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Tag: Libraries

Canadian Crime Authors Southwestern Ontario Crime Spree

by Dan
Events + Fiction + Mysteries and Thrillers / May 02, 2013

Four Canadian crime authors are joining forces this month to visit libraries in seven Southwestern Ontario towns — Woodstock,Orangeville, Cambridge, Guelph, Brantford, Thornbury, and Orillia — for a literary crime spree.  

The Crime Tour authors are Hilary Davidson, Ian Hamilton, Robert Rotenberg, and Robin Spano. All four are relatively fresh faces on the crime-fiction scene, though they have 15 novels (count them!) published amongst them over the past four years.  

Evil In All Its Disguises

This is the second time Davidson, Hamilton, and Spano have toured together. In June 2012, they visited a series of libraries in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, from Vancouver to Squamish, with novelist Deryn Collier. Since Collier was unable to travel this year, the trio will bejoined by Toronto-based Rotenberg.  

“We are all writers who rage on the page,” says Robin Spano. “But we are really friendly in real life. Whether you're an aspiring writer looking for inspiration or you love books and are intrigued by what goes into their creation, we hope you'll come away having learned something.”  

The Events:  

Thursday, May 9,2013, Woodstock, ON, 2pm
Woodstock Art Gallery
sponsored by Woodstock Public Library
449 Dundas St., Woodstock, ON, N4S 1C2
This event is free and open to the public.

Thursday, May 9,2013, Orangeville, ON, 7pm
Centre Fellowship

375 Hansen Blvd., Orangeville, ON, L9W 0C2
Tickets are $10 with proceeds going to the University Women Scholarship Fund.

Friday, May 10, 2013, Cambridge, ON, 9:30am
Clemens Mill Library

50 Saginaw Parkway, Cambridge, ON, N1T 1W2
This event is free and open to the public

Friday, May 10, 2013, Guelph, ON, 1pm
Guelph Public Library

100 Norfolk Street, Guelph, ON, N1H 4J6
This event is free and open to the public.

Friday, May 10, 2013, Brantford, ON, 4:30pm
Brantford Public Library

173 Colborne Street, Brantford, ON, N3T 2G8
This event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, May 11,2013, Thornbury, ON, 1pm
L.E. Shore Memorial Library

173 Bruce Street South, Thornbury, ON, N0H 2P0
This event is free and open to the public.

Sunday, May 12, 2013,Orillia, ON, 1pm
“Murder and Mayhem on Mother’s Day at Manticore”
Manticore Books

103 Mississauga Street,Orillia, ON, L3V 1V6
This event is free and open to the public.

About the Authors:

hilary davidsonHilary Davidson’s debut, The Damage Done, won the 2011 Anthony Award for Best First Novel. It also earned a Crimespree Award and was a finalist for an Arthur Ellis and a Macavity award. Her third novel, Evil in All Its Disguises, was released on March 5, 2013. Says the Los Angeles Review of Books: “Her voice is a freshand welcome addition to the noir landscape.”

Ian HamiltonIan Hamilton’s first novel, The Water Rat of Wanchai, won the 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for best first novel. It was also chosen by Quill and Quire as one of the top five novels of 2011 and was nominated for a CBC bookie award. The fifth book in the Ava Lee series, The Scottish Banker of Surabaya, was published on February 16, 2013. Says The Toronto Star: “Ava Lee is unbeatableat just about everything…She’s perfect. She’s fast.”

Robert Rotenberg’s debut, Old City Hall, was called “a hard-boiled classic” by The Globe & Mail and widely praised by Entertainment Weekly, Maclean’s, and Kirkus. The book was shortlisted for a Dagger Award and a Thriller Award. A prominent criminal lawyer with Rotenberg, Shidlowski & Jesin, his fourth novel, Stranglehold, will be published on May7, 2013.

Robin SpanoRobin Spano’s undercover protagonist Clare Vengel has been described as a “slightly slutty grown up Nancy Drew.” Spano has been dubbed one of Canada’s Hot New Crime Writers by Crime Fiction Lover. She has fast developed a loyal following with her “smart, stylish and sharp” writing in Dead Politician Society and Death Plays Poker. Her third novel, Death’s Last Run, has just been released. 

Guest Post: Cory Doctorow for Freedom to Read Week

by Dan
Guest Blogger + YA Fiction / February 24, 2013

Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

To mark this year's Freedom to Read Week, which starts today, we asked author Cory Doctorow to contribute a guest post on libraries and technology.

Libraries, Hackspaces and E-waste: how libraries can be the hub of a young maker revolution

Every discussion of libraries in the age of austerity always includes at least one blowhard who opines, "What do we need libraries for? We've got the Internet now!"


The problem is that Mr. Blowhard has confused a library with a book depository. Now, those are useful, too, but a library isn't just (or even necessarily) a place where you go to get books for free. Public libraries have always been places where skilled information professionals assisted the general public with the eternal quest to understand the world. Historically, librarians have sat at the coalface between the entire universe of published material and patrons, choosing books with at least a colorable claim to credibility, carefully cataloging and shelving them, and then assisting patrons in understanding how to synthesize the material contained therein.

