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Fall 2015 Children's Programs at Barbara Frum

August 31, 2015 | Kate S. | Comments (0)

Summer is nearly over and it's already time to start planning ahead for Fall. We have some great programs coming up for children of all ages and we would love to see you there! Please register in person or by calling 416-395-5440.

Preschool Programs:

Ready-for-reading-story-timesBaby Time: Bouncing and tickling rhymes, songs and stories for babies from birth to 18 months with parents or caregivers. Tuesdays, September 29 - November 3 2015, 10-10:30 am, 3rd floor, Room B. Register in person or by calling 416-395-5440. Registration begins Tuesday, September 1, 2015.

Toddler Time: Bouncing and tickling rhymes, songs and stories for children 19-35 months with parents or caregivers. Tuesdays, November 10 - December 15, 2015, 10-10:30 am, 3rd Floor, Room B. Register in person or by calling 416-395-5440. Registration begins Tuesday, September 1, 2015.

Pyjama Time:
Stories, songs, rhymes & activities for children ages 5 & under with parents and caregivers. Don't forget to wear pyjamas and bring a cuddly friend. Tuesdays September 8-29. Please register in person or by calling 416-395-5440.

Back to School Family Story Time: Join library staff for stories, poems and crafts with a school theme. Saturday September 12, 10-11 AM. Please register in person or by calling 416-395-5440. 

PJ Plus - Parent and Me Jewish Fun: A 10 week parent/tot program of hands on Jewish fun! PJ Library stories, music 'n movin', arts and crafts, puppets for you and your child to have an educationally fun experience while embracing Jewish values. For ages 18 months - 2.5 years beginning Oct. 15th from 10 - 11:15am. Fee - $135.00 For registration and more information contact Adina Lipson at 905-303-1821 x 3258, or register online at

School Age Programs:

After School Club: Looking for something to do after school? Join the after school club! We meet every Tuesday to make stuff, play games, do crafts, talk about books, and more! Take a look here to see what it's all about. Tuesdays September 15 - December 15. For kids ages 8-12. Please call 416-395-5440 for more information and to register.

BF Kids' Book Club: Learn about new books, talk about your favourites, and participate in fun activities. Ages 8-12. Mondays September 28, October 26, December 7, 2015. Please register in person or by calling 416-395-5440.

Halloween Puppet Show: Tailypo: A puppet show performance of the book, "Tailypo" by library staff.    This story is about an old man who eats the tail of a strange creature called the tailypo. Tailypo then returns to seek revenge. Schools please call ahead to book your group.

Swallowing Clouds: A dance and literary workshop: Working with professional dancers, musicians and authors, workshop participants will be guided through an inspiring creative journey leading up to an exciting performance. Presented in partnership with Princess Productions. Ages 9-12. Mondays & Thursdays November 2-19, 4-6 PM. Snacks will be provided. Please register in person or by calling 416-395-5440.

MAP Family Saturdays - Black Creek Pioneer Village Visits Barbara Frum: Learn how wool from a sheep's back turns into a shawl or sweater. Tease, card, spin wool and take home your own woolen bracelet. Suitable for kids ages 5-12. Space is limited. Please register in person or by calling 416-395-5440. Registration starts Tuesday, October 6, 2015.

Extra, Extra: News for Muggles and the Wizarding World

August 8, 2015 | Loretta | Comments (0)

This post is brought to you by Barbara Frum Library's children's librarian Amena, a huge Harry Potter fan!

Harry Potter

It has been eight years since the last Harry Potter book was published and four years since the last film, but “the Boy Who Lived” continues to make headlines.

Here’s the latest in Harry Potter (HP) news:

An HP spin-off film, possibly the first of a trilogy, is scheduled for release in the fall of 2016. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an adaptation of a Hogwarts textbook penned by the fictional magizoologist Newt Scamander. The film, set in New York, follows Newt on his adventures as he attempts to document magical creatures. Eddie Redmayne has signed on for the leading role and Colin Farrell is the latest addition to the cast.

In other film news, a fan-made short film titled Severus Snape and the Marauders will be released on YouTube this December. It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Alan Rickman playing Snape but since the movie is set in 1978 (and is an independent, non-profit venture) I’m willing to refresh my mental image of Severus.  Set in a bar, we meet James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew (the Marauders) as they celebrate their graduation from Hogwarts – until Snape shows up.  Dun-dun-duuun!

And the latest theory that is currently blowing the minds of Muggles everywhere involves our beloved Dumbledore. To understand this we need to revisit the The Tale of the Three Brothers. Fans have posited that the three brothers are Voldemort (Elder Wand), Snape (Resurrection Stone), and Harry (Invisibility Cloak). But who represents Death in this tale?  Well, according to a Tumblr post that has resurfaced Dumbledore is Death

If you’re new to the Wizarding World or just want to revisit Hogwarts visit your local library to check out the ever popular series.

