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Time, Why Do You Punish Me?

March 11, 2016 | Ann | Comments (6)

Titles on Time at NYCL
Courtesy of endlesswatts on pixabay. CC0 Public Domain Free for commercial use.

At 2 am on Sunday, March 13th, clocks inch ahead by one hour. Except for the province of Saskatchewan, many of us will experience a mild form of jetlag as we lose an hour of sleep to start our day. People living in Europe will not experience this time change until March 27th, a week after the first day of Spring. The clocks will return to Eastern Standard Time on November 6th at 2 am. 

This blog title was inspired by the song, Time by Hootie & the Blowfish from the 1995 album, Cracked Rear View. For many of us, myself included, the arrival of Daylight Saving Time (DST) evokes a sense of mental anguish similar to the hypnotic lyrics crooned by Darius Rucker.

For those who are already sleep deprived, losing an hour of sleep could lead to dangerous traffic accidents and other negative health effects. WebMD offers useful suggestions on Coping with the Effects of Daylight Saving Time. Also, have a look at two more blog posts on DST.

The good news is that the days will grow longer, the weather will improve, and the mornings will begin to fill with warmth and sunlight. The first day of Spring will arrive on March 20th. Getting up early will feel less harrowing as time goes by.

Listed below are various themes for contemplating this new time shift. In fact, looking at time from these perspectives may give weight to and develop an appreciation for different events winding through time.

Creative Times

Time can be wibbly-wobbly, distorted, fractured, paradoxical, pressing or mysterious.  These fascinating titles may hold you timebound.

Fractured times: culture and society in the twentieth century Pressed for time: the acceleration of life in digital capitalism Time traveller's handbook: a guide to the past A time of paradox. America from the Cold War to the third millennium, 1945-present
Lost to time: unforgettable stories that history forgot The mystery of time:  humanity's quest for order and measure Surveillance in the time of insecurity Eyewitness to history from ancient times to the modern era

Mad Times

Times can be difficult in today's fast-paced world with issues of violence, terrorism, bullying, and various forms of abuse. The end of the world may draw near through Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). Any time is a good time to read up on these furious times.

A history of the world since 9/11: disaster, deception, and destruction in the war on terror Family violence from a global perspective: a strengths-based approach Bullies in the workplace: seeing and stopping adults who abuse their co-workers and employees Cult and ritual abuse: narratives, evidence, and healing approaches
The many worlds of Hugh Everett III: multiple universes, mutual assured destruction, and the meltdown of a nuclear family Germs gone wild: how the unchecked development of domestic biodefense threatens America @WAR: the rise of the military-Internet complex Police unbound: corruption, abuse, and heroism by the boys in blue

Sad Times

Through history, madness may lead to sadness for victims experiencing abuse, neglect, torture, or annihilation. Learning from the mistakes made and working towards strategies for change are important in amending the actions of these times for a better future.

Invisible scars: how to stop, change, or end psychological abuse The little book of restorative justice for sexual abuse: hope through trauma Poverty in Canada: implications for health and quality of life Abuse and neglect of older Canadians: strategies for change
Ordeal by hunger: the story of the Donner Party I was a child of Holocaust survivors The Story of the Titanic, as told by its survivors A thousand lives: the untold story of hope, deception, and survival at Jonestown

Glad Times

Finally, there are good times to be had. Welcoming a new year, dancing away your troubles, and celebrating every waking moment through fiestas and music are the best ways to enjoy the moments while we are alive.

Chinese festivals, updated edition The dance of time: the origins of the calendar: a miscellany of history and myth, religion and astronomy, festivals and feast days Choreographing identities: folk dance, ethnicity and festival in the United States and Canada Celebrate: a year of British festivities for families and friends
The folklore of world holidays, 2nd ed. Burning Man: art on fire Sacred places of a lifetime: 500 of the world's most peaceful and powerful destinations Cuban fiestas

Music Time

Nothing is better than to tune in and move with the music. Here are more contemporary songs (in no particular order) that come to mind:

If you are contemplating the limited preciousness of time, this video, You Are Here (Pale Blue Dot) which was inspired by the works of Carl Sagan will provide a global perspective on our time here.

Time need not be a punishing ordeal to endure if you can measure it accurately and see it for what it is--an opportunity to change, build, and develop in your own way.  Time stands still for no one so get ahead of it and do your best with what time you have left.  

Last Day of School!! Now What?

