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Main room, Confederation Centre Public Library #pei #princeedwardisland #charlottetown #library #ccpl #confederationcentreofthearts #confederationcentrepubliclibrary

The Confederation Centre Public Library, centrepiece of the Prince Edward Island public library system, is housed in one of the Confederation Centre of the Arts' brutalist buildings. The library is shaped by this vast central chamber.
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Toronto's Lillian H. Smith Library, located on 239 College Street just east of Spadina Avenue is one of my favourite libraries. Housed in a handsome building faced with yellow brick, the Lillian H. Smith branch--named after a pioneering early 20th century children's librarian--stands out as the home to two special collections, the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation & Fantasy on the third floor and the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books on the fourth.

Today, when I was looking down from the fourth floor, it struck me that the interior of the Lillian H. Smith Library is quite similar to that of the Toronto Reference Library, the different floors wrapped around an atrium stretching almost to the ceiling. Both are all heights, but the Lillian H. Smith features a classy pairing of polished concrete with wood and warm carpets. My compliments to the architect, clearly!

Four floors down


Three by three


Downwards curve
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The location of the Toronto Reference Library north and east of Yonge and Bloor, directly east of Yorkville and directly south of Rosedale, means that well-positioned photographers can take advantage of some excellent views. The first two photos are of Rosedale, green with trees and dense with houses, while the third is a photo of a Yorkville well into its condoization.

North past Church Street #toronto #torontoreferencelibrary #rosedale #churchstreet #skyline


East along Church Street #toronto #torontoreferencelibrary #rosedale #churchstreet #skyline


Yorkville transforming, west of Yonge #toronto #torontoreferencelibrary #yorkville #yongestreet #condos #evening
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Teddy bear with deerstalker and pipe #toronto #torontoreferencelibrary #teddybear #deerstalkerhat #arthurconandoylecollection

I like a friend's suggestion that this teddy bear, on display in the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection at the Toronto Reference Library, should bear the name of Bearlock Holmes.

Looking down from the fifth floor #toronto #torontoreferencelibrary #architecture


Two by two, looking down #toronto #torontoreferencelibrary #architecture


Stepping outside the collection, on the fifth floor of the Reference Library, and looking down to the ground floor in the vast interior, the impressive scale of the edifice becomes clear.
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  • blogTO notes that the Toronto Reference Library will be holding a huge sale again next week.

  • Inside Toronto profiles Sephora Hussein, new collection head of the Merril Collection.

  • Michael Lyons writes about the importance of the newly-reopened Hanlan's beach on the Toronto Islands.

  • Jake Tobin Garrett argues at Torontoist for the importance of the proposed Rail Deck Park.

  • Emily Macrae argues at Torontoist there is much Toronto can learn from the green--literally--laneways of Montréal.

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait is skeptical that the Trump-era EPA will deal well with global warming.

  • Discover's The Crux considers the challenge of developing safer explosives for fireworkers.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper considering the (real) possibility of Earth-like worlds orbiting neutron stars.

  • Language Log notes an odd use of katakana in Australia.

  • The LRB Blog considers the possibly overrated import of George Osborne's move into the newspaper business.

  • Marginal Revolution notes one observer's suggestion that China could sustain high-speed growth much longer than Japan.

  • The NYR Daily shares Eleanor Davis' cartoon journal of her bike trip across America.

  • Peter Rukavina does not like the odd way Prince Edward Island made its library card into a museum pass.

  • Starts with a Bang's Ethan Siegel notes the odd galaxy MACS2129-1, young yet apparently no longer star-forming.

  • Strange Company explores the strange death of 17th century New England woman Rebecca Cornell.

  • Unicorn Booty looks at how early Playgirl tried to handle, quietly, its substantially gay readership.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at one Russian proclaiming Russia needs to stop an imminent takeover by Muslims.

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  • blogTO notes a pretty significant expansion of the University of Toronto's Robarts Library.

  • Spacing Toronto's John Lorinc argues that the plan for waterfront revitalization could be a gamechanger for Toronto as a city.

  • The Toronto Star's Laurie Monsebraaten notes that the number of young children in downtown Toronto is spiking.

  • VICE notes that Toronto housing has become as unaffordable as it ever has been.

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at two brown dwarf pairs, nearby Luhman 16 and eclipsing binary WD1202-024.

  • D-Brief notes a study suggesting panspermia would be easy in the compact TRAPPIST-1 system.

  • Far Outliers notes the shouted and remarkably long-range vocal telegraph of early 20th century Albania.

  • Language Hat links to a fascinating blog post noting the survival of African Latin in late medieval Tunisia.

  • The LRB Blog notes the observations of an Englishman in Northern Ireland that, after the DUP's rise, locals are glad other Britons are paying attention.

  • Marginal Revolution notes a study suggesting that refugees in the US end up paying more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

  • Spacing reviews a fascinating-sounding new book on the politics and architecture of new libraries.

  • Understanding Society examines the mechanisms through which organizations can learn.

  • Window on Eurasia talks about the progressive detachment of the east of the North Caucasus, at least, from wider Russia.

