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2016: The Year of the Monkey

February 8, 2016 | Winona | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Happy New Year! Kung Hei Fat Choy! 恭喜發財!

According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the new moon on Monday February 8, 2016, marks the first day of the Year of the Monkey. To celebrate the Year of the Monkey, here is a selection of Toronto Public Library resources related to Chinese New Year and to the animal of the year: the Monkey!

Chinese New Year, also referred to as Lunar New Year, is observed around the world. Here in Toronto, you can celebrate with the largest Chinese community in North America, spread across roughly six neighbourhoods in the region: Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West; Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street; Scarborough-Agincourt; Richmond Hill; Markham; and Mississauga.

The Chinese in Toronto from 1878 by Arlene Chan  Toronto's Many Faces by Tony Ruprecht  The Chinese Community in Toronto Then and Now by Arlene Chan

Chinese New Year celebrations often combine seasonal, mythical, and religious traditions. Clean endings and auspicious beginnings are a common theme. Some customary observations are: displaying New Year prints, poetic couplets, and streamers; burning spirit money; setting off firecrackers; visiting family and friends; giving lucky items, such as red packets (lai see or hongbao); hanging red lanterns; preparing special dishes; and enjoying Lion Dance performances. 

Year of the Dog, Toronto Dundas St. W.
Year of the Dog, Toronto Dundas St. W.
Ling, 3, who was born on Chinese New Year's Eve, holds lucky greeting
Ling, 3, who was born on Chinese New Year's Eve, holds lucky greeting.
Lion bait Edwin Chow, 8 months, gets into the spirit of the lion dance at Nathan Phillips Square
Lion bait: Edwin Chow, 8 months, gets into the spirit of the lion's dance at Nathan Phillips Square.

You can read about the traditions, customs, and rituals surrounding Chinese New Year and other Chinese festivals in books from our collections.

Chinese Feasts and Festivals by S. C. Moey Chinese Customs by Xiang Wei Chinese Festivals by Wei Liming

Chinese New Year by Patricia Bjaaland Welch Hiss Boom Pop by Tricia Morrissey and Kong Lee Traditional Chinese Festivals by Marie-Luise Latsch

The Chinese New Year begins on the new moon of the first lunar month. This usually falls between January 21 and February 19 of the Western calendar. Each year of the Chinese calendar is associated with one of 12 zodiac animals: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

What the Rat Told Me illustration zodiac
Illustration by Wang Fei from What the Rat Told Me

There are various stories in Chinese folklore that tell of how these 12 animals were chosen to be in the zodiac.

The Rooster's Antlers by Eric A. Kimmel and YongSheng Xuan What the Rat Told Me by Marie Sellier Catherine Louis and Wang Fei The Race for the Chinese Zodiac by Gabrielle Wang

The Monkey is the ninth zodiac animal and 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. The Monkey is imaginative, inquisitive, intelligent, and possesses an adventurous spirit. The Monkey may also be devious, opportunistic, selfish, and easily distracted. Those born in the years 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, and so on in 12-year recurrences, may share these characteristics.

The Year of the Monkey by Oliver Chin and Kenji Ono

Find out more about Chinese astrology, your animal sign, and what the Year of the Monkey has in store for you:

The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes by Theodora Lau and Laura Lau The Chinese Astrology Bible by Derek Walters Your Chinese Horoscope 2016 by Neil Somerville

Enjoy this selection of works by or about notable people born in the Year of the Monkey:

The Right Way to Do Wrong by Harry Houdini  Lou Reed The Last Interview and Other Conversations Buster Keaton the Short Films Collection 1920-1923

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher  Little Richard The Birth of Rock n Roll by David Kirby Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519 The Design of the World

The Death of Caesar by Barry Strauss Bob Marley The Lost Tapes Collector's Edition DVD Celine Through the Eyes of the World DVD


The library has many books about monkeys for adults, teens, and children. You can also borrow DVDs about monkeys. Or learn how to make sock monkeys!

