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Library Resources for Our Friends From Syria

January 27, 2016 | Suzanne | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Toronto Public Library is excited to welcome our new friends from Syria. With a branch in every neighborhood, Toronto Public Library is here to help you settle into life in a new city.  

We have Arabic collections at many branches, along with settlement services and friendly staff waiting to meet you and help you find what you are looking for. There are seven locations that carry Arabic collections. The largest Arabic collection is at the Toronto Reference Library. Other locations with Arabic are the Agincourt, Albion, Fairview, Don Mills, Maryvale and York Woods branches.

You’ll want to start by getting a library card. It’s free. All you need are two pieces of identification, one with your name and address. We want the library to be your home away from home, so please visit your local library branch to get a card and find out about the wonderful services and resources that the library has to offer.

Here are some great services you can access, for free, at the library:

  • Use a computer with Internet access, word processing and many databases. Available at all library branches.
  • Connect to free wifi at all library branches.
  • Borrow books, movies, and more either in person at a library branch or online. Library materials are available in 40 languages including Arabic and Kurdish.
  • Meet with a settlement worker who can help you find a job, get a driver’s license and much more.
  • Attend classes to learn and practice English.
  • Download a variety of electronic resources for adults and children including English as a Second Language materials.
  • Come to our programs on a variety of topics, including how to start a small business, storytimes for children, and job searching.
  • Connect with library staff. We welcome your questions and look forward to assisting you. We have access to language interpreters.

We welcome you to Toronto! For further information on Newcomer Services in Toronto, the City of Toronto has prepared an informative brochure in English and Arabic. The Toronto Newcomer Office is working on having the brochure translated into additional languages

City Services for Newcomers in English

City Services for Newcomers in Arabic

To borrow materials from the library, all you need to do is sign up for your free library card. Here are instructions on how to get a library card in Arabic.


Come and enjoy the many different resources Toronto Public Library has in your language.

Welcome to your library!

مرحبا بكم في اللغة العربية في المكتبة الخاصة بك!

Here are some further blog posts that may interest you:

Arabic Collections at Your Library

Welcome to Our Friends from Syria

Free Family Literacy Fun!

January 8, 2016 | Rachelle | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

On January 27th, Canadians nationwide will be celebrating Family Literacy Day. At Toronto Public Library, we celebrate Family Literacy Day all month long. Therefore, in keeping with the extended festivities, we invite you to celebrate Family Literacy Month at the library. While we encourage families to play and read together all year round, January is extra special. Throughout this month, families can enjoy puppet shows, pajama storytimes, games and many activities together. Come join us at McGregor Park Branch for a spooky Camp-out or create amazing clay art with the Honourary Chair of Family Literacy Day 2016, Barbara Reid, at Fairview & Malvern Branches.


There is so much to do at the library! Check out our Family Literacy Month page for more exciting programs from Book Tasting to Book Binding. Wow!

Children can also participate in Family Literacy Bingo for a chance to win a prize pack! Bingo cards are available at your local branch and can also be downloaded (PDF). Follow us on Twitter (hashtag #FamilyLiteracy) and tune in to the library's Facebook page for more updates and contest information. Families can enjoy great books recommended by Toronto Public Library. The Family Literacy Month Reading List is available at all branches and online.

Did you know that reading books in any language will improve your child's literacy skills? Even reading wordless picture books together will help children understand the power of storytelling. For more tips on reading with your child, watch these informative videos.


Ready for Winter Fun!

December 21, 2015 | Chantel | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Dark, gloomy and cold. These are some of the words used to describe winter in Toronto.  But it doesn't have to be gloomy even if it's cold! Why not take advantage of the cold weather to do some fun outdoor activities? Every winter, I look forward to one of my favourite winter sports - ice skating.  I love the feeling of gliding on ice and being outside. You can try some of the many outdoor rinks in Toronto which are run by the City of Toronto. An even better option if you want to enjoy the natural scenery is the skating trails at Greenwood Park or Colonel Samuel Smith Park where you get the amazing view of Lake Ontario.  If you like crowds, try Nathan Phillips Square. For a chance to show off your dance moves, go to Harbourfront Centre's Natrel Rink on DJ Skate Nights.

        Skating at Nathan Phillips Square  Skiing and Snowboarding
               Photos courtesy of City of Toronto: Parks, Forestry & Recreation


Another must mention favourite of mine is skiing! Ski resorts have amazing trails and slopes to try out, but fees can be pricey. You can try it out for less at two locations, Centennial Park and Earl Bales Park. They also have equipment rentals for those who don't have their own skis. 

Check out some of these books to learn more about the sport! 

