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April 2013

Immigrant Diversity Week: Information for Newcomers on Employment Success and More

April 30, 2013 | Winona | Comments (1)

Immigrant Diversity Week is on now and continues until Friday May 3.

Free events, put together by the Employment, Education, and Training Action Group of the Toronto East Quadrant Local Immigration Partnership, are happening throughout the east end of the city, and many are taking place at library branches in the Scarborough community.

If you are new to Canada, drop in to your local library branch to find out what resources are available to you!

Diversity Makes Us Unique photo by Marc Falardeau
Photo of TTC subway tile by Marc Falardeau via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.
On Tuesday April 30, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., visit the McGregor Park Branch to get information from local agencies such as the ASCA Newcomers' Centre, which has been providing services for newcomers such as translation, interpretation, counseling, and employment-related services in the community for over 35 years.

On Wednesday May 1 join us for job-related workshops at Albert Campbell Branch. Find out about Canadian workplace culture and the essential communication skills you need to succeed in a diverse and competitive workplace from an employment counsellor from Goodwill Employment Services. Participants will learn about they key aspects of culture and communication, including non-verbal forms of communication, the expectations and assumptions of Canadian colleagues, and more. Or get information about resumes from an expert from Centennial College Job Connect, who will offer instruction on how to create effective resumes and cover letters. If you already have a resume or cover letter, bring it with you to receive feedback and tips for improvement. Useful handouts and skills lists will be distributed. Please call 416-396-8890 to register for one of these free workshops. Both workshops take place from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Visit the Kennedy/Eglinton Branch on Wednesday May 1, from 12:30 to 5:00 p.m., to get information about services for immigrants from the Catholic Crosscultural Services, which provides settlement and immigration services for all newcomers regardless of religion. 

On Thursday May 2, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., Catholic Cross Cultural Services will be back at the Kennedy/Eglinton Branch to present a free resource information workshop for newcomers on immigration and refugee issues, settlement plans, and more. Register by phone, 416-396-8924, or drop in!

If you would like to practice your English communication skills, come to the Albert Campbell Branch on Thursday May 2nd at 3:00 p.m. for our English Conversation Circle. Learn about Canadian culture and improve your spoken English in an encouraging and supportive environment with other newcomers. To register, call Lakhbir Dhillon at 416-757-7010 ext. 212 or email, or just drop in!


Can't make it to an Immigrant Diversity Week event? Don't worry - resources for newcomers are available at the library all year long. For more information, check out our webpage Find Your Way if You're New to Canada.


Are you a newcomer looking for work? Here is a selection of books on how to achieve employment success, especially for job-seekers who are new to Canada (click on the picture for more information about the book and to place a hold):

Living and Working in Canada _ David Hampshire Arrival Survival Canada : Naeem Noorani A Complete Guide to Overcome No Canadian Experience _ Obi Orakwue No Canadian Experience, Eh? _ Daisy Wright

How to Find a Job in Canada _ Efim Sheinis Get Hired on Demand : Grace Taller Communicating Across Cultures at Work _ Maureen Guirdham You're Hired Now What? _ Lynda Goldman

Snapshots in History: April 26: Remembering the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

April 26, 2013 | John P. | Comments (0)


On April 26, let us pause to remember the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that occurred at Pripyat, Ukraine on April 26, 1986 when an explosion and fire occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, resulting in the wide dispersal of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, especially over the western sections of the then-USSR and neighbouring European countries. Arguably the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history, the Chernobyl event is only one of two such events classified as high as level 7 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) established in 1990 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the other being the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011 in Japan.  Toronto Public Library collections provide access to materials containing information on the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, including the following:


The age of catastrophe disaster and humanity in modern times

The age of catastrophe: disaster and humanity in modern times / John David Ebert, 2012. Book.

Man-made disasters are on the rise and the efforts to keep nature and civilization separated are not likely given their interconnectedness. It is more challenging to distinguish natural disasters from man-made ones. Ebert analyzed a number of post-World War 2 or “neomodern” disasters such as Bhopal (1984) and Chernobyl (1986) as well as several disasters of planetary scale, including Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans (2005) and the Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami, and Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant meltdown (2011).