Monkey Portraits by Jill Greenberg

 Sock Monkey Treasury by Tony Millionaire Sock Monkeys (200 out of 1863) by Arne Svenson Sew Cute and Collectible Sock Monkeys by Dee Lindner

The monkey is a popular character in literature and lore around the world, and is often a trickster figure.Curious_George

  • The Monkey King, Sun Wukong, is a central character in the 16th century Chinese epic adventure story Journey to the West (abridged and translated as Monkey) about a Buddhist monk's pilgrimage to India. Sun Wukong can transform into 72 different animals and things, and each one of his hairs can be transformed into a double of himself.
  • Sun Wukong may have originated in the Hindu deity Hanuman, a key character in the ancient epic Ramayana. Hanuman can change his shape at will, become very large or very small, possesses great speed and strength, and is immune to fire.
  • Curious George is a mischievous little brown monkey whose hijinks alongside "The Man with The Yellow Hat" are beloved by children around the world. In his first adventure, published in 1941, Curious George gets into all kinds of trouble: he falls overboard, sets off a fire alarm, breaks out of jail, and is lifted into the air by a bunch of balloons.
A monkey who likes travel
A monkey that likes to travel hitches on the knapsack of a Chinese infantryman on the new Ledo road that helped win Burma [Myanmar].

 Humans and monkeys have a complex relationship:

  Thanking the Monkey by Karen Dawn Animals Matter by Marc Bekoff The Monkey Wars by Deborah Blum


Happy Year of the Monkey everyone!


Related Toronto Public Library blog posts:

Related website:

How to Make a City: Urban Planning Publications

February 6, 2016 | Cynthia | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Leon Krier

“A city is not an accident but the result of coherent visions and aims.”
Leon Krier, The Architecture of Community


Cities are complicated. Leon Krier, author of The Architecture of Community, believes they are not accidental but  "planned" with varying degrees of success.

What is Planning?

Planning is a complex, multi-disciplinary subject area. 'Urban planning' replaced the term 'city planning' as the discipline grew. Broadly speaking, planning is concerned with all aspects of land use, the environment, design of urban space, public works and infrastructure. 

Planning covers municipal governance, finance, transit and transportation, housing, and social welfare. Public works includes civil engineering, water supply, water treatment and sewage, garbage and recycling, and more. Architecture and urban design, urban renewal and community development are components of the urban planning field as well.

Our Urban Planning Publications

We hold a major collection of city planning documents, urban planning books, reports, and maps at the Toronto Reference Library. But did you know that we also have a substantial collection of current and historical urban planning publications?

To put forth these "coherent visions and aims", professional planners, engineers, architects, consultants and others publish results of their research and analysis in professional magazines, newsletters, academic journals, as well as in-house publications put out by non-profit associations and private firms.

Often called "periodicals",  we have Canadian, American and European titles in print, microform and electronic versions.

How Can We Find These In The Library?

Most of the planning journals are on the second floor, Humanities and Social Sciences Department, but some topics are on other floors.

 Sampling of Canadian, American and European Titles:  Spacing     SPACING                    

Plan Canada magazine                             Ontario Planning Journal


Canadian Journal of Regional Science                                    












Urbanaffairsreviewcover UAR button












To re-cap:

  • Check our catalogue;
  • Keep your search simple;
  • Limit your searches with the categories listed along the left side of the page. 

Or pay us a visit in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department and let us help you "plan" your search.

TRL Program Calendar February 2016

January 31, 2016 | Katherine | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

This month, meet Poet in Residence Brian Brett, graphic novelist Daniel Clowes and join the Non-fiction Book Club.

Click on each image to enlarge or Download The February 2016 @ TRL as a pdf file.

For a full list of programs to browse or search, visit our Programs, Classes and Exhibits page.

February 1 February 2 February 3 February 4 February 5

Last chance to see Maurice Sendak artwork at the TD Gallery

January 28, 2016 | Nicole | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

This weekend will be your last chance to visit our free exhibit, Maurice Sendak: 50 Years, 50 Works, 50 Reasons, before Max steps into his private boat and waves good-bye for good! The exhibit is on display at the TD Gallery, on the first floor of the Toronto Reference Library and it runs until January 31 - this Sunday!

Max Bronze Sculpture

The exhibit features more than 50 original works of art by Maurice Sendak (1928-2012), beloved children's author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are. Organized in celebration of the book's 50th anniversary, the exhibit invites you to immerse yourself in the story and travel in Max's private boat to where the wild things are...

Max's Boat

Journey to where the Wild Things Are

It was still hot

... and finally into the night of his very own room where he found his supper waiting for him

and it was still hot.


It has been amazing to see so many young visitors who know and love Where the Wild Things! Half a century after it was first released, there is something really magic about this book and how it so deftly captures the emotions of being a kid. 

