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April 2011

An argument for picture books

April 21, 2011 | Scott | Comments (0)

If you heard the sound of librarians’ jaws hit the floor across the continent last October, here’s why.

The New York Times published an article called ‘Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children’ that discussed how picture books are languishing on bookstore shelves and how parents are insisting their children bypass the book category entirely in order to begin reading “real” books. I cringe when anyone pulls out the argument for “real” books. Yes, my friends, we may have a problem here.

I’ve had the pleasure in leading Family Storytime (an all-ages program on Saturday mornings at 11am with songs and usually three to four picture book readings) at Cedarbrae twice and have experienced first-hand the joy and captivation that picture books can offer young readers. The stories are simple but meaningful and the artwork, colourful and appealing. There’s no denying that kids love them.

In fact, in response to the New York Times article, a U.S. school delivered a letter to the editor in the form of a 15-foot long scroll signed by the students. The letter deemed picture books “essential to the development of lifelong readers and learners.” I wholeheartedly agree.

As much as we’re taught that picture books are only for pre- or beginning readers, they can be enjoyed by everyone. Cedarbrae has an incredible collection of Advanced Picture Books. These books have complex stories, intricate artwork and explore challenging concepts, issues and themes, often in ways that creates an interactive reading experience.

Here’s a selection of my favourites:

The Extinct Files by Wallace Edwards – structured like a science fair project, Edwards explores the idea that dinosaurs exist in our world today, but they just hide really well

The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean – probably one of the most frightening picture books I’ve ever read. If you like creepy, spooky stories, this one’s for you.

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith – watch this pair make fun of every fairy tale and nursery rhyme you’ve ever read. I promise you'll laugh out loud at the off-the-wall humour.

Extinctfiles Wolves Stinky

How do I find books and movies in my language?...

April 20, 2011 | Maciek | Comments (0)

You probably know that Cedarbrae library has a number of collections in languages other than English: 

Bengali (books, DVDs)
Chinese (books, DVDs, CDs, magazines)
French (books, DVDs, CDs, CD audiobooks, graphic novels, magazines)
Gujarati (books, DVDs, CDs, magazines)
Hindi (books, DVDs, CDs, magazines in Indic English and Hindi)
Korean (books, DVDs, CDs, magazines)
Persian (books, DVDs, CDs, magazines)
Polish (books, DVDs, CDs, magazines)
Tagalog (books, DVDs, CDs)
Tamil (books, DVDs, CDs, magazines)
Urdu (books, DVDs, CDs, magazines)

We also have Arabic, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Punjabi, Russian and Spanish magazines.

You might have noticed that our collections are slightly different from what they used to be before the renovation - that's because we sometimes relocate them, and put them in branches where they are most likely to be accessed (it's all based on the information provided by the census data). Toronto's map of communities is constantly changing and we try to respond to that.

And, the most important: through our website, you DO have access to all items in your language! They can be requested and we'll deliver them to the branch of your choice. You can also display a complete list of all library items in a given language - just go to the Advanced Search, choose the language and press "Search" (without typing anything). Then, using the panel on the left, you can narrow it down further (books, CDs, DVDs, children's items, etc.).

So, need a science fiction novel in French? Or a list of Spanish DVDs?... Chinese audio books for children?... simply choose the requested options.

If you would like to find out about language collections in branches near you, please click here.


Planet Earth needs your help!

April 15, 2011 | Erin | Comments (0)

It looks as though spring has finally sprung!


April 22 is Earth Day! You'll notice we have some very "green" (both literally and figuratively) displays around Cedarbrae branch. Have a look, take some home, or visit some of the websites below and learn how you can make a difference and help heal the planet. Personally I'm going to start using tupperware instead of plastic wrap and see what I can make with that old t-shirt that's been hanging in my closet for 5 years...

Tactic #1: Living green

List of Top Ten Actions to Help the Environment

Workshops and events around the city hosted by LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests), an organization that engages citizens in urban forest stewardship through planting, education, and training.

Living Green

How to reduce your carbon footprint : 500 ways to save energy, resources, and money!

