Toronto Public Library Homepage

Homework Help Feed

A Few Electronic Study Resources from Safari Tech & Business Books Online

December 21, 2016 | Cameron | Comments (0)

The library offers many resources for students to help them improve on their research, studying, skill learning, memorizing, etc. Here are a few items offered from "Safari Tech and Business Books Online" that will make your studying and learning a bit more streamlined.


Critical Thinking Skills for Dummies (2015): Just what are the ingredients of a great argument? What is the secret to communicating your ideas clearly and persuasively? And how do you see through sloppy thinking and flim-flam? If you've ever asked any of these questions, then this book is for you!






 Improve Your Speed Reading Skills (2015): Improve Your Speed Reading Skills and breeze through books, newspapers, textbooks, reports, webpages -- whatever you need to read, however you want to read it.






Essay Writing Skills – Essential Techniques to Gain Top Grades Essays (2012): Writing essays is a major part of many further education courses. In coursework assignments, dissertations and exams, a well-written essay can make the difference between a pass and a fail. Essay Writing Skills offers practical and proven ways to maximize your success in all aspects of essay writing. From planning your first essay to assessing primary and secondary sources, this book will help you to write in a systematic way that presents a convincing and academically sound argument. A comprehensive guide, it provides guidance and advice on good research techniques, grammar and accuracy, creating an essay plan and correctly citing your sources. Also including a range of real life example essays and insider knowledge on how your essays are assessed, Essay Writing Skills is an indispensable source of advice, making the writing process clear and manageable to help you improve the quality of your written work.




 College Success Guide (2nd ed., 2011): This book walks college students through the steps that are proven to make them successful in college and life.






StudyskillsThe Study Skills Guide; Essential Strategies for Smart Students (2010): The Study Skills Guide covers the essential skills that lead to success at university. With advice on how to work efficiently and achieve great results, this comprehensive guide offers practical and proven ways to cope with the challenges you will face. Designed to help you achieve important goals, it offers vital advice on how to get the best out of your study time, including advice on revision and exam techniques; tips on note-taking and writing good essays and dissertations and guidance on how to impress with presentations. With free online downloadable resource material, this essential guide provides a firm foundation to your time at university and a catalyst to success in everything from working with academic staff and getting the most from lectures, to writing good essays fast.

A Few Electronic Study Resources from Overdrive

December 19, 2016 | Cameron | Comments (0)

The library offers many online resources for the use of our patrons. Here are a few online resources to help make your school life and education a bit more virtual. All of these items are available from Overdrive.


How to Learn Almost Anything in 48 Hours (2016): Three-time Australian Memory Champion Tansel Ali reveals the secret to learning new skills fast — easy-to-learn memory strategies, including mind mapping, visualization techniques and mnemonic devices.





Critical Thinking Skills for Dummies (2015):  Just what are the ingredients of a great argument? What is the secret to communicating your ideas clearly and persuasively? And how do you see through sloppy thinking and flim-flam?  If you’ve ever asked any of these questions, then this book is for you!





Straight Study Skills – More Than 200 Essential Strategies to Ace Your Exams, Boost Your Grades and Achieve Lasting Academic Success (2013): Straight-A Study Skills proves that you don't have to spend countless hours studying to get good grades. Using her experience as an educational consultant and a teacher, authors Cynthia Clumeck Muchnick and Justin Ross Muchnick have created an easy-to-use approach to learning important study skills and achieving academic success.




 Basic Study Skills: A Practical Guide to Learning For All Students (2013): This book is aimed at students at almost every level, including college and university, adult learners, access students and students on correspondence and distance learning courses. It will be particularly valuable for those who have been out of a learning situation for some time and are lacking the confidence to re-enter the educational environment. The book covers all aspects of study skills, from improving reading, writing, listening and thinking skills, to knowing how to study independently, conduct research and take tests and examinations.



 Study Skills Book 1 (2013): From reducing the stress of test-taking to looking up words in a dictionary, these workbooks have it all. Includes organizing for study, improving memory, taking notes, goal setting and more. Topics include: Organizing for Study; Improving Memory, Anatomy of a Textbook, Taking Class Notes, The Vocabulary of Tests and more...




How to Pass Exams: Accelerate Your Learning, Memorize Key Facts, Revise Effectively (2013): Dominic O'Brien, eight-times World Memory Champion, outlines in simple language the steps you can take to increase your memory power and pass your exams with flying colours. Whether you are at school studying a foreign language or at university revising for an examination toward a degree, "How to Pass Exams" will show you the easy way to accelerated learning and help you achieve top grades in any subject.




