Douglas Coupland’s Digital Orca in Vancouver

digital orca

While I didn’t spot any real whales on my recent trip to Vancouver, I did snap a photo of Douglas Coupland’s public sculpture, the Digital Orca, next to the Olympic Cauldron and the Vancouver Convention Centre. Also, there was a giant whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum within the University of British Columbia. Between a fake animal and a dead one, I preferred the whale that doubles as a chair.

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Get It First: Unlimited Access to Digital Magazines With Your Library Card

Zinio

The Toronto Public Library has pumped out a lot of neat digital collections and services over the years. There’s ebooks, databases, loopholes in newspaper paywalls, free wifi, to name a few. TPL has now added unlimited access to digital magazines through Zinio to the list. That means, if you’re a Toronto Public Library card holder, more than 300 titles are available to download for free on your computer, tablet and smartphone, including:

[Update: Some titles will no longer be available through this service, while others now offer back issues. I’ve updated the list accordingly.]

Azure, Billboard Magazine, Canadian Living, Conde Nast Traveller UK, Cosmopolitan, Discover, The Economist, Elle, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Home & Gardens, MacWorld, Men’s Health, O: The Oprah Magazine, OK! Magazine, National Geographic, Nylon, Popular Science, Popular Photography, Reader’s Digest, Rolling Stone, Saveur, Us Weekly, The Walrus and many more.

Access to the collection is via the TPL portal, where an account needs to be set up with your library card. As well, you will have to register an account with Zinio and download the reader app. When you “check out” a title, the current issue is added to your Zinio magazine library, which you can read wherever and whenever you want. Unlike the ebooks lending program, there’s no wait lists or returns. The magazines stay in your Zinio account until you delete them.

Toronto isn’t the first city to offer this service to the public. Hamilton and Ottawa currently have digital magazine access with Zinio. Other libraries are rumoured to be rolling it out, too.

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Limitless City: Hong Kong

Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong

Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong

Hello, blog. You seem to be showing signs of neglect. I was busy making the online world a better place ran off to Disneyland. The Disneyland in Hong Kong, actually. I had a wonderful trip. It had been a while since I’ve ventured to a new city, and HK was unforgettable.

With a population of over 7 million people, Hong Kong is intense. There’s high-rise apartment buildings nestled between scenic mountains, old fishing villages and underneath bridges. With no real downtown core, the skyline looks endless. What HK lacks in size, it makes up in the amount of food and electronics it hoards. To top it off, the transit system is one of the best in the world. And, just when you think the Octopus Card is the greatest technological invention next to the turbo jet ferries, there’s cellphone service and Internet on the subway. Crazy.

What I loved most of all was being immersed in a culture that’s both foreign and familiar to me. As a former British colony, Hong Kong gives off an East-meets-West vibe, mixing old Chinese traditions with modern ideas that push this megacity well into the future. It’s extreme, excessive and, most importantly, exciting. You feel like anything is possible.

Hong Kong is better in person than in pictures, but here are many highlights of my trip:

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Profile: Eileen Lewis

Interviewed Eileen Lewis from the Ontario Legislative Library for the Toronto Special Libraries & Information Services Network, of which I was a member of. Check it out!

Eileen

Eileen Lewis may just be the toughest librarian at Queen’s Park. By day, she works as a research librarian at the Ontario Legislative Library at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. By night, Lewis straps on a pair of skates and channels her alter ego, “Marian the Diebrarian”, in a roller derby league. Raised in Hamilton, Lewis is a two-time University of Toronto graduate, where she obtained an Hon. BA in history and political science and a MISt in the library & information science and women & gender studies collaborative program. She sat down with fellow TSLIS member, Mimi Szeto, to talk about what it’s like to be a part of the Members of the Provincial Parliament’s library team and how the roughness on the rinks made her a better professional.

What is a day in the life of a research librarian at the Legislative Library?
There would be clients at the reference desk, an hour or two fielding incoming calls and answering the questions you’ve taken in. Rather than helping people find material and go about their research, we actually do the research. Our librarians are broken down to subject clusters that come up most frequently. If it’s something like health and education or planning and environment, we send it to the right people to do it. My cluster is planning and environment, so I do a lot of energy questions, municipal planning, agriculture, anything that falls into general parliamentary duties. As well, I train the general client team. We also work closely with our legislative research service, and those are mostly lawyers and people who are able to give more insight or more analysis.
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Obligatory Flower Photo

Testing the new SLR. I love how sharp and vibrant the colours are in comparison to a point-and-shoot camera.

Obligatory Flower Photo

Obligatory Flower Photo

Testing the new SLR. I love how sharp and vibrant the colours are in comparison to a point-and-shoot camera.

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