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At the Reference Desk

MaBiblioNumérique: An Introduction

April 2, 2015 | Susan | Comments (0)

MaBiblioNumérique is a new French language eBook provider for adults, children, and teens. It just became available at the Toronto Public Library in mid-March, so I thought I'd take a few minutes to tell you more about it. If you happen to speak French, I recommend Toronto Public Library's En français blog, which has a very informative introduction to MaBiblioNumérique. If, however, you just started learning French, or are trying to help a native French speaker download an eBook, I've compiled this information (in English) to help get you started.

You can access MaBiblioNumérique from the Toronto Public Library website by navigating to either Downloads & eBooks or A - Z List of All Databases.

MaBiblioNumérique Access Online

Once you've logged in with your Toronto Public Library card and PIN, you'll find yourself on a page that looks like this:

MaBiblioNumérique Home Page

If you prefer to access MaBiblioNumérique in English, click on the 'ENGLISH' button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. I've circled it in red in the screenshot above.

Now, you're ready to find some reading material!

Most titles on MaBiblioNumérique are from Canadian publishers in Quebec: Alto, Boréal, Cornac, Druide, Hurtubise, Le Quartanier and Québec Amérique. Some of the titles also come from Canadian francophone publishers outside of Quebec: Bouton d'or Acadie, Éditions David (Ottawa), Éditions Prise de parole (Sudbury), Éditions des Plaines (St-Boniface), Éditions Perce-Neige (Moncton), Éditions La Grande Marée (Tracadie-Sheila, New Brunswick). Some European titles can also be found on MaBiblioNumérique, with more coming later this year. 

To find a title, you can either browse through the 'Categories', use the search box, or use the 'Advanced Search', as seen below. There are also new and featured titles, which you can find on the home screen.

Advanced Search

Once you've found a book you'd like to read, click on the 'BORROW' button. 

Abby by Sylvie Marcoux

Here are a few things you need to know about borrowing items from MaBiblioNumérique:

  • You can borrow up to 10 items each month.
  • You can place up to 5 holds each month.
  • Items can be borrowed for 21 days.
  • Items are returned automatically.
  • Items cannot be renewed.
  • If you want to return an item early, you can do so using Adobe Digital Editions or Bluefire Reader.
  • You can read a sample before borrowing an item (pictured below).


Once you've selected and borrowed your eBook, you're ready to download it. Unlike other eBook providers such as OverDrive, if you're using a public computer to borrow an eBook from MaBiblioNumérique, you need to email yourself a link - at least according to the instructions on the website (shown in the screenshot below); however, the 'My Account' section (which can be accessed any time from any device) also has a 'download' button next to each item, and you can use that instead. I'd recommend emailing yourself a link just in case, and using 'My Account' if you find it more convenient.

Public Workstation

Now you're ready to open and read your newly downloaded eBook!

MaBiblioNumérique eBooks are available in ePub format, and in some cases as PDFs, and can be read on various devices. There are great device-specific step-by-step instructions in the help section.

When using a computer or a Paperwhite Sony, Kobo or other eReader you'll need to download Adobe Digital Editions and either create an Adobe Account or sign in using your existing Adobe ID. 

If you're using an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), an Android device (phone, tablet, or eReader), or a Windows device (8.1, 8, or 7 SP1), you'll need to download the Bluefire Reader app and either authorize it with your Adobe ID or create an Adobe Account.

Note that you can only use one Adobe ID to borrow any given eBook. That means that if you're using multiple devices, make sure to use the same Adobe ID on all of them.

Also note that MaBiblioNumérique eBooks are not compatible with the OverDrive app, so you need to download the Bluefire Reader to access them on your mobile device. It's an app created specifically to access Adobe DRM protected (and DRM free) EPUB and PDF eBooks, and is very easy to use. Below is a screenshot of Bluefire Reader taken with an Android device.

Bluefire Reader

When an item is not available to be borrowed, you'll see a 'PLACE A HOLD' button instead of the 'BORROW' button (shown below).

Place a Hold

As you've come to expect from other eBook providers such as OverDrive, when you place a hold, you'll be asked for your email. You'll receive an email confirmation once you've placed the hold, as well as a notification once your eBook is available.

Place Hold

Lastly, you can see the items you've borrowed and placed on hold in 'My Account'. This is where you'll also find that 'Download' button I mentioned earlier. You can see items borrowed in the past (including on other devices) and download them. While MaBiblioNumérique does not let you suspend holds at this time, you can cancel holds from here. 

