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February 2012

From the Oscars to the Caregiving Experience

February 27, 2012 | Jorge | Comments (0)

I watchedSide_oscar the Oscars last night, and I must say that I was star struck by all the Hollywood glam – both the dressed-to-kill garments and the comicality of the event.

Underneath the opulent show pieces, the awards ceremony honoured the elements involved in creating a good film.  Acting, cinematography, music, costumes, and directing are all things that make a movie unbelievably memorable.

I was personally waiting for the announcement of the winner for Best Foreign Language Film.  Each year, participating countries from around the world submit an entry to compete for the award.  Canada made the shortlist of nominees for both 2011 and 2012.  Last year, Canadian submission "The Incendies (2010)," was edged out by Danish film, “In a Better World (2010).” A similar fate was announced yesterday, as "Monsieur Lazhar (2011)" lost to Iranian hit film production, “A Separation (2011).”A-separation01

I saw A Separation last week and I must admit that it was a well-deserved victory.  The film reminded me about the impact of caregiving.   The main protagonist, Nader, did everything he could to provide care for his deteriorating father who suffers from Alzheimer’s.  As his father becomes increasingly ill, Nadir becomes pressured to ensure his health and safety, but in doing so, becomes forgetful, flustered and distressed.

The film brings to light some of the cultural, social and health issues faced by the caregiver.  An interesting study in 2007 conducted by Statistics Canada surveyed Canadians to investigate ‘how caregivers manage’ caring for seniors. Survey results suggest that elder care tends to be provided by close family members (and other family and friends when needed) and significantly less through institutional care. The study also confirms that caregiving duties have consequences that impact the caregivers’ work, health and family.

InvitationUnderstanding and celebrating the diversity in family caregiving is important for the caregiver, family and the dependent.  There are different ways to manage caregiving and some of its hardships.  On Saturday March 3, 2012, Barbara Frum Library will host a celebration of the diveristy in family caregiving.  Organized by Losing Our Parents, the celebration is all about exchanging information and sharing experiences with family caregiving.  The program is free and will include snacks & beverages, door prizes, resource information and the chance to hear three presentations.  View this photo for more information.

On the topic of caregiving, here are some recommended titles that will help you better understand and manage caregiving.



Partners in healing
Life with pop

Everything guide

Fly Like a Bird, Free the Word

February 21, 2012 | Jorge | Comments (0)

Messenger bird
The last time I checked, we live in a democratic society.  I know what some of you are thinking… is he really stating something so obvious?  It seems like a no-brainer.  We are Canadians; we value and uphold democratic ideals.  We firmly believe that every Canadian has the right to make their own decisions.  We value transparency and the freedom to read anything we wish at our own discretion and not the discretion of others.

Here comes the spin-off.

Even with one of the most evolved constitutions, Canadians are not completely free to read what they desire.  Who is to blame for this?  Some say individuals or groups who believe that their own judgement is better than the rest of ours.  These same groups identify some books to be too controversial for the public to know, so it’s “better not to know.”

If you are anything like me you will agree that we should each make that decision for ourselves and for our own children, but not on behalf of anybody else.  This again is a matter of personal opinion, and there is no clear ethical answer to this controversy. 

Here are some suggested titles that work through some of the controversies around “intellectual freedom” or “information censorship.”


  Burnthisbook COVER
   Burn This Book  

Virtually Obscene  

If you are interested in getting involved in information censorship, this week Canadians celebrate Freedom to Read.  If you are on the anti-censorship side of the debate, check it out and learn how you can contribute to intellectual freedom in Canada.

To get in you in the mood, here are some titles that were challenged in Canada:





L is for the way you look at me

February 8, 2012 | Claire A | Comments (0)

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and love is in the air.   Are you looking for something fun to do on February 14? Then head down to your local library for a good romance novel or movie.  The library is filled with romantic materials that are just waiting to be borrowed.

Here are some of my favourite love stories:

The-time-travelers-wife 137078322 250px-Twilightbook

220px-Posternotebook 5592238658_257d07198b 220px-Titanic_poster

Hey Teens – Need a Valentine’s Day gift for that special someone?  Then join us on February 14 to learn how to turn Hershey Kisses into roses.  Ages 9-18 are welcome.  Call the Barbara Frum branch at 416-395-5440 to register today.

BHM is Here: Let's Celebrate Together

February 1, 2012 | Jorge | Comments (0)

This month cultural institutions across the City of Toronto and elsewhere in the world design programs that teach people about the history of African Diaspora. It’s also a time when we celebrate the wonderful cultural goods introduced by African peoples like the groovy invention of jazz music, which owes much of its entirety to African heritage and African-American musicians.

Inventive Spirit of African Americans


Black Stars african american women

The Incentive Spirit of African Americans

The History of Jazz
 African American Women Scientists and Inventors

The question of how jazz evolved to be the sultry, soulful, upbeat and energetic sound that it is today is an interesting history on its own. You can bet that legendary musician, Louis Armstrong, is included in the discussion. After all, who better made us aware of all the priceless and often overlooked beauty in our lives? Here's the open lyrics from the epic production, "What a Wonderful World" to give you a flavour of what I mean.

Musical notes

I see trees of green…. Red roses too
I see’ em bloom… for me and for you
And I think to myself… what a wonderful world.

Musical notes

Aaah… puts you in a good mood doesn’t it?  If you are in the Armstrong mood, order these CDs and play them the next time you have guests over.



1211027557_louis_armstrong falling in love
The Very Best of Louis
Hello Louis! the Hit Years
Falling in Love with Louis

If you are interested in knowing more about the history of Jazz, Louis Armstrong and the relationship between African heritages then you have the opportunity to listen and interact with Hans De Groot, a devout Louis Armstrong admirer and former English professor at the University of Toronto.   The program is scheduled for Tuesday February 15 at 2 p.m.

For more Black History and Jazz programs at Barbara Frum Library and nearby libraries

  • Thursday February 2, 2012 at 2 p.m. at Barbara Frum, we are screening The Colour Purple (1985), a classic film that depicts disparities faced by African-American women in the early 1900s. 
  • Thursdsay February 16, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. at Centennial Library, a live concert featuring Diana Brathwaite and Chris Whiteley.
  • Tuesday April 24 at 6 p.m., please also join us in a live Jazz concert performed by musician and raconteur, Mboya Nicholson at Barbara Frum.  More information to follow in the coming months, stay tuned!
  • For more Black History Month programs at Toronto Public Libraries, click here.

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