Sendak Storytime in the TD GallerySendak Story Time with Children's Librarian, Leigh, in the Gallery 

Appreciating the Art

Kennys Window Rooster

The original illustrations, sketches, posters, and limited edition prints on display feature some of our favourite characters spanning Sendak's prolific career: Max and the Wild Things, of course, but also Mickey from In the Night Kitchen, Else Holmelund Minarik's Little Bear, the four-legged rooster from Kenny's Window, the disobedient Pierre from the Nutshell Library, and the charming Rosie who first appeared in the The Sign on Rosie's Door


As a side note, Rosie and Pierre also appear in Sendak's delightful animated special, Really Rosie, which features music by Carol King. The song "Chicken Soup with Rice" seems particularly well suited for a chilly January day in Toronto:



Don't think you will be able to make it to the TD Gallery before Sunday? Don't fret! You still have until March 5, 2016 to visit a complimentary exhibit, "Let the Wild Rumpus Start!" Celebrating Maurice Sendak on display at the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books at the Lillian H. Smith Branch.

Osborne Let the Wild Rumpus Start

"Let the Wild Rumpus Start!" Celebrating Maurice Sendak 

Curated by Elizabeth Derbecker, the "Wild Rumpus" exhibit provides a deeper look at the books, artists, and experiences that helped shape Sendak's distinctive style of storytelling. See rare published works by Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827), William Blake (1757-1827), George Cruikshank (1792-1878), the Brothers Grimm, Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886) and Windsor McCay (1869-1934), each of whom Sendak credited as an important artistic influence. 

Wild Rumpus Atomics for the Millions 1947

The exhibit explores personal influences in Sendak's life that echo through his published works: his beloved dog Jennie, his family, his Jewish folk heritage, the kidnapping of the Lindbergh Baby, and his love of Mickey Mouse.  You can also see a fascinating selection of early and lesser-known works by Maurice Sendak including the very first book he illustrated, Atomics for the Millions (1947), written by Sendak's high school physics teacher, Human Ruchlis.  

Don't miss your chance to visit one, or better yet both, of these great exhibits before it is too late!  


Women and the Vote in Canada: a Timeline

January 27, 2016 | Katherine | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Canadian Federal Election 2015 Polling Station
The history of the vote in Canada is long and complicated, with many different groups being restricted, disenfranchised and excluded over the years through changing political circumstances. This year marks a significant anniversary for Canadian women. On January 27, 1916, women in Manitoba were granted the right to vote in provincial elections. Saskatchewan and Alberta followed with similar rulings in March and April of the same year.

But the history of women and the vote in Canada is about exercising, losing and winning back rights over many decades. Some women in British North America voted as far back as the 18th century, and through the years women held and lost voting rights at various levels of government.  Until 1832, British common law did not specifically restrict voting by gender, although the custom of excluding women had existed for centuries, and was generally followed in the colonies that became Canada.  

Here’s a timeline of the women's vote in Canada:

1785    The Council of the colony of New Brunswick explicitly denies women the vote in its inaugural election.

1791    The Constitutional Act of 1791 creating Upper and Lower Canada, does not mention gender. Voters are “persons” who own property of a certain value. There are no written records of women in Upper Canada (which followed British common law) voting. There are numerous records and accounts of female property owners voting in Lower Canada (which followed the civil code practiced from French colonial days).

1832    The Imperial Reform Act in Britain specifically excludes women from voting. This act influences political thought and practice in the North American colonies.

1834    Lower Canada restricts voting by women, to protect them from “dangerous conditions” at polling stations, after deaths occurred during some controversial elections.

1840    The Act of Union, which united Upper and Lower Canada as the Province of Canada, does not prohibit women from voting.

1844    A few women are recorded as voting in Canada West, the first written record of breaking the common law practice. A Reform candidate accuses the women of voting for his Tory opponent.

1949    The Reform government of Baldwin and LaFontaine, which opposed the rule of the Tory elite, consolidates electoral laws and specifically excludes women in the Province of Canada.

1836    Prince Edward Island specifically excludes women.

1843    New Brunswick specifically excludes women.

1851    Nova Scotia specifically excludes women.

1867    The British North America Act, the constitution of the Dominion of Canada, states in Section 41: “every male British Subject, aged Twenty-one Years or upwards, being a householder, shall have a vote.” Other criteria for voting is based on provincial laws, and all five now exclude women from the vote.

