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TGIF: Jan. 29 – 31

WeekendHappy weekend! We’re getting an early start.

Friday, Jan. 29 is a PA Day for elementary school students in both the public and Catholic school boards, so we’re kicking the weekend off with fun, free activities at every library branch. Registration is not required for most activities.

School-age kids up to Grade 6 can join us at any library location for activities, games, and crafts.

Check these links for details of PA Day Drop In at Pioneer Park, Country Hills, Forest Heights, Grand River Stanley Park, and Central.


homeWe’re also showing the movie Homefeaturing the voices of Rihanna and Jim Parson in the Theatre at Central Library, beginning at 2 pm. See the trailer.  For all ages. Bring your own snacks and drinks, or pick something up at Hacienda Coffee in the Reading Lounge.

Middle schoolers (Grade 5 and up): build a project using littleBits. At Central Library, no registration required.

And for kids in Grades 3-6, we’ve got a Lego and Sphero Monster Car Rally at Pioneer Park. Registration required.

Saturday, January 30

Thursday and Friday are your last chance to see the exhibit Japanese Kir-e Art by Mark Yungblut, which is coming down on Friday afternoon at 4 pm. However, you can see Mark at work during his Artist-at-Work demonstration at Country Hills on Saturday from 1 – 3 pm. Just drop in!

Going to Kitchener Market Saturday morning? Take the kids and take a break at KPL Kids’ Club on the upper level. Stories, crafts, and fun for all ages.

How’s your digital literacy? Learn how to code, as a family! Join Year of Code Waterloo Region for this fun learning event, no experience required.

The Saturday Free Flick is Straight Outta Compton. (Rated 18A). The story of how NWA revolutionized hip-hop, this film was nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay.

Sunday, January 31

Central Library is OPEN on Sunday from 1 – 5 pm, with free parking!

Grab a hot drink and a treat from Hacienda Coffee, relax, and enjoy Music in the Lounge. This week’s free live music performance begins at 1:30 pm and features pianist Rebecca Booker.

Our family-friendly Free Flick this week is Pixels (Rated PG). Starts at 2 pm, just drop in!

Gerald Archambeau

Black History Month

Join us Monday, Feb. 1 for an African dance workshop – everyone is welcome and no experience is required.

On Tuesday, Feb. 2, join Jamaican-born Canadian author Gerald Archambeau as he shares stories from his memoir.

And on Thursday, Feb. 25, learn about Waterloo County Black History.


Meet New York Times bestselling author Susanna Kearsley. Join us for a reading and discussion, or register for our Meet the Author book club.

Free Flicks
Join us every week for movies on the big screen, including an all-day marathon of the Bill Murray classic, Groundhog Day. See the full schedule. 

February Exhibit_Naomi SmithGarden Photography by Naomi Smith

Come and check out February’s exhibit in the Art Gallery at Central Library. Meet Naomi at the Opening Reception on Wednesday, Feb. 4.


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It’s showtime! Let’s go to the movies

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January and February are the perfect time to catch up on all the movies you missed during the busy fall and holiday season. And with the Academy Awards just around the corner, (on February 28th), our social media feeds are buzzing with Oscar talk – some of it controversial.

From a recent New York Times article:

“For the second year in a row, the nominations failed to recognize any minority actors. Movies about black lives like Creed and Straight Outta Compton did receive recognition, but their nominations were for either white writers (Compton) or a white performer (Sylvester Stallone in Creed). The black directors of each movie along with their non-white actors were shut out.”

The Academy has finally taken note of the #OscarsSoWhite protest, and has introduced a plan to improve the diversity of its membership.

comptonOur Free Flick for adults this weekend is Straight Outta Compton (18A).
Theatre, Central Library
Saturday, January 30 at 2 pm
No registration required.

For more Oscar content, check out our home page and scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find the books that spawned some of this year’s Oscar-nominated films, sound tracks, and previous Oscar-winning movies you can borrow on DVD or download from the comfort of your home.

That list is just a tiny fraction of the films we’ve got in our collection. For instance, you can download and start listening to the e-audiobook of The Revenant right now. Check out our Movies page for more – we’ve got lots to recommend.

If you love watching movies on the big screen, join us in the 200-seat Theatre at Central Library for Free Flicks every weekend, beginning at 2 pm. Saturday movies are for teens and adults (check ratings) and Sundays are perfect for children and families. No registration is required; just drop in! See the full schedule.

February is 80s Flashback Month, featuring Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink, and more.

homeBring the kids this Friday for a PA Day showing of Home featuring the voices of Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, and Jim Parsons. See the trailer.
Theatre, Central Library
Friday, January 29 at 2 pm
No registration required.

We’ll also be showing a family-friendly Free Flick every weekday during March Break, beginning at 3:30 pm. Stay tuned for titles.

And last but not least, join us on Groundhog Day for – you guessed it – Groundhog Day. We’ll show this 1993 Bill Murray classic over and over again on February 2, starting at 9:30 am.

Pop some popcorn, settle in, and watch great movies – either at home or with us!