Chernobyl crime without punishment

Chernobyl: crime without punishment / Alla Yaroshinska, 2011. Book.

Russian journalist Yaroshinska documented the disinformation campaign by the then-Soviet government to avoid responsibility and admittance of wrongdoing of the Chernobyl disaster. This book, while coming out 25 years after the 1986 event, brought matters into the 21st century by documenting government inertia on the part of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine as millions of people have sought justice, compensation, and recognition of suffering as a result of the disaster. Radioactive pollution still permeates the surrounding environment. This book also questioned the efficacy of nuclear power.


Visit sunny Chernobyl and other adventures in the world's most polluted places

Visit sunny Chernobyl: and other adventures in the world's most polluted places / Andrew Blackwell, 2012. Book.

Not everyone would appreciate this account of “extreme tourism” in visiting polluted places such as Chernobyl. However, journalist Blackwell tackled the task with humour and seriousness both in asking pertinent questions but also in the need to appreciate the Earth for what it is and not what one would like it to be. Environmental stewardship and economic desires continue to be in conflict. Canada is not off the hook either as the Alberta oil sands are considered.


Voices from Chernobyl the oral history of a nuclear disaster


Voices from Chernobyl: the oral history of a nuclear disaster [1st Picador ed.]  / Svetlana Aleksievich, preface and translation by Keith Gessen, 2006. Book.

This book won the National Book Critics Circle Award category for general non-fiction . Journalist Aleksievich interviewed hundreds of people affected by the Chernobyl disaster - from the general population to firefighters brought in to deal with the fire without proper protective equipment. The interviewees demonstrated the anger, angst and uncertainty with which they have lived.



Consider the following fiction title about the Chernobyl disaster:


The sky unwashed a novel

The sky unwashed: a novel / Irene Zabytko, 2000. Book.

This debut novel was inspired by real life experiences of villagers who defied the forced evacuation of their community in the Ukraine in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster. In the novel, Starylis was presented as a farming town that served as a bedroom community for the nuclear plant workers. Yurko Petrenko, who along with his wife Zosia worked at the Chernobyl facility, developed radiation sickness. While Yurko’s mother Marusia remained with her ill son in Kiev, Zosia and their children went to Moscow in search of a better existence. After Yurko died, Marusia went home to Starylis to live out the rest of her life, despite the declaration by the government that the area was uninhabitable.



Consider watching the following DVDs:

Chernobyl diaries / Olivia Taylor Dudley et al., 2012. DVD. Feature Film. Holds can be placed starting on May 15, 2013.

Six tourists hired an extreme tour guide to take them to the abandoned city of Pripyat, Ukraine, where the former workers of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant once lived. The group came into contact with mutant beings. This film may appeal to those who enjoy horror films.


Radioactive wolves: Chernobyl's nuclear wilderness / Klaus Feichtenberger et al., 2011. DVD. Documentary.

Filmmakers and scientists teamed up to research wolf packs and other wildlife thriving in Chernobyl’s so-called “dead zone” surrounding the encased reactor with its concrete sarcophagus.

Snapshots in History: April 24: Remembering L.M. Montgomery (1874-1942)

April 24, 2013 | John P. | Comments (0)

On April 24, let us pause to pay tribute to Canadian children’s author Lucy Maud Montgomery (born: November 30, 1874) who passed away on April 24, 1942. Her fiction works, especially Anne of Green Gables, are well-known the world over and have been translated into many languages. However, let us focus on Maud’s inner thoughts as expressed through her complete journals, edited by academics Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston and covering the 1889-1911 time period when she was living in Prince Edward Island thus far, now available in Toronto Public Library collections as follows:


The complete journals of L.M. Montgomery the PEI years, 1889 1900

The complete journals of L.M. Montgomery: the PEI years, 1889 1900 / Lucy Maud Montgomery, edited by Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston, 2012.



