Last year, on my birthday, I received a great gift -- an email from an old friend inviting me to join in a great new experiment she was starting: a Cookbook Club!

Our club began with 6 members, all of us amateur home cooks with differing palates and cooking interests, but all with a desire to try new techniques and expand our repertoires. I’m fairly new to cooking. I’ve always enjoyed baking -- cakes, cookies, muffins, yum! -- but over the past few years I’ve developed more of an interest in cooking.

Genius Recipes Cookbook on Dinner table with food

Here’s how it works: every month to six weeks one of our members takes their turn to host the club for a Sunday afternoon lunch feast. The host chooses a cookbook ahead of time and each member gets a copy from the library, or shares purchased copies with each other. Each member then chooses a recipe or two from that book to make at home and bring to the meeting. We tell each other what we’ve chosen so that no one is bringing the same dish and we can ensure a balanced meal with starters, mains and dessert (even though a 6-cake meal does sound pretty good to me…)

When we sit down to eat, we tell each other about the cooking process of the recipe we chose, our experiences with the book, how easily we were able to follow the instructions, what we thought of the author’s voice. Sometimes, some of us will have tried other recipes through the weeks before the meeting and will talk about those as well. Every time, without fail, the food is delicious and more than we can eat in one sitting! We’ve learned to bring our own leftover containers with us to take home samples of each of the dishes for the next day’s lunch as well.

When I choose my dish each time, my first instinct is to make something I think sounds delicious, so I flag the yummiest sounding recipes in the book with post-its. Then I think about which of those dishes might allow me to try something new and stretch my cooking abilities. Since joining the cookbook club I’ve tried making: pakoras, shrimp grits, stuffed mushrooms, and even a -- admittedly unsuccessful -- roulade (a cake with jelly and ganache rolled up in it)!

Dinner table full of foodAs a former extremely picky eater, It’s been fascinating to try all kinds of new tastes in the kitchen and I’ve discovered so many dishes and cuisines I never would have thought I would enjoy making (or eating!). I’ve found that the control I have when I cook my own food from scratch allows me to try foods I might have turned up my nose at 10 years ago. I know all the ingredients and I’ve seen how they work together.

Cookbook Club has been such a cool experience. I’ve made new friends, found some new favourite cookbooks, and eaten A LOT of delicious meals. I take out new and recommended cookbooks from the library all the time to try and select my next host’s pick. Everytime I tell someone new about the club (which is often, I talk about it a lot) they ask, “are you looking for any more members?” But why not start your own?

If you’re interested in starting your own cookbook club, here are some tips!

  • Check the library catalogue before picking your book -- make sure there are a few copies available for other members to check out
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew -- I usually end up cooking my dish on Sunday morning before leaving for the meeting. Plan ahead so you’re not looking at the recipe realizing you need to let it sit for 6 hours between steps!
  • BYOT -- bring your own tupperware! The leftovers might be the best part of Cookbook Club! I also hold onto old takeout containers I won’t need back, so that if you’re hosting and someone needs to pack up more than they thought, you’ve got it covered.
  • If you’re hosting, put aside some serving dishes and utensils for people to use when they arrive. If you know you don’t have enough, just remind everyone to bring their own beforehand!
  • We’ve been lucky that no one in our group has any dietary restrictions. If your club has members with allergies, vegetarians or vegans, make sure everyone is aware and considerate of accommodating the other members’ needs.
  • Try something new, but not every time. I’ve had a great time making some meals I’d never tried before. However, sometimes I have a lot of other things going on the week of my Cookbook Club meeting and when that happens, remember: it’s okay to simplify! Between those time-consuming roulades and pakoras have been salads, punches, and other simple dishes that still round out the meal for everyone.
  • Six has been a great number of members of the club -- you all end up with leftovers, but you still get a chance to try everyone’s dish -- but you’ll figure out what works best for you and your friends!
  • shrimp cooking in a pan

Recently I read an article in The Globe and Mail about the central place the Library occupies in the lives of so many Canadians. Here are a few sentences from that article, Central Libraries Turn the Page, by Daina Lawrence:

 “It’s this recognition of libraries as a public service and their ability to attract all walks of life that have resurrected their relevance to today’s cities… with the introduction of the internet, an interesting thing started to happen in libraries. No longer simply a building that housed books, libraries around the world reimagined their roles and became early adopters of technology.”Wooden table with blurred bookshelves in background

We want everyone in our community to view our Brampton Library branches as respectful and caring places to learn and grow, or simply take a break from their busy everyday lives.

