Thanks for your response Larry!
I made the TM back up with my old iMac before it quit on me..
Can I restore this library to my new MacBook?
I don't understand the line "Once you have an iPhoto library that you can open withniPhoto you drag it to the pictures folder of the new Mac" can you elaborate?
To move an iPhoto library you must have a complete operating iPhoto library - if you have one on your old computer then Connect the two Macs together (network, firewire target mode, etc) and drag the iPhoto library intact as a single entity from the old Mac to the pictures folder of the new Mac - launch iPhoto on the new mac and it will open the library and convert it as needed and you will be ready move forward.
If you do not have a good complete operating library then restore it to the old system, test it and drag it across