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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. 

Motherhood

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:

Repair Your Car Yourself

April 11, 2016 | Ranald | Comments (5)

Use the library e-resource Chilton Library, which is accessible anywhere Œ(1) your car calls out to be pushed onto its side and repaired, (2) you have your tools with you and (3) you have something, besides what you're wearing, to wipe your hands on.

 

Car repair 2016 04

Photograph: Julia Kertesz, "Bucarest, car repair on the street."

Instructions:

  • Use the "Vehicle Selector" menus on the left of the home page to select your car by, first, year, then make, then model.
  • Click on "Select."
  • Then click on "Repair" under the heading "Data is available for the following."

Now you're at the home page of the repair manual for the vehicle you've selected. The table of contents is on the left. On the right, an empty screen.

  • Click on a category in the table of contents to get to the table of contents of that category.
  • Keep clicking until you get to the heading of a specific repair procedure. When you click on this heading, the procedure will appear on the screen to the right of the table of contents.

 

Chilton library 2016 04 2010 GMC Sierra

 

Note the category chain at the top of the table of contents. In the picture above, "Top / Engine Electrical / Repair Instructions / Removal, Installation, and Replacement" etc. You can click on "Top" to return to the main table of contents. You can click on any of the other categories to return to the table of contents of that category.

Chilton Library (PDF), the guide, is a quick guide to accessing and using this resource.

Note: this post was updated on December 15, 2016.

Eh Canada!

April 6, 2016 | Diana | Comments (0)

Are you a high school student who is looking for current information to include in a homework assignment? Canada In Context, available 24/7 with your library card, is your lifeline to all things Canadian. It covers a wide range of topics from a Canadian perspective, including Canadian history, geography, politics, social issues, famous people, sports and more. The resource provides access to current articles from more than 370 Canadian publications including Maclean’s, The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail. It also includes CBC videos, audio broadcasts, vetted websites, primary source documents and images. It can be used on any device.

CanadaInContext-Browse

In addition,

  • You can do a keyword search on your topic or, if you are looking for a possible essay topic, there is a Browse Topics feature at the top left.
  • Your search results will be displayed by Reference Sources, News, Academic Journals, Videos, Magazines, Images, Audio and Websites.
  • If you need to cite your sources, citation tools are built in to help you properly reference your work.

CanadaInContext-CitationTools

  • Articles you select can be printed, downloaded, emailed and shared on social media. They can also be saved to Google Drive.

To learn more, watch the video tutorial or click on the information sheet.

Biggs the Fig Pig

April 4, 2016 | Jane | Comments (0)

Mr. Stephen Biggs is a self-described fig pig.Stephen Biggs He seems to have been born to the role, suited as his name is to his vocation (at least if you like rhymes). But what is it that draws a man to a fruit tree with such passion and commitment? 

He isn't alone, as it turns out, and the thing that holds the rest of us back is our impression that a fig will not grow in our Toronto climate. Biggs will set us straight on this score when he’s here at North York Central Library to give a talk about all kinds of fig trees  – how to propagate them, how to prune them, how to keep them alive over Toronto winters.

 

North York Central Library (5120 Yonge Street)
Room 2/3
Tues April 12, 7-8 pm
416-395-5649

                                                       

While fresh figs taste wonderful with just a bit of honey over them, or maybe with a dollop of ice cream, you may have more elaborate plans for yours, once you have them in backyard abundance.  

 Grow Figs Sweet Middle East Roast Figs Sugar Snow  A Platter of Figs

Some more tips for growing fruit trees:

Growing Fruit Trees Holistic Orcharding Home Orchard Handbook Growing Organic Orchard Fruits


Exercise Your Talents in New & Exciting Ways

January 4, 2016 | Ann | Comments (2)

Exercise titles available at North York Central Library
The above image is licensed by nyphotographic.com under a Creative Commons license which permits the free use of the image.

The holiday season for 2015 has drawn to a close. Consider the next signpost to appear over the horizon on the proverbial road through life that reads, "Exercise." This is a daunting suggestion right after a delirious period of holiday binging and relaxing. 

The interesting aspect of this word is its dual nature--it can either describe a "thing" or an "action." An exercise, for instance, conveys a static description of tasks to be completed whereas the phrase to exercise reflects a dynamic expression of movement.

