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Frequently Asked Questions

Embrace Your Inner Entrepreneur

September 8, 2015 | Loretta | Comments (0)

Up until recently, I've been toying with the idea of starting my own business. Living in an era where startups are the thing, it seems like every other person owns or is involved in a small business. In fact, self-employment now represents 15.6% of all working Canadians, as of January 2015, according to this Globe & Mail article

But it's way harder than it looks. First, what product or service can you provide that isn't already out there? Let's say you already have a business idea in mind. Good. But are you passionate enough about it to invest all your blood, sweat, and tears into it?

Don't know the answers to these questions? Fortunately for you, if you're stuck in this rut, there are a ton of resources out there that can help!

The Barbara Frum Branch is one of the three locations in Toronto that is hosting the Business Inc. program.

"Take part in an 8-week business program offered in partnership with the City of Toronto and the Toronto Business Devleopment Centre. Learn from professionals and get on your way to making your business dreams a reality!"

Not only will you get one-on-one access to a business advisor, you'll get the help you need in preparing your business plan. To apply, go to

To find out more about Business Inc., the Barbara Frum Branch is hosting an orientation session on Thursday, September 17, 6:30-8 pm. Sessions are also available at Fairview Branch and Bloor/Gladstone Branch.


Business Inc.
Business Inc.


Need more inspiration? 

Forbes' 30 Under 30 is a list of today's young game changers, movers, and makers, including entrepreneurs from a variety of industries. Also, don't forget to attend the annual Small Business Forum to network with other entrepreneurs and learn how to grow your business.

Check out Toronto Public Library's very own Business & Personal Finance blog to be kept in the loop with upcoming business programs and for further resources at the library.


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.

Youth Volunteers Needed at Amesbury Park Branch

November 23, 2014 | Miss Vicky | Comments (0)

Do you need to earn community service hours? Are you looking for fun and rewarding opportunities to volunteer your time? Why not volunteer for Amesbury Park's Youth Advisory Group! We are recruiting volunteers to be involved in the creation and development of teen services, programs, collections and more. You don't need to be an avid reader to volunteer with us, you just need to care about your community and helping the library.

If you are...

  • between 13-19 years old
  • available on Thursday evenings
  • can commit 1.5 hours a month to attend meetings

...then this group is for YOU!

The group meets on a monthly basis to plan and work on teen programs and services and provide valuable feedback on our collections and space. Here are some of the awesome benefits of membership:

  • develop leadership and civic engagement skills
  • influence and advise the library 
  • make a difference in your comnunity
  • meet new and interesting people....just like you!
  • gain experience to list on college, university, scholarship and employment applications 
  • earn community hours

If you are interested in joining, pick up an application form in the branch. Not sure if this is for you? Why not attend a meeting to find out more about the group! Contact the branch at 416-395-5420 for upcoming meeting dates. 

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!

New to Canada?

July 10, 2014 | Loretta | Comments (0)

It's hard enough moving to a new community, getting to know your neighbourhood, and trying to find the closest grocery store, library, & school. Imagine settling into a new country where you don't speak the language - it can be terrifying! 

In partnership with North York Community House (NYCH), Barbara Frum Library is hosting its annual Summer SEPT Settlement Services. Meet with our settlement workers to find out about local settlement, citizenship, education, employment, and other resources available to you. 

From July 2 to August 8, our settlement workers will be available Monday to Friday, 10-5:30 pm in the library foyer. Language assistance will be available in Russian and Tagalog.




Also, don't forget to register for the following SEPT Employment Workshops (*Eligibility: Workshops are available to Permanent Residents or Convention Refugees):

How to get Your Ideal Job!

Learn how to find employment and market yourself.  Understand why you are not getting interviews and what you’re missing in your job search. Plus, find out what the recent trends in the labour market are! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2-4 pm

Room C

*Registration Required


7 Steps to Starting your Own Business

Learn how to start your own business and become self-employed. Find free resources to start your business and marketing tactics.

