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September 2014

Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Jack the Ripper, the Zodiac Killer, and Charles Manson

September 29, 2014 | Aleks | Comments (1)

Police News: Jack the RipperRape, torture, and murder. Notorious villains that have inspired many investigators, journalists and authors to dig up the facts, no matter how grotesque, for readers (not for the faint-hearted).

True Crime -- the inexplicable curiosity to delve deeper into the bizarre, the horrific and the encrypted criminal cases. This genre of books brings readers together for their insatiable hunger to explore the facts, interviews and legal files of some of the most notable events in criminal history.   

Recently, the Toronto Star reported that an enthusiast, Russell Edwards has finally solved the age old case of Jack the Ripper. An old blood-soaked shawl found near one of the prostitutes, Catherine Eddowes, had been put up for auction recently. The Ripper-ologist had snagged it and then brought it in for forensic testing. After some investigative work, he believes that he has found proof about the identity of the legendary serial killer. Edwards has been working on the case for the last 14 years and this single piece of forensic evidence adds definitive answer to his new book about the murders.

Although, the most frightening of cases are those too close to home. Recently Global News reported that the jury for the murder trial of Luka Magnotta has been selected. The trial is to be begin on Monday September 29, 2014 at 9:30 am EST. Magnotta has been charged with the first-degree murder in connection to the May 2012 slaying and dismemberment of 33-year-old Jun Lin, a Chinese engineering student. 

  Fingerprints taken by William James Herschel (1859-1860)

This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.


Close to home: Canadian True Crime 

Through the glass by Shannon Moroney

Through the glass

A criminal story taken from a different perspective, that of an unsuspecting wife. Shannon Moroney is a newlywed that has her world turned upside down when a police officer arrives at her door to tell her that her husband, Jason, has been arrested and charged with brutally assaulting and kidnapping of two women. In her autobiography she recounts the devastating effects of living with such a harrowing shadow cast by her husband and the healing process that she undergoes.

• eBook


Devil among us : how Canada failed to stop a pedofile by Mike McIntyre  

Devil among us how Canada failed to stop a pedofilePeter Whitmore, a notorious pedophile with a horrendous criminal record, shocked the nation when he kidnaps two young Prairie boys in 2006. Mike McIntyre tracks the movements of Peter Whitmore through legal files and interviews as he crosses Canada leaving a trail of records that question the reasoning of why the Canadian legal system allowed such an offender to slip the cracks for so long.



Post-mortem : justice at last for Yvette Budram by Jon Wells

Post-mortem justice at last for Yvette BudramThe remains of a near-mummified skeleton is found by a jogger on a country road near the African Lion Safari theme park in Southern Ontario. The forensics experts concluded that it was a female victim, non-Caucasian and foul play had led to her death. Jon Wells takes the reader past the yellow tape into the real-life crime scene investigation, the interviews of investigators and with the killer himself.



Famous Cases

Famous cases account legendary criminals that had made headlines for those readers itching to know more about the infamous crimes.


Finding me : a decade of darkness, a life reclaimed by Michelle Knight

Finding me  a decade of darkness, a life reclaimed

As a single young mother, Michelle had been kidnapped by a local school bus driver named Ariel Castro. She would undergo unimaginable torture by her captor for the next decade. Amanda Berry joined her in 2003 and Gina DeJesus in 2004 as the three women were held together in captivity. Headlines were made around the world when they had made their escape on May 6, 2013. Finding Me is the heartbreaking detailed story of her life through imprisonment and her efforts on building a new life.



Historical Crimes

Murder, robbery, prison breaks, all these types can be found on the historical crimes list which document cases that occurred before 1970.


Blood acres: the wild ride of Benny Binion , the Texas gangster who created Vegas poker by Doug J. Swanson

Blood acres the wild ride of Benny Binion , the Texas gangster who created Vegas poker This fast-paced thriller of a spectacular story follows Benny Binion on his stage of murder, money, and the making of Las Vegas. He had been a cowboy, a pioneering casino owner, a gangster, a killer, and a founder of the World Series of Poker. Binion is depicted as one of the most revered figures in the history of gambling that would come to dominate the Vegas scene. Journalist Doug J. Swanson reveals once-secret government documents to construct the story of Binion as he destroys his rivals and adversaries.



Catching Killers 

The thrill of catching killers takes a reader through the discoveries of profilers and forensics pros to help crack a case of a mind game or the slightest trace of evidence that catches a real-life killer.


Stiff : the curious lives of human cadavers by Mary Roach

Stiff the curious lives of human cadavers by Mary RoachThe oddly compelling, often darkly humorous exploration of our bodies’ postmortem, Stiff looks into the thousand year art of cadavers. From testing France’s first guillotine to riding the NASA Space Shuttle, cadavers have found many interesting ways to research new surgical procedures over the centuries. Mary Roach uses engaging, witty and thoughtful writing to bring to light the story of our bodies after we are no longer with them.



