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November 2014

27 More Days until Christmas

November 28, 2014 | Jeannette | Comments (0)

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights - Street
Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios

I just returned from a trip to Disney World. This trip has fully put me into the festive spirit. We attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party where all the characters were dressed in their Christmas attire, Cast Members handed out hot chocolate and cookies and we watched awesome holiday shows. There was also Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, with a special appearance by none other than Santa Claus!

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights - TreeThe decorations throughout all the parks were amazing. There were huge, beautiful Christmas trees at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (we didn’t visit Animal Kingdom but I’m sure there was a beautiful tree there as well). In addition to the beautiful Christmas tree, Disney’s Hollywood Studios had the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. It was breathtaking. I have never witnessed anything as beautiful as this during the holiday season. The whole street was lit up with beautiful Christmas lights. And at timed intervals, music would play and the lights would dance along with the rhythm. It is a must see.

So with just 27 more days until Christmas, I have started my Christmas decorating and shopping.

Do you need ideas or want to read reviews of Christmas gifts before you buy them? Check out Consumer Reports:

Consumer Reports OnlineConsumer Reports can be accessed online. The online database allows you to search for specific items or browse through different categories. There are also videos and the option to compare products.

Consumer ReportsThe print magazine is available at library branches. Some copies are borrowable while others are for in-library use. Please contact your local branch for more information.




Want to make your own gifts instead? How about baked goods and holiday candies:

Cookie craft Christmas  Christmas gifts from the kitchen  Christmas sweets  Sweet Christmas

And don’t forget the books about Christmas entertaining:

Christmas entertaining  Christmas family gatherings  The Christmas table  The Good Housekeeping Christmas cookbook

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holidays!

Free Science Events in Toronto for December 2014

November 27, 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 December calendar (PDF).

December's highlights include:

  • December 4: Earth Exhales: A Volatile History, part of the Earth Sciences Seminar Series at the University of Toronto.
  • December 7: What is Happening with Monarch Butterflies? Citizen scientist Don Davies describes the current situation of monarch butterflies and what we can do to help.
  • December 18: Safe Winter Driving, learn what is required to maintain and regain control over your vehicle in specific types of skids, the vital principle of the natural laws of motion and your vehicle's limitations, and recommended winter tune-ups.

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

December's highlights include:

Can't attend a program or want to read more about the topics covered? Try some of these titles:

An introduction to our dynamic planet  Monarch butterflies  Driving techniques  The brain book

The baby's table  Ebola  Sams teach yourself HTML and CSS in 24 hours  The Allergy-Free Cook bakes cakes and cookies

Information: Make It Your Business

November 25, 2014 | Kathryn | Comments (0)

We live in a fast-paced technological age where companies often sink or swim based on their ability to adapt to change. In their determination to deal with the uncertainty, business owners constantly seek information: What will be the next big product? How will businesses adapt to the latest generation of workers? Who will be Canada's next big trading partner? 

But not all information is created equal! The trick is to find sources that are current, yet reliable.  Business magazines, or periodicals as we call them, contain information that is timely, entertaining and, most importantly, trustworthy. Some of the best writers in the world write for magazines and all the information is fact-checked for accuracy.

North York Central Library has many great business magazines covering a gamut of topics.

Canadian business Inc.Forbes

The latest issue of Canadian Business, for example, features this year's top CEOs and explains what makes them so successful. Fans of Blackberry products will enjoy an in-depth interview with CEO John Chen, who discusses his plans to revive the company. But the magazine didn't leave out CFOs; an article called Death By A Thousand Tax Cuts will appeal to the bean counter in every company. 

Entrepreneurs may find Profits to be a particularly helpful magazine. Published by the Business Development Bank of Canada, Profits provides startups with useful information and lets them know about BDBC products and services. Articles like Buying the Right Company: Your Step-By-Step Strategy to a Successful Acquisition and Southern Exposure: The Right Approach to Selling in the U.S. provide real-world examples for the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

Speaking of our southern neighbours, we also have American magazines to keep you up-to-date with things from the U.S. perspective. Inc., The Magazine for Growing Companies features actress Jessica Alba on the cover. Turns out she's the founder of a $1-billion startup called The Honest Company. Who knew? And if you happen to be in a family-owned business, you're sure to relate to relevant topics like The Professional and Emotional Minefield of a Sibling-Run Startup and Work With Your Spouse Without Killing Each Other.  