PS. If you happen to be a Harry Potter AND Taylor Swift fan you may find this trending video entertaining!

Celebrating the End of a Great School Year with the After School Club at Barbara Frum

June 29, 2015 | Kate S. | Comments (2)

Barbara Frum had a great time this year in our after school club - the kids made some awesome things like puppets, altered books, LED bracelets, Banana pianos, and stop motion movies. Check out some of the kids' amazing work below!

Summer Reading Club Mural:
Everyone worked really hard designing and colouring this beautiful mural for this year's summer reading club.

TD Summer Reading Club Mural

Everyone got creative making and decorating sock puppets and gloves!

Sock puppets Sock puppets  Sock Puppets  Sock Puppets

  Sock Puppets  Sock Puppets  Sock Puppets  Sock Puppets

Altered Books: Alerted Book
The kids turned unwanted and damaged books into new works of art and functional items like treasure chests. This was such a popular program we are offering this again this summer on Thursday July 23rd at 2 PM. Please register in preson or by calling 416-395-5440.


LED Bracelets & Pocket Lights:
Using foam, coin cell batteries and mini LED lights we made bracelets and pocket lights.

LED Bracelet & Pocket Light  LED Foam Bracelet  LED Pocket Light 2  LED Pocket Light

Makey Makey Banana Piano: 
We learned about circuits and had an amazing time making a piano out of bananas.
Banana Piano

Lego Man  Lego Car   Lego Insect  Lego Robot
Lego Living Room  Lego World  Mini Lego House
Lego Houses   Lego Room

Stop Motion Animation:
The kids used plasticine, lego, and the Stop Motion App on iPads to create their movies.


After school club will take a break for the summer, but will return in September and run all year long on Tuesdays from 4-5 PM with more great free activities for children ages 8-12. Please call 416-395-5440 for more information. We hope to see you there! 

Computer Basics at Barbara Frum Library

April 9, 2015 | Loretta | Comments (0)

Ever wanted to learn how to search the Internet to find accurate and reliable information? Need help with computers but were too afraid to ask? We've got you covered! Barbara Frum Library now offers free computer classes in its brand new Le@rning Centre.

Learning Centre
Barbara Frum Library's Le@rning Centre

We offer a variety of hands-on computer classes to help newcomers, seniors, adults, teens & children (grades 2-6) learn more about the Internet, online resources, and research databases:

  • Computer Basics for Seniors
  • Web Basics
  • E-mail Made Easy
  • Microsoft Word Basics
  • Microsoft Excel Basics
  • Microsoft PowerPoint Basics
  • Social Networking
  • eBooks & OverDrive
  • Homework & Research Help

For the monthly class schedule, please visit or call the branch at (416) 395-5441. Tickets are distributed on a first-come first-served basis, 30 minutes before each class at the second floor reference desk. Space is limited. See you there!

After School Programs at Barbara Frum Branch

February 11, 2015 | Kate S. | Comments (0)

Are you looking for something fun to do after school? Come to Barbara Frum branch on Tuesdays from 4-5 PM! We have tons of great activities planned for kids ages 8-12. Each month we will feature a different theme like Lego Challenges, Gaming, Animation, Maker activities and more! All programs are free! Please call 416-395-5440 for more information and to register.

Upcoming After School Club Activities:

Puppet Making: Tuesday February 17, 2015:  Join us to make sock puppets!

Altered Books: Tuesday February 24, 2015: Make a pop-up book, a secret treasure chest, or a 3D image from an unwanted book!

Gaming: Tuesdays March 3, 10, 24, 31, 2015: March is gaming month! Challenge your friends to an x-box or wii game, or how about a game of chess? Play computer games using playdoh and our makey makey, or join in a good old fashioned game of clue!

Animation: Tuesdays April 7-28, 2015: Would you like to try making a short stop-motion animation clip? Join us Tuesdays after school in April to write a short story, create your characters and scenery, and make your clip using an iPad. Bring your imagination!

Maker Club: Tuesdays May 5-26, 2015: Do you love hands on activities and creating? Join us for weekly projects like making a water piano with Makey Makey, an LED bracelet or pocket light, and more!

Lego & K'Nex Challenge: Tuesdays June 2-16, 2015: Do you love Lego? Use your creativity and imagination in this fun building program. Participate in our weekly building challenges!