The poisoner’s handbook : murder and the birth of forensic medicine in jazz age New York by Deborah Blum

The poisoner’s handbook  murder and the birth of forensic medicine in jazz age New YorkThe Jazz Age of poisoning cases chronicles the story of New York City’s first forensic scientists as they begin their chemical detective work during an era when poisons were untraceable making it the nearly perfect crime. Charles Norris and Alexander Gettler investigate a family mysteriously stricken bald, Barnum and Bailey’s Famous Blue Man,   factory workers with crumbling bones, a diner serving poisoned pies and many others.


Talking Book

Sustaining Hope Through Architectural Innovation

September 26, 2014 | Maureen | Comments (0)

How many times have you noticed paper tossed into a garbage bin, even though there is a clearly marked recycling bin right beside it? Maybe your answer is the same as mine – which is, too many times to count. The distance from one bin to the other is less than the distance a person’s arm travels between a potato chip bag and their mouth. The tiny legs of an ant can travel it in a couple of seconds. If the slight arm movement needed to cover a few centimeters is too much effort to make for the sake of the environment, how realistic is it to hope we'll make the bigger changes needed to ensure a healthy planet? Thinking about those few centimeters can be unhealthy for my sense of hope.

It's hard to be optimistic about theSept 22 2014 health of the environment these days, but there are reasons for hope. The hundreds of thousands of people all over the world who participated in The People's Climate March on September 21 made me forget about the indifference I see in those few centimeters between the bins. Another hopeful sign is innovation in the field of sustainable architecture. On Wednesday, October 15 Terri Meyer Boake, a professor at University of Waterloo's School of Architecture, will give a presentation on sustainable architecture and design at North York Central Library. Professor Meyer Boake will illustrate the talk with many images. It's sure to be an interesting and hope inspiring night. The talk begins at 7:00 p.m. Please call 416-395-5639 to register for this free program.                            

Marchers filled the streets of New York. Creative Commons: Greg McNevin, 2014 - See more at:

If you have an interest in sustainable architecture, you may be interested in one of these items, available at the Toronto Public Library:

Marchers filled the streets of New York. Creative Commons: Greg McNevin, 2014 - See more at:
Marchers filled the streets of New York. Creative Commons: Greg McNevin, 2014 - See more at:
Tiny, a story about living small Inovative Houses, Concepts for Sustainable Living 150 best sustainable home ideas
Sustainable design, a critical guide Prefabulous homes, energy efficient and sustainable homes around the globe Inspired homes, architecture for changing times

Photo of People's Climate Change March in New York City used with permission by

Free Science Events in Toronto for October 2014

September 25, 2014 | Jeannette | Comments (0)

The Science and Technology Department of North York Central Library compiles a monthly calendar of free science and applied science events in Toronto. Applied science includes health, gardening, pets and food; all subjects found in the department's collection. Here is the October calendar (PDF).

October's highlights include:

The Toronto Public Library also offers many free science and applied science events:

October's highlights include:


Carrot City: urban agriculture in Toronto

September 20, 2014 | Cathy | Comments (4)

Carrot Cityimage courtesy of

Some people, like my colleague, Carolyn, have very successful home gardens.  I drooled over the pictures of her garlic.  Me?  Not so lucky.  When I talked my husband into buying a house instead of a condo, it was supposedly so the kids would have a backyard to play in.  But really, it was so that I could have a vegetable garden.  After 7 years of trying, I concede defeat to the rabbits, raccoons and all the other neighbourhood critters I have been feeding.  The buffet is now closed. 

I actually had better luck when I had a container garden on a roof in downtown Toronto.  My best success happened when my husband and I sat on the roof spitting watermelon seeds into the containers and many of the seeds sprouted.  I could've had a bajillion watermelons! 

Rooftop gardens are only one of the alternatives to traditional vegetable gardens.  Carrot City is a Ryerson University research initiative that looks at how design can enable the production of food in a city.  On October 1, Ryerson University professors June Komisar, Joe Nasr and Mark Gorgolewski will discuss urban agriculture in Toronto at North York Central Library.

