Toronto Public Library Homepage

This page has been archived and is no longer updated.

« May 2012 | Main | August 2012 »

July 2012

The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to Their Younger Selves

July 27, 2012 | Cat | Comments (0)

Letter qThis book offers a collection of "life-saving letters from a glittering wish list of top authors" for young and old, gay and straight alike.  For anyone who has ever felt like they didn't belong growing up and for those who can know the pains of isolation and vulnerability – this books offers a glimmer of hope and encouragement to move forward. 

You always hear the phrase "if only I knew that when I was younger" well, we didn’t know those things and this book offers very personal letters from successful authors writing about what they would tell their younger self. 

Each letter reads as a short biography, it records the pain and suffering but also often the light hearted and awkward moments of each authors coming-of-age.

Last year Dan Savage published "It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living" that accompanied a popular youtube campaign from politicians (Obama was one), authors, actors, and celebrities promoting words of encouragement for those who need it most.  Along with The Letter Q, these messages help LGBTQ teens know that they will be OK if they just hang on.

Contributors include: Amy Bloom, Paul Rudnick, Rakesh Satyal, Michael Cunningham, Eileen Myles, David Levithan, and the list goes on and on.

Take a look at the incredible youtube video from the contributors:


You can also read an excerpt from the book here.

"What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?"

July 27, 2012 | Cat | Comments (0)

Just released last month was the book “What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?” published by Ben Nemtin, Dave Lingwood, Duncan Penn and Jonnie Penn, also known as the guys from the MTV series The Buried Life.

Hi-res-JACKET.-What-Do-You-Want-To-Do-Before-You-DieThe Buried Life was a popular MTV series that ran for a few years and ended in 2010. The Buried Life began when four friends from Alberta realized that there was more to life then the mundane jobs they had and the degrees in school that they weren’t happy with.

The main premise of the Buried Life began with the guys travelling across North American and as they checked things off their bucket list they promised to help a total stranger check something off theirs.  I know this might seem a bit far-fetched thinking “who really has time to travel the world sneaking into the playboy mansion when I have bills to pay and a family to take care of” but I think there is a greater lesson here to be had.

Flipping through the pages in this book introduces the reader to different people these boys have discovered on their journey.  These are the same people that you come across everyday in your life and this book lends them a voice to tell the world what they want to do if they could do anything.  Whether it is to rekindle a lost friendship, to pay off debt or to ask someone for forgiveness, there was not one page in this book that didn’t give me chills.  This book hopes to give people the courage to believe anything is possible.  Two years ago a tight rope walker said he was going to tightrope across Niagara Falls and everyone thought it was impossible – today we all can see it’s not. Now comes the big question: if anything was possible - what would you do before you die?

Other books that might be of interest:


700 Places to Volunteer Before You Die






Mental Floss

July 23, 2012 | Tony | Comments (0)

Mental FlossI was looking for a magazine here at Lillian the other day when I stumbled upon Mental Floss.  I wasn't too familiar with this title but it caught my eye because John Hodgman was on the cover.  If that name doesn't ring a bell, he's on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart as one of their correspondents.  He was also the "PC", opposite Justin Long, in those "PC vs. Apple" ads that ran years ago.  It looked interesting so I picked it up to read during my dinner break.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It's full of random and interesting facts, presented in an entertaining way.  Its tagline is "Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix".  If you're the "trivial pursuit" kind of person or just enjoy intriguing facts, it's worth a look.  It has a bit of everything.  They also have a popular blog that is pretty much an extension of the magazine.  This has definitely been added to my magazine reading list.   


Kelley Armstrong @ Lillian Smith

July 12, 2012 | Tony | Comments (0)

 This coming Wednesday July 18th at 7pm, we are very fortunate to be having Best-selling author Kelley Armstrong pay us a visit.  For those not familiar with her work, she is the author of the bestselling Darkest Powers trilogy as well as the Otherworld and Nadia Stafford series.  Her novel "The Gathering" was the most circulated teen book in Toronto Public Library for the year 2011.  She recently did an interview with Word Out, our Teen Summer Reading program which can be found here.  In it she discloses her favourite monster movie, weighs in on who would win a pie-eating contest between Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyer and asks you to help build her summer reading list!  You can also check out this cool video below of Kelley talking about Werewolves and Vampires.