Sharp Grammar: Building Better Grammar Skills (2010): Features:

  • A 10-question quiz in every chapter to show readers where they need the most help.
  • Information on grammar, sentence structure, style, usage, punctuation and mechanics.
  • A variety of practice exercises with detailed answer explanations for every topic.
  • A recognition and recall chapter test that includes material from the entire chapter to once again reinforce what the reader has learned on a large scale. Detailed answer explanations follow the chapter test.
  • Chapter summaries for easy review.



Your New Second Home: The Youth Hub

December 13, 2016 | Debbie | Comments (0)

Youth Hubs
Arts and crafts, DJing and a Photoshop creation at a Youth Hub, but that's not all!

Teens visiting the Toronto Public Library Youth Hubs have so many good things to say about their experiences, it's hard to know who to quote first!

Jasmine really got to the heart of it when she said, "I like coming here cuz all my friends are here."

Then Nick said, "When I come here, it feels like I have meaning."

For Diyn, "The Youth Hub has progressively become my second home."

Sounds pretty amazing. But, what is a Youth Hub anyway?

Thyrone explains: "I come here because you get to do things you want with your friends instead of going home after school. And the workers here help with my school work and resume."

Hakan describes the Youth Hub like this: "Great environment to talk to people and make friends. I get to learn from staff, try new activities, get free snacks, and have a good time."

So, we've got friends, homework help, workshops, activities and snacks. Did anyone mention video games yet?

Better quote Stefan: "I like coming to the Hub because I can play PS4, get free food, and people help me with my homework."

Joel is a fan too: "Thank you for bringing out the video games!"

Alright, what happens if you go to a Youth Hub all the time? Zavier breaks it down for us: "The positive experience I gained from the Hub was I got to meet new people and become more responsible. At first, I did not have many friends but then I gained a lot more by being in the Hub. It made me more social and more outgoing within my community. This was my personal experience gained from coming to the Hub every day."

3D Printer Certification
Getting 3D Printer certified at a Youth Hub

Basically, Youth Hubs run in the library after school as a safe space for all youth. People spend time doing homework with tutors, hanging out, playing board or video games, and planning and participating in events, programs and workshops. Many of the activities make use of the technology that the Youth Hub owns, including laptops, cameras, green screens, Arduino kits and DJ equipment.

What else do you need to know? Follow the link for a list of the branches that have a Youth Hub space and their hours. If you have questions or would like to join, email:, or phone the branch where the Youth Hub is located.

There are also opportunities to become a volunteer for this program.

The last word on Youth Hubs should go to Ajani: "Leadership, equality, respect, good advice and fun."

Or Jacob: "I always feel safe here."

See you soon at the Youth Hub!

Deadlines-University Applications Edition

July 16, 2016 | Youth Advisory Group | Comments (0)

    Hey guys, do you know when the deadlines are for your applications to university? Your answer might be: "Oh, it starts at the end of the semester." However, that is not the case, my friends. Are you aware that initial applications for universities start in late September/ early October? Therefore, you really need to start preparing. The Ontario University Application Centre (OUAC)
Images lists several dates about the various deadlines of the application process. For instance, on January 13, 2016, their applications to the university are due; May 27, 2016 is the final day that you will receive a response from any Ontario university. But, take into account that different programs have different deadlines.

    Once you have received an acceptance letter from the university, start applying for scholarships. There are thousands of scholarships and bursaries that are available. Most of them go untouched because no one applies to them. Therefore, if you apply to these opportunities, there is a bigger chance for you to win that scholarship; for instance, you can win free tuition for at least 2 years. The only requirement for most of these scholarships is a well-written essay. So, get your English skills ready!

    Overall, submit your university applications and scholarship applications on time to prevent such chaotic circumstances. To end this very long (not really) blog post, I would like to advise all of you to do one thing: Save the dates! Also keep in mind that the sooner will always be the better. :)

Two More Grammar and Punctuation Mistakes I See in Submissions

November 6, 2015 | E Writer in Residence 2015 — Eve Silver | Comments (7)

Missed my first post on grammar and punctuation? Check it out here.


Next up…two more grammar and punctuation mistakes I see in submissions:


We just can't agree.


Subjects/verbs and nouns/pronouns should agree in number. Pronouns should agree with each other.

Incorrect: My stories reveals character growth.

Incorrect: A writer is free to explore their imagination. 

Incorrect: Once one has started a story, you should finish it.

Correct: My stories reveal character growth. OR My story reveals character growth.

Correct: A writer is free to explore his or her imagination. OR Writers are free to explore their imaginations.

Correct: Once you have started a story, you should finish it. 


To splice or not to splice.