Tactic #2: Making something old into something new

Green Crafts for Children

120 New Ways to Transform a T-shirt

Jeaneology : crafty ways to reinvent your old blues

Tactic #3: Consider the impact of things we use everyday

The documentaries Crude Impact and Manufactured Landscapes will change the way you look at the world.

Confronting the coffee crisis : fair trade, sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems in Mexico and Central America. I must admit, as a coffee addict this hurt a little bit...

Whole green catalog : 1,000 best things for you and the earth

Try searching the catalogue using terms like "green movement" "living green" "recycling craft" and "clothing remaking" to find more green inspiration.

Looking for the FUN Guide?

April 9, 2011 | Soheli | Comments (0)

We get lotsFUNGuideS of people coming in asking for a copy of the Toronto Parks and Recreation FUN Guide, and unfortunately, we sometimes run out of copies to hand out! However, like many things, the Fun Guide is available online, so don't worry if you haven't been able to get your hands on a copy yourself.

The city of Toronto website has the entire guide available (as a PDF file you can view or download), as well as different programs listed by category. This also makes it easy to search and find the exact type of program you are looking for. If you're interested, there is also an option to register for programs online as well.

Just click over to the online FUN Guide to browse what programs are offered in our city. If you're looking for areas outside of Scarborough, be sure to check out the links to other districts.

Good luck - and have fun!



Hadron Collider in Cedarbrae Library

April 6, 2011 | Maciek | Comments (4)


Ladies and gentlemen, please allow us to introduce you the Cedarbrae Library SORTER!




Of course everyone knows what sorter is, but I'll remind you :-) To make a long story short - it's a big device that accepts, registers and sorts returned library items. At this moment we only have one in the entire Toronto Public Library system, but we do hope to add some more in other large branches.




Think of the traditional way - you give your items to one of us, we check them in, figure out where they should go next, then put them back on the shelf / send to another branch / etc. The sorter way - you press the "start" button on the display, put your items on the conveyor belt (one at a time!), wait for a second and they get checked in. You can also request the printed receipt, if you want a proof that your items were returned.




Then, the sorter puts the items in appropriate bins - for example CED holds, items to be sent to Toronto East, items to be shelved... that's why we like it so much - it saves us LOTS of mundane manual work and is incredibly accurate.




If an item does not check in properly (the tag is worn out, for example), it goes to a special "exceptions" bin and gets processed by library staff.




And, why do we call it "hadron collider"? Well, the collider is the only thing that's any close to our sorter in terms of technological sophistication :-)



Making it a Mission!

April 4, 2011 | Soheli | Comments (0)

What makes a ‘good’ reader? Is there even such thing? I like to consider myself a pretty voracious reader, but it’s tough to keep up with an ever-expanding list of hot reads, particularly in all the genres available.

So, I’m making it a mission – and maybe you will too.

April is Keep Toronto Reading month, and in the spirit of the month, I’ve decided to read at least one book in a whole slew of genres, subgenres and categories – books that I may not otherwise think to pick up, or normally gravitate to. Keep in mind these aren’t necessarily traditionally recognized literary genres; I want to read far and wide!

Here are some of the areas I’d like to dip into:

Graphic novels, Canadian memoirs, Scandinavian mysteries, dystopian apocalyptic fiction, Middle Eastern romance…and the list goes on.


So far, I’ve picked up Local by Brian Wood. This is an adult graphic novel featuring a young traveller in a series of vignettes as she transitions from one stage of her life to the next, all the while moving through a number of North American cities. I’m particularly liking the great detail to attention in the artwork (look out for the Tim Horton’s logo in the Toronto storyline!), and the provocative storytelling. I haven’t read too many graphic novels yet, but if Local is any indication of what to expect, I’m looking forward to finding more titles and authors to discover.

 Do you have any genres or areas you want to explore – any titles that might be a little beyond your normal repertoire? Take the time this month to maybe pick up a book you haven’t considered before, and let us know what happens!

Welcome! This blog is written by the Cedarbrae Library staff and we want it to become a place where you can find out what's going on in the branch and in the community. But not just that - we plan to write about all things we might find interesting.