The library carries the professors' book, Carrot City: creating places for urban agriculture, along with many other titles on urban agriculture:

Carrot City: creating places for urban agriculture by Mark Gorgolewski, June Komisar and Joe Nasr The essential urban farmer by Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal Digging the city: an urban agriculture manifesto by Rhona McAdam
City farmer: adventures in urban food growing by Lorraine Johnson The urban food revolution: changing the way we feed cities by Peter Ladner Eat up: the inside scoop on rooftop agriculture by Lauren Mandel

Everything you wanted to know about statistics...but were afraid to ask

September 16, 2014 | Cathy | Comments (0)


Image courtesy of


"Statistics is the grammar of science." Karl Pearson

Statistics is important in understanding and interpreting science especially with respect to research...but everyone can enjoy a basic understanding of statistics for their everyday life. For example, when I took my first statistics course, we were asked to calculate the odds of winning the 6/49 lottery. I knew the odds were not good, but I was shocked to learn the chances of winning was just 1 in 14 million (actually, over 14 million). I remember those odds everytime I feel like buying a ton of lottery tickets so that I can quit my job. 

There are a couple of fun ways to learn more about statistics:

  • Come out to Dr Eric Mintz's presentation, "Everything you wanted to know about statistics...but were afraid to ask" at North York Central Library on Wednesday, September 24 at 7 pm. Don't worry, this won't be a snoozefest--Dr. Mintz aims to make it fun, entertaining and informative!

More traditional ways to learn about statistics:

The Tao of statistics: a path to understanding (with no math) by Dana K. Keller Correlated: from square dancing and bumper stickers to Trekkies and ketchup, surprising connections between seemingly unrelated things by Shaun Gallagher Risk savvy: how to make good decisions by Gerd Gigerenzer
Understanding uncertainty by D.V. Lindley The improbability principle: why coincidences, miracles and rare events happen everyday by D.J. Hand The cartoon introduction to statistics by Grady Klein


Add a Pinch of Seasoning to Your Autumn Travels

September 15, 2014 | Ann | Comments (0)

More beautiful images by Ian Muttoo on Flickr
Rays of autumn light in Trinity Square, Toronto. Photo credit: Ian Muttoo (This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.)

There is only one week of summer remaining. Labour Day may have unofficially marked the arrival of Autumn, but the Fall Equinox begins on September 22nd.  

Daylight hours continue to shorten, skies continue to darken, and outdoor temperatures continue to plummet. Sweaters, long pants, and warm fuzzy hats become more necessary for enduring the impending cold. Autumn also proclaims the return of bountiful harvests, cozy blankets, hot apple cider, fresh pumpkin pie, crackling embers aglow in wood burning fireplaces, and quiet time for introspection.  Wikihow offers more ways to celebrate the Autumn season.  

The most remarkable Autumn phenomenon occurs to the deciduous trees in North America. The green leaves change to reds, yellows, and golds in a natural colourful array. SUNY-ESF offers a good explanation for the changing colours.

The places to witness the changing leaf colours include: 

For more scenic places to travel in Ontario, have a look at the following guidebooks:

Backroad mapbook, cottage country Ontario outdoor recreation guide by Mussio Russell A paddler's guide to Algonquin Park by Kevin Callan The explorer's guide to Algonquin Park by Michael Runtz Great country walks around Toronto - within reach by public transit by Elliott Katz
A camper's guide to Ontario's best parks by Donna May Gibbs Carpenter Ontario provincial parks trail guide by Allen MacPherson A camper's guide to Ontario's best parks by Donna May Gibbs Carpenter A paddler's guide to Quetico and beyond by Kevin Callan


If you would like to add some haut goût to your Fall reading, try these historical titles from various disciplines. Some topics below may agree with your taste:

Seasons in the sun - the battle for Britain, 1974-1979 by Dominic Sandbrook Five seasons - a baseball companion by Roger Angell Season of the witch - enchantment, terror, and deliverance in the city of love by David Talbot A season of splendor - the court of Mrs. Astor in gilded age New York by Greg King
Early in the season - a British Columbia journal by Edward Hoagland Fifty seasons at Stratford by Robert Cushman Fever season - the story of a terrifying epidemic and the people who saved a city by Jeanette Keith Seasons of misery - catastrophe and colonial settlement in early America by Kathleen Donegan


Enjoy the changing fall colours and the many notable rituals, events, and celebrations pertaining to the Autumn season before the snow dusts the ground. 

Toronto Poetry Slam Team performance: not your grandma's poetry!

September 12, 2014 | Maureen | Comments (0)

In the beginning was the word…”

Then came poets and storytellers, doing spoken word performance, painting with words inside people’s minds. If you love the beauty, the power, the magic and the music of words, come to North York Central Library on Friday September 26, where a feast is being prepared for lovers of the spoken word. The Toronto Poetry Slam Team, a group of spoken word poets who have performed across North America, will take to the stage in the North York Central Library auditorium at 7:00 p.m. to perform their original work. And I do mean perform. This is NOT a poetry reading. These spoken word artists don’t recite their poetry, they perform it -- energetically, emotionally and passionately.

