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The Library Now Has Free Telephone Stories in 15 Languages!

June 7, 2014 | Iana | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Do you enjoy listening to stories? Have you heard of Dial-a-Story? Toronto Public Library has a FREE phone line 416-395-5400 you can call 24 hours a day and listen to recorded stories in 15 languages.

Recently we added a new language - there are now stories recorded in Tagalog!

It is a very popular service - only in the year 2012 the Dial-A-Story service received  251,917 calls!

Every day there are different stories to listen to in each language and they are divided by age - stories for younger children (7 and under) and for older children (up to 12).


You can listen to Dial-a-Story in the following fifteen languages:  


  • English Dialastory1
  • French
  • Cantonese
  • Gujarati
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • Mandarin
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Tamil
  • Tagalog
  • Urdu


The newest language that will be added to the story phone line later in 2014 is Persian!

The library will also will continue to add new stories in the languages we currently have.

For example this year 6 new Portuguese stories were recorded and there are plans for new Spanish, French and English stories.

So listen to a story in a language that you know or even in a new one. It is fun to hear how a different language sounds. We all experience this daily in our multicultural city of Toronto.


Dial-a-story Helps  You Practice English as a Second Language (ESL)

Listening to stories in English and French is also a great way to practice your listening comprehension and vocabulary if you are learning English or French as a Second Language.

Among the stories that are recorded and rotated on the phone - there are also many stories recorded for special occasions such as Black History Month, Asian Heritage Month, Aboriginal Month, Christmas, Summer Reading Club.

If you are a newcomer - your family can enjoy stories in your heritage language as well as practice English.


Borrow Books and Other Materials in Your Language from the Library

In addition to stories by phone, you can of course find children's and adult books in many languages (we call them multilingual collections) at some of the branches of Toronto Public Library. Please visit your local library for more information, call our Answerline service at 416-393-7131 or browse the library's list of multilingual collections by language to find out which library has materials in your language.


Read Other Related Blog Posts from Library Staff:


So why not call 416-395-5400 for and enjoy some wonderful storytelling!

Camping: A True Canadian Experience

April 17, 2014 | Melanie | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Ontario Parks

The call of a loon, the smell of a campfire, and the twinkling of stars in a night sky. This is what a typical Canadian summer looks like. If you want to experience Canada, and what it is to be Canadian, then you need to go camping!

Camping can seem intimidating, especially if you're a first-time camper and don't have all the necessary equipment. But don't let this stop you from experiencing a true Canadian summer! There are lots of resources out there to help you set out on your first camping adventure, and the library is a great place to start!

Learn to Camp

The Albert Campbell library will be a hosting a "Learn to Camp" session on Wednesday, June 18, at 6 PM. A representative from Ontario Parks will lead an interactive presentation on safe and fun camping in Ontario. If you'd like to register, just call the branch at 416-396-8890.

Toronto Public Library also carries a great collection of books on camping. Here are a few of my favourites:

Ontario's Best Parks   Nature Hikes    Wilderness Pleasures    Ontario Provincial Parks Trail Guide

Hikes and Outings of South-Central Ontario    Paddling & Hiking Ontario'    Georgian Bay and Cottae Country    Backroad Mapbook

The Backpacker's Handbook    The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids    Handy Dad in the Great Outdoors    Top 50 Canoe Routes  

Have you been camping before? What's your most memorable camping experience? Share your favourite camping spots with us!











Guide for Foreign-Trained Pharmacists in Ontario

April 7, 2014 | Ranald | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The attached Guide for Foreign-Trained Pharmacists in Ontario lists print and electronic resources for foreign-trained pharmacists who wish to be licensed to practice, and to practice, in Ontario.

Working in Ontario

The resources range from pharmacy textbooks and study guides to information on licensing and employment (job searching, job listings).

The guide (9 p.) is divided into two parts:

  1. print resources (sections 1-2)
  2. electronic resources (section 3)

The first part contains links to the library catalogue for books. The catalogue will show what library branch the books are in and whether they can be taken home or have to be used in the library.

The second part contains links to electronic resources in the library and to websites outside the library.


Guide for Foreign-Trained Physicians in Ontario

March 13, 2014 | Ranald | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The attached Guide for Foreign-Trained Physicians in Ontario lists print and electronic resources for foreign-trained physicians who wish to be licensed to practice, and to practice, in Ontario.

