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After School Youth Hubs

March 4, 2015 | Elsa | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The After School Newcomer Hub is now called Youth Hubs. The Centennial Youth Hub and the Sanderson Youth Hub welcome newcomer teens (all teens as well) in grades 7-10 for free homework help and a place to hang out with friends after school.

Both Hubs run 3 times a week with trained volunteer tutors on site to help with homework and just to chat about school and settlement. Teens can use laptops for homework and research. For more information or for the March Break schedule, contact the coordinators at:

Getting homework help from trained tutors.

Teens can use laptops for homework and research. 

When homework is done, teens can play video games and check out free workshops.

Free workshop Fun video gaming

For more homework help needs, also check out the Homework Help for Teens.

Don’t forget about the free online databases for newcomer youth. Sign in with your library card and try TenseBuster, a database that offers lessons and practice tests to learn English grammar. It can also keep track of progress with test scores.

  Tense Buster

The Black History Month Celebration Continues!

February 26, 2015 | Rachelle Gooden | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Where does all the time Toronto urban book expo postergo? As February draws to a close many of us may be wondering how we can celebrate Black History Month during this last lap! Come check out a Black History Month Book Fair, featuring Canadian Urban Fiction and African-American fiction at the Malvern Library on Saturday, February 28, 2015. Meet urban authors and publishers, purchase their books, and discuss what makes great urban fiction with Stacey Marie Robinson of Kya Publishing.


Still want more? Toronto Reference Library has a new exhibit, Freedom City: Uncovering Toronto’s Black History, on display until March 29, 2015. Through original paintings, drawings, photographs, manuscripts and broadsides, Freedom City, covers the history of black Toronto – from the days of early settlement to the end of the 19th century. The exhibit has been enhanced by the research and contributions of prominent Canadian historians and authors Karolyn Smardz Frost and Afua Cooper. It is generously sponsored by TD Bank.

For great reads, check out the Rita Cox Black and Caribbean Heritage Collection at Toronto Public Library.

Freedom City TD Gallery Poster

Kung Hei Fat Choy! 恭喜發財!

February 25, 2015 | Chantel | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

(By Brendon with contributions from Chantel)

Year of the Sheep
During the Chinese Lunar New Year, many people give and receive “lucky money” in a red pocket. If you read or speak any of the Chinese languages or dialects, your library card is also “lucky” because it gives you access to a world of material at the library in your language- and it is already in your pocket!

Over half of Toronto Public Library’s branches have a Chinese language collection which consists of books, videos, and magazines. 52 branches across the city have a Chinese collection, so your chances are very good that a branch near you has Chinese materials.


Searching for materials in Chinese

Before I show you the world of Chinese material you can access at the library, here is a neat trick if you would like to translate the Toronto Public Library’s home page in simplified or traditional Chinese characters using Google Translate.

Library staff can also help you search for Chinese material, or you can use a nifty piece of software called the “Input Method Editor” (or the IME Pad) which allows you to write Chinese characters into the search box on the Library’s homepage, making it much easier to search for Chinese language material. Here is what it look like:

Input Method Editor


If it is a bit too cold to get to your nearest branch, you can still use your lucky library card to access the library’s Chinese electronic collections.

Here is a brief rundown on what your library card can access when it comes to Chinese material:


Books and Videos

Our OverDrive digital collection contains a large collection Chinese e-books, e-audio books and videos that you can borrow and read on your computer, tablet, or smartphone! Check out some of the popular items you can download!

Ip Man The Final Fight A Simple Life 狼图腾 实用偏方秘方


But what about Chinese magazines? Our Chinese e-Magazines database has an extensive collection of streaming Chinese magazines.

If you are interested in downloading some Chinese magazines to your tablet, Zinio gives you access to beautiful, high definition versions of some of the hottest Chinese magazines.

Cosmopolitan Business Today Common Health Magazine Next Magazine 壹週刊


Movies and Music

If you are looking for some Chinese movies you can stream or download, create a Hoopla account with your library card and take a look at their section devoted to Chinese Cinema.

