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North York Central Library News

Bad Singer

November 21, 2016 | Jane | Comments (0)

Tim Falconer, who is among the statistically tiny percentage of people who are completely tone deaf, loves music. This puts him into an even tinier percentage of that tiny group. One of the things that sets Falconer apart, again, is that he's chosen to address his musical shortcomings by trying to learn how to sing. He has a genuine interest in learning to sing, but also to make scientific sense of his amusia (as his condition is called). 


After all, what is it about the brain that enables it to find a musical pitch -- and reproduce it? Is there some biologically meaningful function to this ability? Can we engineer the ability, with work?

Falconer will be at North York Central Library to talk about his quest to turn himself from "bad singer" to an acceptable performer. He'll also talk about what he has learned along the way about the science of music, and how the brain perceives it. 

Book cover of The power of music : pioneering discoveries in the new science of song           

How Music Heals

October 13, 2016 | Jane | Comments (0)

"I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me -- like food or water."  - Ray Charles

Beyond the pleasure it gives, music is a tool for both formal and informal therapy. But can it be used to treat disease? Dr. Lee Bartel, an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Toronto, will be at North York Central Library to talk about his collaborative research in music and neuroscience, and his efforts to find ways to measure clinical improvements to health. 

Music Medicine: A New Frontier

Thursday, Oct. 20

7:00 to 8:00 pm

60 minutes

North York Central Library Auditorium

Bartel and his colleagues are working on music and cardio rehabilitation, rhythmic sensory stimulation and fibromyalgia, and studies that link music and the care for people with Ehlers Danlos syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Here are some related titles. . .

HealingPowerofSound   MusicandCancer   MusicasMedicine    Musicophilia


  RhythmMusicandtheBrain   SingingNeanderthals    SoundMedicine   MusicandtheMind


. . . and sounds. 

RaySings   MusicasMedicinecd   Omsoundhealingmusic   

Esperanza      Harrow&theHarvest Arias&DuetstheAnniversary








Welcome to the Business, Science and Technology Department

July 22, 2016 | Carolyn | Comments (2)

If you're a regular visitor to the North York Central Library you've probably noticed some recent changes. The Library is undergoing a major renovation, a project that will be completed over the next few years. One change which has already taken place is the merger of the Business Department with the Science and Technology Department. The new Business, Science and Technology Department is located on the 4th Floor. When the renovation is complete, the department will provide more meeting and study space, including a designated work and meeting area for business start-ups.

Coming from the former Science and Technology Department, I've spent the past several weeks learning about the Business Department's great collections and online resources. Here are a few highlights:



  • the Careers collection has books about jobs and careers, job searching, resumes, cover letters and job interviews
  • the Directories collection has publications with information about industries, businesses and organizations

I've also been impressed with the range and depth of the Business collection in areas such as law, management and investing.


Online resources

  • CARDonline: Canadian advertising rates and media planning information for advertising, marketing, public relations and communications professionals. 
  • CPA Canada Handbook - Accounting & Assurance: accounting and auditing service guidelines
  • LawSource: Canadian legislation, case law and commentaries
  • MarketLine: industry trends, product development, international company and industry information


Here are some recent additions to the Business collection that have caught my eye:




Jazz Festival Preview: Chase Sanborn Trio Live!

June 3, 2016 | Maureen | Comments (5)

Chase SanbornNorth York Central Library is partnering with the TD Toronto Jazz Festival for a free preview show. The Chase Sanborn Trio will perform at the library on Tuesday, June 21 at 7:15 p.m. Before the performance, Chase and his fellow musicians will give a workshop on jazz fundamentals. It doesn't matter whether you're a jazz newb who can't tell the difference between bebop and boogie-woogie, or a jazz aficionado -- all are welcome at the workshop, which starts at 6:00 p.m. Call 416-395-5639 to register for this free program.

Acclaimed trumpet player Chase Sanborn has played with some of the biggest, brightest stars in jazz, including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Diana Krall. He spent years playing on stages in Boston, San Francisco and New York, including legendary Broadway. (Fun fact: Chase has played lead trumpet for the long running Broadway musical Cats 1444 times!) Chase is now a vibrant force on the Toronto music scene, both as a performer and educator -- he’s a faculty member at the University of Toronto, in the Jazz program. In an interview with the musician, I came across a funny story about how he became a trumpet player. Although he's been playing trumpet since his elementary school days, the instrument wasn't his first choice. He wanted to play trombone, but his arms were too short to extend the slide. His second pick was saxophone, but by the time they got around to the kids whose names started with 'S' they had run out of saxophones! Thus a trumpet player was born.