Table of Contents

1. Searching the Library Website

1.1. Suggested Subjects and Keywords

1.2. Suggested Book Titles

Essentials   Harrisons   USMLE  Doing right

1.3. Suggested Periodical Titles

2. Checking the Shelves

3. Using Online Sources

3.1. Suggested Databases

3.2. Suggested Websites





Rediscovering an Old Flame: Spotlight on Newcomer Blogger Leticia Davolli

December 19, 2013 | Melanie | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Para Minha Mãe

When Leticia Davolli arrived in Canada four years ago, the Toronto Reference Library was one her favourite local neighbourhood haunts. She had heard about the library from friends and colleagues while attending ESL classes in the Yonge and Bloor area. As a recently arrived newcomer, the Toronto Reference Library was Leticia's key to connecting with friends and family back home in Brazil, where she would use the library's computers to email her loved ones.

After a short hiatus from the library, Leticia stumbled upon her local neighbourhood branch and rediscovered her love for Toronto's public libraries. She was so enthralled with this newfound love that she dedicated a post on her blog, Para minha mãe, to extolling the virtues of Toronto's public libraries.

Deer Park Branch

This week we sat down with Leticia to talk to her about why she loves the library so much and why she decided to rekindle this old flame.

Melanie: Hi Leticia. Thanks for taking the time out to chat with me today. So, how long have you been in Canada?

Leticia: I've been in Canada four years. I immigrated from Brazil.

Melanie: How long after your arrival in Canada did you decide to visit a Toronto Public Library branch?

Leticia: Not long after. I was attending ESL classes in the Yonge and Bloor area, and my classmates told me about the Reference library. Everybody knew about it. I would usually go there to check my email.

Melanie: Do your remember your first visit to a Toronto Public Library branch?

Leticia: Yes! I had a good first impression. But I was a little intimidated by the Reference library because it was so big and impersonal! I felt a little lost.

Melanie: What prompted you the first time to visit the library?

Leticia: I was studying English in the area, and I had heard about it from someone else. All my classmates were going there.

Deer Park - Interior

Melanie: In your blog post you mentioned that you had stopped using the library for some time. Why?

Leticia: I started attending UofT and George Brown, and so I would just end up using the university and college campus libraries more often. Other than email, I didn't really think about using the Reference library as a place where I could borrow books. I had this totally wrong notion that the library only had outdated books, so it lost its appeal.

Melanie: Yikes! Well I'm sure you realized by now that there are a lot of really cool things to borrow from the library. What was it that brought you back in to the library? How did you rediscover all the great resources it has to offer?

Leticia: I reconnected with the library through my local neighbourhood branch, Deer Park, after talking to a friend who had mentioned that she stopped buying books and only ever borrowed things she needs from the library. After our conversation I decided to pay a visit to my local neighbourhood branch. When I walked in again, for the first time in years, I was amazed at some of the treasures I found!

Melanie: What is it that you love so much about the library?

Leticia: Wow! Where do I start!? First of all, you have some amazing titles in your collection! On my first visit back I found titles like Change by Design by Tim Brown; Blog Inc. by Joy Cho; and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Also, you have a great holds reservation system and great borrowing privileges. I still can't believe that I'm allowed to borrow up to 50 items on my library card! You also have amazing magazines available for borrowing. And it's all free!

Holds Shelf

Melanie: What is your most memorable visit to the library?

Leticia: I'd have to say my most memorable visit to the library was definitely when I first visited my neighbourhood branch and reconnected with the library. When I first walked in, not only was I amazed at what the library had to offer, but I also felt bad that I had not been enjoying it to its full potential. One thing's for sure - I've rediscovered this marvelous treasure, and I don't plan on letting it go ever again! The library reminds me how lucky I am to live in Toronto!

Melanie: Leticia, thanks again for your time! Before we go, do you have any favourite titles you'd like to recommend, particularly to people who are new to Toronto Public Library?

Leticia: Yes! These are some of my favourite titles:

    Essays in Love     Harry Potter     Cooked     Change by Design

Flow    Moacyr Scliar - Collected Works     Machado de Assis - Selected Stories     Power of Habit

Have you reconnected with the library recently? Do you have any memorable library stories that you'd like to share? Let us know!


Free Multilingual eBooks Available for Download on OverDrive

December 9, 2013 | Debby | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

TPL eBooks Campaign

Have you seen our advertising campaign for free eBooks from the library?
Have you ever used OverDrive to download eBooks or eAudiobooks?