My Account

If you get stuck at any time, MaBiblioNumérique has help pages in English. If you prefer, the same help pages are also available in French.

If you have any questions, please post them below and I'll be happy to help you on your MaBiblioNumérique journey.

Let's talk apps!

November 14, 2014 | Diana S. | Comments (0)

AppWordCloudIt may be the mobile information age, but we hope the public will still think of the library as the place to go for their information needs no matter what age they may be. It’s always a good idea to keep up with technological advancements and know what’s new out there. There are a lot of applications on the market for library users and librarians. The number of mobile apps for smartphones, iPads, tablet computers, and other mobile devices are steadily growing – people are using apps every day and all day.   

Flurry Analytics indicate that as of March 2014, users are spending 2 hours and 42 minutes per day on mobile devices. These 'mobile addicts’ launch apps at least 60 times per day. AppsIf the public is spending more time on their apps than ever before, then let’s talk app to them. Our own Toronto Public Library Website has a list of Mobile Apps for Library Services. For a list of recommended mobile apps for librarians, see 50 Great Mobile Apps for Librarians and its presentation. Here are some of the apps I like and found useful: 

Library of Congress – Virtual Tour 
This is a free app that gives a virtual tour of the Library of Congress as if you were there. The virtual tour includes: The Main Reading Room; The Great Hall; Exploring the Early Americas; Creating the United States; The Bible Collection; Thomas Jefferson’s Library; and Minerva.  

IELTS Skills            
This app looks at a range of topics in the areas of reading, listening, speaking and writing that will help develop skills needed to answer IELTS academic questions.  

Canadian Citizenship Test and Canadian Citizenship Test Exam 
Although not a substitute for the book Discover Canada, questions are based on the book and will help in the study and preparation for the Canadian Citizenship Test.  

Canadian Driving Tests 
This app is not free, but the website Driving Tests 101 will give an idea of what the app is like. You will learn the rules, signs, and law of the road.  

Aesop for Children 
This is a free app by the Library of Congress featuring an interactive version of the classic Aesop tales. There are over 140 stories accompanied with animated illustrations.  

RecordBooks Free 
This is one of the great ways to keep track of books without the need for pencil or paper.  

BookBuddy – Book Library Manager 
BookBuddy is a book management application that gives you access to your entire book catalog, anywhere. You can create an organized lis tof all the books in your library, allowing you to quickly and easily find any book. You can then share or loan out your books and keep track of them. You can create and save notes on each book or enter other information you would like. 

Goodreads – Book Recommendations and Reviews for Great Books and eBooks  
This app not only keeps track of what you’ve read, but what you want to read. You can see book reviews, rate books, review books, and recommend books. 

If you want to find out what other apps are out there, try the AppCrawler, an app discovery engine.   You AppCrawlrcan specify a specific device or all devices. The AppCrawler will let you know the hottest or most used app. You can find out what’s the hottest in book readers, rising stars in eBook readers, or hottest in books & reference.

Remember the buzz-worthy and catchy phrase, "There's an app for that," which Apple filed for a trademark? Yes. There is an app for finding apps – see 10 Apps for Finding Apps. Some of the apps include: 



Have You Visited the Pew Research Center Lately?

April 26, 2014 | Richard | Comments (0)


The Pew Research Internet Project includes the kind of information that we like to cite in library reports and documents, notwithstanding its focus on the United States.

According to the website, "The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the internet through surveys that examine how Americans use the internet and how their activities affect their lives."

Much of this information is applicable across the boarder here in Canada.

The website was listed as an Outstanding Choice Title in 2006.

While there have been some formatting changes in recent times, it is worth quoting the review in full:

"Outstanding Title! 44-0384 Internet Resource

Pew/Internet: Pew Internet & American Life Project.