Forbes magazine features a lengthy profile on the founders of Pinterest, and Fast Company has a helpful article called How I Get It Done: Unconventional Advice, Tips, Habits and Hacks from the Most Creative People in Business.

If you're a business owner who believes knowledge is power, you'll enjoy the magazines at North York Central Library. While our mags are reference only, many of the local branches offer circulating copies that can be borrowed. 

If you prefer to do your reading on your computer or hand-held device, some of our magazines can be downloaded for free through Zinio eMagazines. Check out our complete list of Zinio titles (PDF).





An End to the Camelot Era

November 24, 2014 | Ann | Comments (4)

John F. Kennedy at Dealey Plaza in Dallas Texas on November 22, 1963.
This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed.

On November 22, 1963, the 35th President of the United States was assassinated by long-range rifle shots originating from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository. John F. Kennedy rode in an open-top limousine through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas and was struck in the neck and head by two shots at 12:30 pm. Texas Governor John Connally sat one seat ahead of JFK. He was also shot but survived. Jackie Kennedy was physically unhurt but was seen trying to save her husband's life. A lone sniper, Lee Harvey Oswald, was eventually captured and arrested for the crime.  

Two days later, on November 24, 1963, while Lee Harvey Oswald was escorted from the basement of the city jail at 11:20 am, a lone gunman stepped forward from the crowd and shot Oswald in close proximity much to the astonishment of the detective and officers accompanying Oswald. Jack Ruby was identified as the shooter. The front page of the Monday, November 25, 1963 issue of the New York Times reports both the State funeral of John F. Kennedy as well as the report of the public execution of Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.  

In January 1964, Jackie Kennedy requested a historian, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. to meet with her to record her experiences during the JFK presidency. These tapes were recently released for publication in 2011.  

Historic conversations on life with John F. Kennedy: interviews with Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., 1964  by Onassis, Jacqueline Kennedy, 1929-1994. EAudiobook of Jacqueline Kennedy historic conversations on life with John F. Kennedy, interviews with Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., 1964

Janny Scott's September 11, 2011 New York Times article, In Tapes, Candid Talk by Young Kennedy Widowprovides a glimpse into that conversation. During their recorded conversation, Jackie compared her husband's presidency period to that of Camelot.  

Jacqueline Kennedy's interpretation, though comforting, may contain questionable gaps. In The Guardian, Sarah-Jane Stratford's November 21, 2013 article, Referring to JFK's presidency as 'Camelot' doesn't do him justice, discusses how King Arthur's myth does not accurately capture Jackie Kennedy's romantic version of JFK's presidency. Stratford believes JFK deserves a more accurate historical interpretation of the events of that period.

Despite the different perspectives shared on that period in time, the events that unfolded in November over five decades ago remain instilled in current social media.  

The Society and Recreation Department has a wide selection of titles on American history in the 20th century including a well-stocked display on the Kennedy era.

Kennedy titles at the Society & Recreation Department
Photo courtesy of the Toronto Public Library

Below are more titles on this historical topic:

Four days in November: the original coverage of the John F. Kennedy assassination by Robert B. Semple JFK assassination logic: how to think about claims of conspiracy by John McAdams Killing Kennedy: the end of Camelot by Bill O'Reilly The hidden history of the JFK assassination: the definitive account of the most controversial crime of the twentieth century by Lamar Waldron
The Kennedy detail: JFK's secret service agents break their silence by Gerald Blaine The Kennedy half-century: the presidency, assassination, and lasting legacy of John F. Kennedy by Larry Sabato Mrs. Paine's garage and the murder of John F. Kennedy by Thomas Mallon Kennedy assassinated!: the world mourns: a reporter's story by Wilborn Hampton

The month of November honours conflicts and battles through 20th century history. This month also observes an event that still unites people to share in its mourning. 