1873     Women owning property in British Columbia can vote in municipal elections.

1876    The Toronto Women`s Literary Club is founded by Dr. Emily Stowe, Canada`s first female doctor. This is the first female suffrage organization in Canada, but the name deliberately hides the purpose of the organization to deflect harassment.

1882    Ontario unmarried women who own property can vote in municipal elections. 

1883    Toronto Women`s Literary Club reconstituted and named the Toronto Women`s Suffrage Association.

1887    Women owning property in Manitoba can vote in municipal elections.

Business Card President Canadian Suffrage Assoc.1889
    The Dominion Women’s Enfranchisement Association founded as an outgrowth of the Toronto Women’s Suffrage Association.  Later known as the Canadian Suffrage Association.

1890s    Icelandic women in Manitoba form suffrage societies and campaign for the right to vote.

1893    Manitoba's Woman's Christian Temperance Union and Icelandic Manitoban women present a petition for female suffrage to the provincial legislature. It is rejected and they stage the first mock Parliament to raise funds and educate the public on women’s suffrage.

1894   The  Women's Enfranchisement Association of New Brunswick is formed, and the Equal Suffrage Club is founded in Manitoba. The Canadian House of Commons votes down a petition for women's suffrage presented by the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

1898    The magazine Freya (Woman) is founded by Icelandic Manitoban Margret Benedictsson and her husband Sigfus. Men and women subscribe from across Canada.

1900    Most women property owners in Canada can vote in municipal elections.

1906/07    Manitoba revokes women's municipal voting rights, then reinstates them.

1910    The National Council of Women endorses female suffrage.

1912    The Political Equality League founded in Manitoba. Led by Nellie McClung, a delegation meets with Premier Roblin, and is rebuffed.

January 1914    The Women's Parliament is staged at the Walker Theatre. McClung’s humourous impersonation of Premier Roblin is widely commented on.

1915     The Political Equality League submits another petition to the new Manitoba government.

January 1916    Manitoba grants women the right to vote in provincial elections and to stand for political office.

March 1916    Saskatchewan grants women the right to vote in provincial elections and to stand for political office.

April 1916    Alberta grants women the right to vote in provincial elections and to stand for political office.

April 1917    British Columbia and Ontario grant women the right to vote in provincial elections and to stand for political office.

Canadian Mother Election Poster 1917August/September 1917
    The Military Voters Act gives all serving military personnel, including military nurses, the right to vote in federal elections. The War-time Elections Act gives the vote to female relatives of serving military personnel. It also disenfranchises thousands of men who are conscientious objectors, including Mennonites and Doukhobors, and naturalized British subjects born in enemy countries.

April 1918     Nova Scotia grants women the right to vote in provincial elections and to stand for political office.

May 1918    The Federal Women's Franchise Act gives all women British subjects aged 21 and over the right to vote in federal elections. 

April 1919    New Brunswick grants women the right to vote in provincial elections, but not to stand for political office.

July 1919    Women become eligible to stand for office in the Canadian House of Commons. They are not eligible to be appointed to the Senate.

1921    Agnes Macphail is the first woman elected to the Canadian House of Commons.

May 1922    Prince Edward Island grants women the right to vote in provincial elections and to stand for political office.

1925    Newfoundland grants women the right to vote in provincial elections and to stand for political office. (Newfoundland was not part of Canada at this time.)

1927    Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards, (The Famous Five), petition the Supreme Court of Canada to establish whether women can be appointed to the Canadian Senate. Justice Minister Ernest Lapoint directs the Supreme Court to rule specifically on the meaning of “person” under section 24 of the British North America Act. This is known as the “Persons Case” (officially, Edwards v. A.G. of Canada).

1928    The Supreme Court of Canada rules that women are not “persons” according to the British North America Act and are ineligible for appointment to the Senate.   

1929    The Famous Five appeal to the Privy Council of England, which overturns the Canadian ruling. Women can be appointed to the Senate, but more importantly, cannot be denied other rights based on a very narrow interpretation of law.

1930    Cairine Reay MacKay Wilson appointed the first woman to the Canadian Senate.

March 1934    New Brunswick grants women the right to run for political office.

April 1940    Quebec grants women the right to vote in provincial elections and stand for political office.


First vote for a 21 year old

Compiled from:

A History of the Vote in Canada, 2nd ed., revised and enlarged. Also online

The Canadian Encyclopedia

The Woman suffrage movement in Canada, by Catherine Lyle Cleverdon

Additional Resources:

Canada, the franchise, and universal suffrage , by Anna Cecile Scantland.