[Visited Jun'06] Anyone searching for information on the digital divide, generational differences in Internet use, or how people use the Internet in everyday life will find this site essential. One of six projects from the nonpartisan think tank Pew Research Center, Pew/Internet hosts reports and data that "explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life." Content dates from 2000 to the present with frequent updates. Searching for reports is easy and may be accomplished through a pull-down menu listing broad categories (e.g. demographics, health, education, online activities and pursuits, and family, friends, and community) or a search box. The site is organized into seven sections that include Reports, Presentations, Data, Press, and Latest Trends. Each section offers summaries and access to full-text documents. The Reports section summarizes recent reports, e.g., "Finding Answers Online in Sickness and in Health" and "Internet's Growing Role in Life's Major Moments," and provides links to the full text in PDF file format. The Data section provides links to the survey datasets for the reports; Latest Trends provides links to charts and Excel files for "Who's Online" and "Internet Activities." The site offers a wealth of Internet usage information and analysis that differs from the plethora of marketing research sites online, and it provides vital data not covered by other entities such as the General Social Survey or the various public opinion polling agencies. Visitors may use the RSS feed or sign up for a newsletter. Content is also searchable through the main Pew Research Center site Summing Up: Highly recommended. All collections.

--S. Clerc, Southern Connecticut State University - Copyright 2006 American Library Association"
Looking at the website in 2014, we see a continuation of the same preoccupations, as many new and interesting reports, presentations, and data sets address issues pertinant to Pew's mission:

Summing Up: I would recommend bookmarking The Pew Research Internet Project website, and check it from time to time for developments important to our work.

Make it your Business

March 19, 2014 | Diana S. | Comments (0)

There are a lot of resources on businesses at the library. In addition to the business programs, business inc., and business network, there are the business databases. The most popular ones include: 

Business Insights: Global (Formerly Business and Company Resource Centre)
This database is international in scope. You can research, analyze, interpret & better understand country, company, and industry information as well as gain access to key financials, market share reports, and investment reports on private and public companies worldwide. You can make investment decisions with access historical stock price trends. It is also possible to compare countries, companies and industries and to export a comparison chart. 


Financial Post (FP) Advisor
This database provides detailed information on Canadian publicly traded companies, and some private companies, Crown corporations and municipal & provincial agencies.  You can find details about companies, information on predecessors and defunct companies, investor reports, historical reports, industry reports, information on dividends, as well as mergers and acquisitions.


Mergent Online
This database contains detailed global financial data on over 15,000 U.S. public companies, 20,000 non-U.S. public companies from 100 countries, 20,000 U.S. municipal bond issuers, and extensive information on corporate bonds, dividends, corporate actions and unit investment trusts. You can access industry reports on a variety of sectors as well as country reports on over 90 countries.


Scott's Business Directories Online
This database contains company information on over 190,000 businesses located in Canada.  Information includes basic contact information on Canadian agencies and companies in manufacturing, government, medical educational sectors. You may find web site and email address as well as size of company, annual sales and year established.


Helping your Job Search Along

February 3, 2014 | Susan | Comments (0)

The library has so many useful online databases to help the job seeker such as: 

Scott’s Business Directories Online provides information about Canadian agencies and companies in manufacturing, government, medical and educational sectors.  Scotts


Career Cruising an interactive career guidance resource with in-depth profiles of careers, colleges and universities, available also in French.

Career cruising

Financial Post (FP) Advisor provides information on Canadian publicly traded company i.e. private companies, Crown corporations and municipal and provincial agencies as well as predecessors.

Financial post

Safari Tech & Business Books Online provides the latest books and videos from major technology and business publishers.  Covers web and software development, management, and marketing.



Business Insights: Global (Formerly Business and Company Resource Centre) is international in scope, contains company profiles, brand information, rankings, investment reports, company histories market reports, as well as chronologies.

Business Writing provides core skills for business writing including letters, reports, emails, etc.

Susiness writing

Marketline provides current industry trends & product development.  News on companies and industries worldwide.

TenseBuster includes lessons and practice tests to help improve English grammar.  Elementary to advanced levels and ESL.

Tense buster


These are just a few to get you started,   however many more can be found under Databases and Online Research Tools Business and Careers.

Useful websites include:

You can create your own calling card using templates in MS Word using Vistaprint: and Microsoft Office Online:


Career and job search programs offered at the library can be found at

Our uncommon shared future

December 19, 2013 | Richard | Comments (0)


And what's brought down . . . deposited books caught by a passing maelstrom

IMG_0413The move to the electronic forms of publication, and sometimes to the exclusion of print versions, is something many of us have understood to be coming. In May of 2012, I reported in Government Publication to go paperless by 2014, that the Canadian Government will stop producing print publications.

How will this new environment change the way we conduct research? Naturally we will be more dependent on computers, but we will also be more reliant on the institutions, public and private, that preserve and make accessible e-content, content that was once only available in print.