Have esteemed guests coming over for a function and you don’t have traditional Chinese music in your collection? Your lucky library card saves the day again with access to streaming Chinese music through the Naxos Music Library! You can search by both country and by instrument in Naxos Music Library’s advanced search.


Learn Chinese!

Finally, if you want to enjoy any of the Chinese language material we have at the library, but don’t know how to read or speak the language, Mango Languages provides free online courses in Mandarin language which are accessible with your library card which you can complete in the comfort of your home.

As you can see, your Toronto Public Library card makes you truly lucky if you are looking for Chinese language material! We wish you a happy and prosperous New Year as you make the most use out of your library card!

Top Spanish eBooks, eMagazines and Other Free Spanish Resources at Your Library

February 1, 2015 | Iana | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Toronto Public Library offers a variety of materials in Spanish to our Spanish-speaking customers - you can borrow for free Spanish books, magazines, DVDs, music CDs, as well as Spanish language-learning materials. Toronto has a large Spanish speaking population and in addition - Spanish is a popular choice for people who would like to learn a new language.

But did you know that the library is now providing free access to many wonderful popular titles of Spanish eBooks (Libros electronicos en espanol) and eMagazines (revistas electronicas en espagnol)?

I asked our electronic collections librarian to help me come up with a list of the most popular Spanish eBooks and eMagazines that are being requested on the library's website and they are listed below.

These bestselling novels and other Spanish eBooks, eMagazines and much more are free to download if you have a valid Toronto Public library card. Read on your eReader, computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone! Visit and learn how to get started.

Our top five most downloaded TPL Spanish eBooks in translation:

Perdida El jilguero Steve Jobs Spanish edition Fault in our stars Spanish edition

  • Perdida (Gone Girl) by Gillian Flynn
  • El jilguero (The Goldfinch—Spanish-language Edition) by Donna Tartt
  • Steve Jobs (Edición en Español)  by Walter Isaacson

Top five most downloaded TPL eBooks written in Spanish:

 Cien anos de soledad El amor en los tiempos del colera El juego ripper El prisionero del cielo

ZinioZinio is a popular digital magazine platform and Toronto Public Library offers more than 500 titles of those consumer magazines. Zinio offers a number of magazine titles in Spanish as well (close to 30 titles currently) and users get to keep the magazine issues that they download on their device. Among those Spanish titles are popular fashion, design and lifestyle magazines such as Architectural Digest Mexico, Good Housekeeping, Vogue Latin America, Marie Claire Espana, InStyle, Harper's Bazaar Espana, Cosmopolitan en Espanol, Glamour Latin America, ELLE Mexico, GO Latin America etc., and below are the top five as requested by our customers online. What a fun way to keep current with fashion trends while mastering your Spanish!


Top five TPL Zino eMagazines in Spanish:

  Hola Esquire MexicoVogue Latin AmericaCosmopolitan en Espanol


And what about the print Spanish collections? Where can you pick up a book in Spanish, borrow popular print magazines such as Semana, Geo, Hola, Gente, Muy Interesante, or choose a movie to watch? Which branches have Spanish board books or picture books for your child?


Many Toronto libraries offer Spanish books, DVDs, CDs, magazines

You can find a listing of all branches with Spanish collections on the Toronto Public Library’s website. All these adult and children's materials are free to borrow with a library card and of course - remember that you can also place a hold on a title through the website catalogue and it will be sent to the library branch of your choice for easy pickup.

The largest Spanish collections are located at Downsview Branch, Sanderson Branch, Palmerston Branch and Toronto Reference Library. Several other branches have medium-sized Spanish collections - these are Agincourt, Albert Campbell, Albion, Bloor/Gladstone, Dufferin/St. Clair, Fairview, Mount Dennis and York Woods (for their contact information and directions - please visit the Hours & Locations section on our the library's website).

In total - there are 30 library branches across the city that have Spanish collections - which accounts for almost one third of all TPL branches!