The Persons Case: The Origins and Legacy of the Fight for Legal Personhood, by Robert J. Sharpe and Patricia I. McMahon. 

Canadian Women: A History, 2nd ed., by Alison L. Prentice.

Liberation deferred? : the ideas of the English-Canadian suffragists, 1877-1918, by Carol Lee Bacchi.

Citoyennes? : femmes, droit de vote et démocratie, by Diane Lamoureux.

Other Primary sources available at the Toronto Reference Library.


Photo credits:

Canadian Federal Election 2015 Polling StationRaysonho@ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine.

Business Card, Flora MacDonald Denison, President, Canadian Suffrage Association. Toronto Public Library.

The Canadian Mother election poster, 1917. Toronto Public Library.

Penny Teskey, age 21, casts her first vote in 1965Toronto Public Library. Toronto Star Licence.



Travel Magazines in Humanities and Social Sciences

January 6, 2016 | Richard | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Are you planning a trip, or just dreaming of one?

The Humanities and Social Sciences Department, on the 2nd Floor of the Toronto Reference Library, maintains a variety of current and historical travel magazines that you might find of interest.

Many of these magazine's initial issues of 2016 are devoted to the best places to travel in the new year.

Here is a list of 21 current titles:

1. Afar

AfarFeatures experiential travel, including stories of culture, geopolitics, active and eco-travel, and personal transformation.















2. Canadian Geographic [The Travel Supplements]

Canadian GeographicCover aspects of Canada and the rest of the world, including people, places, resources, wildlife, heritage and science.
















3. Canadian Traveller

4. Condé Nast Traveler

Conde Nast TravelerGuides to discover the best islands, cities, spas, castles and cruises.













5. Dreamscapes

6. Enroute

7. Explore -
Focuses on backpacking, bicycling, canoeing and skiing featuring Canadian destinations.

8. Food and Travel
- Designed to help the world traveler find the perfect escape and the best restaurants.

9. Horizon Travel Magazine

10. Lonely Planet Traveler

Lonely PlanetDesigned for people with a passion for travel and new experiences.















11. Monocle
[travel supplement: The Escapist]

12. National Geographic Traveler

National Geographic TravelerAims to be the source for the active, curious traveler. Every article is designed to inspire readers to pick up and go and to provide them with the tools and orientation to do so.















13. Outpost

14. Saltscapes [annual Food and Travel supplement]

15. Travel & Leisure

Travel and Leisure
















16. Travel - Sunday Times Travel Magazine
(recently ordered)

17. Voilà Québec

18. Where Calgary

19. Where Canadian Rockies

20. Where Toronto

Where Toronto



















 21. Where Vancouver

Current issues of these titles are filed [for self-service] in alphabetical order on compact shelving in front of the elevators. Many of these magazines are also available electronically and in full-text through Zinio.

Bon Voyage!


[Descriptions, where available, are from Ulrich's Periodical Directory]

Eight Literary Google Doodles of 2015

December 31, 2015 | Winona | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

I have mixed feelings about Google. Sometimes I love it because it works so well, sometimes I loathe it because it makes me worry. But I am always a sucker for a good Google Doodle. Especially, of course, if it's book-related!

Here's a look back at eight literary Google Doodles I enjoyed in 2015.


 February 1, 2015 - Langston Hughes' 113th Birthday


Langston Hughes was a poet, storyteller, and social justice activist at the heart of the Harlem Renaissance. His work incorporates the rhythms and moods of jazz, blues, and everyday language, and gives voice to the black experience in America. It's all there in this super cool animation of Hughes' poem "I Dream A World", accompanied by The Boston Typewriter Orchestra, an ensemble that makes music using manual typewriters!

The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes

The Weary Blues, Hughes' 1926 debut collection of poems, was re-issued in a beautiful edition in 2015, alongside The Selected Letters, correspondence over five decades with appearances by other literary luminaries like James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Zora Neale Hurston, and Richard Wright.


 February 7, 2015 - Laura Ingalls Wilder's 148th Birthday

Laura Ingalls Wilder - Google Doodle

Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved books for children are based on her own youth in the 1870s and 1880s as a pioneer in the American Midwest. They have been enjoyed by several generations of readers; from the Depression era, when they were first published, to the 1970s, when her Little House books were re-discovered by fans of the television show, right up to today. 

