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Thirty Before Thirty!

July 31, 2015 | Soheli | Comments (2)

Have you ever been on the cusp of a milestone birthday when it suddenly occurs to you that the years are just flying by? Whether you're turning 25 or 75, time often has a way of creeping up on us and putting a lot into perspective.

Cupcakes with Candles
Image courtesy of April on a CC license.

The Guardian has an article about impending milestone birthdays and a few writers share their thoughts on turning 30, 40, etc. I'm approaching my 30th very soon, so Abigail Radnor's piece really resonated with me. She writes,

Twenty-nine feels like an age that can be worn very differently. I know 29-year-olds on Tinder and 29-years-olds raising toddlers. I know 29-year-old students and others running their own companies. But if there is one common theme among my peers over the past year, it is change: new jobs, careers, partners, flatmates, countries of residence, births, marriages and deaths. Could that be said of any age? Surely not so sweepingly.

Change is a huge thing for 20-somethings headed into the next chapter in their lives. Everyone deals with it differently, but many of us like to try to be prepared. What that means exactly will be different for everyone, but for me, it's making lists (which is, according to one of my former professors, a 'very librarian sort of thing'). I decided to do thirty things I'd never done before I hit thirty this summer. Here are three from my list. 

1. Become completely student loan-free.
This was initially a fairly realistic goal when I graduated in 2010. After all, five years seemed like plenty of time. Except, of course, the rest of your life happens. And, life gets expensive.

There are some good ways to plan out your finances, however, to help make a goal like this a reality.

If you've got a similar goal, why not try out some books on my list?

Debt Free Forever Oxlade  Debt Free for Life Bach  Debt Free Spending Nagler 

We've also got lots of business, legal, and personal finance related workshops and presentations available at a number of branches throughout the city. For example, at the Dufferin/St. Clair Branch, there is an upcoming program on raising financially independent children. Smart!


2. Get my (full) driver's license.
I was a little late when it came to driving. I actually completely avoided it for as long as possible. If you're a natural, this may not seem like a big deal, but if you've ever gotten anxiety taking a test, or if you're prone to making reaalllly wide right turns, you might understand why this is a goal for many people!

If you're studying for your written test and need to review the rules of the road, be sure to check out the online preview of the Driver's Handbook. Similarly, most library branches have a reference copy on hand for you to use in the library as well. 

If you're already a driver on the road, keep in mind that new rules will come into play this Fall 2015. Be sure to be in the know by checking out the Heads Up! website where changes are outlined.


3. Dye my hair a 'wild' colour.
This one has no particular educational or self-improvement angle. Gotta have a little fun sometimes, right? Fun note: when small children come up and ask why my hair is bright pink, I get to tell them I'm half mermaid!

Dolls with pink hair
Image courtesy of Aimee Ray on a CC license.

BuzzFeed has a fun (and informative!) article about bright coloured hair, particularly for people with darker complexions and hair. If you're feeling like a risk-taker, and want to learn more about how to dye your own locks, here are a few resources to get you started. Keep in mind, however, that it can be super tricky and is often best left to the pros!

HairColor Mix  World of Hair Colour

 Do you have any silly or serious goals you'd like to achieve before you hit a certain birthday? Share with us!

Find Volunteering Resources Online.

December 20, 2014 | Soheli | Comments (0)

We get asked about volunteering opportunities all the time. It can be a little overwhelming trying to navigate all the options and find the best fit for you.

Confused student looking at notebook.
Photo courtesy of CollegeDegrees360 on a CC license.

If you're a teen between 14 and 19 looking to volunteer, you're not alone. With the highschool volunteering requirement, many youth are looking to rack up their 40 hours as efficiently as possible.

Although the library has a number of volunteer positions, there are many, many organizations and agencies looking for volunteers all across Toronto. There are even some ways to still squeeze in some volunteering this holiday season!

On Monday January 19, at 6 PM, come and join us for a session exploring all the ways to discover volunteering opportunities online. We will look at the different ways you can search for positions, how to contact various organizations, and figure out what best works for you. Also, a volunteer from SickKids Hospital will come and talk about what she does in her role and how she got there. Give us a call to register or to find out more: 416-396-8850.


Everything you can imagine is real: Young Voices at Cedarbrae

December 17, 2014 | Soheli | Comments (0)

You may have noticed a new art display at the Cedarbrae Branch if you've walked in recently...

Young Voices Display near check out computers.

We're the lucky branch that will be displaying the Young Voices art exhibit for the month of December. 

These panels highlight some of the artwork that was submitted by Toronto teens to Young Voices, the library's magazine of written and visual art.

These talented young artists were selected by a small group that looked for high-quality original work that would be representative of and relevant to Toronto's diverse youth. Although only visual art is displayed in this exhibit, there are many more selections of prose and poetry in the Young Voices magazine. You can pick up a copy in your local branch, or check out an online copy of Young Voices right here on our website.