Thursday, July 31, 2-4 pm

Room C

*Registration Required


 Please visit the branch or call 416-395-5440 for more information.



Nelson Mandela

December 14, 2013 | Denise | Comments (0)

The death of Nelson Mandela resonated around the world this past week. Ironically, his death seems to have resurrected the amazing narrative of his life's struggle to end Apartheid. The wisdom, tactics, leadership and judgement that he always seemed to bring to the table were his. But, as he himself always said, he was not solely responsible for the transformation of South Africa from an Apartheid state into a Democratic one. A very short and by no stretch of the imagination, definitive, list of those in the struggle against Apartheid would have to include:




Sisulu Kasrils Biko

Joe Slovo

Walter Sisulu 

Ronnie Kasrils

Steve Biko

Many others will be discovered through reading about South African activists, many of whom returned to South Africa after being in exile for years.

A different perspective will be gained by reading the books of Athol Fugard, Andre Brink, Zakes Mda, and Ezekiel Mphahlele.

Toronto Public LIbrary has these and so much more to broaden your understanding of one of the world's leaders for the ages.





Library PC Tips

September 17, 2012 | Jorge | Comments (0)

Library PC Tricks If you use library computers for web browsing, creating documents or something as simple as printing – you might find some of these tricks useful.

Tip 1- Hold my spot! So you’re in the library and you receive an important call. Being the courteous person that you are, you wish to leave your workspace and answer the call privately. There is one problem: you do not want to lose the work you’ve started on your computer – the online application, web pages, and document work. If you ever find yourself in this position, try this:

1. Go to the Library Online start-up menu
2. Click Stand By – note that you are given a maximum of 10 minutes to hold your space
Standby pic3. Enter your PIN to regain access

Enter PINTip 2Excel or Word? This tip you can use in or outside the library. If you are wondering whether you should use Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word you should ask yourself a few questions before you start. First, consider whether you will need to make any calculations. If so, Excel can do the work for you. If you want to create a table and have the option of re-arranging the data or filtering data, then you’re better off using Excel as well. If your overall purpose is to format and type text to create a flyer, report, letter or simple chart then you’re better off using Microsoft Word.

Tip 3 – Give me the new stuff!! If you are the type of person that likes to get your hands on our fresh supply of materials then listen up.

1. Visit our homepage,
2. Without clicking, hover over the Books, Video, Research & More Tab


3. Select the type of new material you like (e.g., New Adult Fiction)
4. Copy the URL
5. Open a RSS feed manager, like
6. Add a feed to your inbox, by pasting the URL in step 4 (use Mozilla Firefox if you can)
7. Receive all the updates at your fingertips

No Book Travel Guides or eBook Travel Guides

July 13, 2012 | Diana S. | Comments (0)

Previously you had a brief list of the types of travel guides available at the library in Bon search ... Bon find ... Bon voyaage!. These are the print versions of the guides that you can take with you on your trip, but what if you want an electronic version or an eBook of the guide?  You won't need to remember due dates or determine if you need to renew your guide before, during, or after your trip.

Toronto Public Library's OverDrive has a variety of travel guides that you can easily download and take with you on your mobile device. You don't have to worry about returning the items. They just automatically expire.  You can search for the travel guide of your choice such as Fodor's, Frommer's, Lonely Planet, or National Geographic. If you know the publishers of the travel guides, such as DK Eyewitness, Fodor's Travel Publications. or Lonely Planet  Publications, you can search by publisher.

For how to find an eBook travel guide, see  Find Your eBook Travel Guide.

Some eBook travel guides include:

 DK Eyewitness-Bali & Lombok    Frommer's-Grand Canyon National Park    Fodor's-Hawaii

          Lonely Planet-Alaska    DK Eyewitness-NewYork

Bon search ... Bon find ... Bon voyage!

June 1, 2012 | Diana S. | Comments (2)

Around this time people are asking for information on their choice travel destinations. They are particularly interested in the most current and popular travel guides. They may hesitate over what guide suits them, so the following is a convenient guide to some of the more popular travel guides:

These guides cover ‘unusual’ and lesser-known destinations of the world from
Africa to the Northwest Passages. It is both a travelogue as well as a travel
guide. These guides are updated irregularly.