TumbleBooksSpanish eBooks for Kids: The library offers free access (with a library card) to TumbleBooks, which is as a great online collection of eBook picture books and there are a number of titles in Spanish in there as well, that kids can read or listen to.  

Listen to a Spanish story by phone: Children and their families can also dial the free library phone line 416-395-5400 (Dial-a-Story), press 5 and listen to a different story in Spanish every day for younger (under 7 years) or older kids (age 8-12).

MangoLearn and practice Spanish language:

Always wanted to learn Spanish language? This has never been easier with our online language courses database MANGO Language Learning - it offers many different language courses including Spanish and Latin American Spanish, as well as ESL courses - Mango is free to use on your computer, simply sign in with your library card number.


Library programs in Spanish:

Spanish Reading Circle: For lovers of Spanish literature - Palmerston Branch hosts a monthly Spanish Literature Reading Circle (Circulo de Lectura en Espanol) on a Monday night once a month at 7pm. It is a free drop-in adult program. Call the branch to find what the next book in discussion will be or simply drop in.


Ready for Reading storytime

 Spanish Storytime

Bloor/Gladstone Branch offers a special Spanish storytime once a month too on a Saturday morning at 10.30 a.m. Bring your children ages 2-7 to have fun and learn with stories, songs and rhymes. Prior knowledge of Spanish is not required and you can call the branch about the exact dates of the program.



New to Canada? Get your free library card!

 Here is a "Welcome to the Library" video in Spanish for newcomers to Canada.


Explore the world of Spanish with so many free library resources!

Newcomer Youth -- Welcome to the library!

December 24, 2014 | Suzanne | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Toronto Youth
   [Source: City of Toronto Youth Services]

Are you a youth who is new to Toronto? Maybe even new to Canada? There can be a lot to adjust to in your new home. Not only are you in a brand new place, but you might be starting at a new school, trying to make new friends, and of course, trying to have some fun too!  The Toronto Public Library is here to help you! Not only can we find that textbook or novel you need for an assignment, we also have free programs, homework help, computer classes, and so much more!

Do you want to learn more about your new home? Or perhaps you are preparing for the Citizenship Test. Why not try using the My Canada database from our online databases? This helpful resource has lessons and practice tests on Canadian history, geography, government & culture. Give it a try!

My Canada Database
Outside of the library, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has a great website called NewYouth is an online community for newcomer youth, offering information on any questions you might have about school, work, immigration, law, health or daily life.

NewYouth Website
I got the chance to speak to Jai Sahak, Content Coordinator for the site, who told us a bit about himself, his involvement with the site and his tips for newcomer youth. 

What is your involvement with the site and youth?

Jai: I am the Content Coordinator for and its French counter-part It’s my responsibility to identify issues relevant to newcomer youth in Ontario and present those issues using new media outlets. The site contains articles which address key issues every newcomer to Ontario faces. The site also has a large collection of videos from other newcomer youth sharing their experiences and challenges with starting a new school, making friends and life in Ontario in general. 

What is the most common inquiry you get from youth?

 Jai: From the discussion forum on our site, the most common inquiry we get from youth is in regards to access to better and more effective services in their city. Youth find it problematic to apply for Ontario Works, find a shelter, food bank or community health centre in their cities. More needs to be done at the school level to inform youth about what services are available to them and how they can benefit from their local library branch.  

What are some of the best ways newcomer youth can get involved in Toronto?

Jai: Newcomer youth in Toronto can do a number of things to get involved in their city. The most valuable way is to volunteer at their school, a community centre or a local library. Volunteering can provide youth with Canadian job experience which will be important once they start applying for work. It also allows them to learn the language and make new friends. Not to mention, it will count towards their community service hours required to graduate secondary school.

Thank you Jai for the great advice!  Just as Jai said, newcomer youth can do a number of things to get involved in their city. Volunteering at the library is a great way to get involved, and a Youth Advisory Group is great way to get involved!  Youth Advisory Group members can help with programs, services, and give feedback on youth collections.

