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May 2016

Free Science Events in Toronto for June 2016

May 31, 2016 | 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 June calendar (PDF).

June's highlights include:

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

At the Library, June's highlights include:

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

Nature's Babies   Learning Virtual Reality   Space Probes   Homemade Sourdough

The Healthy Homemade Pet Food Cookbook   How to Raise Monarch Butterflies   Understanding Brain Aging and Dementia   The Everything STEM Handbook


What's the Buzz?

May 27, 2016 | Carolyn | Comments (0)


Bee of the genus Apis on a flower
Image courtesy Maciej A. Czyzewski via Wikimedia Commons


Could we have had a more perfect long weekend than the one that just ended with Victoria Day? If you weren't at a cottage or campground, you may have spent time in your backyard, as I did, working in the garden. My husband and I planted vegetables, filled containers with flowers and divided and moved perennials. And we paid special attention to attracting pollinators by planting lavender, chives and bee balm.

The recent decline of honey bee populations has been getting a lot of attention since they're critical to our food supply; the widely-quoted statistic is that one third of what we eat depends on crops pollinated by bees. A condition called colony collapse disorder has resulted in a steep decline in the numbers of bees available to perform this critical function. But other pollinators are threatened as well by loss of habitat, pesticide use and climate change. 

If you thought this problem wouldn't be on the radar in a city like ours, you'd be wrong. It turns out that we share our urban environment with over 350 species of bees. Toronto has just become Canada's first bee city, which means it has made a commitment to protect bees and other pollinators and their habitats, and to educate citizens about the importance of doing the same. 


Bees of Toronto: a guide to their remarkable worldBees of Toronto, a recent publication in the City of Toronto's terrific Biodiversity Series, is a great place to start learning about our native species and how we can support them. Copies are available in library branches.


Here are some resources if you'd like to learn how to attract wild bees to your garden or balcony:

  • Friends of the Earth's Let It Bee program suggests practical ways to establish and improve bee habitats in backyards and balconies. Check out resources like their list (PDF) of bee-friendly native plants.


Urban beekeeping has become very popular. If you'd like to learn more about it, here are some resources:

  • the Urban Bee Network provides links to information about courses as well as issues of concern to urban beekeepers, such as by-laws and permits


My colleague Jeannette has prepared a reading list (PDF) about bees.


Here are a few books about bees available in library branches:             


If you're interested in beekeeping:        

The Backyard Beekeeper: an absolute beginner's guide to keeping bees in your yard and garden


Finally, if you'd like to introduce young people to this subject, my colleague Kate's recent post about bees features books for children.

The Unofficial Start of Summer!

May 24, 2016 | Emoke | Comments (0)

The complete outdoors encyclopedia While the official start of summer is still about a month away, many Canadians consider the "May-Two-Four" weekend to have been it!

Hopefully you all got a chance to get up to some fun outdoor activities like gardening, camping, sitting on your deck or patio (if you are lucky enough to have one), or enjoying some evening fireworks, this past long-weekend.

Everyone probably has their start-of-summer rituals, as we are all so happy when the warmer weather hits. Mine include: putting away warmer clothing and doing some spring cleaning and organizing around the home. I also like to refresh my spring/summer wardrobe (and workout wardrobe) and buy some comfortable walking shoes, for those days that are nice enough to walk home from work. Being a beauty lover, I also can't resist buying some new bright makeup shades to sport during the sunny days ahead. Brighter, bolder colours make me feel happy and energized. In addition, it never hurts to spruce up my place with some fresh flowers. Food-wise, I look the most forward to cherries, peaches, tomatoes, etc. being sold in in-season prices! Nothing better than some cool, juicy cherries or watermelon to enjoy on the balcony in the warmth of the sunshine.

This year, for the first-time ever, I will attempt some balcony gardening. I have never tried that before, but I have a new very sunny balcony, and will try to attempt growing some mini tomatoes, cucumbers and basil. Let's see how that turns out! I am still waiting for it to be warm enough to be able to plant them.

What are some of your start of the summer rituals? Leave them down in the comments below.

Here are some books from Toronto Public Library that you can borrow for some summertime inspiration. And do check out my colleagues' recent great blog post on Spring Cleaning.

Happy unofficial start of summer!

  Container gardening on balconies and terraces  Container gardening 250 design ideas & step by step techniques  Successful container gardening- 75 easy to grow flower and vegetable gardens  Tips for container gardening- 300 great ideas for growing flowers, vegetables & herbs

  The pocket guide to camping  Camping British Columbia and Yukon- the complete guide to national, provincial and territorial campgrounds  Camping with kids in the west- BC and Alberta's best family campgrounds  The total outdoorsman manual- 408 survival skills





Talk About Tattoos: Getting Inked!