Art Talk at North York Central Library: Michelangelo: Drawing Inspiration, Building a Legacy

November 20, 2014 | Muriel | Comments (0)



 Art Talk: Michelangelo: Drawing Inspiration, Building a Legacy
Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.
North York Central Library Auditorium

Come and join us for an art talk which showcases and elaborates on a selection of drawings and ideas featured in the Art Gallery of Ontario exhibition, "Michelangelo: Quest for Genius."
This talk will focus on key commissions that Michelangelo felt
would seal his fame eternally and the
particular challenges, both
artistic and personal, behind them. 

Speaker: Betsy Purvis, University of Toronto, Department of Visual Studies
Please call 416-395-5639 to register for this free program.

 Michelangelo A Life On Paper      Michelangelo The Drawings of a Genius
      Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel

he Art Gallery of Ontario exhibition, "Michelangelo: Quest for Genius," is on until Janaury 11, 2015, and centres on a loan of 29 drawings from the Casa Buonarroti in Florence, whose collection is formed from Michelangelo's own.  These drawings represent the range of Michelangelo's work as a painter, sculptor and architect.

With a Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass, you can go for free to the
Art Gallery of Ontario. 

Discovering Michelangelo        Michelangelo the Artist the Man and His Times        Michelangelo The Complete Sculpture Painting Architecture

United Way Arts and Crafts Sale

November 15, 2014 | Moyra | Comments (0)

Toronto Public Library's 4th Annual


Arts and Crafts Fair


for the United Way

Friday, November 21st, 2014

11:00 am - 6:00 pm

North York Central Library Atrium

5120 Yonge St. (North York Centre Subway)


Free Admission


Hope to see you there!



Great popular science books: the new and the "new-ish"

November 14, 2014 | Carolyn | Comments (0)

The Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books  celebrates outstanding popular science books published in English. I find the books nominated for this award are always informative, engaging and well-written - in other words, great popular science reads.

The award for 2014 was announced on November 10. The winning book is:

Stuff Matters: the strange stories of the marvellous materials that shape our man-made world

Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik, available in book and eAudiobook formats

When Miodownik was a student, he was mugged by someone armed with a razor blade. He was amazed that a slender piece of steel could inflict so much damage. Filing a police report later, he started thinking about the staple that held the forms together. How could a substance - steel - hard enough to cut through five layers of clothing and leave him with a 13 cm stab wound also be capable of bending like a staple or a paper clip?

So began a lifelong fascination. Miodownik is now a professor of materials science, and in this book he devotes a chapter to each of 10 materials - including steel and concrete, glass and paper, carbon and even chocolate - revealing the extraordinary properties of everyday substances. 

The Winton Prize judges from The Royal Society said: "This brilliantly written book is a fresh take on material science that makes even the most everyday stuff exciting and interesting. It demonstrates just how creative and ingenious the human mind can be in its ability to incorporate them into our lives.”


   The other shortlisted titles were:

Gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal Serving the Reich: the study for the soul of physics under Hitler Seven Elements that Have Changed the World

book, large print book, audiobook, talking book

The author of Stiff and Bonk tackes the digestive system.

How three leading German Nazi era scientists dealt with the moral complexities of serving the reich. Iron, carbon, gold, silver, uranium, titanium and silicon - in case you were wondering.
  The-Cancer-Chronicles: unlocking medicine's deepest mystery The Perfect Theory: a century of geniuses and the battle over general relativity

book, eBook, eAudiobook

A history of the disease and the status of current research from a deeply personal perspective.

book, eBook, eAudiobook

The drama and personalities behind the theory of general relativity.


This month in the Science & Technology Department we have a display featuring "new-ish" items from our collection. We want to draw people's attention to some of the excellent popular science books published in the past couple of years which might not otherwise  attract the attention - and readers - they deserve.  

Here are some suggestions, including some recent Winton nominees, in case you can't make it in to choose something from the display: 

A Garden of Marvels: how we discovered that flowers have sex, leaves eat air, and other secrets of plants Gene Everlasting: a contrary farmer's thoughts on living forever    Everyday Calculus: discovering the hidden math all around us

book and eBook

An engaging look at plant biology from a garden-loving science writer. Her enthusiasism is infectious.

