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Creating Community Through Quilt Making

May 20, 2012 | Debby | Comments (5)

Have you ever had the opportunity to help create a quilt?
It's a wonderful way to contribute a piece of yourself to a larger scale and to your community.

      Even Children can make a quilt out of paper!Quilt making in the process
      [Photo Credit: A Gr.4 Community quilt from Marianne and Community Group Quilt, PTA]

Quilting is a handicraft that involves sewing or knitting pieces of individual patchwork together to form a quilt. In the above photo, a class of children have also created a community quilt using paper and markers.

Quilts can be created for many occasions such as for a new baby, a family memory, or a community group. Quilts are all different and unique and community quilts are meaningful because they can bring a group of people together. If you are interested in creating a quilt of your own, the library has some great books for you to check out:

   Index-2 Index-1 Index-3 Index

Community groups such as Toronto Public Library's Craft and English Conversation Circle at the Gerrard/Ashdale Branch is one such example that has in the past few months created a quilt piece that was donated to a charitable organization. The quilt pieces were created by knitting and crocheting and then patched together by the individual members in the group.


English Conversation Circle at Gerrard/Ashdale Library

The circle began when there became a need to address a growing number of newcomer customers in the Gerrard India Bazaar neighbourhood. The customers wanted a learning space to develop their English as well as a social space to get to know their community. They quickly developed the idea to create a quilt, which helped to bring them closer.

The group welcomes beginner, intermediate, and advanced handi-crafters as well as English speakers of all levels.


                                    [Photo Credit: Craft and Conversation Circle at Gerrard/Ashdale Library]

English Conversation Circles at the Toronto Public Library provides opportunities to develop and practice English language skills in an informal environment. If you are looking to learn new expressions, meet new friends, and increase your confidence in using conversational English, then check out an English Conversation Circle near you!

You can also learn more about our English Conversation Circles in a previous English Conversation Circle Blog.

Patches from the Social Fabric Project Community Quilt

The Gerrard India Bazaar also recently saw the unveiling of yet another beautiful community quilt. This quilt however was a project that originated from one of the store owners in the neighbourhood. The project, called Social Fabric with help from artists of The Toronto Art Group, brought together store owners, local organizations, and families in the Gerrard Street East neighbourhood. Each group contributed and created their own patchwork, which was then sewn into a community quilt that represented the unique qualities of the area.

[Photo Credit: InsideToronto]

The unveiling of the quilt coincided with the Toronto Public Library's South Asia Homelands Festival at the Gerrard/Ashdale Library, an annual celebration for Asian Heritage Month. Everyone gathered around the cozy second floor library and watched as the quilt was unveiled by young children in the crowd.

Social Fabric Project at the Gerrard/Ashdale Library               [Photo Credit: Gerrard/Ashdale Library Staff]

The quilt will be on display at the Gerrard/Ashdale Library until the end of May 2012, after which it will be placed into one of the empty store fronts along Gerrard St. East.


After seeing all these beautiful pieces of patched quilts, I hope you are inspired to create your very own. Whether with a group, a family, or yourself, a quilt is a piece of art that anyone can take part in!


Chinese New Year Celebrations @ Toronto Public Libraries

February 26, 2012 | Debby | Comments (0)

With only a little over a month into the Year of the Dragon, there is still an exciting and prosperous road ahead of us according to Chinese astrology.

The Dragon symbol signifies success and happiness and is a significant symbol of power. For this reason and many more, Toronto Public Library celebrated with wonderful Lunar New Year programs that have taken place at different library branches.


   Flemingdon Park's Chinese seniors singing and dancing group Flemingdon Park's Chinese seniors singing and dancing group
On January 21st, Flemingdon Park Branch had a Chinese New Year celebration with a cultural presentation, stories, and performances by Flemingdon Park's Chinese seniors singing and dancing group. Here they are singing and dancing to the spirit of the dragon!


Bridlewood Public Library hosted their own celebration of Chinese New Year on January 19th with Tai Chi, Dance, and a fun craft to take home. Volunteer seniors as well as library staff all worked together to create a memorable event.
       Bridlewood Public Library and their Chinese New Year Celebration 2012Bridlewood Public Library and their celebration of Chinese New Year 2012Bridlewood Public Library and their celebration of Chinese New Year 2012   
Staff at Bridlewood Library also shared riddles, stories, and refreshments with the audience!


                Gerrard/Ashdale Public Library and celebration of Chinese New Year 2012


Another library that participated in the festivities was the Gerrard/Ashdale Public Library. Children and adults all created their own lanterns out of red pocket envelopes on January 16th. Stories, cultural significance of Chinese symbols and traditions, as well as refreshments were shared as everyone participated in this fun evening.


