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Book Launch for First Multilingual Book for Children in Canada

September 25, 2015 | Suzanne | Comments (8) Facebook Twitter More...

The library’s multilingual collections for children are a wonderful resource for educators, parents and families seeking to read books from their culture or from cultures around the world. 

Looking for a book from your home language? Dual language books in English and another language are a great way to celebrate your home language or learn a new language. Here are a few from our catalogue:

   Grandmas Saturday Soup    The Little Red Hen and the grains of wheat    My Daddy Is a Giant    The Wibbly Wobbly Tooth

Next Saturday, October 4th, At One Press will launch the first ever multilingual book for children in Canada; The Best of All Worlds: Seven Multilingual Stories for Kids.  

The Best of All Worlds is a collection of seven multilingual stories written by Canadians for Canadians.  The stories in this collection are written in Arabic, Farsi, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Each one was then translated into English and French, accompanied by wonderful illustrations.

Join us for the book launch of The Best of All Worlds, the first multilingual book for children in Canada on Sunday October 4th, 2015 at the Agincourt Branch. There will be a multilingual storytime, author signings, and more!

Still want more?  KidsSpace has a great selection of stories to read or listen to in many different languages. Hear-a-Story has stories you can listen to in English and ten other languages.  Read-a-Story gives you access to the International Children’s Digital Library which has over 4,600 children's eBooks in 61 different languages!  We even have a collection of Multicultural Rhymes from many different cultures.

You can also search the library catalogue to find materials in your language or visit past blog posts on collections in other languages:  Arabic at Your library; Italian Collections; Korean Collections; Your Library in Russian; Our Top Spanish Resources; Tagalog at Your Library and Tamil at Your Library. 

Happy Birthday, TIFF! A Film Watcher's Guide to Multicultural Films at Your Library

September 16, 2015 | Iana | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is turning 40 years this month! It has been the major cultural event every fall in Toronto in recent decades and one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. There is a feeling of glamour and fashion during the ten days of the festival while so many famous actors, directors and film industry professionals are in town to promote their movies.


TIFF logoYesterday I took a stroll downtown in order to feel the excitement of the film festival and found this beautiful TIFF logo just next to Metro Hall. What a great spot to pose for a picture this week!

In 2010, TIFF opened the spectacular TIFF Bell Lightbox - its new headquarters at the corner of King St. and John St. in the heart of the "Entertainment District" in downtown Toronto. Since then most of the buzz of activities, film screenings, galas and celebrity watching have moved to this part of King St.


TIFF red carpet Metro HallI snapped this picture of one of the red carpets, right next to Metro Hall yesterday, where actors and filmmakers were walking and being cheered before presenting their film. Some Toronto film fans are known to take a week off every year in mid-September in order to attend the film festival full-time and enjoy great cinema. There is a whole festival subculture of "doing TIFF" the right way - strategies for selecting films and buying tickets, hanging out in rush lines for tickets, volunteering, blogging, catching sights of celebrities, how to eat, party, and make the best of TIFF.


But TIFF isn't just about  the glamour of celebrities. It is about the magic of watching world class feature films and documentaries from more than 70 countries!

For those film-loving Torontonians who are not able to attend the famous festival or for those who can't get enough of great films - Toronto Public Library offers a diverse and free collection of thousands of international films across the world, in many languages. Many of the TIFF festival screenings through the years have been purchased by the library on DVD. 

Below you can download (in PDF) a recommended three-part Film Watcher's Guide to Multicultural Films, compiled by my library colleague Sam who has a great passion for cinema:

  • TPL NEW MULTICULTURAL FILMS LIST III (edition 2015) - about 150 title suggestions, the majority of which have been screened at TIFF from 2010-2014. In addition there are other world cinema titles that the library owns.


DVDs can be placed on hold and borrowed for one week with your library card (and renewed up to two times if there are no holds). Please note that some of the titles, if they are newly added to the library system, cannot be placed on hold for the first six months in the library collection, but can still be borrowed in person from the library.


Here is a selection from the 2015 list. Download the full lists for more titles!