We are currently looking for submissions for the 2015 edition of Young Voices.
If you (or a talented teen you know!) are interested, be sure to check out the submission requirements and submit online. You can also print out a PDF submission form, if you'd prefer, and then simply attach it to your piece and deliver it to a staff member at your local branch.

The deadline for Young Voices 2015 is Tuesday April 7, 2015 so start thinking about your potential selection now! Remember, as Pablo Picasso said:  "Everything you can imagine is real."

For inspiration, check out some examples of different styles from all over the world:

Pablo Picasso  Vincent Van Gogh  Frida Kahlo  Trespass: A history of uncommissioned urban art  Chalo! India 

Scarborough Repair Cafe: a HUGE success!

November 17, 2014 | Soheli | Comments (1)

As you may remember from one of my last posts, we recently hosted Repair Cafe Toronto at the Cedarbrae Branch.

From 12 - 4 on Saturday, October 18, our already bustling library turned into an amazing hub of activity. It began with Repair Cafe volunteers transforming our space with colourful signage, then a spread of all kinds of tools, from tiny beading accessories to heavy duty pliers.

Repair Cafe at the Cedarbrae Branch
Photo courtesy of Repair Cafe Toronto

We had just under a hundred people come from all over Toronto to have their broken items looked at. Some of the things I noticed included a coffee maker, computer and car speaker. In addition to fixing small appliances, there were also tables for clothing repair and even book binding and paper repairs! The bookbinding table also doubled as a fun spot for kids trying out origami patterns and other simple paper crafts. Kids and adults alike were also invited to take a look at some of our bright book and DVD displays about recycling and repair that can be easily done. 

The volunteers worked hard to get most items up and running again. Nearby, those with repaired items could pose for a photo, proudly holding up a cute "Fixed!" sign to celebrate their participation at Scarborough's first Repair Cafe. The 'Fixed!" sign did face a little mishap of its own...

Photo courtesy of @RepairCafeTO on Twitter

As with all of Repair Cafe's events, this event was a success because of the combined efforts of both the volunteer Fixers and the interested partipants who came to learn. We had a great time seeing people working together, excitedly learning about how things work.

If you missed this Repair Cafe, not to worry: you can catch another one on Saturday November 22 from 10 AM to 2 PM at Skills For Change. This is going to be the last Repair Cafe for the year, so be sure to gather your items and head over this coming weekend!

A big thank to you all the kind folks over at Repair Cafe Toronto and, of course, all the library users who joined us to make this an amazing event last month!

Mend Over Matter: Repair Cafe heads to Scarborough!

October 11, 2014 | Soheli | Comments (2)

They say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But if it is? You head to the Repair Cafe! We will be hosting the Repair Cafe right here at the Cedarbrae Branch on Saturday October 18, starting at 12 Noon until 4 PM.

Repair Cafe Toronto is a not-for-profit organization founded by a small group of Torontonians who enthusiastically support the repair movement first started by the Repair Cafe Foundation in Amsterdam.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Image from

Repair Cafe's mission is simple: reduce waste and make old things new again - all while teaching, learning and enjoying the art of the fix!

Think of the kinds of things you might have sitting around in your own home that may have fallen into disrepair. Are these items really broken beyond saving? Repair Cafe volunteer fixers can help you find out. These fixers work with a variety of things, from small appliances to clothing and books. As they put it,

"Repair Café teaches people to see their possessions in a new light. And, once again, to appreciate their value. Repair Café helps change people’s mindset. This is essential to kindle people’s enthusiasm for a sustainable society."

A recent article from University of Toronto's student newspaperThe Varsity, notes that "The Repair Café not only offered the opportunity to learn new skills but also the chance to connect with skilled people."

Repair Cafe Fixers
image courtesy of Repair Cafe Toronto

Whether you're interested in being a volunteer fixer yourself, just watching others repair items, or have something of your own you might want to try to get working again, be sure to drop by this event.

This Repair Cafe session requires no registration ahead - just bring an item that you'd like to get fixed and we'll help you get started! We're looking forward to a fun event with a wide variety of things to get fixed and skilled people to help you fix them.

For more information about the event on Saturday, October 18 (12-4 PM), give us a call at the Cedarbrae Branch at 416-396-8850.

Hope to see you there!

Open Mic Night @ Cedarbrae Branch

October 9, 2014 | Soheli | Comments (0)

Calling all spoken word artists, poets and word performers: are you ready to shine?

Image courtesy of flickr user Grant on a CC license.

Join us for our first Open Mic Night tonight, October 9, 2014, beginning at 7 PM.