The complete journals of L.M. Montgomery the PEI years, 1901-1911

The complete journals of L.M. Montgomery: the PEI years, 1901-1911 / Lucy Maud Montgomery, edited by Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston, 2013.

Snapshots in History: April 24: Remembering the Battle of Kapyong

April 24, 2013 | John P. | Comments (0)

On April 24, let us pause to remember the United Nations soldiers, predominantly Australians and Canadians, who were involved in the Battle of Kapyong during the Korean War from April 22-25, 1951.

Triumph at Kapyong Canada's pivotal battle in Korea

Triumph at Kapyong: Canada's pivotal battle in Korea / Dan Bjarnason, 2011.

Bjarnason told the gripping tale of the 700 members of the 2nd battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) who beginning on the evening of April 24, 1951, despite being surrounded, held off over five thousand Communist Chinese troops at overwhelming 7-to-1 odds in the Kapyong River valley that aided in protecting the city of Seoul.

Watch Peter Mansbridge’s interview with former CBC reporter and journalist Dan Bjarnason from March 11, 2011 below:


(Source Credit: )

Reading Fahrenheit 451: Bradbury and Mars (not that Mars)

April 24, 2013 | Winona | Comments (2)


I remember reading Fahrenheit 451, this year's One Book selection, for the first time, when I was in university. Before then, I had known something of its basic premise - that it had been written during the height of McCarthyism in America, that it was concerned with censorship and had itself been censored. But other than that my only experience with Fahrenheit 451 had been in the form of performance art.

Tanya Mars
Tanya Mars

In 2004, the multi-disciplinary performance artist Tanya Mars produced an elaborate public performance piece called Tyranny of Bliss. It took place at 14 different sites, simultaneously, around the city, and was constructed thematically around the seven deadly sins and the seven heavenly virtues. Fahrenheit 451 was used in the performance of the seventh deadly sin, Pride, which was staged at a bookstore in Toronto.

Table of the Mortal Sins by Hieronymus Bosch (Superbia)
Table of the Mortal Sins by Hieronymus Bosch (detail: Superbia [Pride]). Notice the demon holding a mirror in front of the woman.

Briefly, this piece called Pride went something like this: two performers covered the sidewalk in front of the bookstore with hundreds of books which they piled up and un-piled methodically for about five hours. The performers also took turns standing on the piles and reading from Fahrenheit 451, then ripping pages from the book and burning those pages in a small silver bowl. Meanwhile, in the storefront window, another performer gazed at her reflection in a mirror and tore thin strips of Fahrenheit 451 from its covers, which she pasted onto the window until it was completely covered and she was rendered invisible.

Tyranny of Bliss - reading FH451 - photograph by Miklos Legrady
Performance of Tyranny of Bliss by Tanya Mars. Photo credit: Miklos Legrady
Tyranny of Bliss - lighting FH451 - photograph by Miklos Legrady
Performance of Tyranny of Bliss by Tanya Mars. Photo credit: Miklos Legrady
Tyranny of Bliss - burning FH451 - photograph by Miklos Legrady
Performance of Tyranny of Bliss by Tanya Mars. Photo credit: Miklos Legrady

I loved the performance but, truthfully, I couldn't figure out for the life of me why it was called Pride.

Later, while reading Fahrenheit 451 in university (for an inspiring course taught by poet and Professor Priscila Uppal on one of my favourite subjects: reading) I attempted to trace a few connections between Mars and Bradbury:

Triptych of Earthly Vanity and Divine Salvation by Hans Memling
Triptych of Earthly Vanity and Divine Salvation by Hans Memling
Pride is also known as vainglory, which is etymologically linked to the Latin word vanus, meaning empty, idle, foolish. These are apt descriptors for Bradbury's dystopia. Just look at Mildred. She longs for a fourth "parlor wall," a vacuum inside of which she can seal herself away from thinking and feeling and instead immerse herself in programs about nothing. Poor Mildred, whose favourite subject is herself:

He opened another book."'That favorite subject, Myself.'" He squinted at the wall. "'That favorite subject myself.'" "I understand that one," said Mildred." (p. 68)  Inferno by Dante (transl. Nichols)