The TD Toronto Jazz Festival runs from June 24 to July 3 this year. If you aren't already jazzed up about this great festival, here are some suggestions to get you in the mood:

 Borrow a Chase Sanborn CD from the library:

Double Double Perking Up Cut to the Chase

Watch a movie:

Satchmo Louis Armstrong The girls in the band Dancing on the edge Ella Fitzgerald the legendary first lady of song
Cannonball Adderley live in '63 Let's get lost Mo' better blues Ornette

Read a book:

The history of jazz Jazz The Penguin jazz guide The jazz book

Play an instrument:

The Hal Leonard real jazz standards fake book Berklee jazz piano Jazz classics Smooth jazz piano

 Get the kids involved:

Ella Fitzgerald - the tale of a vocal virtuoso Just a lucky so and so - the story of Louis Armstrong Jazz Oscar lives next door - a story inspired by Oscar Peterson's childhood
Before John was a jazz giant Mysterious Thelonious Charlie Parker played be bop Duke Ellington - the piano prince and his orchestra

Listen to some jazz:

Visit Naxos Music Library Jazz, one of the most comprehensive collections of jazz music available online. It offers over 100,000 jazz tracks from more than 9,000 albums. Over 12,000 jazz artists are represented. You can access the Naxos jazz library anywhere -- all you need is an internet connection and your library card. 

Naxos music library -- jazzBorrow a CD:

The library still collects CDs, so don't fret if you're a little old fashioned and like the simplicity of feeding a CD into a slot. I like the way the CD player in my car pulls the CD from my fingers, firmly, eagerly, it seems to me, like it can't wait to hit the road and start spinning tunes. If you're new to jazz, and want to dabble, consider the CDs below. You can't go wrong with these classics.

Kind of Blue,  Miles Davis.

A love supreme, John Coltrane.

My favorite things, John Coltrane.

Time out, Dave Brubeck.

Getz/Gilberto, Stan Getz and João Gilberto.

Ella and Louis, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. (Canadian jazz legend Oscar Peterson plays piano on this album)

Concert by the sea, Erroll Garner.

Genius of modern music, volume 1., Thelonious Monk.

Bennie Goodman at Carnegie Hall 1938, Bennie Goodman.

The essential Bessie Smith, Bessie Smith.

The complete Decca recordings, Count Basie.

The complete Savoy and Dial Sessions, Charlie Parker.

Mingus ah um, Charles Mingus.

Ella Fitzgerald sings the Cole Porter songbook, Ella Fitzgerald.

Our man in Paris, Dexter Gordon.


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:

Looking for Life in the Cosmos

April 18, 2016 | Jane | Comments (0)

Let’s grapple for a moment with another of the universe’s eternal puzzles. Is there life elsewhere, besides here on earth? Neil deGrasse Tyson at NASA says that “most astrophysicists accept a high probability of there being life elsewhere in the universe, if not on other planets or on moons within our own solar system. The numbers are, well, astronomical: If the count of planets in our solar system is not unusual, then there are more planets in the universe than the sum of all sounds and words ever uttered by every human who has ever lived. To declare that Earth must be the only planet in the cosmos with life would be inexcusably egocentric of us.”

When astronomers and astrophysicists ask this question of themselves, a strategy is to identify celestial bodies that have conditions similar to those we know here on earth. There’s some clear logic to this. There is also plenty of hard work that goes into pinning down the hard science. It isn’t reasonable to send someone to find out . . . so instead scientists build extraordinary telescopes like the Hubble, the Spitzer and the James Webb. These can identify planets or moons that are the right distance from stars to allow for the presence of liquid water, one of the key necessities for life, at least for life as we currently understand it. It’s complicated. But Dr. Michael Reid of the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at University of Toronto will be on hand next week to explain some of it.