Libraries have also served as community hubs, places where the curious, the scholarly, and the intellectually excitable could gather in the company of one another, surrounded by untold information-wealth, presided over by skilled information professionals who could lend technical assistance where needed. My own life has included many protracted stints in libraries — for example, I dropped out of high-school when I was 14 took myself to Toronto's Metro Reference Library and literally walked into the shelves at random, selected the first volume that aroused my curiosity, read it until it suggested another line of interest, then chased that one up. When I found the newspaper microfilm, I was blown away, and spent a week just pulling out reels at random and reading newspapers from the decades and centuries before, making notes and chasing them up with books. We have a name for this behavior today, of course: "browsing the Web." It was clunkier before the Web went digital, but it was every bit as exciting.

(Eventually my parents figured out I wasn't going to school, and after the ensuing confrontations, I ended up at a most excellent independent/alternative school, but that's another story)

Later, I worked as a page at North York Public Library's central branch, in the Business and Urban Affairs department. Working at a library is an unparalleled opportunity to witness the full range of human curiosity, from excited students working on school assignments together to wild-eyed entrepreneurs pursuing their dreams to careful senior citizens researching where to invest their personal savings to supplement their pensions (and lots more besides). All these people were using the library as a place, a resource, and a community. Because that's what libraries are.

And we've never needed that more than we need it today. We've run out of places. What used to be public squares and parks are now malls. Places that used to welcome kids now prohibit them (in England, where I live, some smart-aleck invented a device called "the mosquito," which plays a shrill tone only audible to young ears, used to drive children away from semi-public spaces like the benches in front of stores).

What's more, we're *drowning* in information. Pre-Internet librarianship was like pre-Internet newspaper publishing: "select, then publish." That is, all the unfiltered items are presented to a gatekeeper, who selects the best of them, and puts them in front of the rest of the world. Now we live in a "publish, then select" world: everyone can reach everything, all the time, and the job of experts is to collect and annotate that material, to help others navigate its worth and truthfulness.

That is to say that society has never needed its librarians, and its libraries, more. The major life-skill of the information age is information literacy, and no one's better at that than librarians. It's what they train for. It's what they live for.

But there's another gang of information-literate people out there, a gang who are a natural ally of libraries and librarians: the maker movement. Clustered in co-operative workshops called "makerspaces" or "hack(er)spaces," makers build physical stuff. They make robots, flying drones, 3D printers (and 3D printed stuff), jewelry, tools, printing presses, clothes, medieval armor... Whatever takes their fancy. Making in the 21st century has moved out of the individual workshop and gone networked. Today's tinkerer work in vast, distributed communities where information sharing is the norm, where the ethics and practices of the free/open source software movement has gone physical. Such hackspaces play a prominent role in my own fiction (thanks, no doubt, to the neighborly presence to the London Hackspace, which is directly over my own office in Hackney). In my new novel,

Homeland (the sequel to 2008's Little Brother), my protagonist Marcus discovers the tools of personal and social revolution through his friends at Noisebridge, a real-world makerspace in San Francisco.

At first blush, the connection between makers and libraries might be hard to see. But one of the impacts of building your own computing devices (a drone, a 3D printer, and a robot are just specialized computers in fancy cases) is that it forces you to confront the architecture and systems that underlie your own information consumption. Savvy librarians will know that our access to networked information is mediated by dozens of invisible sources, from the unaccountable search algorithms that determine our starting (and often, ending) points, to the equally unaccountable censoring network "filters" that arbitrarily block whole swathes of the Internet, to underlying hardware and operating system constraints and choices that make certain kinds of information easy to consume, and other kinds nearly impossible.

In the automobile age, everyone was expected to know the fundamentals of how their cars worked. Even if you paid someone else to change your oil, it would take an act of will to attain adulthood in the USA without learning a bit about the mechanics underpinning the signal invention of your era. There were just too many ways that a car could go wrong, and too many ways that your life revolved around cars to rely on the rest of the world to understand them for you.

Now we live in the computer age, and if we thought we relied on cars, we hadn't seen anything. Some people spend so much time in their cars that it's like they live in them. But you literally do live inside a computer -- a modern house, car, or institutional building is just a giant computer you put your body into. And modern hearing aids, pacemakers, and prostheses are computers you put inside your body.

Every part of our lives have been permeated by computers, and these computers have the power to peer into our private lives, to compromise our finances, to shape our political beliefs, to disrupt our families, and to destroy our workplaces. That is, if computers don't serve us, they can (and do) destroy us.

But for people who master networked computers and make them into honest servants, computers deliver incredible dividends. A UK study compared similar families, some with access to the net and others without, and found that the families with net access had better education, were more civically engaged, more politically informed, had better jobs and income, were more socially mobile  even their health and nutrition was better. If computers are on your side, they elevate every single thing we use to measure quality of life.