Woman gun noodle soup Waltz with Bashir Manuscripts don't burn Polytechnique


Living is easy with eyes closed LunchboxPussy Riot A Punk PrayerBarbara


How to search the library for multicultural movies in your language:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on "Advanced" (located right beside the Search button on the top right hand of your screen)
  3. In the "Type" field on the left hand side of your screen, click on "Movies and Videos"
  4. In the "Language" field on the bottom left hand side of your screen, click on your language of choice .
  5. Click "Search".

TIFF Logo 2015
[Photo credit: Elaisha Jade]


Happy 40th birthday to Toronto International Film Festival and enjoy the great multicultural films that are available at your local library! While the festival only goes for ten days every year in September, Toronto Public Library offers free access to the best of the world cinema, including films in many languages, all year around, and in the comfort of your home! 


More library blog posts related to TIFF:

Back to School at Any Age

September 4, 2015 | Suzanne | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Back to school already
With permission from Melissa Machan at First Grade Smiles

It's getting darker earlier, the calendar says September, and the dreaded – err, I mean, very welcome first day of school is near. Children, teens and adults everywhere are getting ready for the return to the classroom. Adults may be going back to school, kindergartners are starting school for the first time, and teens may be preparing for their first day of high school. Usually this day brings about a familiar mix of nervousness and excitement. For newcomers to Canada, starting school for the first time may also mean familiarizing yourself with a new city, brushing up on your English skills, and finding ways to ease the transition into school, no matter what your age. Visit your local library for some helpful ways to ease the transition!

Library staff prepare for going back to school


We hope our children will have a love of reading right from the start, but if they need a little nudge in the right direction, the library is here to help. Why not try some of these suggested reads for the reluctant reader from a recent post on the Growing a Reader blog? Or how about this great selection of picture books about going back to school? A great story about the experience of going back to school can be the boost a child needs to feel ready for his or her first day. 

For the school age child, a number of branches have After School Clubs, catering to a variety of interests from Lego to science to animationAfter School Clubs offer children the chance to explore their interests outside of the classroom, and enhance their learning with creative exploration. Visit your local branch to find out about an After School Club near you! Finally, don’t forget to explore KidsSpace, the library’s website for kids. Get help with research, find your next book, play games, and much more!

 Children using library computer    Science Afterschool Club at Fort York Library
Kids using a library computer; Kids at the Fort York Library having fun with science


The library has a number of free programs and services for teens.  Need a place to unwind and meet other teens? Why not join a Youth Advisory Group?  Youth Advisory Group members earn volunteer hours, meet other teens and contribute to library services and programs. Help improve library services for teens while having fun at the same time! There are also Youth Hubs and Homework Help for Teens available at select branches. Keep up to date on what we have to offer teens on the TPL Teens blog.

Read some of our other blog posts for teens: Afterschool Youth Hubs; Newcomer Youth – Welcome to the library!

Teens at the library
Teens doing homework at the library


For the adult learner going back to school, the library subscribes to a wide range of online services, including article databases, business directories, and practice tests. You can explore our databases and research tools by topic or check out this list of the most popular research tools. The Book a Librarian service is another helpful tool. Make a free 30-60 minute appointment with a librarian at select branches. The librarian can help you with research, library information, career information, homework help and more.

Are you are a newcomer looking for ESL Classes or Newcomer services? The library provides these services for free at a number of branches throughout the city. Another great resource for adults is the Adult Literacy Program. This program offers free, one-on-one tutoring in basic reading, writing and math for English-speaking adults 16 years or older. Volunteer tutors work with learners to help them reach their literacy goals. There are ten literacy offices in libraries across Toronto.

Check out some other blog posts for adult learners: Featured Library Databases for Newcomers to CanadaGet Tech-Savvy this Summer! 

Studying at the Library

Whether you are 5 or 75, going back to school is a time for new beginnings and the chance to grow. Learn, grow, and let the Toronto Public Library help you make the transition back to any age!

Let's Eat at the Ex!