June 26, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (0)

This week marks the last day of school for many students in Toronto. Today is also my daughter’s last day of preschool. It was a long, hard fought journey. But we made it! She cried every single day, for the first 2 months. Thankfully, she eventually adjusted and now she absolutely loves school.

Now, what am I going to do with her over the summer?

Here are some things you can do with your kids using the Toronto Public Library:

TD Summer Reading Club

The TD Summer Reading Club is back! And today is the first day you can sign up by visiting any library branch. In addition to earning stickers and prizes for reading, there are lots of programs happening over the summer.


If your child is a teenager, there are library events for them, too. Keep up with the teens’ blog over the summer for programs, book recommendations and reviews, contests and more.

Toronto Public Library Programs, Classes & Exhibits

There are lots going on at the library over the summer for yourself, too. Attend talks about arts and culture, business, health, science and much more.

Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass (MAP)

The Museum + Arts Pass allows you and your family (2 adults & up to 5 children) to explore the best of Toronto's arts and cultural treasures for free. Venues including the Aga Khan Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario Science Centre, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Zoo and more.

With your valid adult Toronto Public Library card, you can take out a pass for your family at any Toronto Public Library branch. Quantities are limited and rules and conditions apply.

Free Science Events in Toronto

The Science & Technology department of North York Central Library compiles a monthly calendar of free science and applied science events in the city. This is a great opportunity to attend nature walks, astronomy talks, science lectures and much more.

There are also things you can do in the comfort of your own home with your kids.

Why not try some science experiments:

The Exploratorium science snackbook  The hungry scientist handbook  Sneaky science tricks  The ultimate book of Saturday science

Bake and cook together with your kids:

Baking with kids  Baking with tiny tots  Everyday kitchen for kids  Little cooks

Teach your kids how to sew:

My first sewing machine book  Sew kawaii  Sewing for children  Sewing for kids

Garden together:

The book of gardening projects for kids  The garden classroom  Square foot gardening with kids  Touch a butterfly

How about building something together? A treehouse, anyone?!

Black and Decker the complete guide to treehouses  Build your own treehouse  Fun family projects  Ultimate guide to kids' play structures and tree houses

Is your child attending summer school? Or do you want them to study and be prepared for the next school year? The Science & Technology department has a wide selection of math, science, biology, chemistry and physics textbooks for students from grades 7 to 12 that can be used in the library:

Mathematics 7  Mathematics 8  Principles of mathematics 9  Principles of mathematics 10

Functions 11  Calculus and vectors 12  Investigating science and technology 7  Science and technology perspectives 8

On science 9  Science connections 10  Physics 11  Physics 12

Chemistry 11  Chemistry 12  Biology 11  Biology 12

I hope some of these ideas will be helpful. I hope you all have a safe and wonderful summer!

The Right to Read Anything

August 15, 2014 | Maureen | Comments (10)

"...adults should feel embarrassed about reading literature for children."

So wrote Ruth Graham in an article for Slate, which was recently republished in the Toronto Star. The article tries to shame adults who read literature written for young people – not for children, as the quote above indicates, but for teenagers. Graham focuses on realistic teen fiction such as John Green’s The fault in our stars, or Stephen Chbosky's The perks of being a wallflower. These books fall into a category that librarians and publishers refer to as “young adult fiction” or “young adult literature”, often shortened to “YA”. The stone in Graham’s shoe is not YA fiction itself, but the popularity of YA fiction with adult readers. “Fellow grown-ups” she chastises, “at the risk of sounding snobbish and joyless and old, we are better than this.”

Graham has her reasons for maintaining these imaginary intellectual border lines, reasons which I'm not going to address here, other than to say that I disagree with every one of them. Mostly, I disagree with the notion that there are books adults should read – (“literary” fiction) and books adults shouldn’t read (anything marketed to teens) – and if you can’t resist the urge to toddle around in the kiddie pool of fiction, you ought to hang your head in shame. If you must set up rules around your reading, I suggest you consider author Daniel Pennac’s ten point reading manifesto, “The rights of the reader.” Especially number five.

  1. The right not to read.
  2. The right to skip.
  3. The right not to finish a book.
  4. The right to read it again.
  5. The right to read anything.
  6. The right to mistake a book for real life.
  7. The right to read anywhere.
  8. The right to dip in.
  9. The right to read out loud.
  10. The right to be quiet.