Be advised: as it says on the Toronto Poetry Slam website, "this ain’t your grandma's poetry!" It can hit hard, be provocative, political, raw. Please call 416 395 5639 to register for this free Culture Days program. There are more than 40 free Culture Days programs offered at library branches across the city. This Canada wide celebration of arts and culture takes place on Friday September 26 and Saturday September 27.

Would you like to learn more about poetry slams? Reserve one of these items and have it sent to a library near you!

Stage a poetry slam Take the mic The complete idiot's guide to slam poetry
The spoken word revolution The spoken word revolution redux Louder than a bomb
This anthology includes a CD with over 70 minutes of electrifying live poetry in a wide variety of styles. Includes a CD with over 75 minutes of slam poetry, dub poetry, hip-hop poetica and more. This video follows four Chicago-area high school poetry teams as they prepare for and compete in the world's largest youth slam.

Video used by permission of the Toronto Poetry Project

Cyber Hacking: an inside look

September 11, 2014 | Cathy | Comments (0)

Skull with keyboard teeth
Image courtesy of

Every week, there seems to be another newspaper article about computer hackers and their victims. Two recent incidents come to mind: 

-over a billion passwords were reportedly stolen by a group of Russian hackers from various organizations.  Shortly after, doubts were raised about that story and whether this was a PR stunt by a company who provided online security services. 

-the personal photos of Hollywood celebrities were stolen and posted after someone hacked into their online accounts.

Whether it's a billion passwords or a thousand photos stolen, it is obvious that there are some bad people out there who want to get a hold of your personal information. How can you protect yourself? 

One way is by attending the presentation, Cyber Hacking: an inside look at North York Central Library on September 23 at 6:45 pm. 

For Do-It-Yourselfers, another way is to read up on the subject:

Computer security by Dieter Gollmann

Anti-hacker toolkit by Mike Shema

Basics of information security by Jason Andress

What is computer science? an information security perspective by Daniel Page and Nigel Smart

For general interest reading on how pervasive cyber crimes and hacking are, the following titles may be of interest:

Darkmarket: cyberthieves, cybercops and you by Misha Glenny

We are Anonymous by Parmy Olson

Targeted cyber attacks: multi-staged attacks driven by exploits and malware by Aditya Sood and Richard Enbody

Cybersecurity and cyberwar: what everybody needs to know by PW Singer and Allan Friedman

Science Literacy

September 5, 2014 | Jeannette | Comments (0)

September 22-29 is Science Literacy Week. The Toronto Public Library will be joining the University of Toronto’s Gerstein Library to highlight and promote science and science literacy through displays and programs.

Last week, the CBC reported that Canadians' science literacy was ranked highest in the world. According to the National Science Education Standards, scientific literacy means a person has the ability to:

  • Ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences
  • Describe, explain and predict natural phenomena
  • Read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions
  • Identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions
  • Evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it
  • Pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence

The Science & Technology department, in particular the Science Fair collection, at the North York Central Library, contain books that can help understand and improve science literacy:

The art of science  Everyday practice of science  The language of science  Reading and understanding research

Science matters   What counts as credible evidence in applied research and evaluation practice  What the numbers say  Why science 

Want something to read right now? Access and download these popular science magazines through our Zinio database:

Astronomy   Discover   Earth  Popular science

Also, access our Science in Context database for journal articles, news, videos, images and audio on major science topics:

Science in Context

Science Literacy Week is a good opportunity to brush up on your science knowledge or learn something new through the library’s programs, books and displays.


Make the Most of Your Wardrobe

September 3, 2014 | Cathy | Comments (4)

 Rack of clothes

Image courtesy of Flickr

Part of my back-to-school routine as a kid was to get a new batch of school supplies.  It was so nice having a spanking new pencil case full of just-sharpened pencil crayons.  But the best part?  Getting new clothes, some of which I insisted on wearing the first day, of course. 

Even as an adult, I feel that September is a fresh start.  And if that fresh start includes your wardrobe, you are in luck.  Sandi Quigley is a style consultant who will be providing a workshop on the science of personal dress at North York Central Library  on September 9 at 7 pm.  She will be providing suggestions on how you can make the most of your existing wardrobe.  And if you want to buy some items, she will be giving advice on what goes with what and how to accessorize.  As someone with a closet full of tops and bottoms that don't go with anything, I am ready to make wiser purchases.

As Sandi says, "stop wearing 20% of your clothes 80% of your time".   Hope you join me there...and if you can't, take a look at the following titles:

What not to wear by Trinny Woodall & Susannah Constantine How to dress: your complete style guide for every occasion by Gok Wan Wardrobe wakeup: your guide to looking fabulous at any age by Lois Joy Johnson

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