Whitehorse Public Library

Fall in love…

Love reading? Your local public library would like to make you a proposal – more free access to ebooks, audiobooks and online learning tools.
Throughout the month of February, the Yukon Public Library (YPL) system will be highlighting these new resources, along with ways for Yukoners to access them, with the New Reasons To Love You Library Campaign.

Meals inspired by literature

Many classic stories have food and drinks intrinsically linked to their narratives. The Whitehorse Public Library has taken this idea and run with it, creating Page to Plate – a series of workshops for youth linking literature and cooking.

Coming to the Yukon as a refugee

Fiona Azizaj and her parents fled Kosovo to Germany when she was months old. They later settled in Whitehorse in 2003. She will provide details and answer questions about what her family went through to get here at this year’s Yukon Cares Annual General Meeting.

Slap on a Hat, Slip into this Book

Every summer, Rose and her family pack up and head to their cottage in Awago Beach. There, the long days melt into lake swims and beach fires, counting stars, five-cent candies, watching movies and running around with her summer-sister, Windy. It’s summertime, and the living is easy, right? But this year something feels off. In …

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Trainwreck

A flawed character struggles to unravel the threads of a pivotal event, though hobbled by some impediment – amnesia, maybe, or being stranded in a foreign country where everyone speaks an unfamiliar language. It’s a dramatic device of my favourite genre, but suspense thrillers are few and far between these days. In The Girl on …

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Beatle Stations

The first volume of Lewisohn’s trilogy The Beatles: All These Years. The main drawback is that at only about 800 pages, it’s over too soon.

Playing in the Dark

“Think of magic as a tree. The root of supernatural ability is simply the realization that all time exists simultaneously. Humans experience time as a progression of sequential events in much the same way we see the horizon as flat: our reality is shaped by our limitations.” –excerpt from Son of a Trickster by Eden …

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Filling the Gaps in Our History

“Everyone talks about the Goldrush. I’m interested in the gaps in history. The points in between,” says Yukon writer Michael Gates, author of From the Klondike to Berlin. Published last month, this book is, perhaps surprisingly, the first to offer an in depth account of the Yukon’s contribution to World War I. Gates says that …

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History Offers Timeless Perspectives

Stories are invaluable teachers, says B.C. author Caroline Woodward, they have the ability to “give us whole worlds.” Old stories, too, are relevant artefacts that help us gain perspective on how much, or how little, progress we have made. Fictional stories, the writer continues, are able to relate emotive experiences in a way that nonfiction …

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Power Couple

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that when it comes to Pride and Prejudice, once is not enough. For acolytes, Jane Austen’s best-selling novel of the early 19th century invites reading again and again – and again. The same applies to the miniseries produced by BBC in 1995 and available on DVD at Whitehorse Public Library. …

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A Provocative Gold Rush Mystery From the Other Side of the World

“Mannering was in the august high noon of his life. He was prosperous, and well dressed, and he owned the largest and most handsome building on Revellstreet. There were gold nuggets hanging from his watch chain. He ate meat at every meal. He had known a hundred women — maybe even a thousand — maybe …

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King of Chicago

The mayor of Chicago is mad as a hatter, but the trains run on time. Having been mayor for a couple of decades, Tom Kane is the ultimate power player; he has a lot to say about which councillors get elected and he wields that power like a mace to get them on board with …

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Don’t Ignore that Gut Feeling

“Were the gut solely responsible for transporting food and producing the occasional burp, such a sophisticated nervous system would be an odd waste of energy. Nobody would create such a neural network just to enable us to break wind. There must be more to it than that.” –an excerpt from Gut: The Inside Story of …

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How to Choose a Library Book

Libraries are the most thrilling silent spaces to walk into; to me, they’re goldmines of intrigue. But when going in blind, the variety and selection can seem a bit overwhelming. With so many titles how do you make sure you’re choosing the right one? First off, that’s the magic of libraries: you’re only committed to …

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Epiphanies

“It’s like everybody knows the story,” muses a reporter to her colleague. “Except us.” The journalists of “Spotlight,” a legendary investigative unit at the Boston Globe, won a Pulitzer for a series of revelatory articles on the cover-up of child abuse in the Catholic Church, published in 2002. But as one of the characters ruefully …

