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What’s new in Open Shelf: February 2021

Question: What does a crossword puzzle have to do with Black History month?
Answer:    Our first cryptic crossword is in honour of Black writers.

Douglas Davey will be contributing cryptic crosswords throughout the year in his column 793.73. This month, he is featuring eight clues that challenge readers to identify eight Black authors whose work is worth celebrating. 

The Charlatan. Ad for Helen Reddy’s performance at the National Arts Centre (Ottawa), circa 1975.

February is also Valentine’s month and Women’s History month, and we hope that you will also be celebrating those you love, many of whom will be special and talented women. The United Nations declared 1975 International Women’s Yearthe first everand Helen Reddy’s I am Woman was the anthem of that year. Reddy, who died last September (2020) ignited women around the world to be strong and invincible, to roar and to use their wisdom born of pain to make change. And change they did: their private lives and their public lives, including their work lives.

This was the year that the first faculty union was certifiedthe Carleton University Academic Staff Associationand amongst the founders were librarians. CUPE was well on its way to certifying unions in many public libraries and negotiating contracts that would see the price of women’s work go up significantly. Helen Reddy was on tour in Canada that same year.

So, this February, we feature articles from women who co-edit books, find more respectful ways to describe people and their work, want to live in good relationships on Turtle Island, and land the right job because they know how to make the most of the interview process. Finally, we welcome another installment of Readers’ Advisory (it’s “challenging”) and encourage you to take our monthly poll: Do you do crossword puzzles? Y or N. 

Here are the stories we feature this month, in the order that they appear in the magazine:

Remember to check out our Twitter account at @OpenShelfOLA.

Have you ever considered writing for Open Shelf? Do you have an idea for a story that you think Open Shelf readers would like to read about? If you answered yes to either of these questions, contact us at and let us know.

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