Lillian H. Smith

April Fools' Day and Consumerism?

April 2, 2013 | Cat | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

So we've made it through yet another April Fools! 

I must admit, growing up I was always a trickster, so nowadays I usually am overly suspicious of anyone and everything come every April 1st. It was no different logging online yesterday to see some of the jokes circulating on the web.  When checking my email, I received a few emails about fake online websites, as i'm sure anyone who was on Google yesterday saw their share of jokes.  One that really made me think was from Ethical Ocean(EO).  I received an email from them promoting a new e-commerce website called Unethical Ocean geared towards shoppers who like to "own what's cruel".  One fake "Unethical" seller claims “we’ve built a very profitable business on selling really cheap toys.  Sweat shops, lead poisoning, pandas in hand-cuffs – these are all part of a hard days work. We’ve realized there is a big market out there of people who ‘don’t give a crap’ and we’re serving that market”. I had a good laugh as this fake website was a great political satire of e-commerce and brings to light the negative environmental and social affects of capitalism.

If you're interested in these aspects of consumption, and wondering where or how your stuff has come to be, check out these great titles:

  4 22 1





Nic Labriola @ Lillian Smith

March 25, 2013 | Tony | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...




On March 18th we were happy to welcome author Nic Labriola to our branch for a reading of his recently published collection of short stories titled Francis and the Animals.  There were even baked goodies provided by Leaping Lion Books.  It was a great program and we'd like to thank author Nic Labriola, Leaping Lion Books and the fourth year students in the Professional Writing Program at York University for this event.

Streetstyle Photography: Something Old New Again

March 22, 2013 | Cat | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The rise of street style photography has seen photographers, bloggers, stylists and average fashionistas shoot to fame with a single (or multiple) snaps.  It occurred to me while walking into the recent Toronto Fashion Week ("World MasterCard Fashion Week") there were so many fashion fans hanging outside David Pecaut Square, were they waiting around waiting to be snapped?  While the popularity of street style photography has created quite a few "peacocks", the medium is still the message as documenting street style around the world is a great way for budding fashion designers to get some exposure and to see how regular folks wear their clothes. Toronto even has a site dedicated to street fashion found on the streets of the City.

It's important to note that even before Scott Schuman snapped his first picture, there was Bill Cunningham, a fashion photographer for The New York Times who was a Harvard drop out.  I recently watched the Bill Cunningham New York documentary and was blown away by his talent! Definitely worth the watch for those interested in street photography from a delicate and intriguing artist.

Place holds on these titles for some street fashion history and inspiration!

2   5  3




Georgia O'Keeffe

March 21, 2013 | Tony | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

474px-O'Keeffe-(hands)Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) is an American painter who was born in Wisconsin, studied art in Chicago and New York, but is probably best known for her work in New Mexico.  She started going there in 1929 during the winter months and eventually made it her permanent home in 1949.  She is considered by many to be America's first abstract painter.  Having been an art history student, the painting that I associate her with the most is the ram's skull in front of a New Mexico landscape.  The painting is actually called Ram's Head, White Hollyhock-Hills(I had to look it up) and was painted in 1935.  Many love the way she captured nature in all it's beauty, whether it was flowers in the desert or animal bones.  She was definitely an interesting figure in the art world.  If you're Interested in learning more about her, our catalogue has many items about O'Keeffe.  Better yet, if you're feeling inspired to paint in her style,  Lillan H Smith branch has a very popular program returning on Wednesday April 24th between 2-4pm titled Watercolour for Beginners.  Instructor Asha will be guiding participants in the basics of painting in watercolours and this time around it's in the style of Georgia O'Keeffe.  Spots fill up fast so if you're interested you should register in advance by calling 416-393-7746. O'Keeffe_Georgia_Ram's_Head



Photo Above: Georgia O'Keeffe, hands 1918, photo by Alfred Stieglitz

Right: Ram's Head White Hollyhock-Hills.  1935   Oil on Canvas.

Planning a wedding and having trouble finding "the dress"? Let TPL help you!

March 8, 2013 | Cat | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Sometimes you never know where to start when planning a big event or party. But often times you end up starting with what to wear!  So looking for a wedding dress was no different for some of my recent married friends, than planning outfits for that vacation or new years party.  Personally, I was a bit overwhelmed at where to start when looking for a dress and magazines seemed like a no-brainer.  TPL has a few great wedding magazines, like Weddingbelles and Modern Bride that make it easy and free to see what's on (bridal) trend.  We also have quite a few books featuring vintage wedding dress fashion that is great for getting inspired on planning your complete outfit. Not to mention TPL also has all of the Knot's great publications that goes beyond planning your look to helping you plan your entire wedding!