Volunteer-YAGs[Youth Advisory Group Members]

The Toronto Public Library also has a lot of programs for youth.  Check out all of our Upcoming Programs for Teens or the TPL Teens blog for more info!

TEENSFor newcomer youth, the library has a program called Afterschool Newcomer Hubs where newcomer students in grades 7-10 can get free tutored homework help, workshops, electronic gaming and other fun activities.

From Homework Help to a Sushi Making Class, to help finding a job there is bound to be something for you. Best of all, programs and services at the library are always FREE!  Visit your local library branch today to find out how you can get involved!

Youth at Toronto Public Library Branch[Teens hanging out at the Cedarbrae Library] 

Getting licensed for Internationally Trained Immigrants

October 28, 2014 | Chantel | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Each year, many people immigrant to Canada to start a new life. According to Statistics Canada, in 2011 6.8 million people were born outside of Canada about 20.6%. With Canada’s current immigration system attracting highly educated and skilled professionals, many individuals who decide to settle in Ontario will want to continue their professional work right away. However, many will find that obtaining the same job they had in their country of origin can take some time. That’s because many professions such as health care work are regulated by professional associations and involves a licensing process.

I recall speaking to a few foreign trained immigrants – one was a dentist and another was an aerospace engineer who were using the Library to prepare for their license. Depending on the profession, the licensing process can involve a few exams or sometimes need bridging courses or even an internship. This process can be lengthy and confusing for those unfamiliar with Ontario’s regulatory professions. 

To assist internationally trained immigrants with the licensing processes, the Library is holding a free workshop offered by Global Experience Ontario to provide information on different licensing process, bridge training, language training and more. More details about the workshop is below. Registration is required online.

Licensing for Internationally Trained Immigrants

Date: Tues. Nov. 4, 2014

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Place:  North York Central Library Auditorium

For those that can’t make it to the workshop or would like to find out more information about this topic beforehand, check out these books!

Medical License Exam Book A complete guide to overcome no Canadian experience : how and where to obtain Canadian experience : for foreign trained professionals and skilled immigrants on the journey to employment in their chosen professions Resumes scientific book Petersons NCLEX-PN Book

Library Settlement Partnerships Celebrate LSP Week with "Food From Around the World"

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

Welcome to the beautiful, colourful month of October and Canadian fall! There is so much happening all around and the libraries are buzzing with activities as well!

LSP logoOne wonderful library celebration this fall is "LSP week 2014" - the Library Settlement Partnerships will be hosting their annual celebration between October 14-18, 2014 with a special theme “Food from Around the World”. The LSP week will celebrate the contributions of newcomers to Canada’s food culture, and also introduce Canadian food traditions to the newcomer communities.

LSP Week also coincides with Canadian Citizenship Week. And with Thanksgiving!

So we are thankful for the excellent services that LSP provide to newcomers to Canada. The program is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), through 8 settlement agencies that place settlement workers at 16 Toronto Public Library branches to assist newcomers directly.


Library Settlement WorkersLibrary Settlement Workers 2
LSP workers at the library. [Photo credit: Library Settlement Partnerships website]

Listed below are the 16 branches of Toronto Public Library that offer LSP services. These services include one-on-one settlement information and referral as well as group information sessions. Call one of your branches directly, or call the library's Answerline service at 416-393-7131 and your call will be transferred to your nearest LSP location.

Agincourt   Albion  Bridlewood  Centennial  Eatonville

Flemingdon Park  Lillian H. Smith  Mimico  Morningside

Parkdale  Parliament Street  Richview  Riverdale

Thorncliffe  Toronto Reference Library  York Woods

Speaking of this year's LSP theme "Food from Around the World" - is there any other better way to bring people together than sharing delicious food? We all carry our childhood memories of comforting meals from all parts of the world. And now that we live in Toronto - we discover and open up to amazing new flavours and food cultures.