            Spin it figure skating  Figure Skating - a history   Beginning Ice Skating  
              New Guide to Skiing Let's try skiing  Total Skiing

For those who don't have  a lot of time to learn, try tobogganing. I've never tried it but it is on my 'to do' list. Just grab a good sled and head to the nearest slope! Apparently, the flying saucer sled is best on the slopes as it is fast and durable but you can be the judge of that!

Welcome to Our Friends from Syria

December 8, 2015 | Elsa | Comments (12) Facebook Twitter More...

Welcome Ahlan wasahlan أهلا وسهلا Roj baş 

A very warm welcome to our newest Torontonians soon to arrive from Syria. On behalf of all of us at Toronto Public Library, we look forward to meeting you and your family soon!

Toronto Public Library is a welcoming place in your neighbourhood that offers many services, resources, collections, and programs, all FREE.

Libraries can help you get settled:

Libraries are a great place to visit to:

  • Talk with library staff in 100 branches. We welcome your questions and look forward to assisting you. We have access to language interpreters.
  • Get a library card.  It’s free. All you need is 2 pieces of identification, one with your name and address
  • Borrow books, movies, and more either in person at a branch or online. Library materials are available in 40 languages including Arabic and Kurdish. Most branches have an ESL collection.
  • Meet new people and make new connections in your community

Library Card

Libraries have many things that you can do:

  • Come to our programs on a variety of topics, including how to start a small business, storytimes for children, and job search
  • Use a computer with Internet access, word processing and many databases. Available at all 100 library branches.
  • Connect to free wifi at all library branches

For more information about the Library and other City of Toronto services, please join us at the upcoming Information Fair for Sponsors of Syrian Refugees on the evening of December 8 at City Hall.

See you Soon! Narakom qareeban  نراكم قريبا

Hebrew at the Library | עברית בספרייה

December 1, 2015 | Maria | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

Do you speak Hebrew? Or maybe you'd like to learn? Well, you've come to the right place.

Today, we're going to look at the many great resources the library has to offer for Hebrew speakers and learners. The library has many resources that can help you, or someone you know, learn Hebrew. We also have free Hebrew movies that you can watch online with your library card. Okay, well I bet you didn't know this: you can actually print bookstore quality paperbacks at the library, including material in Hebrew! You can find out more below and, as always, post any questions you may have in the comment sections.

Library Branches with Hebrew Items

There are many Hebrew items at the library (books, CDs, DVDs and more) that you can browse in person. You'll find them at the branches listed below: 

Large: 1500 or more items Medium: 750-1500 items Small: Fewer than 750 items

Check out our map of branches with Hebrew items.

Already been to these branches? Well, there's so much more at the library for Hebrew speakers than just items on library shelves.

Hebrew eAudiobooks on OverDrive


Have you heard of OverDrive? It has some great Audiobooks that can help you learn Hebrew! 

Log in from anywhere using your library card number and PIN number.

VocabuLearn® Hebrew Level One   VocabuLearn® Hebrew Level Two In-Flight Hebrew  Traveltalk® Hebrew

Learn Hebrew Online with Mango


Another way to learn Hebrew is with the help of Mango. It's my personal favourite. 

It has built in audio, so words and sentences are spoken in both English and Hebrew, helping you learn. There are 10 chapters, that include topics such as "Greetings, Gratitude, Goodbyes," "Names and Introductions," "Getting Around Town," and "Shopping and Payment." It may not be enough to become fluent, but it's just the thing if you're planning a trip to Israel.


Mango also offers separate lessons in "Biblical Hebrew," which can be a great resource for religious studies.

Watch Movies Online

If you're a movie watcher, we've got Hoopla, which lets you borrow dozens of movies in Hebrew

You can stream them in your web browser or enjoy them offline on your smartphone or tablet. You just need to create a user account using your library card.

Have you seen any of these movies? How about some of the other Hebrew movies available on Hoopla?

Eyes Wide Open  Kippur  Lost Islands   A Matter of Size  Room 514  Belzec  Bilingual Baby - Hebrew  The Human Resources Manager

Print Your Hebrew Book at the Library

Asquith Press

You can even print your own Hebrew paperbacks at the library with Asquith Press! Perhaps you've written a novel, memoir, family history or recipe book? It would make a great present for birthdays, celebrations and holidays.

The library's Asquith Press "lets you design and print bookstore quality paperback books at a low price." Books can be in any language, including Hebrew! 

What do you think...

...about what the library has to offer for those who speak Hebrew or are looking to learn? Do you have a favourite Hebrew resource at the library? Share your thoughts and comment below! I'd love to hear from you, and I'm sure that other Hebrew speakers/learners reading this blog would too.