In Dante's Inferno, the deadly sin of pride is defined as "love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbour." This is just what Bradbury describes in those people who alert the firemen to the presence of books in their neighbours' homes. The notable exception is Clarisse McClellan, Montag's neighbour who loves community, and pays for that with her life:
"I'm antisocial, they say. I don't mix. It's so strange. I'm very social indeed. It all depends on what you mean by social, doesn't it? Social to me means talking to you about things like this." She rattled some chestnuts that had fallen off the tree in the front yard. "Or talking about how strange the world is. Being with people is nice. But I don't think it's social to get a bunch of people together and then not let them talk, do you?" (p. 27)
Paradise Lost (Lucifer) illustration by William Blake
Illustration of Lucifer by William Blake

In the Christian tradition Pride is often considered the gravest of the seven deadly sins. You can see this in the story of Lucifer (sometimes "the light bearer"), whose belief that he is greater than God - his inflated pride of self - causes his fall from Heaven and his subsequent transformation into Satan, ruler of the blazing inferno of Hell. Enter Captain Beatty, whose smoky bedside lecture on the nature of happiness to Montag (during which Montag conceals the Bible he salvaged from the library belonging to the woman who burns with her books) is reminiscent of a sort of "deal with the Devil" conversation:
Captain Beatty sat down in the most comfortable chair with a peaceful look on his ruddy face. He took time to prepare and light his brass pipe and puff out a great smoke cloud...He examined his eternal matchbox, the lid of which said GUARANTEED: ONE MILLION LIGHTS IN THIS IGNITER, and began to strike the chemical match abstractly, blow out, strike, blow out, strike, speak a few words, blow out. He looked at the flame. He blew, he looked at the smoke. "When will you be well?" (p. 50-51)
So what? you ask. So: Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is, among other things, an allegorical critique of a society that prides itself on its superficiality and hedonism (the American dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness conceived as nightmare) at the great expense of readers and reading, and all that's lost when books - and some of the things that are in them - are gone.


To read more blog posts on Fahrenheit 451 click here.


Snapshots in History: April 22 and 23: Remembering Lester B. Pearson

April 23, 2013 | John P. | Comments (0)

On April 23, 2013, let us pause to remember Lester Bowles “Mike” Pearson (Born: April 23, 1897; Died: December 27, 1972) who served as Canada’s 14th Prime Minister from April 22, 1963 to April 20, 1968. The one-time diplomat had a distinguished career in Canada’s diplomatic service after which he switched to elected politics and served as Secretary of State for External Affairs under Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent from 1948-1957. Pearson received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for his efforts to resolve the Suez Crisis through the introduction of peacekeeping forces. (He also served as the 8th President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1952.) Mr. Pearson also served as Leader of the Opposition from January 16, 1958 to April 22, 1963. Toronto Public Library collections offer customers access to materials about Lester B. Pearson. Here are some selected examples:

Golden years: encounters with Glenn Gould, Marshall McLuhan, Lester B. Pearson, René Lévesque and John G. Diefenbaker / Eric Koch, 2013. Book.

Former CBC executive and producer and academic Koch focused on five major Canadian personalities who helped to change Canada and define its national identity, namely Gould, McLuhan, Pearson, Lévesque, and Diefenbaker. View a video of the author below: 


Lester B. Pearson

Lester B. Pearson / Andrew Cohen, 2008. Book. (Series: Extraordinary Canadians )

Professor and journalist Cohen produced a readable biography on Canada’s 14th Prime Minister, including his time as an academic, a diplomat, and Minister for External Affairs during which time his solution of the 1956 Suez Crisis led to his winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Pearson won two minority governments in 1963 and 1965 that brought in the Maple Leaf flag, the Canada-U.S. Auto Pact, the Canada Pension Plan, and paved the way for the introduction of universal medicare across Canada.


Lester Pearson's peacekeeping: the truth may hurt / Yves Engler, 2012. Book.