And for those interested, books will be available for purchase at this event.  If you have any questions, you can leave a comment or call us at 416-393-7746.

Mortgage 101

July 10, 2012 | Tony | Comments (0)

MortgagesavingsI've been thinking about jumping into the real estate market, so lately I've been familiarizing myself  with the wonderful world of mortgages.  It's not something I take lightly, seeing that it'll probably be a 25 year relationship.  I remember  a while back the Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, announced changes to mortgage rules.  This was in an effort to cool down the market.  What many people didn't know (myself included) was that the new rules took effect yesterday.  I happened to be reading a Globe and Mail article this morning by Michael Babad titled "Almost half of Canadians don't know new mortgage rules" which stated that yesterday was the first day of the new rules. From what I gather, the two main changes are the lowering of the amortization period to a max of 25 years and for those who plan on refinancing, you can only take out 80% equity as opposed to the old max of 85%.  Neither one wasn't going to affect me, but it's still good to be on top of all the rules.

If you're looking for more information about mortgages, then you're in luck.  This coming Saturday we just happen to be holding an information session titled "Mortgage 101" here at Lillian Smith Branch.  You'll be able to find some answers to common questions like:

- What is a mortgage and the different types available
- Terminology (Down payment, amortization, interest, principal, fixed & variable interest rates, equity line)
- A mortgage broker and the major banks: Who is doing what?
- Should you shop for rate or terms?
- The pre-approval process and how to prepare your credit rating in advance
- The Mortgage Act: Your rights and responsibilities
- Mortgage Renewals? Don't just sign them!
- Other costs and factors to consider (mortgage term insurance vs life insurance, recent changes, etc)
- Resources available/Questions & Answers

Space is limited. Please register in person or call 416-393-7746/ 647-404-8857.

Speaker: Omer Quenneville - Real Estate & Mortgage Broker, Graydon Hill Realty Inc.

Of course, if you can't make it to the session, you can always find information in branch or online.

This event is co-sponsored by Citizenship & Immigration Canada, CultureLink and Toronto Public Library.

The Way Things Were: Toronto Public Library Poster Pool

July 7, 2012 | Sarah | Comments (0)

We've been doing some cleaning in our basement storage rooms recently, and it has been very interesting to see what we have been saving over the years. Boxes of old VHS tapes, piles of out-of-date brochures, lonely lost puppets that we hoped would someday make their way back to the right show . . . we even found containers full of rocks and crumbling shells! We donated what we could, and threw away the rest. 

Sifting through the garbage, however, we did find some unique treasures. One was boxes and boxes of annotated cards, from the card catalogue at Boys & Girls House, describing their collections of children's books. There are some classic comments on those cards, written by the first children's librarians in the city. I predict a fascinating research project for a willing grad student, and I will try to feature these in a future blog post.

Another treasure was a stack of hand-drawn and painted posters, depicting scenes from folk and fairy tales, characters from myths and legends, and some historical figures. We were mystified by these until we flipped them over, and noticed that some had a lined piece of paper attached to the back stating "Borrowing Period - 2 months."  At the bottom of the paper, underneath the hand-written names of branches (Beaches - March/71) is typed "Return to Toronto Public Libraries Poster Pool."  We must have had a lending library of posters for branches to borrow and decorate their rooms and displays. Most of the posters aren't signed, so it's impossible to know who the artists were. Did we hire outside, or were they library staff? One drawing is signed in pencil "M. Pouttin June/61." Artist? Person taking inventory? We may never know . . .  Enjoy these snapshots of some of the poster art, and please let me know if you have any memories of the poster pool at Toronto Public Library!

Poster Art 003

Poster Art 005
Battle of Hastings

Poster Art 009
Baba Yaga

More Poster Art 005

More Poster Art 003

More Poster Art 001
Michael Faraday

Lillian H. Smith library, in the heart of the Discovery District, Chinatown and Kensington Market, is a district branch of Toronto Public Library. Learn more about your local library & community, and while you're at it, drop us a comment. If you are visiting us in person, look for the bronze gryphons guarding our door.