When the static state awakens into dynamic motion, this is what Robert Pirsig, an American writer and philosopher, defines as the concept of Quality (or the Metaphysics of Quality (MOQ) in his later works). Much like a resting muscle fiber anticipates a jolt of electricity to leap into action, this qualitative point represents a brief opportunity to leap into new terrains of thought and creativity. The concepts of past and future are stored as static memories and planned goals, respectively. The present moment is a small window in time to act, create, and live in full alertness.

Pirsig contrasts this dynamic state with its opposite--a busy mind occupied with regrets over past actions or anxiety over future situations yet to unfold. In other words, the mind is not focused on the present moment:

“We’re in such a hurry most of the time we never get much chance to talk. The result is a kind of endless day-to-day shallowness, a monotony that leaves a person wondering years later where all the time went and sorry that it’s all gone.”

“In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”

Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Also take a moment to listen to a special (1974) interview by Connie Goldman with Robert Pirsig on CBC.  

The best way to appreciate this philosophical concept on Quality is to crack open his book, The Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and escape with him and his young son on a journey through the world of metaphysics. 

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Here are more life-affirming titles on philosophy for exercising the awakening mind:

Use philosophy to be happier: 30 steps to perfect the art of living Heads up philosophy The weight of things: philosophy and the good life The consolation of philosophy
  Philosophy: all that matters The best things in life: a guide to what really matters The cartoon introduction to philosophy, 1st ed. Stoicism and the art of happiness

For some readers who prefer a quick "pick me up" on self-motivation instead of longer detailed discussions on philosophical concepts, the psychology section offer suggestions on how to view the world in a fun and positive light:

Positive psychology for overcoming depression: self-help strategies for happiness, inner strength and well-being    One simple idea: how positive thinking reshaped modern life The positive dog: a fable about changing your attitude to be your best Kiss that frog: 12 great ways to turn negatives into positives in your life and work
A life worth living: contributions to positive psychology   Lift: becoming a positive force in any situation Pursuing the good life: 100 reflections on positive psychology Hardwiring happiness: the new brain science of contentment, calm, and confidence

Once the mind is awakened to think beyond the mental sludge of everyday schedules, projects, and routines, consider expending this energy in new inspirational ways. The authors listed below have documented their own adventures in the world:

Long way down Climbing the seven summits: a comprehensive guide to the continents' highest peaks Golf freek: one man's quest to play as may rounds of golf as possible for free The adventures of Henry Thoreau: a young man's unlikely path to Walden Pond
Backpacking with the saints: wilderness hiking as spiritual practice Zen and the way of the sword: arming the samurai psyche Solo, yet never alone: swimming the Great Lakes What I talk about when I talk about running - a memoir

If you are ready to delve into a new terrain, learn the latest skills to be competitive in today's job force, or improve your current skills but do not know where to start, the Toronto Public Library website offers a superb selection of databases with a wealth of information. Some useful topics include: 

Ancestry Library Edition
Ancestry
Business Writing
Business Writing
Career Cruising
Career Cruising
Chilton's Auto Repair
Chilton's Auto Repair
Learning Express Library
Learning Express
Lynda.com
Lynda.com
Mango Languages
Mango Languages
Study Skills Success
Study Skills Success

Ancestry (In-Library use only) is a popular genealogy resource that includes U.S., Canadian, European, Australian, and New Zealand records. Specific topics include census, birth, marriage, death, immigration, military records and more. Ancestry offers a great opportunity to access records essential to building your family tree.

Business Writing offers an opportunity to sharpen your writing skills in various forms of business correspondence such as writing letters, reports, and emails. This resource would benefit those who plan to work in a business environment and need to communicate effectively to clients and staff.

Career Cruising enables you to preview a career and see whether this profession suits your personality. The career guidance resource offers career profiles and links to relevant Canadian college and university programs and also includes a Canadian Job Search section.

Chilton's Auto Repair is a useful database for looking up repair manuals, maintenance schedules, service bulletins and Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) test prep quizzes. If Robert Pirsig could repair his own motorcycle with Zen-like grace, imagine an increase in self-confidence while changing the oil or replacing the brake pads on your vehicle. 