With a Toronto Public Library card, you can access our OverDrive database to download eBooks for FREE! Visit the website for more information.

If you are downloading eBooks for the first time, we have many resources available for your support:

Getting started with eBooksNeed Technical Help with eBooksEBook Programs


NEW! Do you read in another language?

Recently, Toronto Public Library has expanded their digital collections to include multilingual eBooks in Spanish, French (Canadian), Russian, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese. You can now download eBooks in your native language!

*More languages will be added in time. 

Spanish Interface OverDrive
[Screen shot of OverDrive's eBooks in Spanish]

Download a bestseller today! If you require further assistance, see eBook FAQs.


Celebrate Being Canadian During Citizenship Week!

October 25, 2013 | Iana | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Did you know that this week Canada celebrates Citizenship Week!

Citizenship and Immigration Canada offers many Citizenship Week events between October 21 - 27, 2013, in partnership with local organizations across the country, including here in Toronto and Mississauga.


Image: The Centre Block on Parliament  Hill in Ottawa in August 2012 - during the amazing annual Mosaika light  show.

Parliament Building Light Show Ottawa Aug 2012

[photo credit: personal archive]


Today is Friday, October 25 and there are two wonderful Reaffirmation Ceremonies being hosted at  Toronto Public Library branches. Those ceremonies are public events and are open for everyone to attend.

  •  Reaffirmation Citizenship Ceremony at 2pm and LSP Library Settlement Partnership Celebrations 2-5pm, Agincourt Library (Sheppard Ave. East/ Kennedy Rd. location map)    Friday, October 25, 2013, 2pm.


"A reaffirmation ceremony is a formal event where participants repeat the oath of citizenship to express their commitment to Canada. If you are already a Canadian citizen, you can participate in a reaffirmation ceremony."


If you would like to symbolically take part in the Canadian Citizenship "Reaffirmation Ceremony" and celebrate what it is to be Canadian - please enjoy the following resources below:


Please say the words of the  "The Oath of Citizenship": 

"I reaffirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Second Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fullfil my duties as a Canadian citizen."


Please listen to The Canadian Anthem (song and lyrics):



Have a look at the interesting resources that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has put together in honour of Citizeneship Week 2013.

CIC is collecting video and written testimonials on Facebook and Twitter -  share your stories of what makes YOU proud to be Canadian!

You can read some of the submitted experiences of new Canadians on the website of Citizeneship Week: New Citizens Reflect on Being Canadian


Watch this fascinating visual documentary: Canada Shared by Canadians - Keep Exploring:

The Canadian Tourism Commission asked Canadians to pick up their cameras and share some of Canada's best travel experiences. Here is just 2 minutes from 65 hours of video and 7,000 submissions. To see more amazing photos and videos of real inspiring journeys, visit




Take a Quiz! How Canadian are You, eh? 

Test your knowledge of Canadian history with this challenging,  multiple-choice quiz! The quiz is different every time, so you can play more than once! Most of the information you need is found in the Discover Canada study guide.


Previous "NEW TO CANADA" blog posts related to Citizenship:


Borrow some interesting reads about Canada from our library branches.

Only in Canada You Say book      This is My Country What is Yours       Oxford Canadian Dictionary

Watch the acclaimed CBC documentary series Canada: A People's History on the library's website in an e-video format or borrow the DVDs or VHS copies. You just need to login with yoru library card to watch those videos.


101 Canadian Jokes  How to Be a Canadian    Crazy Canadian Trivia 4


Enjoy this free online "The Canadian Encyclopedia " -

Originally published in book form in 1985, The Canadian Encyclopedia has been available free of charge online since 1999. The Encyclopedia is the most authoritative and comprehensive reference of all things Canadian (from Pierre Trudeau and Louis Riel to the Great Depression and the NHL) for students, readers and scholars across Canada and throughout the world. The content of The Canadian Encyclopedia is updated daily, and is available in both official languages. It is home to more than 40,000 articles, 6,000 interactive maps, graphs, photographs and animations.

The Canadian Enclyclopedia staff also run a weekly TCE blog that promotes the history, culture, and traditions of Canada and its people, both past and present.

* * *


Happy Citizenship Week!

A Walking Tour of Haunted Toronto

October 24, 2013 | Alyson | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Back in July this blog posted information about summer NEAT tours (Newcomers Explore and Appreciate Toronto).

