Edith Gelbard: Mon Témonignage Personnel (Talk for Holocaust Education Week, November 4th, 2014)

I have been attending Holocaust Education Week talks at the Toronto Public Library since 2010, but this year was the first time I listened to a program in French. It took place in a full auditorium at the Toronto Reference Library. Even though I failed to catch about 30% of Edith (née Schwalb) Gelbard’s testimony, […]

Joe Leinburd’s Holocaust Survivor Testimony

For the past four years, I have been attending programs in honour of Holocaust Education Week at the Toronto Public Library. Last Tuesday, November 5th, I went to Sanderson Library to hear Joe Leinburd speak about his experiences in wartime Romania. In 1939, Mr. Leinburd was only 17 years old when he heard the news […]

Brothers Grimm in the House in the Woods at the Osborne Collection

A visit to “The House in the Woods: Magical Tales of the Brothers Grimm” revealed the ways that Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s Children’s and Household Tales (1812) have evolved over the centuries, soaked into the very bones of our culture, and remain alive to this day. Martha Scott, the curator of this exhibit at the […]

Judy Lysy’s Holocaust Survivior Testimony at Locke Library

Two hours after Judy Lysy’s talk, my throat still carries its impact, an ache weighted with gratitude for this 84-year-old great-grandmother’s bravery. Ms. Lysy’s physical presence in Locke Library‘s program room testified to a beautiful fighting spirit before she even said a word. Before the testimony started, I looked up some biographical facts in the […]

Flying Bookfish by Catherine

I was lucky to attend Emily Tinkler‘s free Altered Books workshop at S. Walter Stewart Library a couple of weeks ago. More than a dozen participants eagerly listened to Emily describe how to fold, cut, and poke pages with an awl to turn an old book with a sewn binding into a work of art. […]

Library Map Pass Keeps on Giving!

Last year I visited the Textile Museum of Canada courtesy of a library Map Pass. I enjoyed the experience so much that I returned last week just in time to see Dreamland: Textiles and the Canadian Landscape before the exhibit ended. Fascinating art and artifacts populated Dreamland in every direction, almost overwhelming me with visual […]

Free Gaga Dance Workshop at Parkdale Library (June 16, 2012)

Intrigued by the opportunity to learn about Gaga dance, I arrived at Parkdale Library just before two o’clock. Three volunteers in Luminato festival T-shirts guarded the staircase leading to the program room below and checked off names from a list of 60 registered participants. This was a very special program, for members of the renowned […]

Free Poetry Workshop Nourishes Creativity at Don Mills Library

I’m fresh home from an afternoon devoted to poetry! Facilitated by spoken word artist, Andrea Thompson, the workshop combined a writing exercise, performance, and discussion. Ms. Thompson had a warm, engaging presence that put me at ease, and I appreciated her genuine passion for poetry. To give us the flavor of her work, Andrea performed […]

Live From My Blog Talk at Taylor Memorial Library

I’ve reached the point in my library blog talk where I have invited the audience to create a post with me. A few minutes ago, there was mention of refreshments, so I’m also thinking about the possibility of tea and Dad’s oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. My audience is eligible for these refreshments because they […]

Library Blog Talk This Thursday at Taylor Memorial Library!

I’m tickled pink to be part of this April’s Keep Toronto Reading Festival. My contribution to the literary celebration will be an illustrated talk about the very blog you are reading now, Breakfast in Scarborough. The presentation will describe my pilgrimage to all 98 Toronto Public Library branches and what I saw and experienced along […]

Frescoes, Carpets, and Languid Ladies Found at Book Ends South!

Yesterday I found these three treasures at Book Ends South, the second-hand bookstore at the Toronto Reference Library. The volunteers who took my seven dollars teased me about having expensive taste because two of the books I chose were three dollars instead of one!

Welcome Back TPL!

Today I’m feeling so grateful for the end of two weeks of labour disruption at the Toronto Public Library. I hadn’t realized how much I counted on the libraries’ well-being for my own peace of mind. During these two weeks, I felt a vague sense of unease, disturbed by the darkened and empty branches. I’ve […]

Toronto Public Library’s 2012 One Book Community Read: Girls Fall Down (2008)

I finished reading Maggie Helwig‘s Girls Fall Down almost a week ago, and I still find myself thinking about it. Girls Fall Down is a frighteningly plausible story about contagious fear and urban breakdown, but it’s also a beautifully complicated love story about two isolated souls, Alex and Susie-Paul, connecting and re-connecting with each other. […]

Black History Month Event at Queen and Saulter Branch with Rita Cox!

In my travels throughout the Toronto Public Library branches, I have admired the Rita Cox Black and Caribbean Heritage Collections at York Woods, Malvern, Maria Shchuka, and Parkdale. This morning I had the good fortune to observe the legendary Ms. Cox tell stories to a large group of children at Queen and Saulter Library. She […]

Personal Holocaust Testimony of Denise Hans at North York Central Library

Last week, I listened to the personal testimony of Holocaust survivor Denise Hans at North York Central Library. A very large group of teenagers and adults filled the library auditorium, creating an audience five times the size of the Holocaust Education Week programs I’ve previously attended at Deer Park, Mount Pleasant, and High Park. The […]

Andy Réti’s Personal Holocaust Testimony: The Triumph of Love

“We are here to learn about the Holocaust and make sure it never happens again,” said Andy Réti to our group of thirty in the program room of High Park Library. Most of the audience were Grade 7 and 8 students plus a smattering of adults. Born in 1942 on a hospital floor in Budapest, […]

Library-sponsored Cultural Outing: Map Pass Rules!

Thanks to a Toronto Public Library Map Pass, I received free admission to the Textile Museum of Canada yesterday afternoon. I saved fifteen dollars and gained a rewarding experience which nourished my imagination into the bargain! Artistic Garage Door to Museum In addition to the permanent collection, I enjoyed the gorgeous clothing and wall hangings […]

Rumi Shines in Collage and at Don Mills Library (and Indeed Everywhere!)

I first learned about Rumi‘s 13th century sufi poetry in 2002, not long after I had immigrated to Canada. I was listening to a CBC Radio program and became transfixed by a beautiful voice reading Rumi’s verses. Soon afterwards, I bought the book pictured above and began filling it with bookmarks to facilitate access to […]

2011’s One Book Community Read: Midnight at the Dragon Café

The literary and operatic launch event for Judy Fong Bates’ Midnight at the Dragon Café is tomorrow evening, so it seems timely to offer a reader response to this year’s One Book selection . I finished Bate’s novel in four days and felt a little lost when there was nothing more to read about the […]