Life in the Cosmos

Tue Apr 26, 2016

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


North York Central Library, Auditorium

5120 Yonge Street


This program is a part of the Thought Exchange series. Take a ride into the final frontier . . .                                                                                                               

 Hubble'sAmazingRescue  SpaceStarsandtheBeginningofTime  400YearsoftheTelescope Gravity's Engines

  AYearIntheLifeoftheUniverse  Hubble'sUniverse  HubbletheYearsofDiscovery 

Life in space  TheCosmos  TheHubbleCosmos  TheLastoftheGreatObservatories    

TelescopeHuntingtheEdgeofSpace  TheUniverseThroughtheEyesofHubble  HubbleImagingSpaceandTime Thelivingcosmos

International Women's Day Film Screening: It's A Girl

February 29, 2016 | Emoke | Comments (0)

It's a girl

International Women's Day (March 8th) is a global day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

The United Nations started celebrating International Women's Day on March 8 during International Women's year, 1975. In 1977, the General Assembly declared March 8th as United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace to be observed by Member States.

"International Women's Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities." (

If you would like more details about this year's theme: "Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality", please visit the UN website: http://www.un/org/en/events/womensday/.

In honour of International Women's Day, the North York Central Library will be hosting a film screening entitled: It's A Girl, a documentary directed by Evan Grae Davis, on Tuesday, March 8th, 2016 (6:45 - 8 pm) in the North York Central Library Auditorium, 5120 Yonge Street. To register, please call: 416-395-5660.

This film explores the tragic concept of gendercide -- the killing, abandonment and abortion of girls, simply because they are girls.

In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned because of their gender. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of this so-called "gendercide".

Shot on location in India and China, the film It's A Girl reveals the issue. It tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme dowry-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters' lives, and of mothers who would kill for a son. Global experts and grassroots activists put the stories in context and advocate many paths towards change.

And check out the following titles on women's rights at the Toronto Public Library:


  Women's oppresion today  A vindication of the rights of woman  About Canada- women's rights  Defying convention-US resistance to the UN women's rights treaty

Headscarves and hymens- why the Middle East needs a sexual revolution  No-image-dvd  Between birth and death -female infanticide in Nineteenth-Century China  Death by fire -sati, dowry, death, and female infanticide in modern India

Nine degrees of justice -new perspectives on violence against women in India

Store-wide Half Price Sale at Book Ends in NYCL

November 16, 2015 | Ann | Comments (0)

image from
Courtesy of geralt at Pixelbay. License: CC0 Public Domain / FAQ Free for commercial use / No attribution required

The festive season is arriving. Do you have enough books to read and share through the holidays? Do you love finding exciting and rare titles? Do you want to buy as many books for as little money as possible?    



Photo courtesy of the Toronto Public Library


 The Friends of Toronto Public Library, North Chapter

is hosting an amazing store-wide half-price three-day sale of their books with prices ranging from:

$0.25 to $0.50

(blue-dot, special-priced books excepted) 

This sale is at the Book Ends store which is located on the Concourse Level at the North York Central Library--which is located underneath (one floor below) the library's main entrance.  


SALE HOURS run from 10 am to 4 pm on:

  • Thursday, November 19, 2015
  • Friday, November 20, 2015
  • Saturday, November 21, 2015


North York Central Library, Concourse Level, 5120 Yonge Street, Toronto


Please bring your own bag. Cash only. No exchange or refund.  


Once you have completed our Book Ends Sale in the North, five days later there will be another Book Ends sale in the South region (from November 26th to November 28th) at The Toronto Reference Library.  

Bill V.'s blog, The Best Christmas Present Ever... provides the details of their big Book Ends sale on great reads and gift giving suggestions.

Also don't forget to follow us on Twitter @bookendsnorth and on Facebook for our weekly sales.

Citizenship/Settlement Programs at North York Central Library!

October 26, 2015 | Emoke | Comments (0)

Pass the Canadain Citizenship TestThe Toronto Public Library offers a vast variety of New to Canada and Citizenship Test Preparation classes and programs on an ongoing basis. The library website under New To Canada is a good place to look for information on: Learning English for all levels and ages, Citizenship Test, Settling in Toronto, Jobs, Training & Certification, Materials in Your Language, Your Library Card, and so on.

You can also do a search on the library website using the words "Citizenship" and you will find all the many library programs and classes and other materials and information and recommended websites that will help you with citizenship information.