I hereby out myself as a grown-up who reads young adult fiction. Anybody else care to confess? I have read, and enjoyed the aforementioned enormously popular, The fault in our stars and many other YA books.

And I am neither embarrassed or ashamed.


This one summer I just finished a poignant young adult graphic novel that captures the feeling of being a girl just stepping into the minefield that is female adolescence. This one summer, written and illustrated by cousins Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, takes place in Ontario cottage country. Rose and her friend Windy (named by a hippie mom) are summer friends, who renew their friendship every year when their families go to Awago Beach. Rose has one flip flop clad foot in childhood, and the other is just beginning to test the waters of the vast, mysterious lake of sexuality, gender roles and adult problems.

Underneath the simple summer fun – campfires, swimming, choosing candy and horror movies from the only store around, and finding just the right shaped rock -- there are darker undercurrents of teen pregnancy, adult disappointment and loss, the good girl/bad girl dichotomy, and narrow standards of female beauty. Rose’s chubby friend Windy, a year and a half younger than her, dances, bounces and splashes unselfconsciously, often in a state of hyperactive delight. But Rose is already beginning to internalize destructive notions of a female physical ideal. When Windy rolls up her shorts and poses, Rose says, “It makes your thighs look kind of big.” My heart broke for all the young Roses and Windys when I read that line.

This book feels Canadian -- Rose’s Dad wears a Toronto Maple Leafs shirt, and extols the virtues of Canadian rock group, Rush. And a trip to Historic Huron Heritage Village might remind readers who grew up in Ontario of school trips to the Huron village in Midland.

Archie the married lifeI recommend this young adult graphic novel to my fellow grown-ups. If someone catches you reading This one summer and says you are too old to be reading comics, you could point out that a graphic novel won the Pulitzer Prize (Maus: a survivor's tale, by Art Spiegelman, in 1992). Or you could tell them that today’s graphic novels aren't your mother’s Archie comics. (Actually, your mother might not recognize the Archie comics of the twenty-first century – an issue of the comic was recently banned in Singapore for depicting a gay wedding.) And if that doesn’t shut them up, tell them you’ll read whatever you please.




Also by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki: Skim, which was nominated for a 2008  Governor General's Literary Award.

"Skim" (Kimberly Keiko Cameron) is a not-slim would-be Wiccan goth who goes to a private girls' school.  When her classmate Katie is dumped by her boyfriend, who then kills himself, the entire school goes into mourning overdrive. The popular clique starts a club to boost school spirit, but Skim sinks into an ever-deepening depression."

You can get This one summer and Skim at the library, but if you'd like a peek right now, see this article in The New Yorker:

Eyeball kicks: a teen-age-girl summer

A sidenote to North Yorkers and fans of Rush, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013: Rose's Rush loving dad would be happy to know that Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, two members of the power trio who grew up in Willowdale, will have a section of Willowdale Park named after them. This summer, Willowdale Councillor John Filion spearheaded an effort to have part of Willowdale Park renamed Lee Lifeson Art Park. What!? Rose's Dad isn't a real person, you say? I refer you to number six, on "The rights of the reader" list above. (#6. "The right to mistake a book for real life.")

UFO or Weather Balloon? Choose one.

July 7, 2014 | Ann | Comments (2)

Click for curious titles on Human Alien encounters! (image courtesy of Frank Kovalchek on a creative commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

One summer night in July of 1947, residents reported witnessing an unidentified flying object (UFO) crash down in the northern outskirts of Roswell, New Mexico. This event was aptly termed, The Roswell Incident. According to military reports, the examination of the crash site concluded that the flying object discovered was, in fact, no more than remnants of a weather balloon.

Click for titles on air balloons!(Image of Transsosonde weather balloon from Wikimedia Commons.  Image holds no copyright under Public Domain Mark 1.0.)

Residents of Roswell claimed to have observed unusual lights in the sky, bizarre-looking pieces of debris where the spacecraft crashed, and strange-looking bodies extracted from the crash site. The website for The International UFO Museum Research Center (The UFO Museum) located in Roswell, New Mexico briefly illustrates reports taken from witnesses and the military who were there. 

Our collection features interesting titles on the Roswell Incident:

Dreamland: travels inside the secret world of Roswell and Area 51 The Roswell encyclopedia Roswell final declassification (DVD) UFOs:  the Roswell incident


Which interpretation is closer to the truth: reports from the public that witnessed this event or the report from the military? Some critics say that the residents of Roswell could have made up this story to gain national fame. The opposing view is that the military deliberately covered up an actual alien crash so as to test and utilize alien technology for political and military gains. 