Learning Express Library offers practice tests and answers for all ages. LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, SAT, GED, Canadian citizenship practice test, TOEIC, TOEFL iBT, math, grammar, writing and more are available here. This is a chance to practice writing the entry tests and determine how prepared you are before applying. For those who just enjoy testing their many skills, this would be a good resource to use.

Lynda.com is a new database that offers over 3,500 video tutorial courses led by experts on web design, software development, photography, business skills, home and small office, project management, 3D + Animation, graphic design audio, music, video editing and more. This resource requires the creation of a personal account which will allow you to track your progress through your tutorials and offers certificates of program completion that you could proudly post on your LinkedIn account.

Mango Languages offers an opportunity to practice and converse in new languages or to improve your spoken English. The online "cue cards" provide audio and visual interaction with the interface to develop these skills effectively. If you want to feel more confident conversing with people in a different country, this resource will help you on your way.

Study Skills Success offers high school and college student skills on how to do research, write term papers and essays. This database also offers practice tests with answers.  If your aim is to improve your studying skills, then this resource will nicely dovetail with your goal.

Enjoy the New Year by living every single second in the present. Inspire yourself to exercise your talents in new and exciting ways each and every moment in life.

Free Science Events in Toronto for October 2015

September 29, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (2)

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:

At the library, October's highlights include:

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

The green industrial revolution   The foot book   Sex in your garden   The healthy pregnancy book

The real cost of fracking   The complete book of juicing   Robotics   Waking the frog

Health Force Ontario – A Type of Matchmaking

September 8, 2015 | Jane | Comments (0)

Canada is a country that thrives on immigration. So there are systems in place to help immigrants move into their new lives in Canada as easily as possible. In fact, new changes in immigration processes (some of them controversial) allow skilled and highly educated immigrants to be “fast-tracked” into Canada to fill specific labour vacancies. Many of the 50-or-so designated occupations are in health fields.                                            

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 10.06.47 PMpicture credit: CanStockPhoto

This is where Health Force Ontario comes in. It is an agency whose role is, as Citizenship and Immigration minister Chris Alexander puts it, “matchmaker” to the health needs of Canadians and foreign-educated health workers who wish to come to Canada, to Ontario in particular.

Health Force Ontario “ensure[s] that Ontarians have access to the right number and mix of qualified health-care providers, when and where they are needed, now and in the future”.

On the other end, it executes the strategy by certifying the highly trained people who can fill these health care jobs, and who want to be in Canada.

The requirements for and process of certification can be confusing. If you are an internationally educated health professional, and would like to learn more about how to smooth the path to professional practice, come and see what the Access Centre for Internationally Educated Health Professionals may have to help.  

North York Central Library is hosting a session with a representative from Health Force Ontario/Access:

Are You an Internationally Educated Health Professional?

Tues. September 15, 2015

2:00 to 3:00 pm

North York Central Library

5120 Yonge Street

Toronto M2N 5N9

Room 2/3 (2nd floor, west side of atrium)

 To register, please call 416-395-5649

 

Events That Reign Supreme

August 31, 2015 | Ann | Comments (0)

 A brief history of the Dufferin Gate at the CNE grounds Posted by Chris Bateman / JANUARY 28, 2012 on blogTO

Dufferin Gates - CNE Grounds, Toronto (September 1, 2005) from Wikimedia Commons. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Today marks the end of August. The CNE season is nearing its end of another successful run.  

As seasons go, the hot and heavy humidity along with the gloriously warm sunshine will eventually be replaced by shorter days, cooler temperatures, and bright yellow and red hues of autumn.

As the weather transitions, three upcoming events are worth anticipating.  

But, before delving into these three events for September, please take a moment to remember the passing of a significant historical figure. Joseph Bloore passed away on August 31, 1862 at the age of 73.  He was laid to rest in Toronto's Necropolis Cemetery. Toronto's Bloor Street was named after this early Canadian businessman and brewer. Historical records appear unclear as to whether or not Joseph Bloore chose to attach the "e" to the end of his surname or explain the reason for his fierce searing gaze.  

More historical images of that period relating to Joseph Bloore are available from the Toronto Public Library website or through a direct link from Joseph Bloore's portrait below. 

