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Toronto Reference Library Drone Video: A Bird's Eye View

September 17, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Digital Innovation Hub staff from Fort York and the Reference Library teamed up to help create this amazing video.  They got together with other library staff from the Communications, Programming and Customer Engagement department to shoot and edit this short video that showcases the wonderful improvements that have been made to the Toronto Reference Library as part of the re:vitalize campaign.

The video was assisted with a drone to capture these one of a kind shots that give viewers a whole new perspective on the building.



Fall Programs for Filmmakers

September 15, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Just after another year at TIFF has concluded, the library and the Digital Innovation Hub are preparing new filmmakers to get into next year's festival, sort of. The Toronto Reference Library's new Innovator in Residence, Sarah Goodman, will bring to library customers a wide variety of programming, all related to the art of film making. There will be discussions on writing, the business of getting funding, and hands on workshops on everything from shot composition to video editing. 

Sarah Goodman
Photo courtesy of Sarah Goodman

Sarah Goodman's Army of One (Hot Docs Best Canadian Documentary, Gemini Nomination for Best Director) and When We Were Boys (Donald Brittain Gemini Nomination for Best Documentary, Indiewire's Top 10) launched her career. Her work has been featured at TIFF, Hot Docs, True/False, and Berlin, among others, and broadcast on CBC, BBC, IFC, and Discovery Times.

Her dramatic short Hidden Driveway premiered at TIFF in 2011. Her forthcoming feature drama Porch Stories will be released theatrically in Spring 2015 by Kinosmith. Goodman has written and directed for the small screen as well, including projects for History Television, Discovery, BBC, Global, W Network, among others.

In addition to the classes, another great opportunity offered by the Innovator in Residence is the chance to sit down with Sarah in a one-on-one session. This is your session, ask Sarah about how you might go about improving your project, get tips about breaking into and navigating the film industry, get help with editing software like Final Cut Pro or iMovie, and more.

There are a lot more sessions and times available. Be sure to check the event details for more information on how to secure a spot

Clap board

Below is a sampling of just some of the classes that are available.

The Language of Shots
Learn the basic types of camera shots - from wide shots to extreme close-ups and the meaning inferred by each. Using a sample scene, the class will brainstorm a shot list and create a storyboard. Then working in small groups, students will practice shooting inside the library.

Screenwriting Basics
Watch a few short films and analyze what worked and what didn't work from a filmmaker's perspective. Then learn how to workshop a concept for a short film, including "beating out" an outline, and take a try at it. Participants can then sign up for feedback on their script in a drop-in appointment.

Video Editing 101
Using sample footage provided by Sarah Goodman, learn the basics of using iMovie video editing software.


Reality of Film Industry: Production & Funding Models
Sarah Goodman provides an overview and insider tips about the steps of film production, including prep, equipment, and the different funding models available for filmmakers.

Have fun!!

Introducing the Innovators in Communities Program!

September 15, 2014 | D!ana | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

In addition to the Innovator in Residence program, Toronto Public Library will be launching its first Innovator in Communities (IIC) program in October 2014.

Toronto 3D Printing Meet-up
Previous Innovator in Residence Derek Quenneville chatting with library users about 3D printing!

Digital Innovation HubThe IIC program supports the Digital Innovation Hubs at the Toronto Reference Library and the Fort York Branch, however, the Innovators in Communities will be bringing some of the exciting technology and programs outside of the library and into different community spaces around Toronto!

There will be more information to come later this fall, but what we can reveal at the moment is the exciting opportunity to be one of the Innovators in Communities!

We’re looking for a coding and programming expert who not only has extensive knowledge and experience, but is also passionate about educating and inspiring coders and programmers of all ages and skill levels.

The eight-week residency will take place October 5 to November 30, 2014.

For full details of the job posting and for more information on how to submit your application, visit the Jobs at the Library page.

Deadline to apply is Monday September 22nd, 2014.