  1 2


One of my favourite bridal books has to be Randy Fenoli's (eye roll please... yes, the "Say yes to the dress" host!) book "It's all about the dress". This book was indispensable in the sense that he really did "tell it like it is" outside of the typical wedding cliches you hear everywhere.  Randy "dumbs it down" and covers everything you need to know from understanding your vision to setting out and looking for "the one".  He even includes chapters on what to do about accessories, bridal party and mother of the bride dresses, and groom attire as well!  Whether you've already found "the one" or are in the middle of your dress fittings, this book is worth checking out to get you inspired, excited and prepared for your big day!

Looking for similar titles? Check out more books here to help you find that perfect dress!



免費有線無線网絡電腦學習班 COMPUTER CLUB – In Mandarin

March 5, 2013 | Fennie | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

你想學習和掌握一些日常會用到的電腦技能嗎? Come to learn computer@Lillian H. Smith Library

             使用互聯网 (internet)

             建立和管理自己的電子郵件 (email)

             使用多倫多公立圖書館的网上目錄搜尋和預訂中文書刊、電影 Library Catalogue

             如何使用電腦輸入漢字 How to type Chinese

             建立和管理自己的社交网絡賬戶:  Facebook , youtube  ..…等等

             使用筆記本電腦或手机連接到多倫多公共圖書館的無線网絡 (Wi-Fi)

             下載電子書刊和其他多媒体文件 Download e-books

             在网絡上購物或發布廣告和信息 Shopping

42,  9, 16,  23(週二);   午後2 3

April 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, Tuesdays 2-3 pm

Lillian H. Smith Library 圖書館 - 239 College Street 書院街(書院街/士巴丹拿)

 學習班可以以國語/ 廣東話進行.

 Please call 報名或查詢, 請聯絡 416-393-7746 (國語/ 廣東話服務, 請找 Fennie)



Author Reading - Nic Labriola

February 11, 2013 | Tony | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

CoverOn Monday March 18th at 6pm, Lillian H Smith is very happy to be hosting Nic Labriola's debut collection of short stories, Francis and the Animals.

The author will read excerpts from his new book, Francis and the Animals; talk about this collection of short stories; and afterwards answer questions from the audience.  Baked goods and warm drinks will be provided by Leaping Lion Books.                            

Nic Labriola was born into a family for whom laughter meant hope, and stories, survival. Constantly risking absurdity, Nic writes stories, poems, plays and songs as a way to understand his part in the human zoo. His first collection of poetry, Naming the Mannequins, was published in 2009. Francis and the Animals comprises fiction written over the past 10 years, up to and including three weeks before the manuscript went into production. Nic teaches literature and writing at Seneca College. He lives in Toronto. 

Nic Labriola's debut collection of short Nicstories shows us what happens when the drive to fit in is overcome by the burning need to stand out. It’s when you laugh at a funeral, when you fall in love with a stranger, when you let loose or break down or brawl for the first time. It’s coming back to a soul you thought you’d lost; it’s uncovering the truth about a soul you thought you knew. It’s the unbearable pressure of dissatisfaction, and it's the messy release of indulgence. Set in the darkness of everyday life in the city, Francis and the Animals gives us a series of urban fables—a surreal bundle of laughable misadventures and tragic missteps on the unavoidable hike for individuality in an unaccommodating environment.  It's sure to be a great program, so swing by and join us in meeting room B/C.  Copies of Francis and the Animals will be available for purchase.  For more information please call 416-393-7746. 

Class photo

Francis and the Animals is published by fourth-year students in the Professional Writing Program at York University under Leaping Lion Books.

Planning your (eco-friendly) wedding

January 26, 2013 | Cat | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Whether you're recently engaged or already planning your perfect day, have you ever thought of making your wedding "greener"? Planning your wedding from stationery to room decor often leaves a ton of waste behind.  Who says you need to leave a big carbon footprint on your big day when you have more eco-friendly and still beautiful alternatives? 


Environmentally conscious couples are choosing to incorporate eco-friendly alternatives in their wedding to express their earth-friendly values.  Even for those who cringe when taking out the recycling, using greener wedding alternatives can still create the same beautiful wedding you've always imagined and might even be cheaper!

From eco-fashion dresses to locavore catering, there are more green options available today than ever before!  Check out these titles for eco-friendly wedding ideas that feature products and services that can reduce environmental harm while ensuring you still get your perfect day! 