More resources from the Toronto Public Library pertaining to Joseph Bloore
Picture taken in 1850.  Image courtesy of the Toronto Public Library

Also, have a look at this interesting article on Joseph Bloore written on May 8, 2015 called, Early brewer the basis for Bloor Street’s name, by the Gleaner Community Press newspaper and Chris Bateman's October 26, 2013 article on BlogTO called, What Yorkville looked like when it was still a village.

Here is a suggested title written by Cynthia Patterson and published by the Toronto Public Library in 1986 called, Bloor-Dufferin in pictures, which provides a detailed historical account along with a lush collection of pictures on the local history of that area.

Bloor-Dufferin in pictures by Cynthia Patterson

 

The first event in September arrives on Monday, September 7, 2015. Labour Day is recognized as the last civic holiday ending the summer season and welcoming the beginning of the Fall season and a brand new school year. This day also means that the library and many other establishments will be closed for this holiday.  

For more information on Canada's Labour History, please visit the Canadian Museum of History website. Here are some worthwhile titles on various types of Labour in Canada:

A good day's work:  in pursuit of a disappearing Canada Discounted labour: women workers in Canada, 1870-1939 Canadian working-class history: selected readings, 3rd ed. Working people, 5th ed. rev. and updated
Labouring Canada: class, gender, and race in Canadian working-class history Rebel Youth: 1960s Labour Unrest, Young Workers, and New Leftists in English Canada Workers and Canadian history Hard time: reforming the penitentiary in nineteenth-century Canada

The second event arrives two days after Labour Day into the midweek. On Wednesday, September 9, 2015, Queen Elizabeth II will officially break the record for the longest reign by any British monarch in history. Queen Victoria, Elizabeth's great great grandmother, over a century ago, held the longest reign which was 63 years, seven months and two days long. To appreciate these two fabulously long-living female monarchs, glance through their lives from their detailed biographies listed below:

Queen Victoria: a life of contradictions Becoming Queen Queen Victoria: gender and power Shooting Victoria: madness, mayhem, and the rebirth of the British monarchy
Our Queen Dressing the Queen: the Jubilee wardrobe Long live the Queen! - Britain in 1953 The Queen: Elizabeth II and the monarchy

The third event is the return of Sunday hours after the Labour Day weekend. The hours for Sundays will resume from 1:30 pm to 5 pm at the District and Reference libraries including the North York Central Library on Sunday, September 13, 2015. For students beginning a new year, these extra hours means a big difference in the quality of time for study and research. For students requiring a boost of insight on improving their studying skills, here is a list of useful titles:

How to study, 5th ed College rules!: how to study, survive, and succeed in college The complete idiot's guide to study skills Study smarter, not harder
Critical thinking skills: developing effective analysis and argument Study skills for dyslexic students The secrets of top students: tips, tools, and techniques for acing high school and college Presentation skills for students

As events go, this post hopes to address an appreciation of the history of the man behind the Bloor Street name, the importance of human labour, an interest in the history of the monarchy, and the resumption of Sunday library hours to aid in developing study skills in preparation for the new Fall year.  

Who Cares If It Rains?

August 21, 2015 | Jane | Comments (0)

Sometimes, it is just what you pay attention to. Ever wondered, for example, how people saw the constellations – shapes of bears, hunters, scorpions, while we see undifferentiated masses of stars? That is if we’re lucky enough, here in the well-lighted city, to see the stars at all?

photo credit: Cap't. Fatty Goodlander

 

So it is with weather lore. For farmers, who depend on the weather to put bread on the table, and for fisher-people, whose safety depends on accurate readings of the sky and water, consistent weather indicators are of huge value. So they pay attention. For myself – noticing to the extent that I get myself appropriately clothed is as far as this goes.

You’ve likely heard about some of these weather truisms though:

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky at morning, sailor’s warning. (This one is mostly true.)

If March comes in like a lamb it goes out like a lion. If it comes in like a lion, then it goes out like a lamb. (This one isn't true beyond chance.)

My neighbor down the street said that the Mountain Ash tree two blocks away was loaded with berries, indicating, in her Scottish family lore, that the coming winter will be harsh and long. There are several sayings recorded in Weather Lore: a Collection of Proverbs that attest to similar weather wisdom: 

Mountain many rains, many rowans*.