So we need to master computers  to master the systems of information, so that we can master information itself.

That's where makers come in. One of the curious aspects of computers is that they evolve so quickly that they rapidly become obsolete. That means that our communities are drowning in "e-waste," often sent to developing nations where children labor in horrific conditions to turn them back into materials to be reintroduced into the manufacturing stream.

What if, instead of shipping our communities' "dead" computers to China to be dipped in acid by unprotected children, we brought them to our libraries. What if we enlisted our makers to run workshops at the libraries, workshops where the patrons who come to the library to use the limited computers there were taught to build their own PCs, install GNU/Linux on them, and *bring them home*? People who say that it's dumb to turn libraries into book-lined Internet cafes are right.

Internet at the library should be the gateway drug for building a PC of your own, from parts, learning firsthand how computers work, what operating systems are capable of, and what locked-down devices and networks take away from their users.

Making a PC isn't hard, especially when you get the parts for free. The easiest way to get good at stuff is to make mistakes ("to double your success rate, triple your failure rate"). The best mechanic I know learned his trade by buying $100 junkers on Craigslist and destroying one after another until he got good (then: *excellent*) at it. When you're building PCs out of literal garbage, you can do no wrong. Your failures just end up back in the same dumpster they were headed for in the first place.

Look, we've got more computer junk than we know what to do with and a generation of kids whose "information literacy" extends to learning PowerPoint and being lectured about plagiarizing from Wikipedia and putting too much information on Facebook. The invisible, crucial infrastructure of our century is treated as the province of wizards and industrialists, and hermetically sealed, with no user-serviceable parts inside.

Damn right libraries shouldn't be book-lined Internet cafes. They should be book-lined, computer-filled information-dojos where communities come together to teach each other black-belt information literacy, where initiates work alongside noviates to show them how to master the tools of the networked age from the bare metal up.

My young adult novels always feature kids who build their own tools, in part because the coolest, most curious kids I know are already doing this. But it's also because this is a hobby that's available to anyone. The information is online, free. The raw materials aren't just free, they're worth *less than nothing*, a liability and a nuisance to be rid of. And the dividends are stupendous. Only through understanding the tools of information can we master them, and only by mastering them can we use them to make our lives better, rather than destroying them.

Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow will be at the Lillian H. Smith Library in Toronto on March 1, 2013 at 7:00pm (doors open at 6pm). 

Hilary Davidson BC Crime Tour

by Dan
Events + Fiction + Mysteries and Thrillers + Vancouver / June 13, 2012

Award-winning Canadian crime-writer Hilary Davidson (The Damage Done, The Next One To Fall) is visiting the fair province of British Columbia next week, kicking off a tour of bookstores and libraries with fellow authors Ian Hamilton, Robin Spano and Deryn Collier with an event at the W2 Media Cafe in Vancouver on Sunday afternoon. Full details of the tour, which includes Squamish, Richmond and Burnaby, are below. See you there?

Next One to Fall

Sunday June 17 2012: Vancouver, 2-5 p.m.
Real Vancouver Crime: Join Sean Cranbury of Books on the Radio as he hosts The Crime Tour (Hilary Davidson, Ian Hamilton, Robin Spano and Deryn Collier) for an afternoon of readings at W2 Media Café (111 West Hastings St., Vancouver; 604-689-9896) on Vancouver's Lower East Side. Open to the public; $5 cover.

Monday June 18 2012: Squamish, BC, 6:30pm-8pm
Murder in the Woods: The Crime Tour (Hilary Davidson, Ian Hamilton, Robin Spano and Deryn Collier) travels up the Sunshine Coast to the Squamish Public Library (37907 2nd Avenue, Squamish, BC; 604-892-3110) for an evening of chatting mystery and writing in the wooded beauty of the Sea-to-Sky highway. This event is free and open to the public. Books will be for sale on site by Armchair Books.

Tuesday June 19 2012: Vancouver, 1pm-3pm
Come down to Chapters on Robson & Howe (788 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC; 604-682-4066) to meet and visit with The Crime Tour authors (Hilary Davidson, Ian Hamilton, Robin Spano and Deryn Collier).

Tuesday June 19 2012: Richmond, BC, 7pm-9pm
A Mystery Evening to Die For: Join The Crime Tour authors (Hilary Davidson, Ian Hamilton, Robin Spano and Deryn Collier) for a full evening of author readings, a panel discussion on the writing process and a lengthy Q&A at the Richmond Public Library Brighouse (Main) Branch (100-7700 Minoru Gate Richmond, BC; 604-231-6422). Books will be available for sale on site from Dead Write Books.

Thursday June 21 2012: Burnaby, BC, 7pm-8:30pm
“Triple Threat: Chicks Who Solve Crime!” featuring Hilary Davidson, Robin Spano, and Deryn Collier at the McGill Branch of the Burnaby Public Library (4595 Albert Street, Burnaby, BC).The program is free but the library asks that people sign up in advance online, or by calling 604-299-8955.