      The-Everything-Green-Wedding-Book-Napolitano-Wenona-EB9781605507705    51FxrACIkgL._SL500_AA300_ 

Usa-cover1 Green-bride-guide-6 The-knot-complete-guide-to-weddings-the-ultimate-source-of-ideas-advice-and-relief-for-the-bride-and-groom-and-those-who-love       


Silk Screening: The Return

January 23, 2013 | Tony | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...


  Last year we had a very successful Silk Screening program for teens with artist Rob Matejka and we're happy to announce that he's coming back.  On Thursday March 14th at 2:30pm, youth will be able to silk screen designs on reusable bags and take home their creations.  I attended the program last year and it was a very cool program that everyone enjoyed.  Check out this recent interview of Rob Matejka in the local legends section of the Toronto Star, which can be read here.  If you know anyone between the ages of 10-18 that might be interested, have them drop in or call us at 416-393-7746 to register.  Spaces are limited.

Interested in learning more about Silk Screening? Check out the catalogue for more.


Photo: Participant displaying her silk-screened reusable bag.  

New Life for Poetry?

January 16, 2013 | Blog Prince | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

There has always been a tension between the idea of poetry as a literary form and an aural one.  It clearly has it's roots in the latter, but is often considered as written work.  According to Jon Stalworthy "What your eye sees on the page is the composer's verbal score, waiting for your voice to bring it alive as you  read it aloud or hear it in your mind's ear.  Unlike our reading of a newspaper, the best reading -that is to say, the most satisfying reading- of a poem involves a simultaneous engagement of eye and ear."

 Nevertheless beyond being appreciated as writing, poems intended for visual appeal in English go back at least as far as George Herbert's Easter Wings (1633).  The twentieth century gave us e.e. cummings, dada, and concrete poetry, but it also gave us sound poetry, scat and beat boxing which dispense not only with images, but with words entirely.

But it often seems that sound and printed word, if not image are as inseperable as yin and yang when it comes to poetry.  John Hollander's Swan and Shadow is one of the most famous shape poems of the twentieth century, yet Hollander himself insists poetry is an experience best heard.

''Poetry may be written on paper, but it's an oral art,'' said Mr. Hollander, who is approaching the start of his second year as Connecticut's poet laureate, an honorary position in which he'll serve until 2011. ''A good poem satisfies the ear. It creates a story or picture that grabs you, informs you and entertains you.'' (New York Times Feb 10 2008).

So it should be no surprise that Canada's Christian Bök author of Eunoia, a book of poems containing only one vowel per poem, and who also believes that poetry is best read aloud has broken new ground in how a poem can be encoded.  Bok has "written" a poem into a single gene (called X-P13) of a strain of E Coli by using a "chemical alphabet". 

Basically a gene consists of a strand of DNA which in turn consists of a string of nucleotides.  Using groupings of nucleotides as cyphers to stand in for letters of the alphabet, a gene can be created that contains a "written" message. The act of encoding textual information into a gene has been done before, but Bök has gone further still. 

Since my postsecondary education is strictly in the humanities realm, I don't really understand this at all.  Nor does Mr Bök entirely but he has gone to a little more trouble than most of us humanities types would. Suffice to say since that DNA controls the sequencing of amino acids in manufacturing proteins Bok's X-P13 gene creates a unique protein that can be decrypted using a second cypher to spell out a second poem.  The only catch is that the second poem is a foregone conclusion.  The DNA won't make just any protein.  Study the host bacteria over many generations and it will produce the same "composition" over and over again.  So much for the traditional muse!

This brings similarities to John Searle's Chinese Room to mind.  Can we really attribute authorship to a bacteria that has been tweaked to produce only one possible message?  Isn't it a bit like calling a music box a composer?  Given that poetry is generally regarded as a form of artistic expression, getting an E coli bacterium to unconsciously parrot someone else's work while an amazing biotechnical feat in itself is hard to imagine as a legitimate expression of the bacterium's own experience or feelings. 

Which begs another ethical question: assuming you can attribute authorship and conscious effort to the E Coli bacterium, if the poem is not to the microbe's taste, isn't it a bit cruel and unusual not merely to subject the poor critter to it, but to force it to declaim it throughout its entire life?  Luckily for Mr. Bök, E-coli bacterium is most often regarded as a loathed parasite and does not elicit the same kind of sympathy as say a cute little seal pup.

Lillian H. Smith library, in the heart of the Discovery District, Chinatown and Kensington Market, is a district branch of Toronto Public Library. Learn more about your local library & community, and while you're at it, drop us a comment. If you are visiting us in person, look for the bronze gryphons guarding our door.

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.
Terms of Use