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Newcomer Youth -- Welcome to the library!

December 24, 2014 | Suzanne | Comments (0) 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 Foreign trained engineers 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:


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!  

Travel the World in Toronto

August 9, 2014 | Chantel | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Every year I try to travel to a different country, preferably in a different continent. I love seeing and experiencing the diverse culture, music and customs of people from around the world. But when I can’t travel, I look for something close to home. A multicultural city like Toronto has no shortage of amazing cultural festivals during the summer. So, whether you want to reconnect with your roots or experience something new, check out these upcoming events!

For a full listing of events, visit the City of Toronto website!

Interested in learning about Asia? Find out more about Taiwan at the TaiwanFest taking place at Habourfront Centre from August 22 -24. Take a look at some books and DVDs on Taiwan for a head start!

  Taiwan Guidebook The raw and the cooked


Experience the cultures of South Asia from dancing to Bollywood music, playing cricket or drinking mango lassi at the TD Festival of South Asia from August 23-24. The fun will take place on along Gerrard Street E. between Coxwell Avenue and Greenwood.

Bollywood Anthology Songs Ballroom basics: Bollywood dancing Cricket : steps to success


If you are a foodie, challenge your taste buds to a variety of Greek dishes. Try your hand at some Greek dishes with these recipes, inspired by the Taste of Danforth this past weekend.

  The food and cooking of Greece New Greek cuisine The country cooking of Greece

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

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