A third view that favours the presence of the UFO comes from Jesse Marcel, Jr.'s (2009) book, The Roswell Legacy:  the untold story of the first officer at the 1947 crash site, where Marcel describes the events that his father, the first military officer there at the crash, witnessed and affirmed that the debris is believed to come from an extraterrestrial origin.

The Roswell legacy:  the untold story of the first military officer at the 1947 crash site


If this incident was indeed a government cover up, the following titles offer strong support for this argument:

The NASA conspiracies:  the truth behind the moon landings, censored photos, and the face on Mars UFOS and the national security state:  chronology of a cover-up 1941-1973 Witness to Roswell:  unmasking the 60-year cover-up Crash-when UFOs fall from the sky:  a history of famous incidents, conspiracies, and cover-ups


Unsure what to believe?  The following suggestions may help to ponder over this issue:

Think:  why you should question everything I don't know:  in praise of admitting ignorance and doubt (except when you shouldn't) Conspiracy panics:  political rationality and popular culture The borderlands of science:  where sense meets nonsense


Our collection also includes some amazing magazines on UFOs, science, critical thinking, and the awe-inspiring unearthly news.

Skeptic Magazine ForteanTimes magazine The Futurist magazine The Skeptical Inquirer magazine


Another approach to turn science fiction into scientific reality is by developing extraterrestrial capabilities through technological innovation.  In the near future, say the year 2023, humans may endeavour to live on Mars. Then it would indeed be us who will become the aliens (and Martians) of tomorrow.

Titles on Mars (Artistic depiction of human exploration of Mars.  This file is in the public domain because it was solely created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted".)

Even with limited information to support the existence of extraterrestrial life, some people (including scientists) still gaze into the night hoping to catch a glimpse of an alien aircraft rocketing across the sky. Perhaps these willowy creatures may choose to revisit Earth--and not perish on our terrain as a result.

Ode to the Illustrious Typewriter

June 23, 2014 | Ann | Comments (8)

See more typewriters by Dr. Shordzi on FlickrContinental Typewriter (image courtesy of Dr. Shordzi on a creative commons licence)

June 23rd is National Typewriter Day.  Those who worked in office settings or used them at home prior to the 1990s will remember these machines well.  Whether they are manual (see above), electric, or electronic, typewriters played a major role in processing information.

The main goal of the typewriter was to enable users to fashion ideas, thoughts, and information into type print.  The process began from the tapping of fingertips on typewriter keys in short staccato strokes. The keys attached in a basket arrangement of thin metal arms (typelevers) that ended in lettered hammers (typebars).  These typebars striked against an inked ribbon to stamp marks onto a sheet of paper clipped to a moving carriage.  Each keystroke spurred the carriage merrily along until a bell chimed to indicate the end of that line.  This "ding" sound informed the typist to push the carriage lever to the right which also propelled the paper up to a new line.  

The process is similar for electric and electronic typewriters.  Electric typewriters requires electricity to operate to reduce finger pressure on the type keys.  Electronic typewriters contain a computerized circuit board to enable the machine to perform added functions such as automatic underline, erase, superscript, subscript, and italic lettering. The most notable improvement on the basic typewriter design for the electric/electronic typewriter was the addition of the "Enter" key that we see on today's computer keyboards.  This new key replaced the manual typewriter carriage and push lever system.  

Here is a video to visualize how the manual typewriter operates:


Video courtesy of Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum on a creative commons license.

These machines assisted in the creation of documents, reports, essays, and manuscripts at a quicker pace over handwriting.  Employed typists achieved speeds ranging from 50 to 80 words per minute.  At this pace, it would be difficult to transcribe in longhand while still appearing legible.

Most typewriters shared the same Courier font.  Howard Kettler, as noted in Typedia, developed this font in 1955.  He did not patent his design which was, therefore, quickly shared and adopted by all typewriter makers for its clean and crisp print.