August 21, 2015 | Elsa | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

Many Canadians look forward to the opening of the Canadian National Exhibit (CNE or the Ex) near the end of August. Many families visit the CNE every year as a tradition, marking the end of summer and the upcoming new school year. If you are new to Toronto, the CNE is the place to visit! This year, the CNE starts today and runs until September 7th.

Every year, the CNE showcases Canadian favourites and Toronto’s diversity. Some highlights include performers from around the world, yummy cultural foods as well as best-loved Canadian classics, celebrity chef demonstrations, and the popular air-show during the Labour Day weekend. CNE is for families big or small.

With everyone’s love of good food, it is only natural that food is what attracts many visitors to the CNE. Multicultural cuisines and good old-fashioned Canadian ones bring everyone together for a good time. 

Adventurous foodies (those who have special interest in food) enjoy tasting all the creative dishes at the Ex. In 2014, butter coffee, cocoa infused fried chicken and s’more bao were in demand! I am sure many foodies are just finding out what is in store this year.

For three days, the Food Truck Frenzy takes place at the CNE. Over 20 food trucks will present well-known classics with local ingredients or cultural favourites with a twist (like the pad thai fries I tried last year). Instead of chasing the food trucks across the city, you will find them all in one place!

Food Truck Frenzy at CNE
Food Truck Frenzy at CNE
Pad Thai Fries
Pad Thai Fries

You also get to travel around the world in one afternoon at the Food Building. It features international flavours as well as Canadian gems. There will be something for everyone to try.

After your first visit, you might make a visit to the CNE an annual tradition with your family and friends. Every year, the CNE will offer something new and exciting!  

Once you have tried all the different foods at the CNE and you can explore more, check out Toronto Public Library for the numerous cookbooks (including your favourite celebrity chefs’ books) in our branches or download ebooks via OverDrive and emagazines via Zinio.

More blog posts about food: 

Around the World in 80 Recipes

LSP Week Celebration - Food from Around the World


Tagalog at your Library

August 4, 2015 | Maria | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Kamusta? This month's featured language on the New to Canada blog is Tagalog! Are you as excited as I am? 

We have new, featured, and popular Tagalog library material, including books, movies, music, and emagazines! Plus, learn how you can get a library card for free and share your favourite Tagalog titles in the 'comments' section below!


New to Canada? Get a library card! It's free.

Baguhan sa Canada? Sumapi sa aklatan. Ito ay libre o walang bayad! 


Library Branches with Tagalog 

The following Toronto Public Library branches have items in Tagalog:

Large: 1500 or more itemsMedium: 750-1500 itemsSmall: Fewer than 750 items

 You can also view our Tagalog locations on a map.

To find Tagalog materials at the library, you can search by typing directly into the search box on the Toronto Public Library homepage. When using advanced search, make sure to select 'Tagalog' from the language menu.

Note: Other related language options include 'Filipino', "Philippine languages', or 'Pilipino', but each one only has a handful of items.

Here are search results showing all Tagalog materials in the catalogue, sorted by date. I've also put together a list of some of the great Tagalog material we have at the library:



  My facebook boyfriend...for real!?. Vol. 1.  Wifely duties. Book 1.  Tagay, kapatid!  Bitter



Non Fiction

Buti pa ang Roma may bagong papa  Connect the dots - o kung paano ko kinulayan ang aking buhay  Boredom, stress and burnout - paano ko iha-handle?  Mga halamang-gamot sa Pilipinas



The amazing praybeyt Benjamin Be careful with my heart. Volume 40.  So it's you  Talk back and you're dead



Did you know that you can watch movies or TV shows and listen to music online, for free, with Hoopla? Here are some titles, either in Tagalog or set in the Philippines, that I thought you might be interested in:

Rakenrol  Santa Mesa   Dive Travel - Anilao Mabini Batangas Philippines

The Philippines The Philippines - 20 Love Songs The Voice Of The Philippines The Final 16



Zinio lets you read current issues of popular magazines online, for free. There are quite a few magazines from the Philippines on Zinio. Here are a few you might be interested in:

Cosmopolitan Philippines FHM Philippines Good Housekeeping Philippines Yes! Philippines


Hear-a-Story lets kids listen to Tagalog stories online for free. Popular stories include: Anggo Became a StoneKapre on the Akasya TreeLegend of MakihiyaLegend of Makopa, and Where Does the Volcano Taal Come From



You can also listen to Tagalog stories any time by calling Dial-a-Story at 416-395-5400. Stories are for children 12 years of age and younger.  