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Laughter, Tears, Curtain

It was the short, sharp shock heard round the world – eventually.  But in the world of Topsy-Turvy, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado is being staged for the very first time, and there’s a lot at stake. Before Topsy-Turvy, released in 1999 and available on DVD at Whitehorse Public Library, Mike Leigh was a respected …

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Birds and Loss

“His mother used to say the soul was a bird that lived in the nape of the neck. At night it flew out of the mouth, and when you woke it returned; and when you died, it flew away forever. The world outside the glass that night seemed entirely an abstraction, a dream. Here, in …

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I’m a Survivor

We fundraise in the community every year, to cover the team and recreational paddling expenses, so that participating in Paddlers Abreast is not an impediment to anyone. We do not receive government funding. Any donations above $20 is eligible for a charitable donation receipt. When we have a surplus, we donate money to Karen’s Fund, …

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Welcome to the Party, Pal

“The story is ridiculous – ludicrous.” That’s director John McTiernan blithely dismissing the plot of one of the most successful thrillers of the past 30 years. Reservations about the plot aside, McTiernan had something particular in mind for this movie: it should be a joyful thrill ride. The result was Die Hard, and it’s a …

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Engaging Historical Fiction

I am not one who likes to read dry historical tomes. I like to absorb my history through the sugar coated pill of historical fiction, written by an author whose research is meticulous. And in this genre, Louis de Bernieres is a master. His works include books such as Birds Without Wings and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. …

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About arrivals and departures

The epic saga of immigration is brought to human scale in Brooklyn, a critically acclaimed film based on the novel by Irish writer Colm Tóibín, with a screenplay by Nick Hornby. Released in 2015 and available on DVD at the Whitehorse Public Library, Brooklyn follows a young woman who finds herself part of the Irish …

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Future Past

Young Alex DeLarge and his gang of droogs aren’t choosy about whose lives they wreak mindless havoc on. From the down-at-the-heels to the well-heeled, the young thugs attack indiscriminately, mercilessly and irrationally. One thing leads to another and Alex is charged with murder and sentenced to prison. He’s selected for the fictional Ludivico technique, a …

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Doors are Open for Culture Days

The Yukon is recognized for its rich cultural diversity, and you are invited to experience it during the seventh national Culture Days and Doors Open celebration, from Friday, September 30 through to Sunday, October 2. “The best place to start your Culture Days experience is at The Old Fire Hall,” says Michele Emslie, co-ordinator and …

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Learning how to Live Joyfully

Ever since she was a little girl, Teva Harrison drew. She studied art after high school. But, as it often goes, “needing to make a living, I digressed.” After the explanation, Harrison laughs. A joyful, full, belly laugh. To make a living, she worked as the director of marketing for the Nature Conservancy of Canada. …

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Rooted in the Yukon

Toronto-based poet Claire Caldwell’s role as writer-in-residence at the Berton House in Dawson City ends this month. Caldwell is no stranger to the Yukon. She lived in Whitehorse from ages three to nine. These years had a deep impact on Caldwell. That’s where she found her fascination for nature and the outdoors, she says. “Certain …

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Ah, Salander

Did Stieg Larsson know his character Lisbeth Salander was destined to achieve the iconic status of a Marvel superhero? Maybe not.   In the 2011 American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, available on DVD at Whitehorse Public Library, director David Fincher and screenwriter Steven Zaillian elegantly adapt Larsson’s sprawling Swedish noir to …

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Fresh Words and Deep Roots

Writing poetry since she was a child, Nova Scotia based author Shauntay Grant says she has always loved creative writing. “The oldest poem I’ve kept is from fourth grade,” she says. The vocalist, poet and author began a residency at the Berton House Writers’ Retreat in Dawson City in April. She is working on Proof, …

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On a Wing and a Prayer

Monarch butterflies may appear fragile, but as a whole the species is extraordinarily hardy. Every year, the Eastern North American monarch butterfly population migrates thousands of miles from southern Ontario to overwinter in Mexico. This impressive migration is multi-generational. After wintering in massive butterfly bunches, the monarchs wake and journey to areas in Texas and …