Neat Tours are back, this time with a free tour especially for newcomers of haunted Toronto and just in time for Halloween. Walkers will learn about the history and hauntings of famous Toronto buildings:

It all takes place on Saturday October 26th at 1:30 p.m. The tour group is meeting in front of Union Station, on the southeast corner of Front Street and York Street.  The tour ends at Nathan Phillips Square (City Hall) at 3 p.m. Stick around and you can see the annual Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade.  Of course, you'll want to bring a camera. And why not wear your own costume and be part of the spectacle?

Sign up for NEAT walking tours through or call CultureLink at 416-588-6288 extension 231.

NEAT has some tips to follow if you are joining one of their walking tours:

  • All walks are free and everyone is welcome!
  • Be on time or earlier so that the walk willl begin on time
  • Be prepared for the weather - walks take place rain or shine
  • Bring a water bottle and snack
  • Bring a camera
  • Have fun!

Read up on other haunted places in Toronto:

                      Haunted toronto                  Ghosts of the CNE 
                         Haunted Toronto                        Ghosts of the CNE

Toronto Public Library has many books on making your own Halloween costumes, too.  Here are a couple:

                     Halloween Handbook            Halloween a grown-up's guide

                       Halloween Handbook             Halloween: a grown-up's guide...

                                        Get into the spirit of it. It'll be a scream!


                                         Jack o lantern


Multicultural Films at The Toronto Public Library

October 2, 2013 | Debby | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Did you miss the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this year? TIFF was the highlight of the city from September 4-14, 2013 and you can read what our blogger, Alyson, had to say in her Toronto International Film Festival post. Last year our blogger, Melanie, wrote a great post about TIFF and Exploring the World in Movies.


There are many great films featured each year and with a Toronto Public Library card, you can borrow some of these great films and watch them in the comfort of your own home! Take a look at some of our highlights:

  A Monster in Paris Flower Drum Song Inescapable Lore Princess Kaiulani

For more staff suggestions, Download the Film Watcher's Guide to Multicultural Films at the Library!

Last year's list can be found here: Download the MULTICULTURAL FILMS LIST

If you see a title you like, search for it through our library catalogue at and place a hold on it with your library card! If you have any questions, please call our answerline at: 416-393-7131


Do you have a library card?

Toronto Public Library CardHave you just arrived in Canada? Visit a library near you to obtain your free library card so you can start borrowing free ESL books, CDs and so much more, right away. Just remember to bring an ID and proof of address in Toronto (such as a bill or rental lease). If you don't have a document yet with your new Toronto address - library staff can mail to you a library postcard that you can bring back, confirming your address.

The Toronto International Film Festival

September 11, 2013 | Alyson | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...


"We have a mission statement: to transform the way people see the world through film."

- Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director, TIFF

Films from 70 countries are being screened at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.

You can see the world and stay in town.


The TIFF website has a full list of all the films playing, but here is just a small sample of what is being screened:

The Past by Asghar Farhadi (Iran/France)

Cold Eyes by Cho Ui-seok and Kim Byung-seo (South Korea) 

Ida by Pawel Pawlikowski (Poland) 

The Lunchbox by Ritesh Batra (India) 

Rags and Tatters by Ahmad Abdalla (Egypt)

Border by Alessio Cremonini (Syria)

Half a Yellow Sun by Biyi Bandele (Nigeria)

The Major by Yuri Bykov (Russia) 

The Dinner by Menno Meyjes (The Netherlands)

Trap Street by Vivian Qu (China) 

Of Good Report by Jahmil X. T. Qubeka (South Africa) 

For Those Who Can Tell No Tales by Jasmila Zbanic (Bosnia and Herzegovina)



As big as the festival is, it is still possible to get tickets to many films.  If you have the time and don't mind standing in line,  you can even purchase last-minute  "rush" tickets.  Rush tickets are sold just before the film starts based on the number of empty seats.  The rush line is a natural meeting place for people who might share your taste in films, and it's a great place to get tips and suggestions.  Once, a long time ago while standing in a rush line, someone told me about a film called The Jar. I decided to go see it.   That charming little film about a school teacher in a small village sparked my interest in Iranian films. 

If you can't make it to TIFF this year, Toronto Public Library has thousands of DVDs for borrowing.  Many of our titles were screened at past festivals.

Here's a scene from The Jar, the film that made me fall in love with Iranian films.  Take a chance and see a film from a country you might know very little about.  It could start a love affair.

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