May 20, 2016 | Muriel | Comments (0)

Tattooed   The World Atlas of Tattoo   Tattoo Masters   Wabori Traditional Japanese Tattoo

Thursday, June 30 from 7 to 8 pm

North York Central Library Auditorium (Please call 416-395-5639 to register for this free program)

Join members of the award-winning staff of Chronic Ink tattoo studio as they describe the process of getting a tattoo. Marvel at beautiful illustrations inspired by Asian and Western art, then consider a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum's Tattoos exhibit.

With the Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass, you and your family can explore, for free, the best of Toronto's arts and cultural treasures, including the Royal Ontario Museum. We also have lots of books you can explore for inspiration or interest.


Art by Tattoists   Skin Graf   The Nonstop Book of Fantastika Tattoo Designs   Literary Tattoos

Pen & Ink   Bodies of Subversion   Bang Bang   Go Big or Go Home
Tattoo   Wear Your Dreams   Tattooed by the Family Business   In the Paint


Spring Cleaning

May 13, 2016 | Jeannette | Comments (8)

The weather is finally consistently warm and pleasant. Now it’s time to get out the vacuums, dusters and cleaning supplies to remove the buildup of dust and dirt from the winter months.

Last weekend, I thoroughly vacuumed the house. I moved beds, couches, dressers and other furniture to reach places that are often missed. This weekend, I plan on removing the curtains and throwing them in the wash. Rugs and throw pillows need to be cleaned and dried in the sun. Oh, and I can’t forget those stuffed animals.

I also like to open all my windows to let fresh air into the house. And don’t forget to check your air duct cleaning schedule. It may be time to get those professionally cleaned, as well.

Spring cleaning isn’t just about cleaning. It’s also an opportunity to organize and declutter your home. Store away winter jackets, sweaters and boots that we hopefully won’t be needing until December. Organize your closet and throw away or donate any unwanted clothing.

The library has many books with cleaning and organizing tips to help you get started.

Here are some books about cleaning:

Express Housekeeping   Household Hints   Joey Green's Kitchen Magic   Keeping House

Looking for an environmentally friendly way to clean? Try these books:

Homemade Cleaners   Household Cleaning   The Organically Clean Home   Planet Home

Need help with organizing and decluttering your home? There are books for that, too:

Declutter Anything   Decluttering Your Home   The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up   Never Too Busy to Cure Clutter

I have to admit that I don't like to clean. But it's something that needs to be done. Looking for a shortcut to cleaning? There are actually books for that, too:

Clean it Fast, Clean it Right   Just Clean Enough   No Time to Clean   Speed Cleaning 101

Mothers as Artisans of Compassion

May 6, 2016 | Ann | Comments (0)

Titles on compassion at tpl.caImage courtesy of BK under CC 2.0 Generic Licence

The term, mother, brings to mind someone who loves, protects, strengthens and endures. Mothers do their best to raise their children to face the world in all its pain and glory. 


More images of Dorthea Lange from the Library of Congress
Image courtesy of Boerboy from Wikimedia Commons

As Dorthea Lange's photograph of the (1936) migrant mother so aptly illustrates, a mother loves and worries about the well-being of her family. The face behind the Migrant Mother was that of Florence Thompson. Florence, at that time, had seven children, few resources, little food and concerns causing her brow to furrow. Her image has become part of the human folklore around a mother's undying strength and compassion through the Great Depression.

Clearly, motherhood is no easy task no matter what era. Care-giving skills are based on love, trial, effort, error and success. Many mothers rely on experiences passed on from family and friends who have gone through these roles themselves.

Jeanne Garbarino's (May 11, 2012) article called, Motherhood Defined: It is in the heart of the beholder, compiles brief excerpts from different people of what motherhood entails. Matt Shipman's comment summarizes how mothers project strength while setting aside their own feelings of trepidation, "Motherhood is letting your kids think you are ten feet tall and bulletproof, so they feel you can keep them safe — even though there’s stuff out there that scares the hell out of you."

The library offers resources on this topic with information for mothers at different stages in their lives. These resources can reinforce a new mother's course of action as well as provide a chuckle or two for those who have made it through the early stages of parenthood.

