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Soldering Can Be Fun

June 29, 2015 | Dawn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

On Sat. June 27, 2015 Toronto Reference Library hosted a Soldering Workshop in the Browsery. Happily the rain did not dampen anyone's enthusiasm for learning a new skill.

Snowbot and Rocketship

Blinky Happiness  Yes it blinks

Over two hours nearly 50 rocket ships and Snowbots were made by young and old alike.

Young and old alike  Young and old alike1

Don't worry if you missed the fun. Maker Festival is coming to the Toronto Reference Library in August and you will get another chance to learn how to solder and much, much more.

Maker Festival is a 2-day celebration of all things "maker." 

Maker Festival LogoCome out for two days of discovery, experimentation and innovation. Meet over 100 local makers, tinkerers, inventors and tech enthusiasts. There's fun for all ages and skill levels.

Curious about 3D printing, wearable technology, and electronics? Want to learn more about robotics, woodworking and soldering? Maker Festival Toronto has it all!

Day 1 - Sat Aug 01, 2015 - 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Day 2 - Sun Aug 02, 2015 - 10:00 am - 5:00 pm


See you all there!


Learn How to Solder at the Toronto Reference Library

June 19, 2015 | Dawn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...


Soldering Workshop 

Learn how to solder at the library!

You will assemble a small rocket ship or snowbot using a hot soldering iron, and you'll leave with your creation! The Soldering Workshop runs from 10 am to 12 noon.

Register for one of the four sessions.
Choose your start time: 10:00 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.

Sat Jun 27, 2015
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Toronto Reference Library,  Browsery, main floor

The cost for the workshop is $3. Payment will be collected the day of the event.

Open to all ages. 


Soldering2 Soldering3

Read about soldering:

Soldering Beyond the Basics  Quality Hand Soldering  Learn to Solder

Why Wearables: Examining Wearable Media in Contemporary Culture

June 16, 2015 | Dawn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Join us for the second of two fascinating talks on technology, part of our new
Hillary PredkoWearable technology is an emerging discipline, with lots of buzz surrounding it in the news. How will this change our lives? Do we need wearable technologies? This talk will unpack the history of wearables, examine current trends, and speculate on the futures and challenges that arise from the adoption of body based technologies.
Speaker Hillary Predko is a wearable technologist and fellow at Studio [Y]. Some of her projects include The Prosthetic Technologies of Being project is a collaboration between the Social Body Lab at OCAD University and Intel Research and the wearable light: Vega Edge.
Friday, June 19, 2015 
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Toronto Reference Library 
Hinton Learning Theatre, 3rd floor
The Innovator in Residence program offers a fun and hands-on way to learn about the technology offered at the library's Digital Innovation Hubs. Our current Innovator-in-Residence is Toronto maker and artist Lindy Wilkins. Lindy is hosting a series of lectures and conducting workshops and one-on-one appointments on coding with Arduino.
For more information and to register for workshops, visit
Read more:
Make Wearable ElectronicsAlso available as an eBook
Learn More:
Project Jacquard
KOBAKANT DIY Wearable Technology Documentation
TEDx Toronto: Steve Mann, PhD, “the father of the wearable computer"
Trafo Pop: a group of cyclists who are also professional artists.
We Are Wearables
Linktiz: Wearable toys that teach kids to code

Technology: Why "Easy" is a Myth

June 10, 2015 | Dawn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Join us for the first of two fascinating talks on technology, part of our new
Nadine LessioEver have something that didn’t work out? Or a surprise challenge that you weren’t expecting from a project? Ever been standing in the middle of a pile of pipes with some instructions thinking: “I don’t get it, this was supposed to be easy.” Or that moment when things worked out and you want to high five the world? I’m sure you have. Come by, pull up  a seat and listen to some anecdotes about projects that worked, projects that didn’t, and why easy is a myth. 
Friday, June 12, 2015 
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Toronto Reference Library 
Hinton Learning Theatre, 3rd floor
Speaker Nadine Lessio is a creative technologist based in Toronto Ontario. She has a background in graphic design, development, and DIY Fabrication. She currently spends her time experimenting with physical interfaces and constantly adjusting her bike’s front derailleur. 
The Innovator in Residence program offers a fun and hands-on way to learn about the technology offered at the library's Digital Innovation Hubs. Our current Innovator-in-Residence is Toronto maker and artist Lindy Wilkins. Lindy is hosting a series of lectures and conducting workshops and one-on-one appointments on coding with Arduino.
For more information and to register for workshops, visit
And read more:
30 Arduino projects for the evil genius Arduino Robot Bonanza Sams teach yourself Arduino programming in 24 hours

Innovator In Residence - Lindy Wilkins

June 3, 2015 | Greg Astill | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Are you interesting in learning Arduino or do you have a project in mind using Arduino?