Lego & K'Nex Fun at Barbara Frum Branch

November 25, 2014 | Kate S. | Comments (0)

This fall Barbara Frum ran its first Lego & K'nex Challenge Club, where kids ages 6-12 built some amazing creations. We saw great buildings, spaceships, gardens and more! Each week we had a different challenge for everyone to complete. We also looked at books about architecture around the world, space exploration, bridges and Lego construction for building inspiration. See some of the incredible designs below:

Lego Set Up    Lego Table    Lego Creation                                                                                        
Lego Creation     Lego Creation    Lego Creation

Lego Creation    Lego Creation    Lego Creation

Lego Creation    Lego Creation    Lego Creation

Lego Creation    Lego Creation    Lego Creation

Lego House Inside    Lego House    Lego Racetrack

Lego Island Getaway    Lego Island    Lego Island Close-Up

Lego Museum    Lego Museum Close-Up    Lego Museum

Lego Spaceship     Lego Build-up     Lego Creation

Tower of Doom  Space Launcher   Lego 102   Lego 103

K'Nex Hammer  K'nex 

Here is one of our k'nex builds in action - add a motor and you get a food processor with turning beaters!


Bridge Challenge:

We challenged the kids to build bridges which resulted in some pretty creative and impressive structures:

Bridge   Bridge & Car

Lego Bridge   Lego Bridge

Lego Giraffe Bridge   Lego Giraffe Bridge

Rainbow Bridge    

Random Card Challenge:

For our last Lego Challenge session everyone picked a card from a pile and had to complete the challenge on the card. Check out the awesome designs below:

Cool Bedroom       Feast

Musical Instruments on a Stage       Rainbow and Cloud

Rainbow       Waves 

Lemonade Stand       Sand Castle

Garden       Cool Bedroom

Ice Cream Sundae       Ice cream Shop

The Lego challenge club was a great success! We will be holding another one starting in January 2015. Dates to be determined. Please check the website or call the branch for more details.

Make & Wonder at #MMFTO

November 13, 2014 | Loretta | Comments (0)

The Maker Movement is all the rage lately. Find out all about it at the third ever Toronto Mini Maker Faire, coming up soon on November 22-23 at its largest venue yet, the Toronto Reference Library.

According to the folks at Toronto Mini Maker Faire #MMFTO:

"Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers; they are of all ages and backgrounds. The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community."

"Toronto Mini Maker Faire is local celebration of makers and the things they make.  It's a two day festival held each year where makers gather to show off their creations to the public - with an emphasis on hands-on experiences for all.  Show & Tell happens at each exhibitor table, plus there are talks, workshops, lots of opportunities to get involved!"

Last week, I attended the launch party for #MMFTO and it was mind-blowing! We screen printed t-shirts, ate Vodka Sushi creations, went on the illuminated teeter-totter, and checked out the 3-D Maker Bots.

MMFTO launch party
#MMFTO Launch Party
Absolut's interactive installation
Absolut's interactive installation. By tweeting @AbsolutCanada with the colour of your choice (I picked green), the installation automatically changes to that colour.
Illuminated teeter-totter
The illuminated teeter-totter from the Pop-Up Playground which changes colour with speed.
Laser-cut lanterns
Laser-cut lanterns.

Read more about the launch party. And that was just the launch party. Seriously, get your free tickets now to the main event.

Also, check out Toronto Public Library's very own digital innovation hubs at the Toronto Reference Library and Fort York Branch, and the Digital Design & Technology blog for info on more maker programs offered by the library.

Rediscovering Toronto: Things to Do in the City

October 1, 2014 | Loretta | Comments (2)

This past week I've been racking my brain for things to do with my relatives visiting from overseas. Mind you, they aren't rookies when it comes to being a tourist in Toronto. Heck, they've been coming annually to our beloved city for the past 20 years - they're practically Torontonians. Plus, they've been to all the hot spots: Niagara Falls, CN Tower, every inch of Downtown Toronto & most of the GTA/Markham. You can see why it's been a tough gig playing tour guide!

For me, what defines Toronto is the hustle and bustle of Downtown Toronto. And dining. (We Torontonians love to eat!) Forgetting that my relatives are from a high-tech, overpopulated city where hustle-and-bustle is the norm, my suggestion for spending the day downtown was met with moans & groans. Back to the drawing board. 

Here's a list of things that I came up with, for you to share with your friends & family who want a relaxing time in Toronto:

Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG)- A favourite among families with small children, wedding photographers, and joggers & cyclists, TBG is perfect for a lazy mid-day stroll. I'd suggest going on a weekday to avoid a packed parking lot. Check out their Teaching Garden and my all-time favourite, the Organic Farmers' Market (year-round, Thursdays 2-7 p.m.). My relatives loved the fresh air and the mini nature walk. Pack some sandwiches and you're ready to go! See more info on walking trails in the city by visiting Kate’s post. 


