Where community connects


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Ideas for a healthy city

What makes your city a healthy place to live? Social connections, walkability, bike lanes, transit, healthy food options, employment, traffic patterns and parking all contribute to the health of a city and the people who live there.

In January, our current Guest Librarian Robin Mazumder, hosted a Healthy Cities Panel Discussion at Central Library.

To kick off the evening, Robin announced a new healthy cities project he has brought to Kitchener: Lightbrary. Robin partnered with the Waterloo Region Local Health Integration Network and the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre to secure funding for light therapy lamps free to use at any Kitchener Public Library location. Research shows that daily use of light therapy lamps during the winter can be an effective treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.
Learn more about Robin’s term as Guest Librarian and the Lightbrary project. 

The event included experts in the field and a discussion on ways we can make Kitchener a vibrant, healthy and happy city. Speakers and panelists includes Dr. Colin Ellard (Psychology) and Dr. Leia Minaker (Planning) from the University of Waterloo and Rod Regier, Commissioner of Planning, Development and Legislative Services for the Region of Waterloo.

“Cities are, by definition, full of strangers.” ~ Jane Jacobs

Dr. Ellard talked about the ways living in a city can change our brains. “There’s a mismatch between our brains and the structure of cities,” he said. Social isolation is on the rise in cities, and is one of the reasons healthy cities research and conversation is so important.

Dr. Minaker talked about the need to consider equity in the concept of a healthy city. Is it a healthy city for people who have lower incomes, or for people with disabilities? Is healthy food easily accessible? “People in Waterloo Region, on average, live one kilometre from a grocery store,” she said. In many places, it’s easier to access fast food or junk food than healthy food. This is known as a “food swamp.”

Rod Regier talked about the Region of Waterloo’s official plan, which focuses on reurbanization and intensification. He also talked about the Ion, the region’s rapid transit project, “the most profound city-building project we’ve ever undertaken.”

The night wrapped up with questions from the community about gentrification and affordable housing, light pollution, and neighbourhood strategies. People who attended also had a chance to contribute their healthy city ideas (see photo above). The ideas included:

  • More community centres
  • More greenery, community gardens, trails, parks, and recreation infrastructure
  • More walkable – better side walk maintenance and snow removal
  • More animal friendly locations; green space, dog parks, animal friendly cafes
  • Ensure new developments include space for gardens, woodlots
  • Inclusive & colourful spaces
  • More garbage, recycling and compost bins on the streets, making it easy to recycle on the go
  • Public fire places
  • Mobile food market with leftovers from Kitchener Market on Saturday afternoons
  • Have more community markets open on weekends and evenings
  • Have more cafes and small businesses – give the opportunity to open in our communities
  • Book mobile; back again please
  • Create more opportunities for citizens to share their gifts and talents without red tape like the Taco Stand project by Cambridge Idea Exchange – check it out!
  • More frequent transit locally
  • Better transit connections to Toronto
  • Integrating students and long-term residents: well off and less well-off
  • Universities could do more to reach out to low-income local students
  • Shared maker/hacker spaces; shared tools
  • Create venues where people can interact with different people: seniors & IT staff & youth & professors, etc.
  • Lighting ordinances that align with the concepts of the international dark skies association to control light pollution and trespass
  • Make streets safer for cyclists
  • Dedicated cycling lanes

We’d like to thank Robin for hosting and organizing the event, our speakers, and everyone who attended or followed along on Twitter. Please stay connected to this very important topic:

RESOURCES

Find out more about Robin Mazumder and his research: Do skyscrapers stress you out?

Healthy Cities:  Books and films from the KPL collection

Sign up to stay up-to-date with @PsychOnStreet projects: bit.ly/urbanrealities

TWITTER   #HealthyCities
@RobinMazumder        @WhereAmINow      @LeiaMinaker        @regierr


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Party in the Stacks

andrea-sam-and-craig

Andrea Bellemare of CBC-KW, Sam Allen from the band Run Coyote, and our amazing MC, Craig Norris of CBC-KW

This fall, we held a fundraising kick-off party for our new digital media studio, Studio Central, and we’re overwhelmed with the support we saw from this community. Party in the Stacks was a big success, thanks to so many of you. See the photos below.

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ImagineIt: a connected, creative community

imagineit_black

Just imagine it: an entire community that connects through words, stories, songs, and visual art.

This month, the City of Kitchener and Kitchener Public Library launch ImagineIt Kitchener programming, with literacy events taking place throughout Kitchener to connect citizens and inspire creativity.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Kitchener Public Library to provide a wide range of events throughout the year,” says Jeff Young, manager, Kitchener events. “With multiple events in different locations we aim to connect neighbours, encourage community building, and support literacy.”

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Reunited, and it feels so good

PHOTOS BY EMILY MCLAUGHLIN, Senior Library Assistant
and LAURA REED, Manager of Children’s and Teen Services

ducks3We had a flock of adorable visitors in the courtyard at Central Library the other day.

The nine ducklings and their mama were wandering around on the main level of the courtyard, with their nest out of reach in a planter above. So Laura and Emily, from Children’s and Teen Services, MacGyver’d a ramp that would allow the feathered family to return home.

When they went back to check on them later, the ducks were gone, having wandered out through the gate. But they heard a few pitiful quacks from below. One little duckling had fallen into the window well, and was calling for help.

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And the winners are ….

GUEST BLOG POST FROM THE CITY OF KITCHENER, ARTS & CULTURE

Youth Video Competition 2016

The winners in the 2016 Youth Video Competition have been selected!

We’re excited to offer you and your guests an opportunity to see the winning entries in our 2016 Youth Video Competition. Please  join us on Saturday, April 30 at 2 pm in the Theatre at Central Library for a screening of the top 16 films submitted to this year’s contest.

75 talented young filmmakers responded to the call.  The variety, creativity and technical quality of the videos knocked the selection committee’s socks off!

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Colour our Collection

GUEST POST BY MEG HARDER, Senior Library Assistant

Colour our collection

Learn about local history while you kick back and relax with a pile of pencil crayons!

The “Colour our Collections” movement started sweeping across the world earlier this year. Building off the popularity of adult colouring, libraries searched through their archives to make their own colouring pages, and even full colouring books, that the public can download for free!

You can find many of these pages by searching  #colourourcollections (or #colorourcollections for libraries in the US) on social media. Some notable ones have been highlighted here. 

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Books in the Park: On the feasibility of elf-dwarf romance

GUEST POST BY KARISSA ALCOX, Librarian at Forest Heights Community LibraryBooks In The Park

What could be better than books, colouring, new friends, and sunshine? If you ask me, not much. Our new pop-up library program in Victoria Park was exactly that: a peaceful oasis of fun and a lively discussion of media.

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