Do you have a favourite Tagalog book, CD, or DVD that you've borrowed from the library? If so, share it with other readers by using the 'comments' section below!


Want to heat things up this summer?

July 27, 2015 | Rachelle | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Why not check out the Toronto Caribbean Carnival festivities happening around the city. This festival, previously known as CaribanaTM, first occurred in 1967. It was introduced to Canada during the Centennial celebration. Immigrants from many parts of the Caribbean came together to put on a spectacular parade. Volunteering their time, creativity, and money, people from Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Guyana, St. Lucia, Barbados, Antigua, Pan AliveSt. Vincent, to name a few, collaborated to birth an extravaganza that is like no other in North America. Since its humble beginnings, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival has grown to become one of North America’s largest street festivals. Here are a few events that you won’t want to miss! Pan Alive, which takes place on Friday, July 31st at Lamport Stadium.                                                  



                                        Carnival woman

The BIG parade is happening on Saturday, August 1st, 2015 at Exhibition Place & Lakeshore Blvd. This cultural fiesta keeps the rhythm of the Pan Am games moving through colourful costumes, lively dance and rhythmic beats. FREE to attend by lining up along the Lakeshore Parade route.




Before you get ready to ‘jump and wave’, take this short Carnival Quiz!

1) The origin of the word calypso is from:Carnival Man

a) Carrousseaux – the French term for a drinking party
b) Caliso – a Spanish word meaning topical song
c) Carieto – a Carib word meaning 'a joyous song'
d) Kaiso – a west African Hausa word which means 'bravo'

2) What are the three key concepts of Toronto Caribbean Carnival?

a) Mas, Steel Pan and Calypso
b) Love, Peace and Unity
c) Heritage, Music and Food
d) There is no concept, everyone just have a good time!

3) Which famous Canadian volunteered at the very first CaribanaTM Festival?                                        

a) Fergie Jenkins
b) Lester B. Pearson                                                  
c) Dr. Rita Cox 
d) Lincoln M. Alexander                                                             

4) What are traditional Steel Pans made of?

a) Pop tins, melted down and molded
b) The bottom of 55 gallon oil drums
c) Flexible metalloids
d) Low-density polyethylene, also used in outdoor furniture

Answers are after this photo

Carnival Girl
Pierre Dubeau / Photo


1 d) Kaiso - The roots of Calypso are hard to trace. The word first appeared in print in 1900 but that was after the music appeared on the scene. The most favoured explanation is that calypso comes from the West African Hausa word meaning ‘bravo’, a term of approval that is shouted in calypso tents to this day.

2 a) Mas, Steel Pan and Calypso – The Mas or masquerade is the kaleidoscope of colour of the parade, the Steel Pan is the rhythmic pulse of the bands and Calypso is the main musical message.  

3 c) Dr. Rita Cox – Dr. Cox was there at the very beginning, sealing envelopes for the festival after school! Who knew that she would go on to become a librarian, storyteller, founder of the Rita Cox Black and Caribbean Heritage Collection and be appointed a Member of the Order of Canada?

4 b) The bottom of 55 gallon oil drums. Did you know that Steel Pans (steel drums) were created in Trinidad in the 1930s, but steel pan history can be traced back to the enslaved Africans who were brought to the islands during the 1700s?

So if you got all four questions correct, KAISO!

Toronto Caribbean Carnival Bookcover


Want to know more? Toronto Public Library has several Carnival themed books, CDs and DVDs that are sure to please. Toronto Caribbean Carnival: A tribute is a must read if you would like a quick overview of this wonderful festival in all its vibrancy.