In yet another one of our busy branches, Lillian H. Smith Public Library also joined in on the wonderful celebration by hosting their grand Chinese New Year program on February 5th. The celebration included a Lion Dancing and Kung Fu demonstration show. There were also dancers and instrumental performers that played various Chinese muscial instruments including the erhu, pipa, ruan, and gu-zheng.

Lillian H. Smith Public Library and their celebration of Chinese New Year 2012 Lillian H. Smith Public Library and their celebration of Chinese New Year 2012
Here's a picture of Mimi, one of the dancers from Toronto Yoga Studio, and a photo of the lion dancers as they are just about to receive their lettuce on the wooden stick!

These photos are only but a few celebrations mentioned throughout all of our 98 library branches. Many of our other library branches also had fantastic Chinese New Year celebrations to welcome the Year of the Dragon.

The Dragon is a major symbol of good fortune in Chinese Astrology and signifies luck. These wonderful celebrations are only the beginning of a prosperous year!

LSP Day 2011 and Newcomer Human Libraries @ TPL!

October 5, 2011 | Debby | Comments (4)

Library Settlement Partnerships (LSP) will be hosting an annual celebration of Settlement Workers with Toronto Public Library at all the LSP Branches on Friday October 21, 2011 and Saturday October 22, 2011.

The following branches will be celebrating this day with lots of fun activities including: storytimes, crafts, informative programs, and Newcomer Human Libraries!

LSP DAY 2010  LSP DAY 2010
[Photo credits: from 2010 LSP Day]

Check it out!

Friday October 21, 2011
Agincourt Branch from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Albion Branch from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Bloor/Gladstone Branch from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Centennial Branch from 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Gerrard/Ashdale Branch from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Yorkwoods Branch from 12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m.

Saturday October 22, 2011
Albert Campbell Branch from 12:00 noon - 2:00 p.m.
Bridlewood Branch from 2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Flemingdon Park Branch from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Morningside Branch
Parkdale Branch from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 
Parliament Street Branch from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Richview Branch from 12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m.
Riverdale Branch from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Thorncliffe Branch from 12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m.


LSP DAY 2010   LSP DAY 2010
[Photo credits: from 2010 LSP Day]

What is a Newcomer Human Library?

The Newcomer Human Library is unique to LSP Day and will be a great event that should not be missed. 

The Newcomer Human Library will include human books that are either recent immigrants or established immigrants in Canada. These individuals are here to share their experiences in Canada with you.

You will be able to sign out a human book and have a one-on-one conversation with this individual in a quiet space inside the library. Human books are multilingual so you will also have the option of selecting a language other than English.

Meet a person with a unique story to tell and discover what it's like to walk in their shoes.

Library branches hosting a Newcomer Human Library are:
Yorkwoods, Parkdale, Thorncliffe, and Centennial Branch.


A Human Library Event  Human Library Event in Winnipeg
 [Photo credits: North Norfolk News and Winnipeg Public Library]

Have you ever checked out a Human Book?
Did you like it? How did it feel? Would you do it again?

Celebrate Library Settlement Partnerships (LSP) Day in October 2010!

October 13, 2010 | Diana | Comments (0)

The Library Settlement Partnerships (LSP) program and Settlement Workers provide in person one-on-one assistance to help newcomers with their settlement issues. You are welcome to participate in fun filled activities and celebrate LSP Day at your nearest LSP branch:

Contact the above branches for more information.

Summer Leading to Reading for children who need reading help

June 19, 2010 | Iana | Comments (15)

Is your child able to listen and talk in English, but needs reading help? 


The Toronto Public Library offers a free informal and fun reading practice program this summer.


It is for children who are going to be in grades 2 to 6 in September 2010.


Leading to Reading image

Your child will be partnered with a volunteer tutor to practise reading/writing skills, enjoy books, and do reading-related games and activities.  


Pick up an application form from one of the 37 branches that offer the program and return the completed form to the branch by June 26. The reading sessions will be for one hour per week from July 12 to August 28, 2010. Please note that space is limited.


The same library branches also offer the Leading to Reading program during the school year, from October to May. Registration usually takes place in September.

English Can Be FUN! for Newcomer children

June 4, 2010 | Diana | Comments (4)

Free summer English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are available for newcomer children ages 7 to 10 years old. Classes are conducted by qualified ESL teachers. Activities include: reading and writing; and preparation for school in September. Visit your nearest branch and fill in the application form English Can Be Fun!. Your child can start learning and having fun!

English Can Be Fun! classes are from July 5, 2010 to August 13, 2010


Welcome! This blog is written by librarians and provides information and resources available from the library and around Toronto to new residents of Canada. For more information see the Library's Help for Newcomers website