Compass American
These guides are by Fodor's and provide in-depth coverage on US states - often
states no other guidebooks cover. They provide historical and cultural detail
about North American destinations as well as hotel and restaurant
recommendations and detailed descriptions of sights.
Explorer's Guides
In existence for more than 25 years, these guides cover the US. The guides are
updated bi-annually.
Eyewitness (DK)
These guides are updated every year and feature wonderful photos of travel
destinations. These guides may include pull-out maps.
These guides are your standard and reliable guides. They provide sections of
information on shopping, dining, hotel, and culture recommendations. There are
features and articles by local writers that convey the essence of each
Fodor's See it
These guides are by Fodor's and mostly feature wonderful pictures of must-see
sights and areas. they are updated bi-annually.
These guides are updated annually and are written by those with first-hand
knowledge of the area. If you are an adventurous and independent traveller or
backpacker, these guidebooks are worth a second look.
Like Fodor's, Frommer's are your standard and reliable guides. You will explore your travel destinations the way locals do. These guides are updated annually.
Updated bi-annually, Insight guides are more visual, featuring pretty pictures of featured destinations.
Let's Go
If you are a student on a limited budget or even on a limited budget, these guides are worth a look. They are budget travel guides written entirely by students. They are updated every year.
Lonely Planet
These guides are known for providing the best up-to-date information to travellers. They are standard and reliable guides that assume the traveller will get around their travel destination using local transit.
Lonely Planet Discover
These guides feature full-colour pictures throughout. It includes key attractions and possibly off the beaten-track highlights.
Lonely Planet on a shoestring
These guides assume that the traveller is going to be roughing it. It's a real backpacker and adventurer guide.
In existence since 1973, these guides are more for the independent traveller.
The writers have first-hand experience of activities and destinations and are able to deliver up-to-date and reliable information. The guides are updated bi-annually.

National Geographic
These guides feature beautiful pictures of travel destinations. They are irregularly updated.
Rick Steves'
These guidebooks are updated annually. They are for those who choose not to take an organized tour.
Rough Guide
These guides have been in existence for over 30 years. They are more for the buget-conscious. the guides are irregularly updated.
Time Out
These guides are updated bi-annually. They are good for information on nightlife and entertainment and restaurants.

The most recent guides at Barbara Frum Branch include:

Fodor's 2012 Florida    Rick Steves' Scandinavia   Walking London, The Best of the City

Frommer's Bali & Lombok   Family Guide Washington, DC   Singapore
Visit the Barbara Frum District Blog again and we'll navigate the Toronto Public Library's OverDrive to find a travel guide in eBook format.


Fines can be Fine

May 16, 2012 | Jorge | Comments (2)

Nickel    Quarter    Dollar    Twoonie    Quarter    Nickel
Oh yes, I totally get it – nobody likes spending more money than they need to;  I’ll be the first one to tell you that.  I know some of you are thinking, “touché and true-say to that brother.”   Sometimes though, fines can be a good thing that benefits everybody, including you!

In recent months, I’ve been getting calls from our members about library fines: some accepting the responsibility of being late, while others are troubled by the concept.  Let’s talk about it for a moment.

Envision a library without a fines collection program, what would it look like?  For starters, people would not have a reason to return borrowed materials on time.  Library materials would be held onto longer than they should be and it would be very difficult to predict when they would be returned to the library so the next person could benefit.  How does that affect you as a borrower?  The pool of published resources that Toronto values would be less accessible, disorganized, and outright inefficient... scary isn't it?

So the next time you incur fines, remember the bigger picture and keep in mind that fines collected ensure the integrity of YOUR library.  Above all, fines are reinvested to improve library services to better serve you.

If you still don't welcome the idea, be sure to return your library items on time... here are some tips on how to avoid fines and pay them if you get to that point.

Nickel    Quarter    Dollar    Twoonie    Quarter    Nickel

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