The Citizenship Test Section of the website has some sample questions and answers and links to the booklet to help you study for the Citizenship test: Discover Canada. There is also a link to Learning Express Library, a database you can use with your library card even from home, with more citizenship tests.

The third floor of the North York Central Library usually keeps free copies of Discover Canada to hand out, and various other libraries also have copies to loan out or for use in the library only.

The Society and Recreation Department also has three major Citizenship/Settlement Programs: New to Canada? Speak to a Costi Representative!, Canadian Citizenship Test Preparation (name changing to: Canadian Citizenship Information in 2016) and Discover Canada Citizenship Mentoring Circle.

The first program, New to Canada? Speak to a Costi Representative! is held once a month, on the last Friday of the month. At the library sessions, a COSTI representative will answer your questions about employment, education, health, housing, and settling into your new environment. COSTI Immigrant Services is a community-based multicultural agency which has been serving all immigrant communities and new Canadians for many years. Some of the topics of the most interest to newcomers are: finding a job, family sponsorship, continuing education at secondary and post-secondary levels, improving English, residency requirements to maintain permanent resident status, applying for citizenship, maintaining OHIP coverage, and OAS pension eligibility

Fridays, October 30th, November 27th, 2015 (1 p.m.- 2 p.m. in Farsi, 2 p.m.- 3 p.m. in English), North York Central Library Room 2/3. Free. Drop In.

And for next year:

Fridays, January 29th, February 26th, and March 25th, 2016 (1 p.m.- 2 p.m. in Farsi, 2 p.m.- 3 p.m. in English), North York Central Library Room 2/3. Free. Drop In.

The second program, Canadian Citizenship Test Preparation (name changing to: Canadian Citizenship Information in 2016) involves a representative from the Toronto District School Board discussing what it means to be a citizen, what to expect from the test, and how to prepare using the Discover Canada guide. You must bring your Permanent Resident card to the session.

In December, North York Central Library is having its last program called Canadian Citizenship Test Preparation. It will be on Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 at 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. in the Auditorium at the North York Central Library. Register at 416-395-5660.

In the new year, instead of this one 2-hour session, North York Central Library will be dividing this program in two and having two 2-hour sessions. They will be:



Learn about the Canadian citizenship application process. Find out the latest information about eligibility (age, residency requirements, proof of language ability etc.), completing and submitting the forms, fees, application processing times and more. Presented by a Toronto District School Board representative. You must bring your Permanent Resident Card. It will be held on Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 at 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. in the Auditorium of the North York Central Library. Register at 416-395-5660.



Learn about the Canadian citizenship knowledge test. Get study tips and try some practice questions based on the Discover Canada study guide. Presented by a Toronto District School Board representative. You must bring your Permanent Resident card. It will be held on Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 at 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. in the Auditorium of the North York Central Library. Register at 416- 395-5660.

The third program, Discover Canada Citizenship Mentoring Circle, is 10 weeks long and is currently running. The dates for this year are:

Mondays, September 14th to November 23rd (except Monday October 12th), Room 1, North York Central Library. All sessions run from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Even though the program has started, you may still join in.

The dates for 2016 are: Mondays, January 18th to April 4th, 2016 (except February 15th and March 28th), Room 1, North York Central Library. All sessions run from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

In these sessions, you will review and discover the Discover Canada study guide with a CultureLink staff member and a team of trained Citizenship Education mentors. Every participant is matched with one mentor. Newcomers can improve their vocabulary and boost their confidence in speaking English by participating in conversations on various topics. Paricipants can also connect with local volunteers, network and share experiences and stories.

Provided by CultureLink. Free. To register, contact Hashem Rahin at 416-588-6288 x220 or

I hope you will find these sessions helpful and useful and that they help you pass your Citizenship Test and settle into Canada in a positive and successful manner!

Pompeii: In the Shadow of the Volcano

September 25, 2015 | Maureen | Comments (4)

Please join us at North York Central Library on Thursday October 15 at 7:00 pm to explore a topic that has fascinated generations – the destruction of the city of Pompeii by volcanic eruption in 79 AD. Paul Denis, Assistant Curator (Greek, Etruscan, Roman & Byzantine) at the Royal Ontario Museum, will take us back almost 2000 years, to look at the life – and death of Pompeii. For a complete list of Toronto Public Library branches that will have programs about Pompeii, go to the bottom of this post.