Toronto Botanical Garden

Museums & Art Galleries - Did you know that you can borrow a Museum + Arts Pass (MAP) from the library with your library card? A MAP pass lets you and your family (2 adults & up to 5 children) explore venues such as the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Zoo, Art Gallery of Ontario, and more, for free. At the Barbara Frum Branch, MAP passes are given out on a first come, first served basis on Thursdays at 9 a.m. 

Toronto's Neighbourhoods - There are a ton of hidden gems in Toronto: locally-owned cafes, pubs, restaurants, and markets. Here's a guide from BlogTO that takes you through the 55 pockets in the GTA - what to do, where to eat, and it includes a map of where these neighbourhoods are. My (touristy) go-tos for an afternoon on the patio for food & drinks are the Distillery District, St. Lawrence Market, Annex, Financial District, and the Beaches. 

For more info on tourist attractions for your relatives who've never been to Toronto, here are some books to help you plan their visit & for you to brush up on your knowledge of Toronto's history:

Toronto     Fodor's Toronto       Streeteats


Also, see the City of Toronto website for Festivals & Events happening in the city.

See? Being a tour guide does have its perks. Not only do you view the city through the eyes of a tourist but you rediscover all that our wonderful city has to offer. Not to mention, the favour is reciprocated when you visit your relatives overseas. Happy Touring!

Get Outside and Walk!

September 22, 2014 | Kate S. | Comments (2)

   Nature Walk
"The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose." Charles Dickens

Walking is great exercise, helps with stress levels and can provide a much needed respite from our busy lives. Walking can be energizing, calming and provide the time for contemplation we don't get sitting on the couch or running around doing errands. It can also be a wonderful shared experience.

Early fall is the perfect time to get outside and explore nature. The weather is bit cooler, the leaves are just starting to change, and the air has a wonderful fresh crispness. There are many nature trails and parks in the city, Sherwood Park being my go to destination, but if you’re willing to travel a bit there are many longer and more remote trails East, West and North of the city limits. We recently went out to the Northumberland County Forest near Cobourg, Ontario and had a blast exploring the wilderness. The trails are clearly marked and vary in length, and you really feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.  We took lots of pictures of the insects, birds, and plants we saw, and enjoyed having some quiet time together. After our walk we used the pictures to look up the names and descriptions of everything – it was a great science lesson for my daughter who now has an affinity for millipedes, and can recognize poison ivy.

The City of Toronto website has a great overview of some of the city’s trails, with directions, maps and historical information about the areas.

You can also check out some of the walking guides to Toronto Area trails:

Hike Ontario    Hiker Mike's      Nature Hikes   Great Country Walks 

Make your walks a daily routine and borrow a pedometer from the library – you will be amazed at how many steps you take in a day! It's also a great way to challenge yourself and your friends - try and beat each other's daily records. Pedometers are available to borrow for a 3 week period.

August Children's Programs at Barbara Frum Branch

August 3, 2014 | Kate S. | Comments (0)

Eureka 3D_printing
Summer isn't over yet! 

Check out some of the great children's programs we have planned for August:

Family Time:

Fridays August 1-29, 11-11:30 AM:
Come join us with your family to read exciting family stories, sing great songs
and learn fun rhymes! Recommended ages 0-6.
Drop-in, no registration required.

Wacky Wednesday Movies:
Wednesdays August 6-27, 2-4 PM:
Watch a great movie on our big screen every Wednesday afternoon!
Please call the branch for more details.
Drop-in, no registration required.

Shadow Boxes:

Tuesday August 5, 2-3 PM:

Join us to make a shadow box or greeting card. Bring some photos or
other memorabilia to use in your shadow box, or use the materials we have on hand.
Recommended ages 6+.
Please call 416-395-5440 to register.


Tuesday August 12, 2-3 PM: 
Get ready to laugh and be amazed! Toronto's Funny Magician, will amaze with his fast paced, funny and fully interactive magic show! IncrediBrent's original blend of comedy magic is used to involve his audience and ensure they are a part of the show.
Space is limited, get your free tickets at the children’s desk starting 1 hour before the show.

Blast Off!

Friday August 15, 3:30-4:30:
Come join us in space where you will create your own spaceship and fly it to the moon!
*Please be advised that young children should be accompanied by an adult.
Please register in person or by calling 416-395-5440.


Tuesday August 19, 2-3 PM:
Join us for a fun game of bingo. Win prizes!
Drop-in, no registration required.

Summer Reading Club Wrap Party!:
Tuesday August 26, 2-3 PM:
Help us celebrate the end of Summer Reading Club 2014.
Join us for fun games, activities and prizes!
Drop-in, no registration required!

Friday August 29, 3:30-4:30 PM
Join us in making your very own monster!  Use your creativity to spook your friends and family.*Please be advised that young children should be accompanied by an adult.
 Please register in person or by calling 416-395-5440. 

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