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The two figures in her Google Doodle were made using needle felting, by Vancouver-based artists Jack and Holman Wang, the clever minds and fingers behind the Cozy Classics board books.


 April 7, 2015 - Gabriela Mistral's 126th Birthday

Gabriela Mistral - Google Doodle

Chilean poet, educator, and intellectual Gabriela Mistral (the pseudonym of Lucila Godoy Alcayaga) was the first Latin American writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, "for her lyric poetry which, inspired by powerful emotions, has made her name a symbol of the idealistic aspirations of the entire Latin American world," as the 1945 citation read.

The Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral tranlsated by Ursula K. Le Guin

The text in her Google Doodle is from the poem "Dame La Mano" ("Give Me Your Hand"), translated to English by Ursula K. Le Guin in Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral as "Give me your hand and give me your love/ Give me your hand and dance with me."


 April 23, 2015 - Ngaio Marsh's 122nd Birthday

Ngaio Marsh - Google Doodle

Ngaio Marsh was one of New Zealand's most popular authors. Her mysteries are regarded as some of the best in the genre thanks to her shrewd characterization, stylish writing, and astute social commentary. All 32 of her mysteries feature Inspector Roderick Alleyn, of the Metropolitan Police of London, and several have been adapted for BBC television. The first Inspector Alleyn mystery, A Man Lay Dead, was published in 1934. 

A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh

Marsh is considered one of the four "Queens of Crime" of the golden era of detective fiction - the others being Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Margery Allingham.


 September 4, 2015 - Joan Aiken's 91st Birthday

Joan Aiken - Google Doodle

Joan Aiken was a prolific and versatile writer of fantasy, adventure, horror, and suspense tales for both youth and adults. Her works often combine wry observation with magical, mythical, and fairy tale elements inserted into the lives of ordinary British families. 

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

She is probably best known for 1963's The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, the first in a series of "unhistorical" novels that follow the adventures of several children in an alternate history England. Long before there was Lemony Snicket, Philip Pullman, Diana Wynne Jones, or J.K. Rowling, there was Joan Aiken.


October 8, 2015 - Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva's 123rd Birthday

Marina Ivanova Tsvetaeva - Google Doodle

Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva is known for the staccato rhythms, defiant directness, and stirring emotion of her verse. Born in Moscow in 1892 to a family of middle-class intellectuals, she rejected the Russian Revolution, embracing instead the anti-Bolshevik resistance, and suffered tremendous hardship throughout her adult life until her early death in 1941.

Moscow in the Plague Year by Marina Tsvetaeva

Tsvetaeva is regarded as one of the most important Russian poets of the 20th Century, along with Boris Pasternak, Anna Akhmatova, and Osip Mandelstam.


 November 20, 2015 - Nadine Gordimer's 92nd Birthday

Nadine Gordimer - Google Doodle

Novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and activist Nadine Gordimer explored themes of exile, alienation, love, and politics, as well as the effects of apartheid on both the ruling whites and oppressed blacks in her homeland of South Africa. In 1994 she won the Booker Prize for The Conservationist and in 1991 became the first South African, and seventh woman, to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer

Gordimer is often compared favourably to other great contemporary African writers such as Ngugi wa Thiong'o, J. M. Coetzee, and Phaswane Mpe.


November 30th - Lucy Maud Montgomery's 141st Birthday

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 141st Birthday

Canada's own L. M. Montgomery was honoured with three charming animations that feature scenes from her best known work, beloved around the world, Anne of Green Gables. The novel tells the story of an imaginative, clever, and extremely trouble-prone red-headed orphan girl and her adventures growing up on Prince Edward Island.

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

It was an instant hit with readers when it was first published in 1908 and led to several sequels in the ongoing life and times of Anne ("with an 'e'!") Shirley. Anne of Green Gables has been adapted for film, television, and stage many times; fans of the 1985 CBC television miniseries will fondly remember Anne as portrayed by Megan Follows and her love interest Gilbert Blythe as portrayed by Jonathan Crombie, who, sadly, passed away in 2015.


What writer(s) would you like to see featured in a Google Doodle in 2016?

