Library board offers patrons staff-free extended hours

While she’s had a library card since she was a child, Marina Phillips-Anderson has never used the Todmorden library on the Pape Avenue. However, with a proposal to keep the library open additional hours coming this fall, that could change.

A pilot project for the Todmorden and Swansea Memorial libraries to extend their open hours will keep the libraries open as late as the community centre itself. The two branches have the lowest number of hours open to patrons, and although the proposal calls for extra hours of operation, librarians will not be present during those extended hours.

“I think it is a great idea,” Phillips-Anderson said. “Libraries are safe havens for people.”

Film prompts discussion on plight of Syrian refugees

Tasneem Fared, clad in a white bridal dress, tells the story of a horrific night in Syria in the documentary The Bride’s Side. That night, she recalled, she danced away, using music to drown out the sound of exploding bombs, occasionally taking off an earplug to check whether her home had been shelled.

Todmorden Legion event honours legendary member

Angie Gualtieri holds a book in her hands. Tales of Todmorden Veterans by Jack Aldred. It’s obvious this book means a lot to her.

Gualtieri recalls when the roof at her Royal Canadian Legion Todmorden, Branch 10, needed fixing. The branch couldn’t afford to fix it. Jack Aldred, a well-loved member of the branch, stepped up. Proceeds from Aldred’s helped raise money for the roof repairs.

“That’s who (Jack) was,” Gualtieri said. “A great man.”

Author highlights how Marconi ‘shrank’ the world

The year was 1912. On April 15, the sinking RMS Titanic sent out distress signals received by nearby ships. While more than 1,500 died in the sinking, during the next few hours on the North Atlantic, rescue ships picked up more than 700 survivors. Marc Raboy believes there was an upside to the disaster.

“(It) really opened the imagination to the importance of wireless communication,” he said. He credits wireless radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi.

“The world would never be the same again,” Raboy said. “We now had the capacity to do long distance communication.”

IMAX film inspires students to dream big

Pricilla Daniel sits in a large dining area at the Ontario Science Centre. She’s just had an unexpected movie experience.

“I thought we were just going to watch a movie,” she said, “but it was more than a movie. This was an experience.”

Shronak Datta saw the same movie. It explored an unusual aspect of engineering.

“Engineering is often too closely associated with economics,” he said. “The movie focused away from that and focused on how engineering is a method of problem solving in society. That really resonated with me.”

East York to get its own Hall of Fame

Long-time East York activist Justin Van Dette believes that an East York Hall of Fame will help celebrate community leaders.

Van Dette, also a member of the Kiwanis Club of East York, offered his vision of the hall of fame at a dinner meeting of the KCEY at Thorncliffe Park on Feb. 15.

“I expect the East York Hall of Fame to be an organization to recognize those individuals (who) have a special relationship with our community,” Van Dette said.

Journalist recalls days of racist attitudes in Toronto

A prominent Toronto journalist, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, says that racism has always existed in the news media industry where he works.

Jules Elder, a founding member of the Canadian Association of Black Journalists (CABJ), spoke to journalism students at Centennial College’s Story Arts Centre on Feb. 14. In the mid-1970s he helped launch Share Newspaper, a weekly newspaper serving the Black and Caribbean communities in Toronto.

Singer notes Black history content in songs of the 1960s and ’70s

Rich Pearson learns more and more about the music he performs, especially this time of year.

When he recently sang Paul McCartney’s lyrics, “Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these sunken eyes and learn to see; all your life, you were only waiting for this moment to be free,” he realized the song wasn’t about birds at all.

“(McCartney) was thinking about the civil rights movement at that time he wrote it; he wrote it at the 68,” Pearson said.

Toronto firm puts books in the hands of children with greatest need

The head of an agency promoting youth literacy says books in the hands of children can change the future.

On Feb. 10, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in partnership with First Book Canada, hosted a reading event at the First Nations School of Toronto. The event acknowledged Tata’s donation of 1,000 new books to the First Nations School of Toronto, just south of the Danforth. Wayne Cochrane, the director of operations for First Book Canada, explained the value of the gift.

“I think the biggest barrier to literacy is lack of access to books,” he said.