I am writing this post in the atrium of the Toronto Reference Library, beside a fountain that creates a pleasing soundscape for my work.

I came because I am between meetings and needed a quiet place to write. But these networked nuclei of words and ideas are so much more than they appear. Rather than a quiet cloister, I have found even more stimulation; more invitations to engage in the wider world.

Three inspiring projects and a poem all picked up within the first three minutes:

Adopt a Word. With $2 or more donation to the Toronto Public Library’s Keep Toronto Reading campaign, you can help create a story written especially for the Library by Margaret Atwood and have your word listed on the wall of words. I want to play!

Talk English Cafe. This is a joint project of Tim Horton’s, TD Bank Financial Group, Employment Ontario and United Way Toronto to build communication skills for Canada’s workplace. I see the links to my upcoming Coffee House Conversations for Power and Possibility at Starbucks and take down the contact information of the community organizer to add to my network.

Poetry Wall-to-Wall. Toronto poet Glen Downie has teamed up with Toronto Public Library to celebrate Poetry Month by presenting an exhibition of poetry broadsides featuring over 60 international poets and 40 private presses from Canada, USA and the UK. I’m the kind of person who chooses my subway seat by its proximity to “Poetry on the Way” so a whole wall is a magnetic attractor for me.

by Glen Downie

They’re on their knees
in the precious dirt
when you come around

the people who sign
because they have little enough

the ones with far too much
zucchini too many plums

who fill your protesting hands
with their stake in the nation

who nod & smile
& say neighbourly things
in unofficial languages

(from Loyalty Management, reprinted without permission of the author or publisher Wolsak and Wynn)

Three morals in this story:

1. Our public libraries are networked nuclei of words and ideas.
2. And fertile ground for the imagination.
3. Language is the fundamental tool with which we construct the social world.

Yours with creativity and imagination,

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