A comma splice joins two independent clauses with only a comma. (Independent clauses are actually complete sentences that can stand on their own.) Instead, use a period or semicolon to separate the two independent clauses or join them with a subordinating conjunction. You can also use a semicolon and a conjunctive adverb to join two independent clauses.


Incorrect: I started writing a new story, I'm finding it hard to connect with the main character.

Incorrect: I started writing a new story, however, I'm finding it hard to connect with the main character.

Correct:  I started writing a new story; I'm finding it hard to connect with the main character.

Correct: I started writing a new story. I'm finding it hard to connect with the main character.

Correct: I started writing a new story, although I'm finding it hard to connect with the main character.

Correct: I started writing a new story; however, I'm finding it hard to connect with the main character.


Some common conjunctive adverbs: however, therefore, then, thus, nevertheless, accordingly, as a result, moreover, even so, rather, indeed, also, hence, yet, thus

Some common subordinating conjunctions: after, although, as, as soon as, because, before, by the time, even if, even though, every time, if, in case, in the event that, just in case, now that, once, only if, since, since the first time, though, unless, until, when, whenever, whereas, whether or not, while


And because it's Friday, we're having a contest!

Masked-TruthWant to win a signed copy of Kelley Armstrong's The Masked Truth? To enter, just leave a comment with a common grammar or punctuation mistake that haunts you. 



1. To enter, just leave your thoughts about a grammar or punctuation mistake that haunts you. 

2. You must live in Toronto to win this contest. 

3. You must provide a valid e-mail address so you can be contacted if you win a prize, and you must be able to come to a TPL branch to pick up your prize (see privacy statement below for more information).

4. One entry per person per Contest - you can leave more than one comment, but only your first comment will count as a contest entry. 

5. Contest ends Thursday November 12, 2015 at 11:59 pm. 

6. Winner will be announced on the following Friday.

Personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the Public Libraries Act, s.20 (a) and (d) and will be used to administer the Library's TPL Teens contest. Questions about the collection or management of personal information should be directed to library manager Jayne Delbeek-Eksteins- 416-396-8858.

Thinking of submitting your work to me for feedback? Contact info and details here.


Wondering who won all the previous contests?

Mark won the Morgan Rhodes prize pack

Caitlin S. won The Heir + Four prize pack

Thusaany won Red Queen

Harit K. won Dumplin'

Naailah Patel won Dorothy Must Die


Ten Tips for Editing Your Own Work

November 4, 2015 | E Writer in Residence 2015 — Eve Silver | Comments (1)

Self editing is tough. How can a writer tear apart the paragraphs and scenes they slaved over? How can they know what to cut and what to keep? Here are ten tips to help you polish your project.


1. Tuck your baby in for a nap.

Let your manuscript/story rest. You need to put some distance between yourself and the words you've written. A few days is good; a few week, even better. You want to come at the project with fresh eyes and a hazy memory. You want to forget some of what you've written so that when you read it at the edit stage, you have a fresh perspective of the project.


2. Change the font and format.

Anything that helps you look at your work in a different way is a good thing. Change the font. Change the format. Instead of reading a single column on a page, set it up as double columns. If you write exclusively on a screen, try printing the manuscript and editing it in paper form.


3. Read it out loud.

When we read silently, our eyes sometimes skim words and read what we expect to see rather than what we see. Try reading the story out loud. You'll be surprised what you find.


4. Edit for structure and content

As you're reading through, do you hit a scene or paragraph that feels repetitious, slow, maybe even boring? That's a scene or paragraph that might not need to be there. Sometimes you have to cut a chunk of your story to make it stronger. It hurts, but you'll be happier for the end product. 

As you read through, do you notice questions that don't have answers? Add sentences and paragraphs to tie up loose ends and fill in plot holes.


5. Get rid of your crutches.

Every writer has words they overuse, words that pop up many times on each page, words they rely on without even realizing it. What are yours? Read a single page from your story backwards, starting at the last word and working your way to the first. Is there a word that jumps out at you? Find your crutch word and use the "find" function to locate it in your manuscript, then replace it with something better/stronger/different.


6. Homonyms

Some words sound alike but are spelled differently, and spelling matters. Some common examples are: its/it's, to/too/two, there/they're/their, prey/pray, dual/duel, pore/pour, pique/peek/peak, naval/navel to name just a few. Make sure you're using the right spelling for the meaning you want to convey.


7. Spell check

Spell check is a great tool. Use it. But don't just automatically replace the words it flags. Make certain that the replacement is actually the word you want.


