Where community connects

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Where seedlings are planted and conversations bloom

kids garden collage 1

Senior Library Assistant and Children’s Programmer

This spring, tweens in our Maker Club got their hands dirty, joyously scooping soil into containers, diligently marking holes, carefully placing seeds down, and meticulously watering to start our 85 Green Learning Garden project. With each new cell they started, the participants eagerly chose the next package to plant, looking at the picture, reading the name, and asking questions like “What is a loofah sponge?”

These seeds not only rooted a course for blooming incredible plants, but also created a space for conversation and connection. As the weeks went on, the tweens came into Maker Club and asked, “Have the plants been watered yet?” Luckily beans grow really quickly, and the kids saw the fruit of their labour early on. They also compared plants and wondered why others weren’t sprouting as quickly.

A corner of the Programming Room was filled with carts of our seedlings, and during one session, a participant asked, “Can we move the tables?” I said yes, thinking they were going to do some more observing, but when I looked back a minute later, two participants had pulled up chairs in front of the carts and sat down to just look at the seed garden and eat their granola bars.

The following week, another participant and I were watering the seeds, and she began to tell me about her grandmother’s garden and how excited she was to see how this garden turned out. We talked about the different things her grandmother had growing in her garden, and I even asked if her grandmother sang to her plants. She said no, but I didn’t tell her that I sang to these plants when I watered them alone. It’s an old thing my own grandmother did.

This garden has become something that we care for and bond over, and I can’t wait to see what else it grows in the summer months.

Here’s what’s been happening in the 85 Green Learning Garden

  • existing vegetation and soil in the courtyard beds have been replaced with fresh soil and compost
  • We will be planting our seedlings and transplants on Tuesday
  • Started seedlings inside for tomatoes, red and green peppers, jalapeno, nasturtium, chilies, and squash, then transplanted them to the courtyard beds
  • Purchased:  sage, lemon grass, oregano, rosemary, and thyme and planted them
  • Sowed beets, spinach, lettuce, chard, parsley, and mint directly into the beds
  • One garden will be a Sensory Garden, and the other will be a Rainbow Garden

Children can participate in the Green Thumbs program and work in the garden each week. They’ll get their hands dirty, learn about plants, and journal their gardening discoveries on Monday mornings. Starts July 8th, registration required.
Grades 4-8

Thanks for following along with the 85 Green Learning Garden. Watch for updates later this summer!

kids garden collage 2


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Pride Month at Kitchener Public Library

Here at Kitchener Public Library we are utterly festooned with rainbows for the month of June to celebrate Pride. Case in point:


Photo by Sonja Friedrich

Historically libraries have been an important place for LGBTQ+ individuals to find information about coming out, health, family topics and to see themselves reflected in media and books. With the emergence of the internet, the library has evolved into a community space for LGBTQ+ to meet, socialize, create and learn together. A 2017 OutLook Study carried out by the Waterloo Region Rainbow Coalition found that libraries are one of the places LGBTQ+ people feel safest, with 64% of cisgender people and 57% of trans people reporting they feel safe in the library. This is a huge victory for us, and we are always striving to do better.

Did you know

We offer all-gender, accessible washrooms at all KPL branches. Check out this excellent map of the locations of all the gender neutral washrooms in the Waterloo Region created by SPECTRUM.

Kitchener Public Library is happy to allow trans customers to use their chosen name on their library card. You don’t need to have ID showing the change, just let us know and we’ll update it.

On June 13 KPL held an event called Queer in KW featuring a panel discussion on what it means to be queer in KW (featuring local LGBTQ+ community members and moderated by queer-identified KPL staff), followed by performances by local LGBTQ+ artists. It was a successful, beautiful and positive event, and one which we hope to repeat!

“If You’re Beautiful and You Know It Shout Hooray!” (photo by Barb Janicek)




This year Kitchener Public Library’s wonderful and creative children’s department  hosted our first (and very successful) Drag Queen Story Time with the incredible Fay Slift and Fluffy Souffle!

Stay tuned for more fabulous story hours in the future.



Whoever you are, you belong at the library, so come out, come often, and come get yourself some of these Prideful Picks from your friendly neighbourhood Lesbrarians:


Or check out the LGBTQ+ Content or YA-LGBTQ tags in our catalogue for more queer content.

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June is Bike Month


June is National Bike Month and Kitchener Public Library is celebrating by bringing out our beautiful Book Pedaler to parks and community events in downtown Kitchener. Check out where she’ll be in Summer 2019!

Looking for more local biking resources? Check out this list of great places to bike near you and access cycling maps and guides for Waterloo Region. Excited for the ION but still wanna cycle? No problem. Each ION passenger can bring one bike on board LRT trains with them!

Interested in local Aboriginal history? Explore important sites and cultural landmarks on your bike using the Local Indigenous History and Culture Map, co-created by Kitchener Public Library and Archaeological Research Associates, Ltd. (ARA) in 2015.Aboriginal Sites Bike Map

Check out these great bike-related titles at Kitchener Public Library:

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Remembering Mr. Lynn Matthews

CEO, Kitchener Public Library


Lynn Matthews, KPL Chief Librarian, at the ceremonies for the opening of the Grace Schmidt Room of Local History in 1984 , with Susan Hoffman.

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of Lynn Matthews. Mr. Matthews, as he was best known to staff, was the Chief Librarian at Kitchener Public Library from 1973 – 1993. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.


Lynn Matthews, 1980

Mr. Matthews was working in the North York Library system when he learned that the position of Chief Librarian was available at Kitchener Public Library. At the time, there was the Main Branch and the location at the Sunnyside Home on Franklin Street. During his career at KPL, he saw many changes, such as the introduction of the Bookmobiles and the addition of the Stanley Park Community Library followed by the Forest Heights Community Library. The Pioneer Park location opened in 1981. It was during his tenure in 1983 when the card catalogue files were replaced by a computer system.

Mr. Matthews did point out in an article in Vista (a local magazine in publication at the time of his retirement), “KPL is more than a massive collection of books. People of all ages have access to video tapes, national, provincial, and international newspapers, periodicals, trade magazines, historical reference materials, 35 mm films, record albums, booking in other languages, and a host of specialized programs for everyone from toddler to senior citizen.” Mr. Matthews retired in October 1993.

On a personal note, I was a trustee of the Kitchener Public Library Board towards the end of Lynn’s career. He was a visionary and ahead of his time in many ways, and was dedicated to making KPL an exceptional library for the community. He left a legacy of strength and innovation from which all future CEOs could build.

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NEW: The 85 Green Learning Garden


We’re transforming our decorative garden in the Sheriff John Motz Courtyard at Central Library into a vegetable garden, and we want you to help!

This is the first step in our new initiative, 85 Green, a series of projects that will promote nutritional literacy and sustainable communities, while strengthening social ties.

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Please read something other than To Kill a Mockingbird

Throughout the month of February we’ve been featuring books about black history, and books, movies and music created by black artists, on our website and on display in our library locations.

Our February Free Flicks included BlacKKKlansman, Sorry to Bother You, and In the Heat of the Night. And we hosted a dance workshop – thank you to our partners, the Afro-Tribal Dancers!

afro dance workshop

As the month draws to a close, we want to share some resources to support you in reading, listening to, and supporting black artists all year long, as well as a few books that may help further your thoughts and conversations about race and racism in this community and in this country.
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Celebrating 10 years of LSP

It’s Library Settlement Partnership Week in Canada, and we’re proudly celebrating our 10-year anniversary in partnership with the KW Multicultural Centre and Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

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