Revisionist Engler asserted that Pearson was in fact a cold warrior who supported the American war in Vietnam and lobbied to send troops to the Korean War in the early 1950s before that as well as supporting colonialism, coups d'état in Guatemala, Iran, and Brazil, and the American invasion of the Dominican Republic. As Prime Minister, Pearson’s government did not take a strong stand against the apartheid regime in South Africa during the 1960s.


Pearson's Prize Canada and the Suez Crisis

Pearson's prize: Canada and the Suez Crisis / John Melady, 2006. Book.

This book coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Suez Crisis in which Lester Pearson as Canada’s foreign minister proposed the introduction of a peacekeeping to separate the warring nations (Egypt versus France, Great Britain, and Israel) that would earn him the Nobel Peace Prize the following year in 1957.


Shadow of heaven: the life of Lester Pearson, volume 1, 1897-1948 / John English, 1989. Book.

Academic English delved into Pearson’s service in the First World War, his time at Oxford, meeting and marrying his wife Maryon, and his service in the diplomatic corps. He resisted entreaties by Prime Minister W.L.M. King to enter politics but was more amenable to serve under Louis St. Laurent.

For more copies, click here or here.


The worldly years the life of Lester Pearson, volume 2, 1949-1972

The worldly years: the life of Lester Pearson, volume II, 1949-1972 / John English, 1992. Book.

Academic English’s second volume covered Lester Pearson’s foray into elected politics as Secretary of State for External Affairs under Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, his championing of the peacekeeping force that cooled down the 1956 Suez Crisis for which Pearson received the Nobel Peace Prize, his humiliation as Opposition Leader facing the Diefenbaker juggernaut in 1958, and his rebuilding of the Liberal Party that resulted in Pearson becoming Prime Minister of a minority government twice.

For more copies, click here or here.

Snapshots in History: April 16: Remembering Blakeney, Franklin, King, and Quintanilla-Pérez

April 16, 2013 | John P. | Comments (0)

On April 16, let us take some time to reflect on some historical snapshots into the past as we remember Allan Blakeney, Rosalind Franklin, Martin Luther King Jr., and Selena Quintanilla-Pérez (aka Selena). Toronto Public Library collections offer a means of exploring the worlds of individuals from the past through biographies, autobiographies, memoirs and other works as well as materials in various formats.


Allan Blakeney (1925-2011), who died on April 16, 2011, was Premier of Saskatchewan from 1971-1982 and his government introduced state intervention in the economy (for the purpose of economic diversification in a mainly agrarian province) with the creation of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan and Saskoil, and advocated for provincial ownership of natural resources in the Canadian constitutional battles of the late 1970s/early 1980s. He had previously served in the Saskatchewan government in the early 1960s as Minister of Health, playing a pivotal role as the province introduced the inaugural medicare plan in Canada in 1962. Prior to his political career, Blakeney studied law, earned a Rhodes scholarship, and worked in the Saskatchewan civil service. Consider the following titles authored by Allan Blakeney:


An honourable calling political memoirs

An honourable calling: political memoirs / Allan Blakeney, 2008. Book.

The former Saskatchewan premier offers commentary on many issues that he experienced over his 38 years as a civil servant, cabinet minister, Premier and Opposition Leader. He discussed the 1962 Medicare Crisis, the province’s control over its resources including potash and uranium, and the constitutional battles of the early 1980s.


Political Management in Canada 2nd ed

Political management in Canada [2nd ed.] / Allan Blakeney and Sandford F. Borins, 1998. Book.

This book dealt with the meshing of politics and government administration. Co-author Blakeney approached this from his background as both a civil servant and as an elected politician.


Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958), who died on April 16, 1958 from ovarian cancer, was a British biophysicist and X-Ray crystallographer whose work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA has not always received the attention that it deserved but actually paved the way for the discovery of the DNA double helix by Francis Crick and James A. Watson without her initial approval or knowledge. Consider the following biographies about Rosalind Franklin:


My sister Rosalind Franklin

My sister Rosalind Franklin / Jenifer Glynn, 2012. Book.

The untimely death of Rosalind Franklin in 1958 prevented her from becoming a Nobel Prize laureate but her contribution of X-ray diffraction images led to the identification of DNA by Francis Crick and James D. Watson and should not be downplayed.