Join Lindy Wilkins as she hosts lectures, workshops, and one-on-one appointments at Toronto Reference Library. Lindy Wilkins is a Toronto-based artist, maker, developer, and community facilitator. Her hobbies include tinkering, cycling, exploring and spontaneous whimsical fabrication.


Lindy Wilkins' extensive experience in creative coding and technology can be seen at Site3 coLaboratry and Little Dada. Lindy also is a teaching assistant at OCAD University.

For six weeks, Lindy will be teaching a variety of Arduino workshops, a soldering workshop, and one-on-one appointments.

Registration is required and is on a first-come, first serve basis. To register, please email Fiona O'Connor at Please be sure to add the date and time, your phone number and a short description (50 words max) of what you hope to discuss with Lindy. You will receive a confirmation email to confirm your appointment or possible other dates if that time and date is no longer available.

In addition, join us for two public lectures/discussions where the theme will be on Technology: Success and Failures and Wearable Technology.

Have fun and hope to see you at one of the classes and/ or lectures. 
Fiona and Greg

Former Innovator In Residence Sarah Goodman’s New Film Screens at TIFF

May 21, 2015 | Ab. Velasco | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...


Filmmaker and former Innovator in Residence Sarah Goodman’s debut feature film, Porch Stories, will screen at the TIFF Bell Lightbox from June 19 to 25.

The film is a layered and musically-rich portrait of revolving stories – all connected by events on the porches of neighbouring homes.

“I used to spend a lot of time sitting on my porch, writing, and watching the world go by. Often people would walk past, and I’d hear a little snippet of their conversation, a little window into their world. Then they were gone, " says Sarah.

"I started to think of all the stories that must have happened on the porches on my block. All the romances, fights, misunderstandings, childish arguments, drunken conversations, hipster small talk, and Portuguese commentary that gave the neighbourhood its fabric."

Sarah completed a residency at Toronto Reference Library’s Digital Innovation Hub in Fall 2014, where she delivered a series of talks, workshops, and met on a one-on-one basis with aspiring and practicing filmmakers.

“My favourite aspect of my residency was the diversity and talent of the people who attended. It felt representative of this city in a way few programs do,” Sarah said of her experience in this post-residency Q+A.


Meet Sarah Goodman and Share Your “Porch Stories”

Do you have a favourite personal story about Toronto or your neighbourhood?

Drop by the Digital Innovation Hub at the Reference Library in early June and meet Sarah in person!

Sarah will be filming one-on-one interviews and your video may be featured on the Porch Stories website.

“Porch Stories is a film about everyday lives of people on one block in a neighbourhood in Toronto, and so it's in the spirit of the film to get a wide array of stories beyond those in the film, that continue to reflect the diversity of the city, and the library's patrons really reflect that diversity,” says Sarah.

For those who are camera shy, Sarah will also collect short written anecdotes if you'd prefer to share your story that way. You can dictate it to her in person or email her at

We hope you will stop by. There will be lemonade!

Appearance dates

  • Mon. June 1, 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Thurs. June 4, 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Mon. June 8, 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Wed. June 10, 6 to 8 p.m.


Library Screening & Q&A for Porch Stories

Stay tuned for details about an upcoming Porch Stories screening and Q+A event with Sarah Goodman at the Reference Library this summer.


Sarah Goodman Video Editing 101 workshop
Sarah Goodman delivers a workshop during her residency at Toronto Reference Library in Fall 2014.

3D Print a Souvenir Inspired by TCAF 2015

May 6, 2015 | Ab. Velasco | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...


In celebration of the 2015 Toronto Comic Arts Festival taking place May 9 and 10 at Toronto Reference Library, Digital Innovation Hub staff member Alex Dimitrov has once again created fun 3D design objects inspired by this year's TCAF poster by acclaimed Japanese comics illustrator Gurihiru.

You can now download the instructions for the three different 3D objects from the Hub's Thingiverse page - or by clicking the links below - and then print these files using the Hub's 3D printer.

Alex - pictured above - used ZBrush, a professional-level 3D design software, and a Wacom Intous Touch graphic tablet to create his designs. You can also use the tablet and software at the Reference Library Hub. Here's more info or please speak to staff for details.

Alex will also do 3D design demos at the Digital Innovation Hub during TCAF Day 1 on May 9. So please drop by and say hello!

Want more? Check out Alex's 3D design project from TCAF 2014.