Personally, I appreciate it when Google shines its light on writers whose works are not well known outside of their own homelands. In 2016, I'd love to see a Syrian author featured, for instance, like Ulfat Idilbi. Or how about someone local, like Toronto's own bpNichol



TRL Program Calendar January 2016

December 31, 2015 | Katherine | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

 See the stunning new gallery show "Maurice Sendak: 50 years, 50 works, 50 reasons" with special tours and programs for adults and children. Discover the new Green Screen Studio in the Digital Innovation Hub. Don't miss authors André Alexis, winner of this year's Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Award, plus Gabrielle Hamilton and Elizabeth Strout.

Click on each image to enlarge or Download The January 2016 @ TRL as a pdf file.

For a full list of programs to browse or search, visit our Programs, Classes and Exhibits page.

January 1 January 2 January 3 January 4 January 5

Toronto Collection: Reflections 2015

December 30, 2015 | Cynthia | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Often we judge a particular time and place by what was published, circulated and read at the time. Certain topics of interest dominate the print and social media and then fade away...Only to be replaced by new, current and more relevant issues.

Our Toronto Collection is no different. The collection reflects the history, governance and development of our City over many years.

Every year is interesting; every year is unique. Here are a few things that we added to our shelves in 2015. Trending all over are adult colouring books and we have our very own!



All the Libraries Toronto



Our neighbourhoods are very precious to us here in Toronto. Some have disappeared like The Ward, and some are still very much alive, like Kensington Market



The WardKensington Market


  And our Toronto changed forever due to one Mayor's vision of a Toronto of the future


  Competing Modernisms Kapelos

A progressive, Modernist City with world-class Civic Symbols

Civic Symbols


Another era was changed by a younger generation that grew their hair long, cycled to work, and City Hall belonged to all the people: 


                                 How We Changed Toronto


                                 How We Changed Toronto



Neighbourhoods evoke many images but I am willing to guess that you imagine your own neighbourhood in the daylight.

Did you ever wonder what goes on while you are asleep?  Or maybe you were there!



Then and Now Toronto Nightlife History


So who says Toronto rolls up the carpet at 5 o'clock??


Have a look at Expanded Gaming at Woodbine Racetrack for something new and The Toronto Heritage Conservation District Study Prioritization for something old.


And last but not least:

 The Only Average Guy


  All the Best in the New Year,

Humanities and Social Sciences Staff, second floor,

Toronto Reference Library


Get inspired by Maurice Sendak at the Toronto Public Library!

December 29, 2015 | Nicole | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

You have just four more weeks to visit the TD Gallery at the Toronto Reference Library to see Maurice Sendak: 50 Years, 50 Works, 50 Reasons, an exhibition of original artwork by the author and illustrator of beloved children's books, including Where the Wild Things Are. The exhibition is free and open to the public everyday!

The late Maurice Sendak's imaginative work and his unapologetic approach to capturing the experience of being a child continues to inspire writers, artists, and readers of all ages. 

Max and Jenny, ink on paper

Max and Jenny, ink on paper, circa 1960s. © Maurice Sendak: All Rights Reserved

Award-winning picture book author and illustrator Barbara Reid summed up her admiration for Sendak this way: "I can’t say what inspires me most: Sendak’s Little Bear drawings, his unsentimental kinship with children, or his not giving a fig about adult fussing."


Little Bear with Owl, ink and watercolour

Little Bear with Owl, ink and watercolour, circa 1960s. © Maurice Sendak: All Rights Reserved

Earlier this month, we were very lucky to have had Barbara Reid visit the Toronto Reference Library and Lillian H. Smith branch to share some of her incredible plasticine skills and help inspire some young artists to create their own Wild Things! 

If you aren't familiar with Barbara Reid's work, I'd recommend you check out The Party, The Subway Mouse, or most recently, Sing a Song of Bedtime!

The party  Subway Mouse  Sing a Song of Bedtime

Barbara shared some tips on how to create layers and textures out of plasticine and helped get the Wild Rumpus started with her enthusiasm for Where the Wild Things Are!

Barbara Reid

Barbara Reid sharing a few helpful tips

Wild Thing Supplies

The supplies

Wild Things at Work

Young artists and parents hard at work! 

Here are just a few of the amazing Wild Things that were created here at the Toronto Reference Library. I think Maurice Sendak would approve - each one tells a story!  



We've also seen some fascinating Wild Thing characters come to life in the TD Gallery, thanks to some very creative visitors!


Come see the exhibition and join the conversation in the gallery, on our website, or on social media: how Maurice Sendak has inspired you? #SendakTPL


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