All film titles are subject to change. Closed Captioning available upon request. 

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Winter warm-ups at Grand River Stanley Park


Don’t stay cooped up inside all winter – your community libraries always have something going on. It’s time to check in on Grand River Stanley Park!

In December, our partners at Extend-A-Family hosted Warming a Community, a neighbourhood fun food drive. This festive event combined holiday giving with a get-together for neighbours who enjoyed refreshments, library tours, and laughter. And then everyone went out in groups, walking together door-to-door, to collect donations for the Food Bank. Thank you to Extend-A-Family for bringing Warming a Community to Kitchener Public Library.

Of course, Grand River Stanley Park is a hot spot for kids’ activities of all kinds, including the Angry Birds and Tactile Books craft workshops, seen in the photos below. Be sure to drop in on PA Day, January 29th, from 1 – 4 pm for fun activities, games, and crafts.

Need help with your tablet, smart phone, or e-reader? Grand River Stanley Park offers One-on-One Technology Coaching on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Book your 30-minute session by calling the library at 519.896.1736.

There are plenty more events and programs coming up at Grand River Stanley Park this winter, including:


Budgeting and Money Management Basics on Jan. 26

DIY String Art on Jan. 28

Grand Reads book club, All the Light We Cannot See on Feb. 17


Artist-at-Work demonstration on Feb. 6

Fostering Love with the KW Humane Society on Feb. 23


Family Storytime every Wednesday morning through to Feb. 24

Roblox Play-a-thon on Jan. 27

Art for the Heart on Feb. 13

Don’t forget, all of our events are FREE. New sessions of Baby Time, Tales for Twos, Getting Ready for Kindergarten, and other children’s programs begin in March and April; details and registration are coming soon. See our full calendar here, and we’ll see you soon at Grand River Stanley Park Community Library!

GRSP Sign 3



1971: Stanley Park Community Library opens as the Sunnyside branch, within the Sunnyside retirement residence.

1988: The branch is relocated to Christ Lutheran School.

2002: Grand River Stanley Park Community Library opens, in partnership with the Waterloo Region District School Board and attached to the Grand River Collegiate Institute. (Hi, Renegades!)



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85 QUEEN: An Evening with Carrie Snyder

1920s runners

Carrie Snyder, author of Girl Runner, with the photo of the original “girl runners” who inspired her novel.

girl runnerLast night we welcomed critically acclaimed author Carrie Snyder to the beautiful Reading Lounge at Central Library for a reading and discussion of her 2015 novel,
Girl Runner.

This was the most recent in our 85 QUEEN series, featuring critically acclaimed authors, thought-provoking films, current events, and controversial issues.

Read Girl Runner with your book club

Girl Runner follows Aganetha Smart, an athlete who captured international attention at the 1928 Olympics. Now she’s 104 years old, in a nursing home, with her racing days seemingly forgotten by everyone. It’s a story that travels back to Aganetha’s past, and the challenges women faced as athletes and in general.

The novel has been translated and published in a dozen countries, including Sweden, Poland, Spain, Turkey, and Greece.

“An extraordinary, accomplished novel of love and family: a wonderful story of a free spirit forced to make difficult choices.”  ~ Author Sarah Gruen

Carrie, a runner herself, was inspired by the Matchless Six, a group of Canadian women who participated in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.

Carrie’s first book of short stories, Hair Hat, was a finalist for the Danuta Gleed Award for Fiction. The Juliet Stories, a novel told through a set of linked stories, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award in 2012 and was named as a top pick of the year by the Globe and Mail. Last year, she published her first children’s book, The Candy Conspiracy.

You can learn more about Carrie on her popular blog, but be warned – you’ll either feel extremely lazy or extremely motivated after reading a few posts.

She’s a mother to four children, owner of two dogs, teacher at the University of Waterloo, a leader of writing workshops, and reads widely and diversely. She also takes beautiful photographs, plays and coaches soccer, swims, and practises yoga.

Carrie Snyder and Leslie GordonLeslie (left) and Carrie

We invited Leslie Gordon to lead the discussion with Carrie. Leslie is familiar to many of you who watched her on CTV as a health and lifestyle reporter for more than a decade. She also served as an editor at Oxygen magazine and has appeared on CNN. She’s now  known as Buff Mom, and is a certified personal trainer, life coach, entrepreneur, and mother.

We think her experience as a journalist – and as a woman who helps other women, and men, achieve their goals – made her the perfect interviewer for this evening’s discussion.

Those who attended were treated to a wide-ranging discussion about the writing process, following your passion, and making tough decisions – as Carrie had to do when she was accepted to midwifery school on the same day she sold her book for publication.

Carrie’s advice for aspiring writers? “Read the things you would like to write … and write like a writer you love to read.”

Thank you to both Carrie Snyder and Leslie Gordon for participating, to all of our attendees, and to the Canada Council for the Arts for its financial support.

Join us for our next 85 QUEEN event, A Morning with Susanna Kearsley. You’re also invited to meet Susanna Kearsley in a small, book club setting at Meet the Author Book Club.