Our Artist in the Library, Dwayne Morgan, will be hosting this event and helping you get on stage and presenting to others. Dwayne is a well-known poet, performer and speaker who will be working with youth on all kinds projects this Fall and Winter on a one-on-one basis as well as organizing open mic nights like this.

Whether you've got a few performances under your belt, or are brand new to the scene, be sure to come by and see and share the talent Scarborough has to offer!

Registration is not required for this event and youth (13-19) are all welcome to attend.

Need more info? Give us a call at the Cedarbrae Branch: 416-396-8850. 

Chocolate Making at the Library

August 29, 2014 | Soheli | Comments (0)

Mmmmmmm...CHOCOLATE. There's really no better way to describe last Friday at the Cedarbrae Branch.

Chocolatier Shavaughan from Chocolate Tales joined teens to instruct them in the magical and mysterious art of chocolate making, including teaching them how to make truffles, bonbons, lava cakes, and chocolate shavings using the finest Belgian chocolate.

We got to taste some of these delicious works of art and they were just as tasty as they were beautiful.

Check out some of the pictures and videos from the workshop below!


Continue reading "Chocolate Making at the Library" »

Robots in the Library?

August 18, 2014 | Soheli | Comments (0)

If you've wandered by the Children's Desk at the Cedarbrae Branch recently, you may have noticed a new friend hanging around:



Meet Vaksan Jr. He was created by a bright young maker in a particularly exciting session of our Make and Create Club. The theme of this session was to just GO WILD!

Kids were encouraged to take all sorts of household odds and ends we'd collected over the weeks, and design the most awesome things they could imagine. In addition to this robot, we also had some racecars, elaborate jewelry peices, and even a highly detailed landscape for a Minecraft character!

As you might be able to tell, Vaksan Jr. didn't need a whole lot of high-tech gadgetry to come to life, but he was definitely built with a lot of creative energy. Interested in getting your kids to imagine and create? Ask a librarian about other programs we offer that cultivate the maker spirit!

You may also want to check out other resources that can help guide fun projects at home as we dip into these last few weeks of summer. Here are two books that might be interesting for a younger or older child:

Make Stuff Together by Bernadette NollMake Stuff Together: 24 Simple Projects to Create as a Family

by Bernadette Noll

"Make Stuff Together gives you 24 projects to build family connections while being creative and truly enjoying your time together. The authors have uniquely broken down projects into manageable chunks for the shorter attention spans of children enabling even smaller kids to accomplish bigger projects."



Streampunk Gear, Gadgets and GizmosSteampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos: a Maker's Guide to Creating Modern Artifacts

by Thomas Willeford

 "Learn from Lord Featherstone aka Thomas Willeford as he distills his wealth of hard-learned skills, describes how to use the readily available tools of the modern mad scientist, and expounds on the art and philosophy of scavenging unique components and raw materials. The perfect companion for the hobbyist and advanced machinist alike, this inventive volume will guide you through the creation of your very own infernal devices."


There are also great websites designed for makers of all ages. Check out MAKE Magazine and Instructables for more ideas and see what creative things pop up!

Survival Training

April 24, 2014 | Erin | Comments (0)

How did you fare without power back in Dec/Jan? Did you run out of food or water? Have trouble staying warm?

Then think waaaaay back to when it was hot last summer (I know, it may be hard to remember). Did you experience heat-stroke symptoms? Lose power in a rolling blackout?



What if the ice storm was worse, something like the Quebec storm of 1998? 




What if the heat wave was as intense as the one that killed 2 people in West Bengal on Wednesday?




What if you got lost hiking in a forest? Would you know how to get back? How to start a fire to keep warm?

In this year's One Book community read, The Cellist of Sarajevo, people manage to survive in a city under siege, with creates some harsh living conditions. In tomorrow's Survival Skills workshop at 5:30 pm, expert David Arama from WSC Survival School will teach you the skills you'll need in order to survive in emergencies. 



Survival Skills

5:30 - 7:00 pm

in Cedarbrae Library's program room

What's with all the Hoopla? Free digital movies and music!

April 15, 2014 | Soheli | Comments (0)

Hoopla Digital has recently launched right here at the Toronto Public Library - it's everywhere right now!

We already offer free ebooksdigital magazines and many other electronic resources, so it only makes sense that we get you some great movies, music and television series too.

Here are just a few noteworthy movie titles you can stream for free from Hoopla:

Brokeback Mountain We Need To Talk About Kevin Hanna

And don't forget the music!

Taylor Swift Red  Ultimate Grammy Collection  Divergent Original Soundtrack  Drake Nothing Was The Same

Take some time to browse through what Hoopla has to offer. When you're ready, go ahead and sign up for free with your Toronto Public Library card and email address. Not sure how to get started? You can always call your local library branch and speak to a librarian about how to begin.

Have fun with Hoopla!

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.