Images courtesy and

Guide for Foreign-Trained Physicians in Ontario

July 24, 2015 | Ranald | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Guide for Foreign-Trained Physicians in Ontario (PDF) is a guide to print and electronic resources for foreign-trained physicians who wish to be licensed to practice, and to practice, in Ontario.

It includes study guides, textbooks and ESL books and audiobooks owned by the North York Central Library, instructions on using the library catalogue to find additional resources in other library branches and links to online information on licensing and employment.

Essentials for the Canadian medical licensing exam    Guide to the Canadian family medicine exam    OSCE and clinical skills handbook 


Celebrating the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games - Diversity, Hospitality, Grit!

July 21, 2015 | Iana | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

The Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games started on July 10 with a spectacular ceremony! You can watch the CN Tower fireworks as part of the opening! Ten days later the medals count is growing while athletes from 41 participating countries compete - in the third largest international multi-sport games in the world!

Pan Am Pachi

On Wednesday I took my young daughter to the gymnastics finals at the Exhibition Place. We had an amazing experience cheering for the athletes, living through their emotional ups and downs, successes and mistakes. Canada won four medals at that event and we stood up for the national anthem - our first time singing it at a big sports event since we became Canadian citizens and it felt very moving. Outside - the CIBC Pan Am Park was buzzing with people and activities - the national flags of all participating countries turning the skies into a celebration of colours, kids taking pictures with the cheerful Pachi, excellent cultural events happening at the big Panamania stage.


For me - the Games represent several important values, which in fact I also see as values that are dear to Canadians so many of whom, including myself, have immigrated in recent times and have embraced these values and live through them daily: Volunteerism and Hospitality; Sportsmanship, Grit and Perseverance; Multiculturalism and Heritage.

Artistic Gymnastics Finals and beautiful national flags of many of the Pan Am countries.  Pan Am flags gymnastics

Volunteerism and Hospitality

I was so impressed with the thousands of tireless volunteers assisting at the Games. I see them everywhere. At the subway stations, at the cultural sites, and around any of the sports events. I had a chat with one lovely older man who was from Britain and had arrived to volunteer at the Pan Am Games. He had already been a volunteer at the London 2012 Summer Olympics. He said that he loves this kind of memorable experience, being part of such a unique and big event, feeling connected.  

According to Statistics Canada, over 13.3 million people or 47% of Canadians aged 15 and over had done volunteer work in 2010. A large percentage of those volunteers devote their efforts to volunteer work for sports and recreation organizations for non-profit organizations providing social services.

Many newcomers and recent immigrants in Toronto look for volunteer opportunities in order to gain Canadian experience as well as feel included and to make a difference or give back to the community.

Visit your local library and ask staff for suggested volunteer opportunities. Toronto Public Library also offers several Volunteer Programs for adults and teens. 

I felt very proud as a resident of Toronto - the host city of the Pan Am Games and think that the city of Toronto is doing an exemplary job in hosting the games and welcoming all the visitors and athletes.

If you are not able to attend one of the many Pan Am sports events, do join the multiple cultural events of Panamania and come to the library to watch the games on a big screen at those library branches - Malvern, York Woods, Thorncliffe, Jane/Sheppard.

There are many more free events happening during the Games, check the PANAMANIA website for more events information. And you can still join us this week and in August at some of the Toronto Public Library branches for free programs celebrating the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

The Panamania stage at the CIBC PanAm Park, the Exhibition Place. Panamania stage

Sportsmanship, Grit and Perseverance

The spirit of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games and any big sports events is rooted in the athletes' strength of character and the tireless will to perform better and overcome challenges. Even more inspiring and moving is the grace with which athletes learn to also lose a game, how they treat each other and celebrate the success of others.

This same spirit of grit and perseverance has deep roots in Canada, in generations who have endured many hardships for a better future and life.

Multiculturalism and Heritage

The Games are beautiful and multicultural. While watching the gymnastics event, I felt how every athlete had the special support of Canadians and visitors from each and every Pan Am country!