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Wonder Dog

In 1918, a young American soldier emerged from the ruins of a military kennel with a frantic, famished German Shepherd and her five newborn pups. Their survival on the battlefield in France was almost miraculous; Lee Duncan, their saviour, kept two of the puppies and named them after dolls worn as lucky talismans – Nanette …

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The Must-See Guide to the Pivot Theatre Festival

By La Compagnie L’Immédiat/Camille Boitel Jan. 27-29, 8 p.m., Yukon Arts Centre Co-presented with the Yukon Arts Centre, this European classic comes all the way from Paris, France. Perhaps more exciting than the distance travelled, or the point of origin, is that its Yukon debut will also be its North American premiere. Yukon audiences will be …

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All for One

They stayed in the game … They’re the most-famous musicians you’ve never heard of. Merry Clayton’s performance in the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” is the exemplar of the memorable riff by the unknown singer at the back of the band – it’s their parts you hum. From manufactured girl groups, to David Bowie; and from the …

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Love, Ambivalently

Many beloved Christmas films had inauspicious debuts. It’s a Wonderful Life lost money for the studio when it was released in 1946, but television viewings turned it into a bona fide classic 30 years after its release. Similarly, Love Actually has unexpectedly become a Christmas staple in some quarters. Admittedly, I belong in that group, …

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Swordplay and Flaming Arrows

Winter is coming. You might say that’s our motto above the 60th parallel, but they’re also words to live by in Winterfell, the northernmost kingdom of imaginary Westeros. The Game of Thrones saga has unexpectedly surpassed cult status, but its mythology may have special appeal for northerners and not just for its keen sense of …

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Folk Art in the Forest

A chance meeting a long time ago started a friendship and a quilting group that has been meeting now for three decades.   As it happened, Yukoners Dorothy Smith and Karen McIver enrolled in an embroidery class at the public library in the early 1980’s. Upon leaving they began to chat. The course was great, …

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Down Highway 61

Near the end of his memoir, Chronicles, Volume I, Bob Dylan recalls the seismic effect of hearing Robert Johnson’s album, King of the Delta Blues Singers, for the first time, in the early 1960s. “From the first note, the vibrations from the loudspeaker made my hair stand up. The stabbing sounds from the guitar could …

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Lucy Come Home

Living on a knife’s edge isn’t as exciting as it sounds. It can actually be downright tedious, and that’s what Wendy and Lucy captures — the daily grind of staying upright in a treacherous situation. On the way to Alaska with her dog Lucy, Wendy’s car breaks down and it becomes apparent that this trip …

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Review Haiku

“We want to freshen up the image of the library … as the cool place that it is,” Sarah Gallagher tells me with a sideways glance. We both giggle. It’s funny, because she’s a librarian and I have a degree in literary criticism and books are a big part of our lives. The library is …

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The Very Bad Thing

Life isn’t fair. Jobs, Wozniak, Gates, Zuckerberg, and Swartz were, or are, all geniuses on the frontlines of the digital revolution, but only one of them met with the wrath of the American justice system. Aaron Swartz didn’t aspire to be a zillionaire; he was a passionate advocate for keeping knowledge free and accessible on …

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No Singing, No Dancing, No Silly Cartoons

Walt Disney’s magic touch on celluloid created indelible memories for many moviegoers, but it induced tears of rage in P.L. Travers (born Helen Goff) at the Hollywood premiere of Mary Poppins in 1964. At least that’s what she said. Saving Mr. Banks, released in 2014 and available at the Whitehorse Public Library, revolves around the …

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The War At Home

An article that appeared in the Washington Post just before Barack Obama’s inauguration as President of the United States, about a butler who had served over 30 years in the White House, inspired screenwriter Danny Strong to write a historical epic viewed from that perspective. The screenplay that resulted was fi lmed as Lee Daniels’ …

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Fun with math

Emil Imrith laughs easily when he is asked about the stereotype we have for physicists: nerdy types in lab coats standing in front of a blackboard full of numbers and equations. “Nowadays, we have computers that help us to model and simulate,” he says. “But we do need a whiteboard 50 per cent of the …

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Love, Hope, and Evil Nuns

Imagine being able to pick out a child from an assortment of infants and toddlers, as easily as choosing a puppy from a litter or candy from a dish. You might even take two. It sounds like the plot of a fanciful children’s book, but that’s what people could do at certain convents in Ireland …