8. Structure

Are your sentences all short and choppy? long and descriptive? Active? Passive? Do all your sentences have the same layout? What about your paragraphs? Are they all long and flowing? Short? Do you have endless chunks of narrative or minimal bit of dialogue? Take a look at the way you've structured sentences, paragraphs, scenes and chapters. Does the structure you have chosen help convey the story you want to tell?


9. Italics, CAPS, Bold font, exclamation marks, Oh my!

Are you overusing italics? Are you including parentheses or em dashes in every sentence? Have you written chunks of your story all in upper case or in bold? Do you follow your sentences with a trail of exclamation marks? Your prose should convey the excitement and intensity. Chunks of work in upper case or bold should be avoided. Italics can be used for emphasis but should be used sparingly. Exclamation marks should be used as sparingly as possible.


10. Let the birdie fly from the nest.

Most writers could keep playing with a project day after day, polishing and cleaning, adding words, deleting sentences. At some point, you need to accept that you are happy with where the project is in that moment, that it is a piece you are proud of, and you need to let it fly free.


I hope you found these editing tips helpful. Please feel free to add your suggestions for self-editing in the comments.

Top Five Grammar and Punctuation Mistakes I See in Submissions

October 14, 2015 | E Writer in Residence 2015 — Eve Silver | Comments (5)

Grammar is something writers mess up. There's no shame in it. Even the most experienced writers can throw in a mistake or two when the story takes over and their typing fingers can't keep up with their thoughts. So here are the top five mistakes I see in submissions. Spot any that you make?

Your v.s. You're

I love your story. In this case, your is the possessive. The story belongs to you.

You're telling a story. In this case, you're is the contraction of you are

See the difference? Try reading your sentence out loud. If you can read the sentence substituting you are, then you need to use the contraction form. If it makes no sense when you substitute you are, then try the possessive form.

Then v.s. Than

Than is a conjunction used to make comparisons. I like chocolate chip cookies better than brownies.

Then is mainly used as an adverb to create a time reference for an action. I baked the cookies, and then we ate them.

Then can also act as an adjective if placed in front of a noun e.g. “she received the gift from her then boyfriend.”

Punctuating Dialogue

Cormac McCarthy (The Road, No Country for Old Men) is known for NOT using dialogue tags or quotation marks. It's a stylistic choice and it works for him. But most authors do use quotation marks. I often see incorrect usage in submissions.

Incorrect: "I'm going to the store." He said.

Incorrect: "I'm going to the store", he said.

Correct: "I'm going to the store," he said.

Incorrect: "I'm sorry you're feeling sad," she put her hand on my shoulder.

Correct: "I'm sorry you're feeling sad." She put her hand on my shoulder.

A few things to remember:

Keep punctuation inside the quotation marks.

Start a new paragraph for each new speaker to help the reader differentiate (this is not a hard and fast rule and can be broken in some circumstances). 

If you have more than one consecutive paragraph of dialogue from the same speaker, open the quotation for the first paragraph, do NOT close the quotation at the end of the paragraph, open quotation for the second paragraph, then close the quotation, like this:

   "So I was telling you that story about the kid in my class, the one who played rugby...remember? He's a beast, totally brutal. An animal. Works out every day. Maybe twice a day. He's huge. I think he benches like...350?

    "Well, anyway, last week I saw him at the food bank. Working there, yeah? He was sorting tins and boxes and stuff, putting everything on shelves. Never expected someone like him to volunteer." 

Its v.s. It's

The dog wagged its tail. In this case, its is the possessive. The tail belongs to it (the dog).  

It's a long way to the store. In this case, it's is a contraction of it is

Again, you can try the trick of reading your sentence out loud and seeing if the sentence still makes sense when you substitute it is.

They're, There, Their

They're is a contraction for they are.

There refers to a place.

Their is the possessive (refers to something that belongs to a group).

They're (they are) going over there (a place) to retrieve their backpacks (the backpacks belong to the group).


Places to find more info:

Check out this great post on Passive Voice by Grammar Girl.

The Chicago Manual of Style is a commonly used style guide that can help answer your grammar and punctuation questions. The Associated Press Stylebook is another great option, as is Strunk and White's The Elements of Style.

What about you? Do you have any grammar/punctuation mistakes that haunt you?

Help! Homework Help is Here. And PS3 and Xbox 360...

January 9, 2014 | Ray | Comments (0)


Looking for free homework help? Or a place to hang out after school?

The library has two After School Newcomer Hubs for teens in grades 7-10.  Tutors are on hand to provide free homework help in a variety of subjects, such as math, English, French, history, and science.

No homework? Awesome! Come hang-out, play Wii, Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.

Laptops are also available!