Stay tuned for more information on the Innovators in Communities program and what our Innovators will be up to this fall!

New Adobe Illustrator Workshop

September 8, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

The Digital Innovation Hub is happy to announce a brand new workshop coming to the Toronto Reference Library next month on Adobe Illustrator. For those who don’t know, Illustrator is a great tool that allows users to animate and draw vector illustrations. A great tool for creating business cards, logos and graphics of all sorts.

Alien by Jay Wieler
Image courtesy of Jay Wieler

The session itself will be held on Thursday October 9th starting at 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and will be held in the Digital Innovation Hub. Online registration is required for this class and will be available starting Thursday, Sept. 11 at 9 a.m.

The session will be facilitated by local illustrator expert Jay Wieler. Jay is an extremely talented artist who has conducted numerous sessions in the past and is also currently in the process of completing his first book.

Drawing of a turtle by Jay Wieler
Image courtesy of Jay Wieler

In the session learn how to turn your drawings into fun vector illustrations using Adobe Illustrator.

During the workshop, you will learn how to:
- Create and edit shapes
- Create custom illustrations
- Work with text
- Other tips and tricks to using Adobe Illustrator

For more information, please call the Digital Innovation Hub: 416-393-7007.  Spaces are limited, be sure to book as quickly as you can.

Have fun!!

September 3D Printer Certification Dates

August 25, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Want to learn more about the 3D printer and see how it works, or have you been wanting to get your hands on using it.  Come down and take the 3D printer certification on any of the following dates, and have instant access to the most talked about toy in the new Digital Innovation Hub.


We posted on the Toronto Public Library website a couple of dates for the month of September and wanted our readers to be the first to hear about it.  Sign up quickly as tickets go fast.

In the session, you'll get a better understanding of how to use the printers and the software that accompanies it. 

* How to prepare a 3D design file for print
* How to use the equipment properly and safely
* Reviewing the rules and guidelines to using the 3D printer

Customers must complete this 3D printer certification before they can use the 3D printer independently.

The dates are below:
Saturday, September 6th (10 a.m. - 11 a.m.)
Tuesday, September 9th (2 p.m. - 3 p.m.)
Tuesday, September 23rd (2 p.m. - 3 p.m.)

Be sure to keep an eye out as we will be hoping to add more dates in the future.

Hope to see you there!!

3D Certifications for August

August 19, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

We hope everyone's summer is going well. Just a quick note that the Toronto Reference Library's Digital Innovation Hub will be back hosting some new 3D Printer Certifications. 

The hub will be offering certifications on a regular basis starting next month and we'll post them online sometime next week. But as a thank you for your patience and to get the ball rolling a bit faster we added two new sessions for this month.

Sign up as fast as you can, and keep your eyes peeled for the later dates next week.

Get your free tickets to the sessions below:

August 23rd, 3-4 p.m.

August 27th, 6-7 p.m.

Until then,

Learning Code

June 25, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

If you ever wanted to try your hand at learning something new, certainly Coding can be a great place to start.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to increase your skills and the possibilities.  A major incentive would hopefully to start a new career, or help out with a game or app that you’ve always wanted to create.


Coding is not the easiest thing to do, but like anything you are trying for the first time, if you put in some time and effort, it can be very rewarding.  One website that is trying to do its best and encourage you to try coding for at least an hour before you make a permanent decision on it is:  In fact they’ve created an amazing video with some pretty successful people to help try and convince you. 

On the website you’ll find some encouraging videos and tutorials, all of them showcasing a different type of code and at different levels.  Exercises that really help your skills evolve and that are relevant with what’s going on in the world of computer and electronics today.  Below you see a list of just some of the great exercise available at your fingertips. 

Build your first computer program

Learn the basic concepts of Computer Science with drag and drop programming. This is a game-like, self-directed tutorial starring video lectures by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies. Learn repeat-loops, conditionals, and basic algorithms. Available in 34 languages.