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Supporting newcomers and their sponsors

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“We’ll remember this day for the rest of our lives. And they probably will too,” says Laura Reed, Manager of Children’s and Teen Services at Kitchener Public Library.

Laura is surrounded by three dozen children – playing games, building structures, crafting, and eagerly trying to chat with all the library staff.

Last week, we welcomed our first group of newcomers from Syria to Central Library, and they’ve returned on several occasions for more fun, games, and videos in the Theatre. Staff mobilized quickly to start providing services for Syrian children who are currently living in transitional housing.

“We’re looking forward to giving kids an opportunity to be kids – to play and explore, through arts and crafts and technology,” Laura says.

She’s also investigating ways to  to offer homework help and a Reading Buddies program, once the children are in permanent homes and have started school.

Laura is a member of the newly formed Refugee Resettlement Children’s Services Working Group, a group of several community organizations and agencies dedicated to the health and well-being of children.

“As Kitchener is one of six cities in Ontario where government-assisted refugees will settle, the Kitchener Public Library has enhanced its refugee settlement services to meet the needs of our newest community members. Our library is a place for developing skills and literacy; a place with knowledgeable help – from completing forms and documents to job searches and translation services,” says library CEO Mary Chevreau.

“But, it’s more than that; it’s a safe, vibrant hub where families and friends gather and connect. I want to send a warm welcome to our new customers, and look forward to meeting as many as I can over the next several months.”

Kristin Johnson-Perlock, the librarian who works with our language collections and multicultural services, will be organizing a social event at the library for refugees and their sponsors, and has created a new page on our website with information that will be helpful specifically for them. Among other things, we offer:

  • Tours for newcomers and their sponsors, highlighting services of interest
  • Arabic books at every library location
  • Informal English conversation circles
  • English as a Second Language materials
  • Library Settlement Partners from the KW Multicultural Centre

Kristin is also a member of a working group – Community Integration and Language Supports. These organizations are working together to co-ordinate opportunities for newcomers to integrate into their community.

“Libraries are community spaces for everyone. I hope newcomers to Kitchener will experience this welcoming spirit by accessing library services and resources available at all Kitchener Public Library locations,” says Kristin.

“Libraries play an important role in community integration for newcomers. Libraries, of course, provide access to resources like books, but they are also spaces where newcomers can attend programs, meet new people, and spend time together as a family. It’s a space where newcomers can feel a part of the community and where they can create social networks.”

Like other community organizations, we’re looking for financial support to help with additional resources such as translators, language support, and extended programming.

If you can help, please donate now to support Refugee Programs and Services at Kitchener Public Library.


Visit our Information for Refugees and Sponsors page; please share if you or someone you know is sponsoring or volunteering with newcomers.

The website In My Language, funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, has general information about libraries, provided in Arabic and several other languages.

The Waterloo Region Record wrote about the library’s Arabic resources.

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New goals for 2016? We can help!


So it’s a new year, and you’ve got plans and goals, and things you want to do and achieve and BE. Let’s not call them resolutions, because research suggests that only about 8 per cent of people stick to them.

I think you’re perfect just the way you are! But if you want to try something new in 2016, we can help. And remember, all of our resources and programs are free. Here are a few ideas:

In addition to books and CDs, we have an online learning program with grammar and speaking lessons in more than 90 languages. No experience necessary, you just need a library card to sign in. Try Transparent Language Online today.

Join former artist, poet, and filmmaker Janice Jo Lee for spoken word poetry workshops at Central Library, beginning next week. No experience is necessary; attend one, two, or all three. Learn about storytelling, activism, and performance.

Find out if Aquafit is a good fit for you. Take a Curvy Yoga class (yoga is for every body!) in January or February. Bring your baby to yoga. Join us for an Azonto Dance Workshop, part of our Black History Month celebrations.

Borrow a pedometer and count your steps. Come out with us for a few nights of winter stargazing. Join us for a winter hike at the Huron Natural Area.

Come out for a fun, no-pressure round of Friend Speed-Dating: it’s like dating, but just to meet potential new friends. Like movies, or reading? Meet and socialize with people who share your interests at Film Club or one of our many book clubs. Or try new games and drink free coffee at Board Game Cafe nights.

Share your talents with your community by volunteering at Kitchener Public Library. Or find out if fostering a pet is right for you; you could help KW Humane Society by caring for pets until they find a forever home.

Learn how to write your family story. Save your old film, slides and VHS tapes for free, using our digital conversion tools. Find out the best way to organize your files and photos in this helpful workshop. Or contact Karen Ball-Pyatt, our local history librarian, for a 30 minute one-on-one genealogy coaching session.

Take care of your money so it can take care of you! Learn about budget and money management basics, effective tax strategies, retirement planning, lines of credit, credit reports, and more. We’ve got a finance class that’s just right for you.

There’s plenty more! Check out our website and take a look at our calendar of programs and events. Whatever your goals and dreams and aspirations are for 2016, we can help make them come true.