We recognize the importance of being welcoming public spaces for our diverse community and the multitude of differently abled residents who use our services.  Accessibility in our branches and online are key components to the excellent public service we strive to provide every day.

At Brampton Library, we are committed to accessible spaces and services for all. We promote an inclusive, respectful and caring environment where library programs, services and facilities are available to everyone, including everyone in our community.

All of our branches are compliant with current requirements found in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Our branches offer many accessibility features, including:

  • Daisy readers to enable access to borrowing for the visually challenged
  • MagnusCards, a location-specific app designed for those with cognitive challenges or on the Autism spectrum
  • Accessible computer stations with Zoomtext and screen reader software
  • Our Visiting Library Service, for those who are homebound or have mobility challenges

We are very excited about the new downtown City Library, which is anticipated to open in 2020. This facility will meet enhanced AODA requirements, including power door operators, amended mounting height and location requirements for accessories, and the addition of adult change tables.

We strive to ensure that across our system of seven branches, Brampton Library achieves the highest accessibility standard possible, but we know this can’t happen overnight. We have a Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (MYAP) which outlines how we will continue to work to increase and improve accessibility at our locations, over the next five years.  Through the plan, we support the province’s goal of becoming barrier-free by 2025. 

 Brampton Library welcomes you to come in and feel at home. We are proud of the work we do to address the diverse needs of our community, and we look forward to continuing to advance this important effort into the future.

 For more information about our commitment to accessibility, please visit our Accessibility page. If you have any questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

As more people are getting their information from social media, it is getting harder to tell fact from fiction.

Two years ago, Stanford a study showing that students are unable to tell fact from fiction. Google and Facebook announced plans to crack down on fake news sites.

So what can you do to help you and your network keep the fake news out of your feed? We suggest arming yourself with our 5 favourite tools to fact check, clarify, and gain knowledge and peace of mind online.

Amazed woman reading fake news on her smartphone.

Here are our top 5 ways to spot a news story:

5) Snopes fact-checks Internet rumours and stories

4) PolitiFact or FactCheck.org verifies political news stories

3) FakeNewsWatch has compiled a list of fake sites

2) Use TinEye or Google reverse image search to find out where a photo originated

And best of all...

1) Ask a librarian

Hello fellow library lovers!

Student Harmeen SinghMy name is Harmeen and I am studying to become a library and information technician at Seneca College. As a part of my program, I recently completed a three-week field placement at Gore Meadows library. What is a library technician you may ask? Library techs are staff that help with circulation services, reference services and run library programming. We are not quite librarians but do much of the same tasks. We are to librarians what dental hygienists are to dentist.

I have always wanted to work in a public or school library and was really excited to find out that I would be doing my first field placement at Gore Meadows. Although I was only there for 3 weeks, I learned so much! Anita Khurana, who is the branch's information services librarian, was my supervisor and I couldn't have asked for a better one! She made sure that I experienced every aspect of the library and shadowed every library program that I could in the short time I was there.

It is truly a neat experience seeing what you are learning in a classroom translated into real life. I learned just how much work goes into running day-to-day library operations. From a customer's standpoint, we often don’t know what goes on behind the scenes of a library. But I can now tell you from experience that libraries are not always the quiet reading coves of popular belief, oh no!

Take the library floor for example. Have you ever wondered how that almost magical "place request" button on the online library catalogue works? No magic but a lot of staff involvement. One you place a request for an item that is not available at your local branch the branch that does have the item is notified. Circulation staff then hunt down the item in question, and process it and ship it out to the requesting library. Once the item arrives at the requesting library, it is again processed by staff, at which point a notification will be sent to the customer for pick up.

One of my favourite things about working at Gore Meadows (other than the amazing staff and customers!) was being able to help run all the programs offered by the Brampton Library. Prior to my placement, I was not aware of the variety of programs offered at the library. From programs like story time for toddlers, to computer training for seniors, Brampton library offers it all. And I was lucky enough to sit in on a quite a few of them. It was such a great experience being able to interact with library customers who genuinely love coming to the library and are benefiting from the programs offered. Thank you Gore Meadows for making my work placement such a wonderful one!

- Harmen S

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