For more information on the history of typewriters, the people who use them, and the cultural influence of these machines, here are some interesting titles to glance over:

The iron whim: a fragmented history of typewriting by Darren S. Wershley-Henry Century of the typewriter by Wilfred Beeching Quirky qwerty by Torbjèorn Lundmark Woman's place is at the typewriter: office work and office workers 1870-1930 by Margery W. Davies
The mindset lists of American history: from typewriters to text messages, what ten generations of Americans think is normal by Tom McBride Gramophone, film, typewriter by Fredrich A. Kittler Smoking typewriters by John Campbell McMillian Technbology, literature and culture by Alex Goody

While electronic typewriters came on the market during the mid-1980s, their popularity quickly evaporated.  Through extensive software development, computers became new and undefeatable rivals. By offering word processing features to enable users to easily type, edit, duplicate and store information in digital form and then transmit this information from one user to another leaving virtually no paper trail, computers pushed aside the typewriters on the market.  Even with this swift change, computers adopted the alphanumeric keyboard from their predecessor.

For more information related to technological and social changes over time, have a look at the following titles:

Technology by Wayne Grady Sex, bombs, and burgers by Peter Nowak The shock of the old: technology and global history since 1900 by David Edgerton From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: disruptive innovation in the age of the Internet  by John Naughton
100 ideas that changed the world: our most important discoveries, selected by our geatest minds   by Jheni Osman The new media invasion: digital technologies and the world they unmake by  John David Ebert The technological imperative in Canada: an intellectual history by R.D. Francis Writing: theory and history of the technology of civilization by Barry B. Powell


Computer Classes, Digital Innovation Hubs, eBooks, eVideos, and eMagazines

The Toronto Public Library offers computers, Internet access and digital services

To keep up with the changing times, the Toronto Public Library offers classes for development of computer and library searching skills.  

Computer Learning CentresThis image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


For those who would like to try their skills and learn how to self publish books or create an object on a 3D printer, the Digital Innovation Hubs offer training and hands on experience.

Digital Innovation Hubs

(3D printing at Fort York Branch, photo Toronto Public Library)


How about learning how to download an eBook, eAudiobook, eMagazine, eVideo, or look up a business or computer textbook online? Classes are available. 

Ebook training


Even with so many technological innovations that have occurred over the past 20 years, the typewriter still bestows an adorable quaintness worth appreciating and celebrating.

Warm Days Ahead. Get Outside!

April 28, 2014 | Ann | Comments (0)

Butterflies Butterfly link Link to more butterflies
Image Credit:

The winter season gripped us in its long, icy, knobby ... knuckles.  Spring arrived on March 20th, but Winter refused to unleash its hold. But slowly, surely, the temperature outside lifted over the freezing mark.  The dingy remnants of pavement ice shrivelled away--as if from embarrassment for overstaying its welcome.  Pedestrians now glide freely across the dry majestic concrete.  No more slipups, tripups, or other ice-related injuries left to unnerve us on our travels.

The weather is slowly improving and warmer days will soon arrive.  Plans for outdoorsy activities await!  We have some fun ideas of things to do under the sun.  The Society and Recreation Department indulges you to enjoy the sportier side of living.  For the younger crowd, the Children's Department offers plenty of fun sporty books to boot!

Basketball titles Baseball titles

Golfing titles Volleyball titles
Bicycling titles Skateboarding titles Rollerskating titles Unicycling titles
Hiking titles Climbing titles Swimming titles Fishing titles

    Canoeing titles(Image credits:,, and

If travelling through the City interests you, come to the 3rd floor at the North York Central Library.  Receive your very own hiking and biking maps illustrating the finest scenic routes the City has to offer.  Both maps are free for the taking.


Exploring Toronto's Parks & Trails Toronto Cycling Map

We also offer travel guides, history books, travel/history videos, and road maps on those faraway places to see.

For those who want to leave the City and travel to a new town, province, or across the country, recommends some biking and hiking locales as well as some lodges to hang up your boots for the night.

Enjoy the continuing surge of warmer temperatures and sunnier days ahead.  Check The City of Toronto website for current and upcoming events. 

Now, go outside and have fun!

Author Visit: Darren Shan

March 17, 2014 | Cameron | Comments (0)

Please join us in the library on March 25th from 7-8 P.M. for the British Authors exclusive Toronto visit:


Author Visit: Angela Misri and Natalie Corbett Sampson

March 12, 2014 | Cameron | Comments (0)

Please join us in the library for an author event featuring two authors from Fierce Ink Press, who will be discussing the ins and outs of writing for youth.



Author Visit: Cecil Castellucci

February 20, 2014 | Cameron | Comments (0)


Want to borrow the book?

Marissa Meyer: Author Visit!

February 1, 2014 | Cameron | Comments (0)


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.

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