Guide for Foreign-Trained Engineers in Ontario

November 16, 2015 | Carolyn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Are you an engineer hoping to practice your profession in Ontario?

This guide describes Toronto Public Library resources that can help you prepare for licensing exams and job searching. There are also links to websites with information about becoming a licensed engineer in Canada if you were trained elsewhere.

Here are some examples of library resources for engineers:


Canadian Professional Engineering and Geoscience: practice and ethics


Calling All Reggae Music Fans!

November 9, 2015 | Rachelle | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Two major things happened in the Toronto reggae scene in 2015. In August, the Toronto Reggae Hall of Fame was launched at the CNE Bandshell, in between sets by reggae legends. What a momentous occasion! The first inductees were vocalist/bandleader Jay Douglas, drummer Everton 'Pablo' Paul, musician Leroy Sibbles and keyboardist/producer Bernie Pitters. Douglas emotionally stated that, "this is something I am deeply honoured about." 

Jay Douglas' Music is featured at Toronto Public Library.

You Are My Lady Touch of Magic Lovers Paradise

As if this wasn't enough, a laneway at Eglinton and Oakwood was renamed Reggae Lane, in honour of the neighbourhood's rich musical heritage. This area is widely acknowledged as the birthplace of Toronto reggae music. Still known as "Little Jamaica," the neighbourhood was a hub for reggae in the 1970s and 1980s. The street was a popular destination to visit record shops, recording studios and buy delicious Jamaican cuisine. It was not uncommon to see prominent local and international reggae artists out and about. 

Reggae Lane Sign

Toronto Reggae Roots Plaque


The official naming ceremony, hosted by Councillor Josh Cole, took place on September 19th. Many dignitaries, musicians and local residents were present. The unveiling also showcased the exquisite mural created by local artists and featured a new Toronto Heritage plaque. The plaque highlights legendary performers who have contributed greatly to the culture of Toronto. 

Jay Douglas


Jay Douglas was also at the unveiling. When I interviewed him about the festivities he said, "It was an unbelievable atmosphere, beautiful turnout that shows the diversity of this great city and lovely country of ours. Friends and family were there and we had live performances from various artists, including myself."

Much of this local history has been memorialized in Toronto Public Library's Research Guide to Reggae Lane: Toronto's Jamaican Music Scene, 1960's to the Present. The guide includes amazing details and first-hand accounts about the reggae music scene back then as well as links to online materials, print resources, and recommended CDs. Capturing such incredible heritage and making it accessible to all, the research guide is a bounty of information. Maria A. Shchuka Branch, conveniently located just minutes from Reggae Lane, is home to one of four Rita Cox Black and Caribbean Heritage Collections across the city. This collection contains many resources on a variety of topics pertaining to black and Caribbean culture in Canada. With over 3000 thousand items to choose from, there is enough material for every reggae music lover and budding fans.

Hindi at Your Library | अपने पुस्तकालय में हिंदी

November 6, 2015 | Suzanne | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Hello! नमस्ते! Did you know that there are over 40 branches with Hindi collections at the Toronto Public Library? With close to 2000 Hindi DVDs and 4500 Hindi books to choose from, make the Toronto Public Library the first place you visit if you read in Hindi, want to learn Hindi, or would like to catch the latest Bollywood film. Welcome!  आपका स्वागत है!

A quick search of Hindi DVDs from 2014 shows me that there are 49 titles to choose from. So...I could watch a new Bollywood movie every night until Christmas! night, anyone?

Here are some examples of top rated 2015 Bollywood films that are available in the Toronto Public Library collection:

Baby    Bajrangi Bhaijaan    Gabbar is Back    Tanu Weds Manu Returns

The library also has a great collection of resources to help you learn Hindi. Have you used Mango Languages? Mango Languages is a language learning tool that has many languages to choose from, including Hindi. It is helpful for learning English, too. Why not give it a try? क्यों न इसे एक प्रयास दें?  There are other ways the library can help you learn English. Browse the New to Canada section of our website for more information. 

Don't have a library card yet? Don’t worry, it’s easy! Simply bring a piece of valid and current name and address identification to your local branch and we can help you get a card. Here is how to get a library card in Hindi

You can also watch this helpful video for an introduction to library services in Hindi.

  Your Library in Hindi

Don't forget to try Hoopla to find music and movies in Hindi.

Here are some music titles to try:

Bollywood Master Hindi Film Songs    Hindi Gold Classics    Hindi Songs the Classics

We also have over 600 Hindi books for children. Why not try a Hindi book with your child?