(This review also appeared in Salute to International Women’s Day! Selected Biographies and Memoirs of Women on the Albert Campbell District Blog.)


Rosalind Franklin the dark lady of DNA

Rosalind Franklin: the dark lady of DNA / Brenda Maddox, 2002. Book.

Also available as an eBook.

Please refer to the review provided by the Book Buzz blog on this title.



Why remember Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) on April 16th? Fifty (50) years ago today, on April 16, 1963, Dr. King wrote the famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (format: HTML, PDF)  in Alabama while he was incarcerated for a thirteenth (13th) time during his lengthy, nonviolent struggle (in the spirit of Mohandas K. Gandhi) supporting civil rights and opposing racism. Dr. King was responding to criticism from clergymen under the “Call to Unity” banner who argued that the battle against racial segregation in the United States of America should be contested only within law courts and not on streets in communities. Those supporting “Call to Unity” also suggested that Dr. King was an outsider, an appellation to which he took exception, and argued that communities and states were interrelated in the overall struggle for civil rights. In 1964, Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership role in nonviolent opposition to racism in the United States. Consider the following titles for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections:


Dreams and nightmares Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X and the struggle for Black equality in America

Dreams and nightmares: Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and the struggle for Black equality in America / Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson, 2012. Book.

Academic Waldschmidt-Nelson compared and contrasted Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X as two iconic leaders of the civil rights movement in the United States. While Dr. King and Malcolm X were both sons of Baptist ministers, their solutions diverged in that King advocated integration of African-Americans in society while Malcolm X advocated separation but subsequently broke from the Nation of Islam in 1964, while still advocating the self-determination of African-Americans.


Ethics the essential writings

Ethics: the essential writings / Gordon Daniel Marino (ed.), 2010. Book.

This book included Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail amongst other essays written by well-known individuals such as Aristotle, Plato, Immanuel Kant, Søren Kierkegaard, John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre and others.


Gospel of Freedom Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Struggle That Changed a Nation

Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Struggle That Changed a Nation / Jonathan Rieder, 2013. Book.

Sociologist Rieder set the scene for Dr. King’s clarion call for universal social justice and proceeded to analyze King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail in great detail with special attention paid to covert and overt changes in Dr. King’s intent and tone. The author demonstrated in-depth knowledge of Dr. King’s works, including the famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered some four months later in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.


Letter from the Birmingham jail

Letter from the Birmingham jail [1st ed.] / Martin Luther King Jr., 1994. Book.

Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail is presented here under cover in book format.


Martin Luther King Jr history maker

Martin Luther King Jr.: history maker [1st ed.] / Richard S. Reddie, 2011. Book.

For those new to the subject, Reddie provided a chronological, readable biography of Dr. King, complete with significant events including his imprisonment in Birmingham, Alabama, the March on Washington, and eventually his assassination in 1968. This book was the first one written about Dr. King since Barack Obama became American President. The author considered whether Obama’s election constituted the achievement of Dr. King’s dream.


Why we can’t wait / Martin Luther King Jr., 1964. Book.

This landmark work by Dr. King included his Letter from Birmingham Jail (with some editorial changes) and discussed the launch of the “Negro Revolution” in 1963 on account of several reasons: disenchantment with the slow pace of educational desegregation; lack of confidence in governments and political figures in dealing with discrimination in housing and minimal support in supporting African-American voting rights in the southern states; the spread of decolonization in African and Asian states; the centenary of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation coupled with the economic and political poverty of African-Americans; and, an increase in support for the direct nonviolent action approach.



Selena Quintanilla-Pérez (1971-1995), or more popularly known as Selena, was born on April 16, 1971 in Texas to Mexican-American and half-Cherokee Native American parentage. As a popular singer-songwriter, Billboard declared Selena to be the top Latin artist of the 1990s and the best selling Latin artist of the decade on account of her fourteen (14) top ten singles in the top Latin song charts, including seven (7) number one hits. She was Female Vocalist of the Year at the 1987 Tejano Music Awards. Her popularity increased during the early 1990s, both in Spanish-speaking and English-speaking countries as she had begun to sing in English as well as Spanish. Her untimely death on March 31, 1995 at the hands of the former president of her fan club deprived fans all over the world of her talent. Consider what Toronto Public Library collections have to offer:


Dreaming of you [CD] / Selena, 1995.