The preservation and access to electronic publications sounds straightforward, but it is not. Required are stable links to authoritative information available on various devices through a variety of platforms and applications using agreed upon standards over the varying life spans of various documents or publications.

Many of us are familiar with the experience of locating information on the internet in an idiosyncractic way. Google can be great, and so can much more specialized search engines like "MADGIC ", or even "Government of Canada Publications Search", but why can it still be difficult to find what you expect to be obvious? Such difficulties are larger than issues related to simple indexing. It could be that aggregation will eclipse indexing as the single largest challenge facing our new information ecology. In fact, it may be time to begin re-defining the very term publication.


For an expert summary and detailed discussion of the evolving digital landscape, I can highly recommend, Facing Change: A Perspective on Government Publications Services in Canadian Academic Libraries in the Internet Age, prepared by Sherry Smugler for the American Library Association. Ms Smugler began her career at the Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library and subsequently became a Government Publications and Reference Librarian at the University of Toronto's Robart's Library. Facing Change should be of interest to anyone who deals with the production, use, and administration of government information, not just to those in academe.

The report emphasises the need for co-ordinated approaches to addressing the complex issues surrounding the provision of government documents online in an era of diminishing resources. The following example illustrates 'why'.  Library and Archives Canada (LAC), charged with preserving our history and making it available, announced last year the elimination of 210 positions, including government documents specialists, and cuts to digitization staff by 50%.

The future looks daunting. Currently, less than 1% of LAC holding's appear to be digitized. By one account, provided by the Canadian Associaton of University Teachers (CAUT) "it will take LAC 300-700 years to digitize its pre-2004 holdings". Computers will advance, but most of the material still appears on pages of printed type. Here we are only talking about the historical record. Not mentioned are subsequent post-2004 holdings.


One Facing Change conclusion: the "best way forward may include a range of governmental and non-governmental organizations and insitutions with a stake in the creation, preservation, organization and dissemination of government information". Some of the many current stakeholders in this collective effort are listed in Smugler's report:

CIC-Google Government Documents Project
Depository Services Program (Canada)
Digital National Security Archive (ProQuest)
Digitization Projects Registry (US)
Early Canadiana Online
Government of Canada Web Archive
HathiTrust Digital Library
Internet Archive
Library and Archives Canada
Library of Congress Web Archiving
National Security Archive
Parliament of Canada
Save Library and Archives Canada (CAUT)
Statistics Canada
University of Toronto Academic Librarians

To this list, we may also want to include, the TPL Digital Archive and Our Digital World.

And what of future stakeholders? Who will they be? And how will they organize? Challenges of changing enivironments make collaboration difficult but even more essential. As Smugler writes, a "healthy democracy thrives on open, free, easy access to information produced by its government". 




Here is an historical question for decade's end: will 2014, the year that Canadian publications transitioned from paper to bytes, and stopped producing hard copy in print, be viewed as a 'signpost' of progress in our democracy?

Given print's illustrious 500+ year history, who would have predicted, even a decade ago, the swift fulfillment of the antitypes?

Let's hope we can navigate in this new environment, and move more confidently toward the common goal of preserving and providing access to shared government publications, in whatever form they take, for the generations of current and future researchers.

Below is a picture of the Toronto Reference Library's extensive collection of The Canada Year Book, a work that has been published for over 140 years, and considered by many as the government's flagship publication (2). It contains statistical information that documents the economic, demographic, and social life of Canada. According to an announcement posted in the Daily, Statistics Canada "will continue through other means to keep Canadians informed about their social and economic life". The 2012 issue is the first item on the far right pictured below, and the last to be published for the foreseeable future.



(1)  Discussions about types and Set4antitypes are normally part of biblical exegesis, but For Frye, the field of typology* can also have more secular applications. Typology leads to a theory of historical process, he says, pointing to "future events that are often thought of as transcending time, so that they contain a vertical lift as well as a horizontal move forward', much like waking up from certain types of dreams, "when we wake up from sleep, one world is simply abolished and replaced by another".  This sounds familiar enough.

*Typology should not be confused with typography, the art of letterpress printing, Wink.

 (2) For electronic versions of past issues of The Canada Year Book, click here.


If you have read to this point, you may also be interested in this earlier post.

Help! I've been asked to recommend some Childrens' Picture Books! Argggh!