Short essays about the place of death in the natural order of things. The author shares stories and insights from his life on a farm. Witty and moving. An engaging look at how math underlies much of our lives-from planning a daily commute to finding the best seat in the movie theatre.
Heart Sick: the politics of risk, inequality and heart disease From X-Rays to DNA: how engineering drives biology Freezing People Is (Not) Easy: my adventures in cryonics
Using the example of heart disease, the author examines the biases that can undermine health research and epidemiology.

book and eBook

Scientific breakthroughs from pasteurization to DNA analysis would not have been possible without engineering advances that preceded them.

Nelson became fascinated with cryonics in the 1960s. His organization froze clients after they died, promising to revive them when medical advances could cure their ailments. It did not end well.
Cells to Civilization: the principles of change that shape life The Particle at the End of the Universe: how the hunt for the Higgs boson leads us to the edge of a new world The Ocean of Life: the fate of man and the sea
A provocative look at how transformation is common to all life forms. The author discusses the shared processes in four life transformations - evolution, development, learning and culture.

book and talking book

Physicist Sean Carroll's award-winning account of the science and the politics of the search for the Higgs boson.

book and eAudiobook

Examines the complex relationship and the interdependence between humans and oceans.

Remembering Canada's Heroes

November 10, 2014 | Aleks | Comments (0)

Flander's Field

     November 11, a monumental date to all Canadians; Remembrance Day. Remembrance for the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country during conflict, war and peace. This year, 2014, marks 100 years since the declaration of war between the Axis and Allies. The Canadian War Museum has designed a beautiful resource for those interested in Canada's contributions in the First World War. They have brought together information in collaboration with pictures and objects from the war for public viewing. The Toronto Public Library Digital Archives also has a large collection of pictures from World War I and World War II


    The recent events in Ottawa have received nothing but an outpouring of support to Canadians worldwide. As the story unfolded in the following days, I could not resist feeling a sense of nationalism to be a part of such a great country amongst fellow Canadians who felt the same. The heroic acts of bravery by the Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers in light of our fallen soldiers, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent brought a need to commemorate them.

    Canadians have an interesting history, one which include acts of selflessness, heroics, perseverance, and struggle that would eventually shape our country. The following is just a small glimpse into some of the more interesting and exceptional Canadian people and events.


Isaack Brock - Canada's hero in the war of 1812

    Isaac Brock is the best-known figure of the War of 1812. He is widely credited as the military leader who frustrated the United States in its ambition to invade and take over Canada. He was an interesting character such that when he faced a challenge to duel, he insisted the other man be a handkerchief's length away. His opponent was forced to back down. Brock survived family financial disaster and faced desertions and near-mutinies before his successful years commanding his regiment in Upper Canada. As military governor of the colony, he called up the militia to oppose the invading Americans and led his troops into the key Battle of Queenston Heights. He died in the Queenston battle, but his courage inspired his troops to victory -- and even brought tribute from his American foes.

Laura Secord - heroine of the War of 1812

    After dragging her injured husband off the battlefield during the War of 1812, Laura Secord (1775-1868) was forced to house American soldiers for financial support while she nursed him back to health. It was during this time that she overheard the American plan to ambush British troops at Beaver Dams. Through an outstanding act of perseverance and courage in 1813, Laura walked an astonishing 30 kilometers from her home to a British outpost to warn Lieutenant James FitzGibbon. Despite facing rough terrain, the ever-present danger of being caught by American troops, and rather delicate encounters with Native forces, Laura reached FitzGibbon just in time for the British to prepare and execute an ambush on American military nearby, forcing the U.S. general to surrender. Laura lived a very long time, dying at the age of 93. In her lifetime the government never formally recognized her singular feat of bravery, and much controversy still envelopes her legacy. 

