addresses an audience of white, male correspondents at a Vienna press conference captivated by her speech; in another, a cool and casual Spurlock, purse in hand, poses in front of the Sphinx on a breezy day.
Florence Luscomb
Florence Luscomb, a 1909 graduate of MIT’s school of Architecture, became involved in political and social activism in 1917 when she began working for the Boston Equal Suffrage Association. Luscomb eventually became a full-time activist, living off an inheritance and working for no pay to avoid taking jobs from those in need. After decades of activism she was embraced as a vital link between women’s movements past and present by second wave feminists, whom she encouraged to embrace the voices of black and poor women as part of the movement. In her photographs we see professional portraits and documentation of her activist work in the first and second waves of the feminist movement. We can also glean a sense of her love for the outdoors–her photographs show countless hiking and camping trips–and her closeness with friends and family through images of birthday celebrations and other gatherings, ending with a poignant image of loved ones lingering by her gravesite.
Pauli Murray
Pauli Murray was a 1944 graduate of Howard University School of Law. Her thesis, “Should the Civil Rights Cases and Plessy Be Overruled?,” would later guide Thurgood Marshall’s strategy in the Brown vs. Board of Education case. Murray, who was openly queer, faced discrimination throughout her education. Her activism was at times complicated by her sexuality; after an arrest for refusing to move from a bus seat, she had difficulty obtaining legal representation because she was in a romantic relationship with her female travel partner. Murray became an activist against racial and gender discrimination, working for the ACLU, serving as a member of the Commission on the Status of Women, and co-founding the National Organization for Women. In 1977 she became the first African-American woman ordained as an Episcopal priest, a position which she held until her retirement. Her depth and energy are highlighted through the collection’s images that span through her teenage years, her 20s and 30s, and her later years in the priesthood.
Maud Wood Park, Edith Spurlock Sampson, Florence Luscomb, and Pauli Murray are just a few examples of exceptional women in America’s history. View images of other influential women by browsing the entire Schlesinger History of Women in America collection in the Artstor Digital Library.

Remembering Norma Alloway

March 25 marks the 95th birthday of the library's namesake Norma Marion Alloway. She was "a Christian woman who communicated her love for the Lord Jesus Christ through her writings, her speaking, and through the example of her life. In her own writings, Norma stated her desire to be used as God's servant, transformed by His love, and dependent on Him – the rock of her salvation.

Norma had an active writing career as an author and poet. In addition to writing three books, she wrote articles for numerous magazines and newspapers. In much of her writing, Norma shared informal anecdotes which related a personal faith to everyday living. Norma's ministry will live on through the great treasure reflected in her writings. However, her ministry also lives in the hearts and lives of the many people who were able to see the love of a great and powerful God in a life so willing to be His servant.

Here's an excerpt from Norma Alloway's first book Join us for coffee which profiled "some candlestick women who quietly shine."
Coffee with Yvonne Woods might well be cafe au lait, for Lausanne, Switzerland, is her home. She brightens her home with quiet eidelweiss beauty, and shares her life with many travellers, who always find an open door and friendly hospitality. Listening is one of her gifts, but her abundant inner strengths are as evident as the encircling mountains.

Home for Yvonne has not always been an apartment with a mountain view. Finding her European niche has not been without its difficulties. "For me," says Yvonne, "more difficult than acquiring a new language or coping with centigrade oven temperatures, is the ne­cessity of preparing a noontime dinner, since schools and offices close from twelve to two p.m. and everyone returns home for the big meal of the day.

"As visitors to our home became more numerous, I found it interesting and stimulating, but I felt that there was so little time for any real Christian ministry. Then one day it seemed as if God was saying: 'But this is your ministry-cooking, making beds and receiving my chil­dren.' I had never really looked at it this way before.
We are grateful for the legacy of Norma Alloway and this library which helps us look at our lives in new ways.
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