October 20, 2013 | Bhowatson | Comments (0)

Books photo clip artHere you are at the Reference Desk happily ready to serve the public when you are asked to recommend a story about firefighters for a child in grade 2.

The Children's Librarian has gone for lunch.  Crazy Librarian clip artYou...are Alone!

This is when I turn to the latest edition of "A to Zoo: Subject Access to Children's Picture Books".  This reference title is one I've been using for many years and still is the best source for finding that special picture book.  It's divided up into various sections:  Subject Headings, Subject Guide, Bibiliographic Guide, Title Index and Illustrator Index.  I sailed directly to the Subject Guide and easily found that "Firefighters" has a 'see reference to "Careers- firefighters".  So I headed over there to find a long list of 60 picture books that contain something to do with firefighters.  

The 8th Edition of "A to Zoo..." contains 13,755 titles that are catalogued under 1,215 subjects. 

When I search on-line, I find a list of 34 titles on but this list includes fire safety non-fiction titles that I don't want.

At Barnes and Noble, they have a very long list of 118 titles but include items published by Lego and Little Golden Books.  The last time I saw a Golden Book title, it was in a yard sale, so I'm not convinced about the quality of the items listed and also this publisher won't usually be found in a public library collection.

There are lots of entries when I Google, " Picture Books about Firefighters", but still the listings and information in "A to Zoo..." appear to be of the best quality and you know the source - a reference title in publication for the last 30 years.  A real Book!  Wow!





Naxos Music Library Jazz

July 11, 2013 | Mary-Beth | Comments (0)

Looking for jazz music downloads?  Naxos Records started as a large independent classical music label and has recently released Naxos Music Library Jazz.  This database contains over 7,500 jazz titles from Naxos Jazz and over 200 other labels such as Blue Note, EMI, Fantasy and Warner Jazz.  The genres included are contemporary jazz, jazz, blues, nostalgia, and world jazz.

0077778135753Browse by label, artist, composer (including lyricist and arranger), genre, and the time period the recording was added to the database library.   You can also browse from the play screen of an album by clicking on the names of the composers and artists.  You can also search by keyword or perform an advanced search.  Results show the artist/title of album and catalogue number. Click on either to get to the play screen.

Try creating playlists of album tracks. Click on Playlists and sign up for an account. A user guide on playlists is available after you activate your account and log in.  Don’t forget to download the free app from iTunes.

Naxos JazzFind the Naxos Music Library Jazz database through the Toronto Public Library’s A-Z list of all databases Sign in with your Toronto Public Library card and start enjoying more jazz today.


Summertime Reading - Zinio eMagazines

June 28, 2013 | Joanne | Comments (0)

Chatelaine ENG 6-24-2013 10-02-14 AM   Hello Canada -24-2013 10-03-28 AM
Newsweek 6-24-2013 10-21-58 AM  Golf Tips 6-24-2013 10-07-37 AM


Summer is a great time to get caught up on magazine reading. Zinio eMagazines, a new service, offers unlimited access to current issues of over 300 popular magazines. You can check out as many magazines as you like. Magazine issues are always available and remain on your computer or device until you delete them.

Some key features:

  • You will need a Toronto Public Library card to register for Zinio
  • You will have to create two accounts using the same email address and password - one at to check out magazines and a Reader account to read checked out magazines via streaming online with computers and/or downloaded offline via mobile apps. The same email address and password should be used to create the two accounts
  • For tablet and device customers there is a free Zinio mobile app to read and download magazines. Go to to select the appropriate app for your device.
  • You need to return to the Toronto Public Library Zinio eMagazines page every month to get the next issue

Please see a Zinio User Guide for help with Getting Started with Zinio eMagazines.

Looking for Help with Homework Topics? Try Canada in Context

May 21, 2013 | Mary-Beth | Comments (0)

Canada_in_ContextCanada in Context is a good place to start to find information on topics like Canadian history, government, science, geography, literature, people and more.  You can browse by topic or search using keywords.  You can also limit your search by news, images, audio, videos or magazine articles.

IqaluitIf you click on the Resources tab you can find video tutorials on how to search, tips on using the database  or download the app for your smart phone.  If you click on the Curriculum Standards tab, you can find links to the standard topics covered from grade 6-12 by province.

Find the Canada in Context database through the Toronto Public Library’s A-Z list of all databases Sign in with your Toronto Public Library card and start searching today.




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