Brown bear brown bear what do you see    Candani mem garam khira    Ruru Raga    Tom and Sofia start school

In addition to these great print and electronic resources, the library also has programs for Hindi speakers. On Thurs. Dec. 17th, the Humberwood Branch will be holding a Parenting Skills Workshop in Urdu, Hindi & Panjabi. This program is presented in partnership with the Rexdale Women’s Centre.  

From programs, to books, movies and more, the Toronto Public Library's Hindi Collection is here waiting for you. Come and check it out!  आइए और इसे देखिए!

You Are Invited to Celebrate Library Settlement Partnerships Week!

October 20, 2015 | Patty | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

  LSP Logo
It's October and you are invited to celebrate the seventh anniversary of Library Settlement Partnerships (LSP) at Toronto Public Library

The library, along with eight local settlement agencies, is celebrating Library Settlement Partnerships Week with a variety of events at LSP locations.  Running from October 13th to 24th and coinciding with Canadian Citizenship Week (October 12th-18th) and Ontario Public Library Week (October 18th-24th), this year’s LSP Week theme of “Music from Around the World” celebrates newcomers’ contributions to the Canadian music scene and introduces Canadian music to newcomer communities.

LSP Week Event at Agincourt Library

This year’s LSP Week celebrations include multicultural musical performances, visits by citizenship judges, a newcomer art exhibit, open houses, community information fairs and much more. 

NYCH Newcomer Youth Arts Exhibit: Celebrating LSP Week 2015  

In 2014, more than 1,200 people attended LSP Week special events.

Funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, LSP enables community agencies to work year-round within Toronto Public Library to provide information, referrals, and group activities for newcomers.

Toronto Public Library offers LSP programs and services at 14 branches. Participating Settlement agencies include:

•         Catholic Crosscultural Services (CCS)

•         Centre for Immigrant and Community Services (CICS)

•         CultureLink

•         Kababayan Community Service Centre Inc.

•         North York Community House (NYCH)

•         Rexdale Women’s Centre

•         Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office (TNO)

•         YMCA Newcomer Information Centre (YMCA-NIC)


CIC Logo


For more music from around the world, the Toronto Public Library has much to offer online.  



Naxos Music Library, which is available from your home computer, offers a large selection of world music. All you need is a library card!  Below is a small sample of the music you can find in Naxos.

Folk Songs and Soundscapes from NepalAcoustic Africa   Impressions of Corsica 100 Beats Asian

Hoopla also offers a wide range of digital international music that you can borrow with your library card. The titles below give you an idea of the variety of music that is available.

Music Without Frontiers
Bhagavad Gita
Didgeridoo Magic
As Melhores do Marco Brasil


Happy LSP Week and hope to see you at one of our LSP Week events!



German at your Library!

October 3, 2015 | Chantel | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Deutsch anyone? If you read or speak German, then this is the place for you!  There are four branches with German collections for you to find your next great read! Visit Toronto Reference Library, North York Central Library, Don Mills and Runnymede for a selection of adult and children's materials. Take a moment to explore some of the magazines, music CDs and feature DVDs listed on our website.

If you can’t visit one of these four locations, you can also order your books, DVDs or CDs from the four branches and have it delivered to your home branch by placing a hold from our website. You can do this by using the global search function to search  for your favourite title on our homepage or browse through the collection by using the Advanced Search (remember to check off "German" in the language category!). In the meantime, check out this list of titles suitable for both children and adults! I've also highlighted a few books below that may be of interest!

Adult fiction and non-fiction books

Aufbruch - Ulla Hahn Ein Morderischer Sommer - Joy Fielding Ware ich du wurde ich mich lieben - Horst Evers
Adolf Krischanitz Vegan for Fit - Attila Hildmann Wir Erben - Julia Friedrichs

Children's Books

Mrs Marlowes Mause - Frank Asch Rosi in der geisterbahn - Philip Waechter Simpel - Marie-Aude Murail

Online Materials

OverDrive logoIf you don't want to leave the comfort of your home to borrow a book or movie, why not try an eBook or watch a movie online? With your library card, Hoopla logoyou can access a variety of free materials online straight from the library’s website! Try out Hoopla to stream movies and eAudiobooks and OverDrive for eBooks!

North Face film Breathing film Facebook - marketing fur einstelger - Jonny Jelinek

Learn German!

Mango logoFor those of you who would like to learn German, it has never been easier! You can even learn on the go with Mango, a free online language learning tool where you can track your progress. Alternatively, you can also watch instructional DVDs or listen to eAudiobooks online.

Happy Reading!

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