Introduction to JavaScript

Learn the basics of JavaScript programming while creating fun drawings with your code. Do it on your own or with your class!


Learning Python

Choose from 3 activities designed to give you your first experience programming. For example, use the programming language Python to build a chatbot called "Eliza". Can she fool your friends into think she's a human not a computer? This can be done in either a student-guided or teacher-facilitated form and comes with all notes and solutions.


Create an iPhone game in an hour

Tried programming already, if so learn to develop an iPhone game in an hour! Guides to help you through the process will get you on your way to coding, testing and playing your game.  After you’ve finished it, share your game with friends and family via Facebook. 


Develop and build your knowledge quickly with guides and the best part is, you can do all of this in the browser window.  No software download required.  Login and create an account to take advantage of greater lesson plans and get up to date news.

After checking out a few of these lessons, don’t forget to come in and take advantage of the Raspberry Pi and Arduino kits we have available in the Hub.  Those kits are a great tool to help strengthen that knowledge and take you to higher levels.  In addition, try some app or game development on our driverless PC.

Have fun!!

New Audio Classes

June 19, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

If you've ever wanted to experiment with sound editing and creating wonderful sound art or music compositions, be sure to check out the latest class the Digital Innovation Hub has to offer.

Create Your Own Sound Art is a workshop taught by musician and artist Barry Prophet.  In the session you'll get familiar with the open source sound edting program called Audacity.  The lesson is a hands-on workshop that will give you all the tools you'll need to create on your own.  Explore channels, effects, and other common used tools while also playing with a multi-track sound project.


For anyone hearing about Audacity for the very first time be sure to check out this blog post I did from 2012.  The program is essentially used for audio recording along with sound editing and adding adjustments such as removing noise or distortion, changing the pitch and tempo of the files with built plug-ins and effect tools that make the process a little bit easier.


Have fun!!

Library is Hiring Filmmaker for Residency

June 16, 2014 | Ab. Velasco | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Toronto Public Library is hiring a filmmaker for a unique and fun job: our Fall 2014 Innovator in Residence.
The six-week residency will take place October 20 to November 30 at the Digital Innovation Hub at Toronto Reference Library.
The recently-opened Hub is a learning and creation space that gives anyone with a library card access to a wide range of digital tech, including: Mac computers, laptops and tablets; HD cameras; a green screen; and video editing software, like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere and iMovie.
The Innovator in Residence's job will include the following tasks:
* Meet with customers to critique and answer questions about their video projects
* Create and offer film-related programs and workshops for the public
* Post on the Digital Design and Technology Blog (this blog)
See the job posting (PDF) for full details - including info on how to apply. Deadline to apply is Monday, June 30.
The Innovator in Residence program takes place twice a year at the Digital Innovation Hub. Each residency focuses on a different aspect of the technology offered through the Hub. The first residency in Spring 2014 focused on 3D printing.
Please help us spread the word to those you think would be interested and who would make a great candidate!

June 3D Printer Certification Classes

May 29, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

I just wanted everyone to know that we just posted some new dates for the 3D Printer Certification classes for the month of June.  Be sure to sign up as fast as you can.


The dates and times can be found by clicking here.

If you try and get a ticket and it asks you to be put on a waiting list, that does mean the class is full and it is possible a ticket could get released to you after the fact if and only if customers who have successfully registered cancel their spot.

Thanks for all the interest in the programs and we'll try to provide as many dates as we can in the near future.  Continue to check this blog for information about new classes, interesting news and more.


Welcome to the Digital Design & Technology Blog. Our bloggers post about topics like digital photography, audio and video creation, scanning, graphic and 3D design and printing as well as other emerging digital tech trends. We also take you behind the scenes of science, technology and “maker” programs offered at the library.

Your comments, posts, messages and creative content are welcome, provided they encourage a respectful dialogue and comply with the Library's mission, values and policies.
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