Centennial hub

Hubs run at the Centennial and Sanderson branches, Monday through Wednesday:

Centennial:                                                  Sanderson:

Mondays 3:30 - 8:00 pm                                 Mondays 3:30 - 7:30 pm
Tuesdays 3:30 - 6:30 pm                                Tuesdays 3:30 - 7:30 pm
Wednesdays 3:30 - 5:30 pm                            Wednesdays 3:30 - 7:30 pm


 All teens are welcome!

Going to university or college in the fall?

June 27, 2013 | Erin | Comments (1)

Then you'd best be prepared for higher level essay writing. Clip_Art_Writing_1

Luckily, there is a free four-part workshop being offered at Cedarbrae Branch starting July 16. Plus it's taught by a university professor. It's a great opportunity to learn from someone who could very well be grading your papers one day ;)

Registration is required. Space is very limited. Please call 416-396-8850. See the link above for more details on the workshop content.

Students entering grade 12 are welcome as well.

Written? Kitten! = excellent.

March 13, 2013 | Ray | Comments (3)

Have you heard about the newest "study aid" that eliminates procrastination and rewards with a kitten? (ok, procrastination is still there) 100% totally awesome, it's Written? Kitten!  As you type, you're rewarded with a new kitten photo - the longer your essay, the more kittenz you get. Win!

Link to Written Kitten

LIVE online math help - every Sunday to Thursday night

December 11, 2012 | Ray | Comments (2)

Do you procrastinate with math homework until it's too late to get help? (I procrastinated in anyway possible.)  Don't want to ask a question in class? (I thought my questions were probably stupid.)

Worry no more: Ask real math teachers behind live tutoring.  The tutors are Ontario middle-school and high school math teachers - they know what you're going through. And they'll help you get x(a+b) or logs  and cosins so it makes sense. HH_logo2

How does this work? 

  • -You must be in grades 7-10
  • -Enrolled in a publicly-funded school
  • -Have your OEN number (found on your report card, near your name)

To get started, go to Homework Help for all the details

When is the live math tutoring?

  • Sundays through Thursdays
  • 5:30-9:30 pm. 

Register Here

Here's the video on how it works and some other teens' opinions:

Homework Help - More Branches

November 5, 2012 | Ray | Comments (0)

Get free help on your subjects! Check out the times and location:


  • Mondays, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Co-sponsored with North West Scarborough Youth Centre. Program be on Tuesday if Monday is a public holiday.



  • Wednesdays, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
  • Grades 2-12
  • Meet in Teen Zone.
  • Snacks!

Get free basic help from University Volunteer tutors.


Eatonville Meeting Room

  • Tuesdays, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Grades 5-10

Join this free after-school program for teens once a week. Call R.A.Y. (Rathburn Area Youth) at 416-626-6068 or the Eatonville Library at 416-394-5270


Peer Tutoring Club

Parkdale Program Room

  • Fridays, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

In the Peer Tutoring Club, youth get help with their home work assignments or any other academic assistance from their volunteer peers tutors and the youth worker.

In partnership with the Parkdale Community Information Centre.


Pleasant View Auditorium

  • Tuesdays, 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Grades 7-12

Homework Help NOW at Malvern!

October 22, 2012 | Ray | Comments (0)

MoleculeGet homework help from those that know - U of T Scarborough students will help you!  Not just homework questions either, if you've got questions on applying to university - they've got experience and answers!  also, SNACKS!

Need Help?                                                                  We Can Help!

  • Need help with homework?
  • Want to explore your options after high school?
  • Need more information about university and college?
  • Get free tutoring and support from U of T Scarborough students!
  • Enjoy free snacks!
  • Get information on university and college applications!


Homework Help is here

September 27, 2012 | Erin | Comments (0)

FormulaCalculus mystifying you? Can't quite get that French conjugation right?  Get free basic help with homework from volunteer tutors!

Branch locations:

After-School Newcomer Hubs also offer homework help:

Continue reading "Homework Help is here" »

Swamped! Homework Help for newcomer teens!

September 13, 2012 | Ray | Comments (0)

800px-Golden_RatioSwamped? Newcomer teen?

After-School Newcomer Homework Hubs are free help with math, science, English, French, and other subjects. The Hubs feature skill-building workshops, laptops for assignments and research, video games, and more! For all teens in grades 7-10.  

Hubs are at Centennial and Sanderson    Join us!  

Centennial: Mondays Tuesdays Wednesdays
  3.30-8.00pm 3.30-6.30pm 3.30-5.30pm
Sanderson: 3.30-7.30pm 3.30-7.30pm 3.30-7.30pm

Youth Survey. My Curved Border

Sign up for our
teen email newsletter