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January 2011

Thought Exchange: Celebrating Canadian Film with Risa Shuman

January 27, 2011 | Jorge | Comments (2)

“When one delves into the very notion of the thing called Canadian cinema, one is sinking one’s rubbers in something much more sensitive, complex and problematic than just another national cinema” – Geoff Pevere (2002a:103)

Canadian film eh?  What does it really all mean?  In a country with two main official languages, a diverse population and an influential media powerhouse to the South, it is no wonder why “sensitive, complex and problematic” are descriptors for Canadian Film.

Well how about the topic of Canadian identity?  How do we separate our identity from our American counterparts and how do we isolate films that speak about Canadian identity?

The good news is that we have a special guest to answer all your questions!  Starting Tuesday February 1, the Barbara Frum Library is introducing a new programming series dubbed the “Thought Exchange.”  Our first series will feature special guest Risa Shuman, film commentator of CBC Sunday Edition and former senior producer of TV Ontario Saturday Night.  For the first three Tuesdays of February, Risa will screen a film and then welcome questions about the film or Canadian films in general.

Here is a sneak peak of the films that have been selected by Risa to identify the best in Canadian cinema:

Goin' Down the Road (1971, directed by Don Shebib)
Screening Tues Feb. 1, 2011 at 2 PM
Goin Down the Road

Widely regarded as one of the best English-language Canadian films ever produced, this is the realistic story of two men from Cape Breton who move to Toronto having been lured by the possibility of good jobs and fun times.  Starring: Paul Bradley, Doug McGrath and Jayne Eastwood.


Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993, directed by François Girard)
Screening Tues Feb. 8, 2011
32 Films About Glen Gould at 2PM

Winner of the Best Film Genie Award, this riveting film explores Glenn Gould's life through 32 vignettes that make up a cohesive representation of this complex genius's life.  The structure is based the piece that Glenn Gould is most famous for playing, Johann Sebastian Bach's "Goldberg Variations", which are  32 short pieces of music that are usually played together. Starring: Colm Feore and Don McKellar who co-wrote the screenplay.

The Trotsky (2009, directed by Jacob Tierney) The Trotsky
Screening Tues Feb. 15, 2011 at 2 PM

Jay Baruchel plays Leon Bronstein, a teenager from Montreal who believes he is the reincarnation of the early 20th century Soviet iconoclast, Leon Trotsky and believes that his life will follow that of his  predecessor exactly. This witty comedy scripted by Jacob Tierney co-stars Emily Hampshire, Saul Rubinek and Geneviève Bujold.

If you would like to attend all sessions, call 416-395-5441 or register in person on the second floor of the Barbara Frum Library.

Inspired by Obama? Develop Your Public Speaking and Leadership Skills at Amesbury Park Library

January 25, 2011 | Jorge | Comments (8)


Surfing the internet last night, I came across snippets of Barack Obama’s latest public speech.  His words were truly inspirational. I wondered to myself how was he able to commemorate the lives of those taken away in the Tucson shooting earlier this month while still being able to motivate Americans on striving to be better in their private lives?

The answer is one which I deduce from Malcolm Gladwell's powerful book, The Outliers.  I highly doubt that Barack was born with this skill, instead it’s likely that he developed it through thousands of hours of practice coupled with mentorship and training. 

If you are inspired by Barack’s public speaking skills, you can develop them too!  Amesbury Park Library is offering a toastmasters club targeted for teens between the ages of 12-17.  The service is delivered by Toastmasters International, a not-for-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills.  Certification is given to those who successfully pass the program, some of the best public speakers in the world were certified by Toastmasters International.

The program will restart in the early spring, see program details for more information.

Introducing a Book Club at Barbara Frum

January 24, 2011 | Diana S. | Comments (0)

The first Book Club  meeting at Barbara Frum Library is on Tuesday January 25, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Subsequent meetings are at the same time on:

  • February 22, 2011
  • March 29, 2011

Meet and share your views on the featured book of the month:

        Consolation by Michael Redhill on January 25, 2011    Sarah's key by Tatiana de Rosnay on February 22, 2011    Everything is illuminated by Jonahtan Safran Foer on March 29, 2011 

For more information and to register, call (416) 395-5441.