Shake hands with the devil - the failure of humanity in Rwanda

    Digging deep into shattering memories, General Dallaire has written a powerful story of betrayal, naïveté, racism and international politics. His message is simple and undeniable: “Never again.” When Lt-Gen. Roméo Dallaire received the call to serve as force commander of the UN intervention in Rwanda in 1993, he thought he was heading off on a modest and straightforward peacekeeping mission. Thirteen months later he flew home from Africa, broken, disillusioned and suicidal, having witnessed the slaughter of 800,000 Rwandans in only a hundred days. 


The courage of the early morning - a biography of Billy Bishop, the great ace of World War I

    William Avery Bishop "Billy Bishop" survived more than 170 air battles during World War I and was given official credit for shooting down seventy-two German aircraft. Experts on aerial warfare acknowledge that his relentless air fighting techniques and skills as a brilliant individualist and marksman were unique and his record unsurpassed. He was the first man in British military history to receive the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Service Order, and the Military Cross in one ceremony. Eddie Rickenbacker, an American fighter ace once said, "Richthofen usually waited for enemies to fly into his territory; Bishop was the raider, always seeking the enemy wherever he could be found ... I think he's the only man I ever met who was incapable of fear." His three years at the Royal Military College were disastrous – an epic of rules broken and discipline scorned. He often admitted that his special method of landing wrecked more planes than he shot down. In the days when fliers could rightly think themselves heroes for just having the courage to go up in the rickety plans, Billy Bishop won the respect of comrades and enemies alike. He was one of the new breed of warriors who met the deadly challenge of air combat and made the airplane a decisive military weapon.


 For those who are looking for reads about courage, survival, danger and resilience the following are a list of books acclaimed as truly inspiring and mesmerizing reads:  

Lone survivor the eyewitness account of Operation Redwing and the lost heroes of SEAL Team 10Band of brother - E company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's NestUnbroken - a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemptionLiar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy- Four Women Undercover in the Civil WarA Long Way Gone- Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


Chase away the autumn blues with an evening of words and music

November 7, 2014 | Maureen | Comments (4)

Sun lovers get the blues when dead leaves scratch along the sidewalk in bone chilling autumn gusts, and days are short and bleak. You might want to hurry home and shut the door on this dark season, but there are remedies for the autumn blues. Stomp and crunch your way through leaf piles! Rejoice in the dark majesty of autumn skies! Greens and tropical blues have had their time. Now the crimson, gold and sapphire of autumn rule, and you can hear the rhythm of Canadian poet Bliss Carman’s classic verse as you stride through frenzied leaf cyclones that suddenly animate the sidewalk:

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood--
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

Autumn leaf

Is your jack-o'-lantern still out in your yard or on your balcony? Take a photo everyday, animate them, and watch Jack bite his own evil grin as he rots! Make yourself an autumn song playlist. It’s easy to do using Naxos Music Library, which is available to you from your home computer or in any Toronto Public Library branch. All you need is your library card to access a huge music collection. Using the jazz version of Naxos Music Library, I created an autumn playlist that includes the songs “Autumn leaves”,  “Stormy weather”, “Autumn Nocturne”,  “Lullaby of the leaves”, “Autumn in New York”, “Soon it’s gonna rain” and “My favourite things” performed by great artists such as Miles Davis, Vince Guaraldi, Charles Mingus, Oscar Peterson, John Coltrane and Ella Fitzgerald. Coltrane’s soaring, diving saxophone improvisation of Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s “My favourite things” is 13 minutes and 41 seconds of pure brilliance that makes me think of the erratic dance of falling leaves tossed by the wind. With these jazz geniuses playing the soundtrack for your autumn blues, you just might want to stay blue.

North York Central Library invites you to a musical performance that is all about the blues. On Tuesday November 18, award winning blues artists Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley, along with guitarist and musicologist Mike Daley, will perform blues poetry, which is a fusion of blues music and the African American oral tradition. They will perform work by Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes and others. Diana and Chris have played all over North America and Europe, and have won nine Maple Blues Awards and 6 Juno nominations. The performance begins at 7:00 p.m. Please call 416-395-5639 to register for this free program.

 DeltaPhonic Blues Poems  Something about the blues
 The Essential Langston Hughes Selected poems of Langston Hughes   Squeeze my lemon


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