Last Friday, Google honoured the memory of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin with a doodle on what would have been his 57th birthday. I watched episodes of his show on and off and despite not being a great fan, I remember his death with sadness. Only rarely is there a person that becomes known so widely for being so passionate about one thing as Steve Irwin was. He spent his life showing the world that even the deadliest animals can be endearing and deserving of respect and one can say he died on this mission. His kids, both very young at the time of his death, now co-host a show with their mom about living at the Australia Zoo. His son, Robert, turns out to be a budding photographer, whose impressive nature shots can be seen here.

My library card is the one that I’ve used since I was six. I’m a frequent public library user and have been using the library’s services even more now that I have young kids. Here is a fascinating look at the history of American public libraries. Canada’s first public libraries were similarly founded in the late 1700s. As highlighted in this illustrated history, public libraries are meeting points for people of various demographics and diverse backgrounds and historically play a role in social integration. It turns out that one of the earliest library in Canada was founded in 1779 by a group of officers and merchants to unify the interests of the French and the English inhabitants. Since then, public libraries have proliferated across the country, along with westward expansion. The National Library was created in response to the Massey Commission of 1951, which noted that Canadians were largely influenced by American culture (as we still are now), to promote Canadian content and cultivate Canadian culture by supporting our own writers and publishers. In Richmond, our own library has the distinction of pioneering presenting books as in a bookstore to encourage browsing and engaging readers in areas outside their usual areas of interest. It continues to be a leader in community engagement and a resource for various types of media and technologies.

Anyone who has been through grad school and has considered an academic career in the life sciences will appreciate this illustration:

I always enjoy learning new things about my own city. For my fellow Richmondites, here is a story about the people behind the names of our schools. Turns out, I attended one of only two schools named after a woman in Richmond!