Library books on cooking
Check out some cooking books at your library. Look for Dewey number 641.5...

Below are just several examples of the books available to borrow at Toronto Public Library on food traditions and memories, food recipes and different styles of cooking. The library reflects the diverse food traditions in our city and the cookbooks are one of the most popular collections! So get set in your kitchen and cook up a delicious meal from another part of the world!

Return to the Rivers    Arabian Nights Cookbook    Grand Cocina Latina   

Return to the rivers: Recipes and memories of the Himalayan River valleys, by Vikas Khanna. Foreward by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The dedication in the book is this Buddhist mealtime prayer: "This food is the gift of the whole universe, each morsel is a sacrifice of life, may I be worthy to receive it. May the energy in this food give me the strength to transform my unwholesome qualities into wholesome ones. I am grateful for this food."

  • The Arabian nights cookbook: From lamb kebabs to baba ghanouj, delicious homestyle Arabian cooking, by Habeeb Salloum. Written with a marvelous flavour by this wonderful award-winning local Toronto author Habeeb Salloum.
  • Vegan Planet: 400 Irresistible Recipes with Fantastic Flavors from Home and Around the World, by Robin Robertson.

Canadian LivingToronto Public Library subscribes to many popular magazines on cooking and food and you can find recipes in them or learn local holiday traditions around Thanksgiving for example.

Next time you visit your local branch - look for a copy of Canadian Living magazine and try a recipe! Or check out the digital Zinio edition of Canadian Living magazine.

Canadian Living cookbooks: Any book published by Canadian Living Test Kitchen is a great introduction to Canadian cooking traditions. They have a very good general book called The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook. The recipes have been tested so you know they are going to work.

  • The library's food programs available on DVD are also very, very popular to borrow. For example - check out an episode from the DVD series - Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations - the American chef and TV celebrity visits different countries and goes behind the scenes of their local food cultural traditions.
  •  Or try any of the books in the easy to read food series "Easy Menu Ethnic Cookbooks" by Lerner Publications, all available to borrow. 

So do you have a favourite meal from your country of heritage or an ethnic dish that you have learned to cook and would like to share?

I have many favourite Bulgarian childhood flavours, but one that is very simple yet so delicious and would always tempt me is a warm piece of "Banitsa" (baked filo pastry with eggs and feta cheese) and a cold sip of "Ayran" (a refreshing yogurt beverage with salt). 

Bon Appetit! Happy LSP Week 2014! 


 Library Settlement Partnerships are funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Citizenship & Immigration Canada Logo

Free Parent Conference, After School Newcomer Hubs and Volunteering

September 30, 2014 | Iana | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...



Are you a parent of teens or pre-teens? Sanderson Branch of Toronto Public Library is hosting a Parent Conference on Saturday, October 4 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Scadding Court Community Centre (707 Dundas Street West).

Parents will learn about the popular After School Newcomer HUB at Sanderson Branch (see more information about the HUB below). In addition, parents will meet community organizations to get information about school, health, employment and volunteer opportunities for their teens.

GUEST SPEAKERS: Jeff Needham from The Duke of Edinburgh Award and Ronald Rojas from CultureLink.

Refreshments will be provided. Register by calling 416-393-7653 or visit Sanderson branch.


    Sanderson-library-01Sanderson Branch - one of the Teen Newcomer Hubs.



There are two locations for the library's After School Newcomer Hubs: Sanderson Branch (327 Bathurst St, Bathurst/ Dundas, 416-393-7764) and Centennial Branch (578 Finch Ave W, Bathurst/Finch, 416-395-5792). The Hubs are open Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays after school hours.

If you have questions or would like to join, email: or call the co-ordinators at the above phone numbers at Sanderson and Centennial branches.

Centennial Branch hosts a Newcomer Hub.

Teens who are in grades 7 to 10 are welcome to  join the drop-in  After School Newcomer HUBS and:

  • get homework help.
  • use a laptop for research/projects.
  • participate in crafts, workshops, and other fun activities.
  • play video and board games.
  • hang out with friends or make new ones.