Mosaic of watchdogMosaic of watchdog - Creative commons

A vacation destination for many Romans, Pompeii was a busy city near the Bay of Naples, surrounded by fertile land that supported vineyards and farms. It boasted a port, a gymnasium, an amphitheatre, public baths, fountains fed by an aqueduct system, shops, bars and private homes. It was a city rich in beauty -- excavations have revealed wall paintings, highly decorated ceilings, lovely floor mosaics, and sculpture.

The only eye witness account of the destruction of Pompeii is by Pliny the Younger, who was 18 at the time. In a letter, Pliny describes the beginning of the tragedy. Just after midday on August 24, his mother pointed out “a cloud of unusual size and appearance.” It was shaped like a pine tree, rising high in the sky on a “long trunk” which “spread out into what looked like branches.” Despite this ominous sight, Pliny and his mother stayed at their home, which was about 30 kilometres west of Mount Vesuvius. He slept little that night, describing “earth tremors” so strong that everything around him seemed to be “turning upside down.”

By dawn, with the buildings all around them shaking, they decided to flee, joining a “stupefied mob.” Pliny’s mother begged him to leave her behind, to save himself, but he refused. Pliny’s descriptions are terrifying. He saw the sea "being sucked back" leaving many sea creatures stranded on the sand, and a "black and menacing cloud, split by twisted and quivering lashes of fiery breath." As they fled, Pliny looked back: "Dense blackness loomed over us, pursuing us as it spread over the earth like a flood.” Over and over they had to shake off the heavy ash that fell on them, or else be “buried and even crushed beneath its weight.” Pliny thought it was the end of the world.

Garden of the Fugitives, Pompeii
Garden of the Fugitives, Pompeii Photo by Lancevortex - Creative Commons

Dramatic plaster casts of victims of the disaster may be the reason the destruction of Pompeii has indelibly burned itself into our imaginations. In 1863, the director of excavations at Pompeii, Giuseppe Fiorelli, decided to capture impressions of people in their final moments using the same technique that had been used to create impressions of objects, such as furniture. One of his contemporaries, the politician Luigi Settembrini, said that Fiorelli had “uncovered human suffering and whoever has an ounce of humanity will feel it.”

But the story of Pompeii isn't only about how its people died. Excavations at the site also tell a story about how they lived. The layers of ash that destroyed Pompeii also preserved it, allowing future generations to get a glimpse into day to day life in a first century Roman city.



If you are planning to attend the exhibit on Pompeii at the Royal Ontario Museum and would like to read about the topic to enrich your experience, consider reserving one of these books:

Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum by Paul Roberts.

The fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii lost and found by Mary Beard.

From Pompeii: the afterlife of a Roman town by Ingrid D. Rowland.

The complete Pompeii by Joanne Berry.

Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum The fires of Vesuvius - Pompeii lost and found From Pompeii - the afterlife of a Roman town The complete Pompeii

 Here are two DVDs and a historical novel about the destruction of Pompeii:

Pompeii The last day Pompeii back from the dead Pompeii Robert Harris









Excerpts from reviews for the novel Pompeii by Robert Harris: Readers who like their historical fiction well grounded in fact won't be able to put this down (Library Journal Review). Harris vividly brings to life the ancient world on the brink of unspeakable disaster. (Book List Review) ...expertly rendered historic spectacle (Publishers Weekly).

Toronto Public Library branches with programs about Pompeii:     

Pompeii: in the Shadow of the Volcano, at North York Central Library on Thursday October 15, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm. Speaker: Paul Denis, Assistant Curator, Royal Ontario Museum, World Cultures (Greek, Etruscan, Roman & Byzantine)

Pompeii: In the Shadow of the Volcano at Toronto Reference Library on Monday October 5, 1:00 pm - 3:00pm. Presenters: Outreach team of the Royal Ontario Museum’s Volunteer Committee.

Programs suitable for kids ages 5-12:

Cedarbrae, Saturday October 24, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Woodview Park, Saturday November 7, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Amesbury Park, Saturday November 21, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

You can get a family pass for the Royal Ontario Museum at 50 Toronto Public Library branches. The Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass (MAP) lets you and your family (two adults & up to five children) explore the best of Toronto's arts and cultural treasures for free.

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.