Download the 3D Objects


Download 3D Object Pictured Above



Download 3D Object Pictured Above



Download 3D Object Pictured Above

3D Printing and Design for Kids

April 30, 2015 | Nalini | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Being savvy with technology is a key characteristic of the newest generation of kids - more often than not they are seen playing with tablets, smartphones, or some other electronic device. But this isn't always a negative trait. Technology can offer kids a new way to play, and also to learn. Recently, CBC Parents referred to 3D printing as one of the emerging technologies most likely to be used by kids in the not so distant future. It provides a wonderful learning opportunity to show kids that the creative or practical designs they construct by using a computer can be made into real, three-dimensional, solid objects. Why hunt for that elusive toy in a store, when your child can design, print, and play with something they created on their own!

Just in case I haven't yet convinced you that 3D printing is also for kids, check out this video of our past Innovator in Residence, 3D printing expert Derek Quenneville, speaking to TVO Parents about kids and 3D printing.


To help kids learn more about this new technology, Fort York Branch is hosting a club for children 8 and up. Over the course of four weeks in June, they will learn how the MakerBot 3D printer works, and will have the opportunity to design objects using different 3D Design software platforms. Each week will focus on a different learning tool and may include TinkercadTinkerplay, and 123D Sculpt+.

Derek teaching a 3D Print classDerek Quenneville, an expert in 3D printing, leads a workshop for kids during the summer of 2014.

This 3D printing and Design Club will meet every Wednesday during June (June 3, 10, 17, and 24) at 5:15 pm. This program is free! But due to limited space, registration is required. Registration begins Monday, May 4th, by phone at 416-393-6240 or in person at the Fort York Branch, and is open to kids 8 and up. 

Can't make it to Fort York Branch? Check out other branches in your area with maker programs

If your child is not able to make it to our club, try one of these books to help him/her learn about this new technology:

3D Printing with Autodesk    LEO the maker prince    3D Printing

Make. Play. Learn. Connect. Share.

Apogee Quartet - Sound Mixer

April 29, 2015 | Greg Astill | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

If you’re interested in experimenting with audio production and mixing, come down to the Hub at the Toronto Reference Library and learn the tricks of the trade with some handy devices. For example, the Apogee Quartet serves as a mixer and allows users to come in and record vocals or plug in their instruments with the aim of recording at studio quality.

Quartet mac logic
Image Courtesy of Apogee

Apogee Quartet is a professional audio interface connecting to Apple computers via USB. The company Apogee has been instrumental in creating technology and setting standards in professional recording over the last 25 years. 

With the single controller knob design and a simple tap on the touchpad you can select your desired input or output and precisely dial in your level. This ultimate desktop recording experience can be easily plugged into an iPad to take your recording studio on the road with you.

The Quartet can handle a combination of up to four different analog inputs via an XLR and 1/4” cord, for connecting microphones, guitars and keyboards. In addition, the Quartet also includes eight channels of digital input via two optical connections (ADAT/SMUX) for connecting an additional analog-to-digital converter such as Apogee’s Ensemble.

Recording Music

Check out Apogee's YouTube channel where they've posted a nice selection of videos that showcase the Quartet and other products that make recording a lot easier and more mobile. 

This equipment is now available for use at the Toronto Reference Library’s Digital Innovation Hub, free with a valid library card. Also check out some of these great books to learn more about the trade.

Practical recording techniques : the step-by-step approach to professional audio recording

The science of sound recording

Audio engineering 101 : a beginner's guide to music production

In addition, check out the recording studio at the Fort York Innovation Hub. There they have a bookable room that can be used as an amateur studio. The Media Lab is currently not sound treated and can be booked for up to two hours per day.

Have fun!!

Lights, Camera, Action! - Recording Studio Space at the Library

April 21, 2015 | Nalini | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Are you looking for a space that you can use to practice your photography, filmmaking, or music skills? The Fort York Branch has a bookable room that can be used as an amateur photography and recording studio. The Media Lab, as part of the Digital Innovation Hub,  is an enclosed space that can be booked for up to two hours per day, free with a valid library card.

Posing for the Camera

Bring in your own equipment, or use something from the Digital Innovation Hub. We have a green screen and lighting kit, cameras, microphones, mixing boards, a keyboard, an electric drum kit, DJ equipment, and an Abelton Push controller. Please note that this room is currently not sound treated.

Recording Music

Contact the Fort York Branch directly for more information, or to book a time to use the Media Lab at 416-393-6240. Media Lab bookings are only available up to one week in advance with a library card.

Make. Play. Learn. Share. Connect. 

Welcome to The Innovation Hubs blog. Highlighting the features, programs and customer innovation stories from our Digital Innovation Hubs.