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A New Normal

No one gets out of paradise unscathed. That’s what Matt King says as The Descendants, a drama set in Hawaii, begins. Matt (George Clooney), a lawyer and descendant of a mixed marriage between a missionary and Hawaiian royalty, knows what he’s talking about. His wife, Elizabeth, lies in a coma in the hospital. He’s not …

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War Stories

 “We were praying and killing each other at the same time.” — A German soldier reflecting on D-Day Once peace is waged what do we remember about the battlefields? Tales of war can become like the whispering game after a few generations have passed, apart from the “official versions” of the truth. But World War …

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Human Interaction at the Library

It’s not a dating service, or a counselling session. It’s a conversation. It might lead to other things, who knows? It’s the second time the Friends of the Whitehorse Library have hosted a Human Library at the Whitehorse Public Library. The first time was in March; there wasn’t a theme but it was very popular. …

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Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Everyone has a doppelganger somewhere in the world, so they say. Sarah Manning, a small-time drifter, sees hers seconds before her double jumps in front of a train. Not one to miss an opportunity, Sarah snatches the bag the tragic woman left behind, and proceeds to borrow her life. It looks like a good score; …

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Six Sides of Bob Dylan

He wakes up as one person and goes to bed as someone else completely; that’s what Bob Dylan said about himself in a long-ago interview. I’m Not There, released in 2007 and available on DVD at the Whitehorse Public Library, is a fittingly non-linear journey “inspired” by some of those lives, and the music Dylan …

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It’s Not About “Shushing” Anymore

Books really get around in the Yukon. On a behind-the-scenes tour of the Whitehorse Public Library, with Joyce Kashman, librarian, and Julianne Ourom, director of the Yukon Public Libraries Branch, I saw hundreds of books in the shipping room, neatly shelved and organized. These books were passing through the library in Whitehorse (“the hub”) to …

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Zuckerberg’s Cool Idea

Facebook marked its 10th anniversary this February, a few months before its creator, Mark Zuckerberg, turns 30. It’s not every 19-year-old that changes the world. The success and background drama of Facebook inspired the 2010 film, The Social Network, available on DVD at Whitehorse Public Library. While the film recounts true-life events, it’s not a …

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Love and War

How do you relate to someone after you discover they’ve committed monstrous acts? The generation born in Germany after World War II – who Berthold Brecht called “those who came after” (Nachgeborenen) – faced that question every day. The 2008 German-American film The Reader, available on DVD at Whitehorse Public Library, explores the effect of …

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World of Words: Painting a northern paradise

Forty years ago, an undiscovered English painter, new to the Yukon, had his first Canadian art show at the Whitehorse Public Library. Now, that painter, Ted Harrison, is the subject of the biography Painting Paradise by Katherine Gibson. On August 26, at 5 p.m., Yukoners can join both artist and author at the Yukon Arts …

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The many scars of Terry Sawchuk

Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems, opens with the autopsy report of hockey great Terry Sawchuk. It ends with a photo of his face, a jigsaw of quick stitches. In between, author Randall Maggs creates a biography of poems that takes readers on the roller coaster ride that was the life of the greatest goalie of …

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World of Words: Locals review great Canadian crime fiction

May is National Crime Writing Month, and in celebration, Yukoners have reviewed work by finalists in three categories. A Nominee for Best Crime Novel: Arctic Blue Death, by R. J. Harlick (RendezVous Crime) This is a murder story that has a bit of a twist. Meg Harris has an intriguing past, some of which is …

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World of Words: Home truths About eBooks

The publishing industry is in some kind of spring flurry. In February this year, Amazon announced that, for the first month ever, their eBook sales outstripped paper sales. Then, in an article syndicated by the New York Times in March, HarperCollins announced lending limits for e-library books in an article called “Now at the library: …

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A Dual Legacy

Along with restoring the First Nations’ centre of learning to its traditional location, the new library in the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre realizes the vision of Yukon Public Libraries founder Bette Colyer: “To build an attractive, inviting environment where all community members could enjoy the pleasures of reading.” A hundred years ago, stampeders and shipbuilders …

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