The official languages of the 2015 Pan American games are Spanish, English and French. Spanish is the official language of about half of all participating countries, while English and French are the two official languages of Canada.

And even more - did you know that Toronto Public Library offers free materials to borrow in more than 60 languages?

Check out these books selected by library staff that explore the themes, people and cultures of the TORONTO 2015 Games - Pan Am/Para Pan Am Reading.

Pan Am flags in front of the Coliseum, one of the competition venues. Pan Am games flags

All in all - I felt very proud supporting the Games even in a small personal way. I hope you enjoy the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games too this summer! And share with us your favourite moments!

For a taste of the countries, cultures, languages and the sports that are represented in the Games - visit Toronto Public Library and enrich your experience - learn, read, watch and play!

Arabic at Your Library | اللغة العربية في مكتبتك

July 3, 2015 | Suzanne | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Did you know that the Toronto Public Library carries over 3500 materials in the Arabic language? With thousands of materials for adults, teens and children, let us help you find your next favourite Arabic book or movie! We can also make it easier for you to learn Arabic in many different ways – books, audiobooks or online. Welcome to Arabic at your library! مرحبا بكم في اللغة العربية في مكتبتك  

There are seven locations that carry Arabic collections. The largest Arabic collection is at the Toronto Reference Library. Other locations that carry Arabic are the Agincourt, Albion, Fairview, Don Mills, Maryvale and York Woods branches.

A wonderful way to share the joy of reading with children who speak or are learning to speak another language is through dual-language books. Dual-language books tell the story in English and another language. We have a great selection of Arabic and English dual-language books for children.

Here are some of my personal favourites:

Brown Bear Brown Bear   Splash!   The Very Hungry Caterpillar   We're Going on a Bear Hunt

If you are looking to explore our Arabic collection, have a look at these links to our great collection of Arabic Books, DVDs, audiobooks & music.

Travelling somewhere and need to learn Arabic on the go? Try using Mango Languages to learn Arabic. Our Overdrive collection also has a number of titles to help you learn Arabic. Or explore a world of titles in hoopla.

You can learn Arabic:

How to Speak Arabic   Learn Arabic Easily Effectively and Fluently   Subliminal Learn Arabic

Or listen to some great Arabic music:

Arab Classics   Arabic Beat   Arabic Lounge

These are only a few examples -- find many more by browsing Hoopla and Overdrive.

Haven't got a library card yet? It's easy! To borrow materials from the library, all you need to do is sign up for your free library card. Find out how easy it is to get a library card. Here are instructions on how to get a library card in Arabic.


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

Welcome to Arabic at your library!

مرحبا بكم في اللغة العربية في المكتبة الخاصة بك!

Library Settlement Partnerships (LSP) Updates and Summer Settlement Services

June 25, 2015 | Patty | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

  LSP logo
The Library Settlement Partnership (LSP) program is now in its 8th year at the Toronto Public Library and is a valuable resource for newcomers to Canada. 

LSP Settlement Worker

Funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and partnering with eight Settlement Agencies, the LSP program helps newcomers settle in Toronto by offering free, direct access to settlement workers and programs in selected libraries across the city.

Toronto Public Library currently has 14 LSP locations year round. 





Fairview  (as of July 22)

Flemingdon Park

Lillian H. Smith




Parliament Street



Toronto Reference Library

York Woods

More information about the LSP program can be found on the Settling in Toronto page and on the New to Canada Blog.

LSP Settlement Worker

The LSP Settlement Agency Partners are:

Catholic Crosscultural Services

Centre for Immigrant and Community Services


Kababayan Community Centre

North York Community House

Rexdale Women's Centre

Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office

YMCA Newcomer Information Centre





During the summer, settlement workers are available at additional Toronto Public Library locations, through the Settlement and Education Partnerships in Toronto (SEPT) program.  This summer, there are 16 locations offering the SEPT program:

Barbara Frum

Black Creek

Burrows Hall


Deer Park



Goldhawk Park


Humber Summit


Maria A. Shchuka

McGregor Park

North York Central Library





There will be over 30 library locations offering settlement services to newcomers this summer.



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