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Osgoode Hall, the handsome Georgian building t Queen and University downtown that houses most of Ontario's higher courts, was open for Doors Open. I was taken by its libraries, including not only the American Room where American law texts are stored but the gorgeous, columnned Main Reading Room.

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This morning, I headed over to Yonge and Bloor in order to take part in this year's latest incarnation of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.

Cover #toronto #tcaf #comics


TCAF is a big event, spilling over from the Toronto Reference Library into the conference rooms of the Marriott Bloor Yorkville hotel to the east and north into the Masonic Temple.

Welcome to TCAF! #toronto #tcaf #comics


(We actually got to see the fifth-floor conference room in the Masonic Temple, a chamber that looked uncanilly like the Canadian Senate.)

Entering fifth floor, Masonic Temple #toronto #tcaf #masonictemple


Whiteboard #toronto #tcaf #masonictemple #whiteboard


The Reference Library was packed. By mid-afternoon, the temperature was still comfortable, but the milling crowds will surely change that.

Crowded #toronto #tcaf #torontoreferencelibrary


Ascending #toronto #tcaf #torontoreferencelibrary #elevator


Looking down #toronto #tcaf #torontoreferencelibrary


From the fourth floor #toronto #tcaf #torontoreferencelibrary


Bram and Bluma Appel Salon #toronto #tcaf #torontoreferencelibrary #bramandblumaappelsalon


I ended up coming away lightly, buying only Toronto Comics Mini #1. This, one of the latest entries in the successful Toronto Comics Line, is a must-have.

Toronto Comics Mini #1, acquired #toronto #tcaf #torontoreferencelibrary #torontocomics #books
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  • blogTO notes a threat to some of Liberty Village's historic buildings through development.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at planetary formation around close binary SDSS 1557, which includes a white dwarf.

  • False Steps' Paul Drye announces a new book project, They Played the Game, which looks at how different baseball players overlooked in our history might have become stars had things gone differently.

  • Language Hat looks at the linguistic differences between the two Koreas.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the exploitation of Syrian refugees by Turkish garment manufacturers.

  • The LRB Blog examines the phenomenon of myth-making regarding Sweden.
  • The Map Room Blog links to a website sharing the stories of cartographers.

  • The NYRB Daily notes the chaos that Trump will be bringing to American immigration law.

  • Peter Rukavina talks about his experience as a library hacker.

  • Supernova Condensate is optimistic about the potential of Space X to actually inaugurate an era of space tourism.

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The Toronto Star's Ellen Brait reports on how first-year engineering students at the University of Toronto came up with a solution to save the books of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.

When 750,000 volumes of rare books are imperiled by condensation, it’s time to think outside the building.

Since at least 2004, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library – which houses books including all four of Shakespeare’s folios and a papyrus from the time of Christ – has had a condensation problem. The insulation inside the library has been slowly degrading and condensation has been building up, according to Loryl MacDonald, interim director of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. This also resulted in fluctuations in the temperature, something that can be detrimental to books that need climate controlled environments.

“Over time with those types of conditions mould can grow and affect some of the rare books,” said MacDonald.

The library consulted numerous architecture firms and was told the same thing again and again: construction had to be done in the interior. This would require the books, some of which are in fragile condition, to be moved and the library to be temporarily closed.

Desperate for a different solution, John Toyonaga, manager of the Bindery for the library, saw an ad for a first year problem-solving engineering class and decided to throw the library’s problem into the mix.
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blogTO's Derek Flack highlights the ongoing upgrading of not a few of the branches of the Toronto Public Library system.

Perhaps the most stunning of these upgrades is happening at the TPL's Albion Branch, where architecture firm Perkins + Will have designed a stunning new building immediately adjacent to the existing branch that dates back to 1973.

By using the parking lot as the site of the replacement, it was possible to keep the original branch in operation throughout the construction process, which is entering its final stage. The new building is expected to open in fall of this year.

When it does, it'll feature a far more robust computer area, a technology centre complete with a 3-D printer, a specially designed kids area, and a social space being dubbed the "urban living room."

Similar upgrades are coming to another branch that's seen better days. The Raymond Moriyama-designed North York Central branch is still a stunning building with its seven storey atrium, but being the second busiest branch in the system, it was deemed a priority to upgrade its features and some of the finer points of the design.

The list goes on. No less than seven branches are currently undergoing renovation efforts, including Agincourt, Eglinton Square, Runnymede, St. Clair/Silverthorn, and Wychwood. In each case, the goal is the same: to modify the existing space to serve more as a community hub rather than merely a quiet place to study or read.
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The Globe and Mail's Alex Bozikovic reports on the central place that the library has taken in Canaidan architecture, as a locus for experimentation. As someone who likes the Toronto Reference Library and loves the newly-encountered Bibliothèque nationale in Montréal, this article makes perfect sense.

Imagine a slab: a low box clad in limestone and glass. Then place it on the crest of a hill and split it down the middle, one piece pressed down into the earth and the other slanting up to the sky. This is the three-dimensional drama that animates the new Waterdown Library and Civic Centre in Hamilton.