Selena live the last concert [DVD] / Selena, 2003.

Selena’s last concert was filmed in Houston, Texas.


Selena performances live [DVD] / Johnny Canales and Selena, [2011].


Selena: the original motion picture soundtrack [CD] / Selena, 1997.


To Selena with love

To Selena, with love / Chris Perez, 2012. Book.

Husband and widower Chris Perez authored this sympathetic biography of his murdered 23-year old wife Selena. Perez delved into personal details of their friendship, relationship, and marriage and his sense of loss following Selena’s passing.

Snapshots in History: April 12: Remembering Fox, Gagarin, and Roosevelt

April 12, 2013 | John P. | Comments (0)

On April 12, let us pause to remember Terry Fox, Yuri Gagarin, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Why would we want to remember three distinctive and significant personalities together? Mr. Roosevelt, a former President (32nd) of the United States who served through much of the Great Depression and the Second World War, died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first person to fly into outer space and orbit the Earth with his spacecraft Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961. And, one of Canada’s own folk heroes, Terry Fox, began his Marathon of Hope to raise money for cancer research in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, on April 12, 1980.

Toronto Public Library collections offer a means of exploring the worlds of individuals from the past such as FDR, Terry Fox, and Yuri Gagarin through biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. Here is a quick list of some titles available for borrowing from Toronto Public Library branch locations:


The Cosmonaut who couldn't stop smiling the life and legend of Yuri Gagarin

The cosmonaut who couldn't stop smiling: the life and legend of Yuri Gagarin / Andrew L. Jenks, 2012.

Academic Jenks accessed materials (with some difficulty) from the opened Soviet archives to sift through the overt propaganda presented to the outside world coupled with historical evidence and more recent interviews to balance out what actually transpired with the first person to enter outer space. Arguably, Gagarin was one of the more photographed individuals in the early 1960s when he visited with famous personalities such as Fidel Castro, Gina Lollobrigida, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Queen Elizabeth II.



FDR [1st ed.] / Jean Edward Smith, 2007.

The bulk of biographer Smith’s work dealt with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s four terms as American president (1933-1945), including combating the Great Depression and bringing the United States closer to the Allied powers during World War 2. The book also took note of negative and failed aspects of Roosevelt’s presidency, including the state’s treatment of Japanese Americans (Nisei) during World War 2, and the failed attempt to stack the Supreme Court with appointees more favourably disposed to Roosevelt’s liberal viewpoint owing to opposition by the bipartisan “Conservative Coalition”. Smith examined FDR’s private life with particular focus on four important women in his life who influenced him: his mother Sara Delano Roosevelt, wife and cousin Eleanor Roosevelt, Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd (FDR’s great love interest), and Missy LeHand (FDR’s secretary and confidante).


Franklin Delano Roosevelt champion of freedom

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: champion of freedom [1st ed.] / Conrad Black, 2003.

Despite his conservative viewpoint, Lord Black of Crossharbour offered a comprehensive tome about the person that he believed to be the most important leader of modern history, “the architect of the postwar world” with Roosevelt’s championing of a United Nations organization; his shifting of the United States from neutrality towards support for Great Britain and China before the Americans were drawn into the Second World War; his ability to manage the American war effort and the diplomatic channels with Great Britain and the Soviet Union; and the introduction of the New Deal to combat the Great Depression in the United States. The author also delved into Roosevelt’s personal life, including his determination to overcome polio, and his extramarital activities.


Starman the truth behind the legend of Yuri Gagarin

Starman: the truth behind the legend of Yuri Gagarin [50th anniversary ed.] / Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony, 2011.