Ash many rowans, many yawns*.

Hedge fruit many haws,                 Mountain Ash Tree

Many snaws.                                            

Many sloes

Many cold toes

Many hips and haws

Many frosts and snaws.

(*Rowans are Mountain Ash berries, Yawns are grains of wheat, oats or barley.)

     

 

Every culture and landscape has its own lore, usually passed along as an easy-to-remember rhyme. Even if the accuracy of such lore is suspect, it still has value in giving a sense of control when we have very little.

And so the enduring affection for the Farmer’s Almanac, which is still published, more than 220 years after its first printing. The almanac has enough of a following to suggest it still has significance as a foreteller of weather. The Almanac's website claims 80% accuracy, which if true beats the claims of TV weather stations, which are accurate about 60% of the time. Such comparisons are very hard to make though, because what is measured in each case is seldom the same.

The Almanac maintains its allure by keeping its forecasting formula in a locked black box. Weather blackbox

In contrast, the Met Office (the main meteorological agency in the U.K) boasts that it has transparency with respect to its methods and accuracy. But in truth neither the Old Farmer's Almanac nor the Met Office, nor Environment Canada nor the US National Weather Service can truly say they can accurately predict the weather more than a few days out. 

This is because the weather, and how it comes to be, is so complex. Penn State scientist Fuqing Zhang points out that the amount of data meteorologists have from all over the world - temperature, humidity, wind speed, satellite images and so on - are all collected at different times, using different scales of measurement. Computers can help with calculating parts of the results, but finding appropriate ways to put the data together to get helpful predictions is an imperfect art. 

   

Image result for butterfly against white background        Consider the "butterfly effect", the popular term for "sensitivity to initial conditions."  Edward Lorenz described this phenomenon in the 1960s and 70s. The delicate wing beat of a butterfly in Brazil, it was said, could dramatically affect weather weeks and miles away. In other words, tiny variables in a system, whether meteorological or some other complex system, could dramatically change outcomes.                    

Even further confounding the accuracy of the forecasts we get on local weather stations are reports from the people at Freakonomics.com (authors of the popular book of the same title) that people don't really care about weather report accuracy. When one Freakonomics blogger asked a TV station manager about how the station ensured reliability, the manager said “All viewers care about is the next day. Accuracy is not a big deal to viewers.” Maybe this is true . . . unless you're a farmer or you fish for a living. 

   

Starry starry nights

July 24, 2015 | Carolyn | Comments (0)

In summer I love to look at the night sky, and the Perseid meteor shower in August is, for me, the highlight of the season. Don't take my word for it; here's what NASA has to say: "The Perseids, which peak during mid-August, are considered to be the best meteor shower of the year. With very fast and bright meteors, Perseids frequently leave long "wakes" of light and color behind them as they streak through the Earth's atmosphere." 

Snowy Range Perseids Meteor Shower, courtesy of David Kingman via a Creative Commons Licence

 Snowy Range Perseids Meteor Shower
Photo courtesy of David Kingman via Creative Commons Licence

Meteor showers occur several times every year when the earth passes through bands of comet debris. This year should be especially good for viewing the Perseids because the crescent moon won't brighten the sky.

Getting away from urban light pollution enhances the stargazing experience. Dark sky sites are light-restricted areas where it's easier for visitors to appreciate the wonders of the night sky.

I love meteor showers because I can see them without a telescope. You don't need any equipment to look at sky at night, but using binoculars or a telescope will let you observe objects in more detail.

This year, for the first time, I'm going to see the night sky from the southern hemisphere. I figured I might need a little help getting oriented to a new skyscape and, of course, there's an app for that. Actually, there are many apps. This article was helpful when I was choosing a night sky app for my iPad; for Android users this advice might be useful.

If you're interested in learning more about astronomy, you can meet fellow stargazers, ask questions, and learn about equipment at local events and meetups. And of course resources are available at your local library:  

The Beginner's Observing Guide: an introduction to the night sky for the novice stargazer

 

 

Magazines for amateur astronomers are available in many libraries, or through our website: 

August 2015 - Sky & Telescope ASY150801  
     

 

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.