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Your Child's First Day of School: Prepping Your Child for Kindergarten and Beyond

August 6, 2014 | Melanie | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

You know that commerical with the dad prancing happily through the aisles of an office supply store, while Andy Williams' It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year plays in the background and two obviously unenthusiastic kids trail behind? I absolutely love that commercial!


It's true that Back to School season can be a joyous time for parents, but if this is the first time your child is going to school, the experience can be more nerve-wracking than celebratory. Add to that the complexities of being in a new country, and the experience can seem downright terrifying!


R4R Library CardDon't worry! Toronto Public Library is here to help! If you want to get your preschooler ready for school, one of the most important things you can do is sign them up for one of our Ready for Reading storytimes. In fact, it's never too early to get your child ready for reading. From the moment your child is born, you can get a library card for them, and attend one of the many Ready for Reading Baby Time programs available at branches throughout the city.

Ready for Reading programs usually run once a week for six weeks. Each week, we cover a new skill that your child will need in order to develop their reading readiness.


The six skills that your child will need to develop in order to learn how to read are:

  1. Print Motivation - I Like Books!
  2. Phonological Awareness - I Hear Words!
  3. Vocabulary - I Know Words!
  4. Narrative Skills - I Can Tell a Story!
  5. Print Awareness - I See Words!
  6. Letter Knowledge - I Know Letters!

Ready for Reading storytimes are great, not only because they help your child develop these very important reading skills, but also because they will help your child develop the social skills they'll need to function well in a classroom setting.

If you can't make it to one of our Ready for Reading storytimes, you can access our YouTube videos for a sample of our Ready for Reading songs and rhymes:


Here are some of my favourite preschool Ready for Reading books:

Library Lion     Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed    Chicka Chicka Boom Boom  

If you Take a Mouse to School     Big Fat Hen     Miss Bindergarten Has a Wild Day in Kindergarten

ABC's & 123's

Another thing you can do with your child to help them get ready for school is read ABC and 123 books with them. At some branches, ABC and 123 books are shelved separately from the rest of the picture book collection, which makes them really easy to find and browse through. In other branches, ABC and 123 books are interfiled with the rest of the picture book collection, but can still be easily found by their special "ABC" and "123" labels.

ABC 123 Collection - Landscape
ABC and 123 books are sometimes shelved separately from the rest of the picture book collection.


ABC Labels
ABC Labels
123 Labels
123 Labels

Here are some of my favourite ABC and 123 books:

LMNO Peas     Sleepy Little Alphabet     Alphabet Under Construction

Counting on Snow     Canada 123     Let's Count to 100

Has Ready for Reading helped you get ready for school? Let us know!

Celebrate World Cup Soccer at the Library!

July 7, 2014 | Suzanne | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

The 2014 FIFA World Cup has made for an exciting summer of sport! Thirty-two teams competed in Brazil for the 20th edition of the biggest international soccer tournament in the world. As we enter the final week of the World Cup, excitement is building as more teams get eliminated and we enter the semi-final games. While the World Cup has people of every nation cheering for their favorite team, the library is a great place to keep you connected with all the World Cup excitement! The Toronto Reference Library, Fort York Branch and Bloor/Gladstone Branch are all showing games on TV screens at the branch. There are also a number of great soccer books for families to read together to keep you soccer satiated all summer long!


Did you know?

  • With 3.5+ billion fans, soccer is the most popular sport on the planet
  • Although soccer is most popular in Europe and South America, its origins can be traced to China, more than 2,200 years ago
  • The first ever soccer World Cup was held in the year 1930, which was won by the host country, Uruguay
  • India pulled out from the 1950 World Cup because the players were not allowed to play in bare feet
  • Brazil has won 5 World Cups, which is the most by any country!


Here is some recommended soccer reading for families:

SoccerCrazybookcover  Franklinplaysthegamebookccover  Crazyaboutsoccerbookcover 

Howsoccerworksbookcover  Bettybunnybookcover  Goalbookcover

Enjoy the last week of excitement of World Cup Soccer action!

Celebrate Canada!

June 27, 2014 | Chantel | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Canada’s 147th birthday is fast approaching. July 1st is the day to celebrate our history, common values and achievements and what is it to be Canadian.

But there is more to celebrate being Canadian than just that one day!  Did you know that the eleven days from June 21st to July 1st is designated as Celebrate Canada?  June 21st is National Aboriginal Day to celebrate the contributions of the First Nations people.  June 24th is Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day to celebrate the heritage of French Canadians. 

Of course, let’s not forget the Multiculturalism Day on June 27th.  According to Statistics Canada, in 2011 visible minorities make up 19.1% of Canada’s population.  So, it is not surprising that there is a special day to recognize the diversity and contributions of different multicultural groups and communities.

So, where to go to show your pride in being a Canadian?  There are many free events across the city this weekend ranging from fireworks, live performances and family activities:

Don’t forget to check out some great books about Canada and being Canadian!

Canada Day How to Be Canadian Only in CanadaConcise History of Canada

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!

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