Earth’s first person in space also became troubled by alcoholism and the corrupt Soviet state. The authors used KGB files and restricted documents from Soviet/Russian space authorities as well as material from interviews conducted with friends and colleagues to paint a picture of an individual in turmoil who met an untimely death from an airplane crash in 1968 at 34 years of age.



Terry / Douglas Coupland, 2005.

Douglas Coupland wrote this biography of Terry Fox (1958-1981) with the support of the Fox family that brought to the public eye over 100 photographs of family memorabilia previously unseen.


Terry Fox his story

Terry Fox: his story [New rev. ed.] / Leslie Scrivener, 2000.

Leslie Scrivener tells the story of the courageous one-legged runner and cancer survivor who sought to give back and raise one million dollars for cancer research. Community response varied from indifference to excitement across Canada until Fox was forced to give up his Marathon of Hope run owing to the recurrence of cancer which claimed his young life in 1981. Before he died, Canadians rallied around Terry Fox and raised $22 million – one dollar for every Canadian at the time.


Remembering Vimy Ridge, 1917 – 96 Years Later

April 9, 2013 | John P. | Comments (0)

The Battle of Vimy Ridge from April 9-12, 1917 in the First World War is often seen as a watershed moment in the development of a Canadian national consciousness as it was the first time that all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force participated in the same battle. Add to that careful planning and preparation, in-depth training, and extensive artillery support for a successful result, albeit at a high cost of 3,598 Canadians killed and 7,004 wounded. In 1922, a grateful France ceded the Vimy Ridge territory forever to Canada where the current and recently restored Vimy Memorial stands.

Those wishing to access a brief account of the battle can read the main entry from the Canadian Encyclopedia here and the featured entry for April 2013 from the Canadian Encyclopedia here. Customers interested in learning more about the Battle of Vimy Ridge can borrow materials from Toronto Public Library collections including the following books and DVDs:


The Battle for Vimy Ridge 1917

The Battle for Vimy Ridge, 1917 / Jack Sheldon and Nigel Cave, 2007.

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Canada's greatest battles Vimy Ridge & the last 100 days [DVD] / National Film Board of Canada, 2006.

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Victory at Vimy Canada comes of age

Victory at Vimy: Canada comes of age, April 9-12, 1917 / Theodore Barris, 2007.

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Vimy / Pierre Berton, 1986. Also available as an eBook.

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Vimy Ridge a Canadian reassessment

Vimy Ridge: a Canadian reassessment / Geoffrey Hayes et al. (eds.), 2007.

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Vimy Ridge and Arras

Vimy Ridge and Arras: the spring 1917 offensive in panoramas / Peter Barton, 2009.

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A Vimy veteran remembers [DVD] / War Amps, 2000.

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Vimy: Vimy Ridge 90 [DVD] / CBC Home Video, c2007.

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(Credit: - © Institut Historica-Dominion Institute ( )



(Credit: CBC News)



(Credit: CBC News)

English Conversation Circle: What’s On at Albert Campbell

April 4, 2013 | John P. | Comments (0)

Catholic Crosscultural Services has returned to Albert Campbell Branch to deliver the English Conversation Circle at a new time, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm on Thursday afternoons from April 4, 2013 to July 11, 2013. Click here for program and registration details, or view the flyer below:

ECG (Albert Campbell) Flyer 2013


Consider these ESL (English as a Second Language) resources available for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections and locations:


A Canadian conversation book: English in everyday life [2nd ed.] / Tina Kasloff Carver et al., 1997.



Improve your English English in everyday life

Improve your English: English in everyday life [DVD] / Stephen E. Brown and Ceil Lucas, 2009.



Improve your English English in the workplace


Improve your English: English in the workplace [DVD] / Stephen E. Brown and Ceil Lucas, 2009.

The Albert Campbell District Blog is an online resource and place where you can access information related to the Albert Campbell, Eglinton Square, McGregor Park, and Kennedy Eglinton branches. It will feature reading recommendations, information on new titles and resources in the branches, special events and programs, as well as other information of interest to you. We encourage you to make this blog an interactive space by replying and commenting on posts and by subscribing to the RSS feature which allows you to receive blog updates without having to search for them.