The M word: conversations about motherhood   Mindful motherhood: practical tools for staying sane during pregnancy and your child's first year Motherhood (DVD) Mommyblogs and the changing face of motherhood
Mothers, mothering and motherhood across cultural differences: a reader The mask of motherhood: how becoming a mother changes everything and why we pretend it doesn't Dorthea Lange: a life beyond limits No caption needed: iconic photographs, public culture, and liberal democracy 

Mothers and Life Challenges

More titles on tarot cards available at North York Central Library
Image courtesy of Nocturbulous under CC 2.0 Generic Licence

The Rider-Waite Tarot deck portrays motherhood in the form of the Empress. The image shows a regal lady dressed in a loose-fitting gown befitting a young woman in early pregnancy. The green lush background, flowing river, the crown of leaves and stars circling her hair, and the pomegranate printed dress symbolize fertility, Earth and life. The cushions providing her with comfort are adorned with Venus symbols. All the symbols offer an impression of a new season emerging with new life. Everything in this image appears sunny, ideal and soothing.

What this image does not capture are the unexpected life experiences that all mothers must face on a daily basis. Even with the best of intentions, challenges can occur and mothers are only human. In some situations, mothers may no longer be available for the family. Many people survive these difficulties and learn to cope, becoming stronger over time. Here are some moving stories with themes of interpretation and acceptance of life's obstacles. Self reflection can reshape these experiences towards a better future.

My secret mother: two different lives, one heartbreaking secret: a memoir Battle hymn of the tiger mother The loss that is forever: the lifelong impact of the early death of a mother or father Our mothers' spirits: on the death of mothers and the grief of men: an anthology
Not becoming my mother: and other things she taught me along the way Mother in the middle: a biologist's story of caring for parent and child Pieces of my mother: a memoir Divine secrets of the Ya-Ya sisterhood (book & DVD)

Extraordinary Moms 

Despite life's obstacles, a mother who tries to make it her goal to provide care for her child is an amazingly extraordinary person. Mastering the daily demands of motherhood with care and compassion and preparing for future emergencies are keys to success. Stories and lessons by extraordinary moms inspire the rest of us to appreciate what it takes to do that extra bit to make life a wonderful journey for everyone involved.

Successful single moms: thirteen stories of triumph I know how she does it: how successful women make the most of their time How she really does it: secrets of successful stay-at-work moms Peaceful parent, happy siblings: how to stop the fighting and raise friends for life
The mother of all parenting books: an all-Canadian guide to raising a happy, healthy child from preschool through the preteens The mindful parent: strategies from peaceful cultures to raise compassionate, competent kids Dolphin way a parent's guide to raising healthy, happy, and motivated kids Nurtureshock: new thinking about children

Mothers face so many challenges. It is a special role that many women take on to help raise wonderful families. We would like to wish you and your family a bright and warm Mother's Day this Sunday, as you celebrate and remember her marvelous achievements in your life.


Related blog posts:

Fun, Free, Fabulous Drag Fashion Show

May 6, 2016 | Maureen | Comments (2)

Miss Understood by David Shankbone
  Miss Understood by David Shankbone
You’re invited to Stilettos on the Move, a drag fashion show! Come celebrate Pride Week at North York Central Library on Tuesday, May 17 at 7:00 p.m. Flamboyant drag performers will turn the library stage into a catwalk as glamorous as any you'll see during Toronto Fashion Week. Watch Juice Boxx, Scarlet Bobo, Heaven Lee Hytes, Sofonda and Katinka Kature strut their fabulous stuff – and I do not use the word fabulous lightly. The art of drag involves dazzling costumes, wigs, glitz and gloss, and all the colours in the makeup box. If you've ever been curious about the art of drag, this is your chance to learn about it from the performers themselves. After the fashion show, they'll be interviewed, and you'll have a chance to ask them questions. A thrilling group performance by all five drag artists will conclude the evening. Call (416) 395-5639 to register for this free program.

Men wearing high heels is nothing new -- they've been doing it since the 1600s, according to an exhibition currently at the Bata Shoe Museum. If you'd like a free pass to see the exhibition Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels, pick up a Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass. The Bata Shoe Museum pass is available at 50 Toronto Public Library branches.


Movies featuring drag performances:

Kinky boots Hairspray Victor Victoria The adventures of Priscilla Queen of the desert

Books featuring drag or cross-dressing:

Fanny and Stella Girlfriend men women and drag Manchu princess, Japanese spy Drag teen

 Books on fashion:

Fashion the fifty most influential fashion designers of all time A queer history of fashion Fashion that changed the world The fashion manifesto

Watch Matty Cameron's dramatic transformation into Scarlett Bobo, one of the performers you'll see at North York Central Library:

Welcome to North York Central Library. We're one of the City's most welcoming spaces, open to all for study, research, relaxation and fun.

Our extensive digital and print collections, programs and services are yours to use, borrow and explore. Expert staff are always on hand to help. Meet us in person or join us online.