100 Libraries

"A library is also a place where love begins." – Rudolfo Anaya

Tag: Multilingual

009 Parliament Street Library

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IMG_6325The Parliament Street Library is an important community centre for people in the Cabbagetown area. This Branch offers a lot of programming options, including business classes on financial management and debt reduction. There are also the usual non-holding loans that we have come to expect from neighbourhood branches such as entertainment packages and pedometers. The Library has also captured the musical spirit of the neighbourhood by offering a piano practice room. This makes sense, as Cabbagetown has been the home of Avril Lavigne and Amy Millan.

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Cabbagetown is undergoing rapid gentrification, as the previous residents are being priced out of the area by young professionals. This is seen in the newer materials being acquired by the Library, including a healthy selection of the latest magazines, increased study spaces and a local history collection. Still the multilingual collection persists and the Branch has an impressive array of multilingual children’s materials as well.

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005 Riverdale Library

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Riverdale Library was one of the Carnegie Libraries gifted to Toronto by Andrew Carnegie. It opened its doors officially on October 10, 1910. It is one of the oldest libraries in the Toronto Public Library system and was also home to one of its first children’s collections and multilingual collections.

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The Library first opened the doors to the Boys and Girls addition in 1927, and was one of the first of its kind to have holdings specifically designated for children. Today the Children’s Collection for the Library still occupies the space, and though little has changed in terms of the physical features of the building (with one very major exception, see the Children’s Collection Entrance below), a few whimsical design elements, including a small tree and a sailboat, are sure to delight.

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Both the physical structure and the community have undergone significant changes, which is reflected in the collections and the role of the Library over time. In 1973, in response to an influx of immigrants from Hong Kong and Vietnam, a Chinese and Vietnamese Language collection was added to Riverdale Library. This was the one of the first multilingual collections in the Toronto Public Library at the time. However, over time, the real estate in the area has increase in value and older Chinese immigrants have moved away from Riverdale. The community has since been replaced by young professionals and their families, shifting focus back to the Children’s Collection. There are still a number of users of the Chinese Collection, notably recent immigrants and students from China, though the Collection has seen a change from Traditional Chinese to Simplified Chinese materials.

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The building has been expanded twice (1928; Boys and Girls Addition, 2010; modernization expansion) and renovated three times (1937; Kenneth S. Gillies, 1969; after a fire, 2010; modernization). Riverdale Library has been designated a heritage property since 1977 and was awarded a Toronto Historical plaque in recognition of its history in 2006.

With the gradual gentrification of the surrounding community, Riverdale Library will continue to transition into its new role in Children’s Holdings and collections catering to young professionals.

Special thanks to Niki Lawrence for taking the time to show me around the Library and teach me about the history of the community!

004 St. James Town Library

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The St. James Town Library is a medium sized library next to the Wellesley Community Centre. It offers both programming in collaboration with the Wellesley CC and its own programming like children’s services and book clubs (more on that later).

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IMG_6308It serves the most densely populated community in Toronto, as the area that it is in offers many high rise lodgings. As such, although it is a smaller library, its collections reflect the enormous diversity of its population. It has an immense array of multilingual materials including what appears to be the only Nepali public library material available in the Toronto Public Library system. It also offers resources in French, Chinese, Russian, Urdu, Korean and Spanish.

This compliments the programming services offered by the library, including a full children’s collection and a story time. St. James Town also collaborates with the Wellesley Community Centre programs such as summer camps, after school programs and day cares. During the day time, you will see a number of users from all walks of life gathered around the various multilingual resources, using the offered technologies or participating in events.

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The Children’s Collection and Programming Space

Perhaps what is most unique about this library branch is its initiative to bridge digital and physical spaces. Their latest foray in this manner is Pod-Club for the online series Serial. Branch Head Michael Warner tells me that the Pod-Club is trying to connect library users using digital media. This combination is a new concept but one that I hope picks up steam and is soon offered at more TPL locations. The Library does also offer traditional Book Club programming, including a pride themed book club called “Proud Readers Book Club” (due to its proximity to Church Street).

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Special thanks to Michael Warner for his introduction to the St. James Town Library.

 

002 Yorkville Library

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Yorkville Library was built through a grant by Andrew Carnegie, as one of the infamous Carnegie Libraries. As such, Yorkville Library is part of a rich legacy left behind by the magnate, along with being part of a series of 2 509 libraries in the world.

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This library was opened in 1907, relocating services from an earlier Northern Branch. The site was designated a heritage site in 1973 and  expanded in 1978. The branch was designated a heritage property in 1973, receiving its Toronto Historical plaque in 2007. One of my favourite features is the gallery like quiet study space at the back of the building.

Of note in this library is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Collection. Although it is disseminated widely throughout the general collection, you can find a variety of books, magazines and audio visual materials on topics relating to the LGBT community.

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Although it’s a smaller library than the massive Toronto Reference Library, the setting offers a more intimate atmosphere.

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et pour mes lecteurs français, il y a une collection excellente des livres français au coeur de la bibliothèque Yorkville!