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Tots and Technology

May 15, 2015 | Janet | Comments (4)

We are surrounded by digital media; television shows, computer games, web pages and apps. We are exposed via our televisions, computers, laptops, smart phones and tablets. As parents and caregivers, how are we to navigate this new and wild world?

Kids on iPad
Lisa Guernsey, a digital literacy expert, suggests we focus on the three C's: content, context and the individual child. By this, Lisa means consider your child, the content of the digital media and the context within which your child will use the media.
When choosing Story Apps it is important to explore the app on your own before you explore it with your child. Look for high quality apps that don't have advertising or games that may interrupt the narrative of the story. The apps should invoke the 5 early literacy practices of Ready for Reading -  helping you and your child write, read, play, sing and talk together. 
The best way to enhance the reading and learning experience is for adults to sit and engage with their child and the digital media. Adults are the best kind of “interactive media” when it comes to kids! 
Mom and Kid on iPad
Here are some suggestions for super Story Book App's you can share with your young child: 

Bright sparks in the book world

April 16, 2015 | Denise | Comments (0)

     Burial Rites           How to be both     The Lives of others    The Undertaking

Enjoy the delights that only a truly well-written book can offer - all of these titles have either been recently nominated for major international awards or have actually won them. Book Club reading, anybody?

A Girl is a Half Formed Thing by McBride, Eimear

Americanah by Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi

Burial Rites by Kent Hannah

The Lowland by Lahiri, Jhumpa

The Undertaking by Magee, Audrey     

The Death of Bees by O’Donnell, Lisa

How to be Both by Smith, Ali,                               

The Lives of Others by Mukherjee, Neel

Nora Webster : A Novel by Tóibín, Colm,               

The Sound of Things Falling by Vásquez, Juan G.abriel

Absolution by Flanery, Patrick

The Detour by Bakker, Gerbrand

The Light of Amsterdam by Park, David

The Spinning Heart by Ryan, Donal

Traveler of the Century by Neuman, Andrés

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Flanagan, Richard

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Ferris, Joshua

We are all Completely Besides Ourselves by Fowler, Karen

The Woman Who Lost her Soul by Shacochis, Bob

The Back of the Turtle by King, Thomas (Canadian)

My October by Rothman, Claire (Canadian)

The Opening Sky by Thomas, Joan (Canadian)

Sweetland by Crummey, Michael (Canadian)

All my Puny Sorrows by Toews, Miriam (Canadian)

The Betrayers by Bezmozgis, David (Jewish Book Council Award) 

Betrayers    Mathematician's Shiva    Ever After of Ashwin Rao   Wondrous Woo

 The Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Viswanathan, Padma (Canadian)

Tell by Itani, Frances (Canadian)

Kicking the Sky by De Sa, Anthony (Canadian)

The Hungry Ghosts by Selvadurai, Shyam (Canadian)

The Wondrus Woo by Leung, Carrianne (Canadian)

This is War by Moscovitch, Hannah (Canadian)

Cataract City by Davidson, Craig (Canadian)

The Mathematician’s Shiva by Rojstaczer, Stuart  (Jewish Book Council Award)

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!

Blind Date...with a Book?

February 4, 2015 | Loretta | Comments (0)

If you're looking for a great teen read this Valentine's Day, why not pick up a book from this display in the Teen area:


Blind Date with a Book
Blind Date with a Book display in the Teen Zone

There's one catch! All the recommended books are wrapped so you won't be able to see the book you've chosen. Read the book, then rate it by filling out a ballot at the 2nd floor reference desk. You'll be entered for a chance to win great prizes!

Who says blind dates have to be awkward, right? The Blind Date with a Book program will be running the entire month of February and is brought to you by Barbara Frum Library's very own Youth Advisory Group.

Holiday stress? We can help!

December 8, 2014 | Cynthia | Comments (0)

Holidays and stress – for some people, these are almost synonymous. The Library has books with this subject heading, and of course, there are movies that spoof the stress of the holidays.

Writers use these humourous, and sometimes disastrous, happenings to show us that none of us is immune. 

Stress is not limited to Christmas; an internet search brings up many listings for Hanukkah stress as well. There is even a guide for atheists!

You’ll also be able to find articles in many magazines, aimed at helping people cope with the stress of dealing with the shopping, cooking, decorating and entertaining that many of us deal with at this time of year. 

We wish you a very happy and low-stress holiday season.

When Holidays Are Hell     Aholiday2     Aholiday3     Aholiday4

Aholiday5     Aholiday6     Aholiday7     Aholiday8

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.

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. 

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.

War is hell... let's sing!

October 21, 2014 | Cynthia | Comments (0)

Many songs and poems arise from the events of the world, and the Great War was no exception. For the first time, Canadians fought under Canadian commanders, and we were recognized as a country independent of the British Empire. Canadians, as well as the British and Americans, put their feelings in poems and songs, many of which we are familiar with today.   

The songs of this time offer insight into conditions at home and abroad, both pro and con, and serious to more lighthearted. Leon Botstein, president of Bard College in New York State, says that “music may have an even greater claim than the other arts to being indispensable in time of war.” Songs can inspire patriotism and bravery, and help people to feel like they are part of a larger effort. They can also provide a form of entertainment and socialization. People may not remember speeches, but more easily remember tunes and the lyrics to songs. Music can become the catalyst for governments to recruit soldiers, keep up enthusiasm among those already in the military, and gain support from civilians for the war effort.

“It’s a long way to Tipperary” was written in 1912, but became a popular marching song in 1914. “Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag (and smile, smile, smile)” was another popular song of the day, aimed at boosting British morale. “Mademoiselle from Armentieres” was part of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry’s regimental march.

Songs could be used to oppose the war, such as “I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier” but later changed to “I didn’t raise my boy to be a coward" when recruitment and morale were flagging.

Later in the war, Irving Berlin wrote “Oh! How I hate to get up in the morning”, shortly after he was drafted in 1918. It provided some comic perspective on military life. The Rev. J.D. Morrow wrote “You bet your life we all will go” as an inspiration when recruiting slowed down later in the war.

Women were also important in the pro-war propaganda, featured in songs like, “If he can fight like he can love, look out Germany!”. And as more and more women took on traditionally male tasks and responsibilities, men were given the heads-up about what to expect when they returned with the song, “You’d better be nice to them now.”

Poetry of the First World War    When This Blood War is Over    In Flanders Fields     Songs of War



Related Posts:

World War I Centenary: Canada's Local Responses to the Great War - October 30

Laughter in the face of death: the trench newspaper, The Wipers Times

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