Literacy Through Hip Hop is Back and better than ever

January 21, 2011 | Claire A | Comments (1)

Literacy Through Hip Hop or LTHH as it is commonly known as, LTHHis finally back at the Barbara Frum Library.  The program is for youth in grades 6, 7, or 8 who are interested in Hip Hop music and want to improve their reading and writing.  It is an innovative program that connects literacy with dance, graffiti, music, rap and poetry.  Youth involved in this program will also have the opportunity to visit a recording studio and perform live in concert for family and friends.  It starts on Wednesday, January 26 at 4 p.m. and it is definitely an opportunity that you do not want to miss.

Save the planet

January 19, 2011 | Cynthia | Comments (4)

Save the planet – borrow a library book or e-book


Climate change is happening, and in some cases, much faster than climate scientists had predicted.  Fred Pearce reports on various perspectives and theories regarding climate change in his book, “The Last generation: how nature will take her revenge for climate change.”  These dramatic changes prompted Bill McKibben to give our planet a new name in his book, “Eaarth: making a life on a tough new planet,”  to signify that the world may well look very different in the not so distant future.


Ebooks are a great way to go – save some trees from being cut down for paper.  They can be downloaded to your home computer and to some portable ebook readers.  Plus, you don’t have to worry about returning them to the library on time!


Some other books you might want to check out on this topic include “The Legacy: an elder’s vision for our sustainable future,” by David Suzuki, “Pandora’s seed: the unforeseen costs of civilization,” by  Spencer Wells, and “Heatstroke: nature in an age of global warming,” by Anthony Barnosky.

Barbara Frum's Winter Elevator Display: Curl Up With a Good Book

January 17, 2011 | Jorge | Comments (0)

“That is the best display ever.  It’s the first time that a display has caught my attention.”  These were the exact words from a library customer that was awed by Barbara Frum’s Elevator Display on a bone-chilling Thursday evening.

Library staff are pleased to know that customers appreciate the workmanship that goes into the creation of our displays.  At the Barbara Frum Library, a Displays Team has been instituted to manage the ideas, books and overall appeal of our displays. 

I took a few minutes today to interview one of our Display team members, Lauren Gallacher.

Me: Can you please explain the overall idea behind the Winter 2011 display?
L: My goal was to convey a warm and comfortable feeling.  As you may know, winter can be treacherous at times with the excess snow and belligerent winds.  I wanted to create a display that warmed people up.

Me: What motivated you to do such an awesome job?
L: I am meticulous – I pay attention to small details.  I was also motivated because I wanted to create a welcoming feeling for people of all ages, religions and identities.  I think this display is particularly special because of its location.  I think most people will agree that elevator rides are sometimes awkwardly uncomfortable, so I was motivated to offset this feeling.

Me: You have a pretty fine book selection, how did you come up with this?
L: My colleague Linda who is also part of the Displays Team worked on this.  I know that she checked the “Your Next Great Read” section of our website, she also focused on authors that are visiting the Barbara Frum Library and she self-selected some of her personal favourites

Jan 2011 010

Do you have any display themes that you would like to see?  Drop us a comment and we’ll try our best to fit it in!

Your displays captain,


Family Literacy Game Night

January 12, 2011 | Claire A | Comments (1)

Whoever said playing games is not educational was wrong!  Board-gamesLearning can be fun.  On  January  19th, staff at the Barbara Frum library will be hosting our first ever Family Literacy Game Night from 6-8 p.m.  Not only will there be fun word and number games, but you will also have an opportunity to play on our Wii and Xbox.  Bring your favourite game to play with family and friends or share one of ours.  This event is open to all ages.  We hope you can join us. 



Feature Poem by Ghita Malvina

January 11, 2011 | Jorge | Comments (0)


Let’s do it together
Change the world on its rule for the better
Be – young or old, it doesn’t matter
We will be strong to fight together
To live a life in peace forever.

Let’s try it now together!
We should be changing
People’s life forever.
Reaching each other with love
We could find peace of mind.