Inside, more twists. Walk in the door, and you can wind your way to the top of the hill: climbing a series of ramps lined with generous windows and slats of Douglas fir, past green roofs and through six levels of a library filled with colour and dashed with sunlight on all sides. At the top, the payoff: long views from the height of the Niagara Escarpment, taking your eye beyond the suburban road to the broad topography that defines this place, the arcing shore of an ancient sea.

The latest in a string of excellent public buildings from its architects, RDHA, the building is fresh proof that libraries are the locus of creative architecture in Canada. Waterdown brings together an elegant metaphor and accessibility with a sense of place – and shows how excellent art can emerge from constraints.

Plus you can find books here, or pay your taxes. The 23,500-square-foot facility combines the library branch with a seniors’ recreation centre, and smaller functions including an archive and a municipal customer-service office. These are folded neatly into those two boxes: library above, and other functions below.


[. . .]

Librarians – at least Hamilton’s – understand metaphor, and the architects won approval for the complex scheme. The key was linking the building’s two entrances, and the six levels within the library itself, with a series of low ramps, at a 1:20 slope. This makes “a kind of public landscape,” Sharp explains, “that you ascend to reach the different public programs at different levels.”
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  • Centauri Dreams looks at the advanced microelectronics that might last a space probe the two decades it would take to get to Proxima Centauri.

  • Dangerous Minds links to a 1980 filmed concert performance by Queen.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on the discovery of potassium in the atmosphere of WASP-17b.

  • Language Hat looks at the Carmina of Optatianus, an interesting piece of Latin literature.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on the shameless anti-democratic maneuvering of the Republicans in North Carolina.

  • The LRB Blog reflects on the shamelessness of the perpetrators of the Aleppo massacres.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at what Charles Darwin's reading habits have to say about the man's process of research.

  • North!'s Justin Petrone looks at the elves of Estonia.

  • The NYRB Daily praises the new movie Manchester by the Sea.

  • The Planetary Society Blog shares a recent photo of Phobos.

  • Peter Rukavina argues that the Island's low PISA scores do not necessarily reflect on what Islanders have learned.

  • Savage Minds shares an essay by someone who combines academic work with library work.

  • Torontoist notes the city's subsidies to some major water polluters.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the anniversary of some important riots in Kazakhstan.

  • Arnold Zwicky reflects on the penguin-related caption of a photo on Wikipedia that has made the world laugh.

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Spacing Toronto's Arlene Chan profiles the exciting introduction to the public via the Toronto Public Library of an archive of Chinese Canadian history over the past century and more.

On Dominion Day, 1923, Canadians were in a celebratory mood. But those good feelings didn’t extend into any Chinatown. July 1 came to be regarded by the Chinese in Canada as “humiliation day.” The Chinese Immigration Act, known commonly as the Chinese Exclusion Act, banned virtually all Chinese immigration for the next 24 years. It stood as the most severe legislation of the more than a hundred anti-Chinese policies of the day. The successively increased head tax of $50 (1885), $100 (1900), and $500 (1903) failed to deter immigration, as intended, at a time when the vision for the country was a ‘white Canada.’

My mother, Jean Lumb, nee Toy Jin Wong, was three years old on that infamous day, but almost a year would elapse before a government bureaucrat photographed her for this official document. After all, the Chinese Exclusion Act not only halted immigration; it also required that all Chinese, whether born in Canada (as my mother was) or abroad, to register for an identification card within one year of the passage of the new law.

The card looks uninteresting in itself – a document that lived for decades in a shoebox. But in a recent interview for Ming Pao Daily News, a former employee of the now defunct Shing Wah Daily News, once the largest Chinese newspaper in North America, commented that the need to pass on and preserve this history to future generations is more urgent than ever. The connections to our past are fast fading with the loss of our elders.

Such documents will now be shared, thanks to a new initiative of the Toronto Public Library. The mandate of the Chinese Canadian Archive — which will be launched officially at a reception this evening (Tuesday) at the Toronto Reference Library – is to collect, preserve, store, and provide access for researchers and the general public.

“This archival program is a great opportunity to properly accommodate our family’s precious historic material that our children will not want to keep,” says Nelson Wong, whose father, W.C. Wong, was a prominent leader in Chinatown.

Mavis Chu Lew Garland, who grew up in Chinatown, wants others to know that her “half-Chinese family also existed in Toronto.” Garland’s sizeable donation of documents and photos reveals the extent to which her family honoured its Chinese heritage. “The items will now be available to be shared with whoever is interested in the Chinese culture, and in the people who valued them.”
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  • Beyond the Beyond remembers pioneering electronic musician Jean-Claude Risset.

  • blogTO notes the changes that will save the Toronto Public Library a million dollars.

  • In Media Res' Russell Arben Fox finds things to be thankful for.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the increasingly large vote margin of Hillary Clinton's popular vote victory.

  • Marginal Revolution notes one challenge to globalization.

  • Torontoist looks at the idea of landlord licensing.

  • Window on Eurasia examines a proposal to Putin to copy Trump's social networking usage.

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