Features in this issue
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Virtual Libraries

This year has been a year of getting reacquainted with each other. And also, getting reacquainted with our neighbourhoods, our local parks and our environment.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to get reacquainted with your local library. The library has evolved with the times. Even during the quarantine, libraries were an important institution for keeping people engaged. There is no better opportunity than now to learn new skills and acquire new knowledge.

The libraries today have so much to offer cardholders. There is a vast selection of workshops, books and other materials for children, youth and adults. What makes libraries so amazing is that most of the resources can be accessed online for free, and they can be accessed seven days a week at any time. All you need is your library card number and you have the world at your fingertips.

Toronto Public Library is the world’s largest overdrive (digital) library. Among the digital offerings are: e-books, e-audiobooks, movies — including documentaries and world cinema — free music, including classical music concerts, ballet and opera and on-line learning courses.

The options are endless. For instance, if you are interested in learning a new language the library has learning applications online. You can learn to speak French, Spanish or Italian in no time.  For adults, there are digital magazines with current editions on news, business, entertainment and fashion, including The New Yorker, Hello! and National Geographic. Even premium newspapers like the New York Times can be accessed online through Toronto Public Library subscription.

Another area the library has incorporated is streaming services. Many of the popular streaming apps like Netflix and Disney only include television shows. The library stays true to its nature by offering streaming services that teach and engage young learners. 

Two streaming services offer on-line learning, including Lynda.com which offers a range of tutorials on everything from photography, cooking, to learning a new software. The other service is Kanopy which has a series of great courses that include how to draw using various mediums and how to read and analyze popular plays like Shakespeare. Kanopy also has a selection of television and courses for kids too.

A little known fact, is that the library also has a vast selection of comics. From DC, to Marvel and even the Archie comics, there are plenty of options to keep young readers engaged.

For those who have missed out on going to their favourite music concerts or performances, the library also has you covered. Medici.tv offers video streaming of an array of classical music concerts, operas and ballets from around the world.

The libraries have always been important institutions in our communities. They are there to serve the public and have great resources. If you haven’t already taken the time to get reacquainted with your library, take the time to do so, you never know what you will discover.