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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Toronto Public Library

For anyone who doesn't know, Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world, filled with immigrants from all over. This "Newcomer Information Service" booth is one of the first things one comes across upon entering the Toronto PL. It is part of a partnership between the library and the YMCA. A YMCA staff member is there to provide information and referral services. The fifth floor houses a multimedia language learning center...very cool! There are over twenty workstations with a variety of AV equipment (TVs, CD players, cassette players, etc. and even several stations with adaptive technologies for the physically handicapped) which customers can use specifically to study a language.
Their partnership with the YMCA makes me wonder if we could partner with the Global Malls in Cbus to provide something similiar in their building with library staff who speak additional languages and can also provide other types of reference...
At any rate, it's a cool library and I'm glad I was able to visit on this trip to Toronto. I do look forward to the day, however, when libraries are seen as the hip, progressive centers of free access to information for all that we are, so that telling friends in other cities that I want to visit their library does not result in baffled looks and fits of laughter! We must sell our story!

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