Share your expertise in a meaningful way: Volunteers are needed to tutor students in grades 7–10 at the After School Newcomer Hubs located in the Centennial and Sanderson branches. Find out more about becoming a volunteer with the After School Newcomer Hubs - Call for Volunteers:

Volunteer contributions:

  • Provide assistance in school subjects, particularly math, science, English and French.
  •  Provide positive encouragement and informal mentoring for students.
  • Work with library staff and other volunteers to run the program.


 Volunteer benefits:

  • Gain knowledge of tutoring techniques.
  • Letter of reference upon successful completion of the program.

Learn more:



“There is nothing like hearing a good grade or a problem solved from a student, especially when I know I have helped to promote the result. When I reflect on the growth of these students, I see tremendous improvements, not just through learning, but through self-esteem and confidence.“ - Volunteer Tutor.



Guide for Foreign-Trained Engineers in Ontario

August 28, 2014 | 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


Around the World in 80 Recipes

August 23, 2014 | Suzanne | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Appleglobeweb[Source: with permission from Kevin Van Aelst Photography]

Did you know that Torontonians come from over 200 countries? With such a great representation of cultures, we have the unique opportunity to learn different languages, experience cultural celebrations, and best of all … eat great food from all over the world. My favorite part!

I always make it a point to try new restaurants whenever I can, or better yet, get some home cooked food from the different cuisines of my friends. Websites like Zagat or Urbanspoon can be a great way to read restaurant reviews.  Our last post shared some of the great summer festivals in Toronto, now why not take out a book or two to learn how to create some of the tasty foods you tried?

The Toronto Public Library has a great collection of cookbooks with cuisines from all over the world. One of my favorite ways to try new recipes is by downloading an eBook or eMagazine onto my tablet and browsing it before I go to sleep.

When my tablet doesn't become my pillow, I usually find some great recipes to try!  I'm not Vegetarian, but I've found some great receipes in this Vegetarian Collection by Canadian Living. My favorites are the Afghan eggplant ["burani bonjon"] and black bean quesadillas pictured on the cover below. Mmm!

The Vegetarian Collection[Source: The Vegetarian Collection: Creative meat-free dishes that nourish and inspire]

I find that magazines are also a great way to collect recipes. Zinio eMagazines gives you access to current issues of popular magazines to read on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. I use Zinio to access these great cooking magazines:

Food Network Magazine    La Cucina Magazine    Saveur Magazine 

If you've never used Zinio before, have no fear! Here is some information on Getting Started with Zinio eMagazines and a quick Video Tutorial on how to use it. In addition to the magazines I posted, there are a number of others that can be accessed in Zinio's Food and Cooking section.

Here are some cookbooks to get you started on your cooking journey around the world!

Toronto & Canada:

Buon Appetito, Toronto!    Toronto Star Cookbook    Canadas Favorite Recipes

The New Granville Island Market Cookbook    East Meets West    An Ode to Newfoundland


The Americas:

The New Southern Table    Latin American Street Food. jpg    South American Food and Cooking

Africa & The Middle East:

Moorish    The North African Kitchen    Vegetarian dishes from across the Middle East


Grandmas German Cookbook    Everyday Cooking from Italy    In a Polish Country Kitchen

Spain Recipes and Traditions    How to Roast a Lamb Greek Cooking    Revolutionary French Cooking



The Steamy Kitchen's Healthy Asian Favorites    Quick Fix Indian    Sri Lankan Cooking

Authentic Recipes from the Phillipines    The Banh Mi Handbook    Simple Thai Food


For Kids and Teens:

Cool World Cooking    Kew's Global Kitchen Cookbook    The Kids' Multicultural Cookbook

I leave you with some quotes about the joys of food:

Laughter is brightest where food is best –Irish Proverb

People who love to eat are always the best people. –Julia Child

If you have any cookbook favorites, please post in the comments below. Happy cooking, everyone!  

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