And along the way’s
Of our life
We will keep all human kinds
Never – ever strife other life
But live together side-by-side!

The “Time” calls us today!
To change the world course on it’s way.
To stop rivers of tears.
Let life be smile. – Not anxiety, and fears
Black or white! Yellow face or red Indians
Together all what we want
Is go hand in hand.
And make peace in our “Land”!

[Translated from Hungarian to English]

- Ghita Malvina


Notes about the author:

Ghita was born in North Transylvania, Romania in 1920.  She is a holocaust survivor.  She lived under a 40 year communist regime and endured many hardships during the World War II disaster.  Writing poetry and painting means the world to her.  She writes poems and essays to release her soul – her writings are therefore a reflection of her inner-being.  Ghita remarks, “I try to express a view to mankind that freedom, love and friendship are the most important things in our world.”

Ghita has some notable life accomplishments as a writer.  In 2003, she published a poetry book called, “On my Way.”  Her poems are recited in community centres, churches and temples.  She was honoured with several Editors’ Choice Awards from the National Library of Poetry, granted the Poet of Merit Award from the International Society of Poets and elected into the International Society of Poets Hall of Fame and received from the Certificate of Appreciation of Art from the Remembrance Committee Toronto.

Ghita is a distinguished member of the International Society of Poetry and a member of the Educational and Memorial Institute of Toronto, member of the Canadian Hungarian Social Services and the Hungarian Writer’s and Friendship Circle at Barbara Frum Library.

The Hungarian Friendship and Writer’s Circle is honoured to have Ghita as a regular member of the circle.  You can borrow Az élet futószalagján: versek by Ghita Malvina from our very own shelves.

Standing firm: The Hungarian Friendship & Writer’s Circle

January 7, 2011 | Jorge | Comments (0)

Hungarian Circle

Did you know that the Hungarian Friendship & Writer’s Circle is Barbara Frum Library’s most 
longstanding writer’s group?   I had a chance to speak with Eva, the group’s lead and photographed standing third from the right, about the history of the group and its ties to the Bathurst & Lawrence community.  Eva, whom by the way is the friendliest person you will ever meet, tells me proudly that the group is well seeded in the community.

The group was in existence before the construction of the Barbara Frum Library.  It formed as a response to the immeasurably deep passion for Hungarian literature expressed by a pocket of proactive adults in the community.  Eva tells me that when the group first formed, there were over 25 writers anxious to share their work.  And although today, the group numbers are slightly lower than half its original stock, the group retains a quintessential deep-rooted love for Hungarian literature.  In fact, the Barbara Frum Library's Hungarian collection holds some their works.

I will tell you on a personal level that members of the group are all cheerful, welcoming and warm.  I meet with them ever so often to catch up, and on every visit, I'm guaranteed to laugh or smile.  It is therefore no surprise that the group is called the Hungarian Friendship & Writer’s Circle, as they are both active writers and friendly people.  For more details about the group, see  program details.

In my next post, I will feature a poem written by one of the group’s members - stay tuned!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak -- A must read

January 4, 2011 | Claire A | Comments (0)

The Book Thief is a touching story about a young girl, Liesel Meminger,0622_the-book-thief_280x340who is given the opportunity for a new life when she is placed in the care of her new foster family.  The story begins in 1939 in Germany, amidst the turmoil and horror of the Second World War.  Death is the narrartor of this story and he tells about the life of Liesel, who after the tragic loss of her little brother, steals her very first book.  Once Liesel is placed in the care of her foster parents, Rosa and Hans Hubermann she must adapt to her new family and life.  Hans teaches the girl how to read and write by using her stolen book as a starting point.  As the novel progresses, we see Liesel build new relationships with her family and the neighbourhood children.  She also becomes very friendly with the young Jewish man, Max, that her father hides in their basement from the Nazis. 
The Book Thief is one of the best novels that I have read and I would highly recommend it.  It is an incredibly beautiful book with a compelling story.  It was one of those books that I could not put down.  I would highly recommend this novel to both adults and teenagers.  You will not be disappointed.  

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