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The Toronto Tool Library is Hiring Summer Students!

Posted by on May 3, 2018 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

The Toronto Tool Library is pleased to announce that we are taking on two summer students thanks to the Canada Summer Jobs program!   Canada Summer Jobs Program 2018 The Institute for a Resource-Based Economy is hiring 2 youth, aged 15-30, who are full-time students intending to return to their studies in the next school year. Position Title: Librarian Organization: Institute for a Resource-Based Economy (Toronto Tool Library & Sharing Depot project). Locations: Librarians will be based from 1803 Danforth Ave. but will travel to all store locations (830 St. Clair Ave. W. and 1499 Queen St. W.) Start date: Wednesday, June 6th, 2018 End date: Wednesday, August 29th, 2018 Pay rate: $14/hour Hours: 20 hours/week Application deadline: Friday, May 11th, 2018, 11:59pm. Submit to: Description: The Librarians will work from our Hillcrest branch at 830 St. Clair Ave. W., and our East York branch at 1803 Danforth Ave. and be responsible for the following: Learning and competently using our database software Checking items in and out Adding items to inventory Adding and renewing members Accepting and recording payments and donations Helping to organize and clean the space Assist with marketing campaigns such as tabling at events Being an advocate for access over ownership Assisting with the Repair Cafe and other workshops Conducting inventory counts Assisting with maintenance and repair of inventory items Qualifications: Interest in or passion for sharing and community General computer and online savvy Excellent communication and customer service skills Strong organizational skills A friendly and engaging personality, preferably with experience in a hospitality, customer-service, or public-facing role Ability to work flexible work hours, including evenings and weekends The successful hire will be supervised by our management team including the Tool Library Manager and Executive Director. During the initial training, the Librarian will be accompanied by management during all tasks and as skills and competencies are attained. The candidate will be taught how to use the Librarian software and learn more about our diverse inventory and how to interact with members of the public in a retail setting. Once skills and confidence with regular responsibilities, additional tasks will be available depending on the interest and skills of the Librarian. The Librarian will need to learn the safe use of the hand, power and gardening tools we loan to our members. This training will happen over the first 2-­4 weeks and knowledge can be passed onto members as required. At the workplace itself, ensuring an accessible and respectful attitude amongst other colleagues, members and the public will be prioritized during training and throughout the placement. This position would be ideal for a student of Information Sciences, Environmental Studies or one of the trades. While these fields...

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Why Coding Should Be Considered an Essential Skill for the 21st Century

Posted by on May 1, 2018 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

This is a guest blog from our partners and friends at Little Robot Friends. We have once again partnered with them to bring their cutting-edge coding education workshops to our community. We are extremely excited to be offering an 8-week after school Coding Club with them at our Hillcrest location (830 St Clair West), beginning May 8th and running for 8 consecutive weeks. This course will take youngsters from beginner to near pro, moving from Little Robot Friends’ visual coding tool – LRF Blocks – through the basics and up to coding C in Arduino. Find the full course outline here. HILLCREST CODING CLUB * “But kids need to go outside! They spend too much time staring at the screens!” This is a typical rebuttal we get when we talk about teaching kids how to code. And yes, we wholeheartedly agree that kids need to run around outside and move their bodies, but we also think that teaching kids how to code, how to sense the world with technologies, and how electronics work will actually serve to reduce the amount of time they spend just staring at the screen. We believe technical literacy should be taught as a creative tool, to empower kids to make things and gain crucial understanding about how the world around them works. It’s the education they need: “…the next wave of economic dislocations won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good, middle-class jobs obsolete. And so we’re going to have to forge a new social compact to guarantee all our kids the education they need…” President Obama’s Farewell Address, January 2017 It is not hard to imagine that kids growing up today will face a world entirely different from our own. In the past few years, technology has upended our lives in more ways than we can count as we hurl through this century innovating at breakneck speed. Self-driving cars, delivery drones, AI powered billboards are all just around the corner. “Smart” TVs and speakers are already prevalent. Robots and screens are here to stay. Being surrounded by technologies is the new normal. In the same way our generation was once taught media literacy so that we are better equipped to dissect advertising messages aimed at us consumers, digital know-how is critical for this generation. This is the education they need. Educators and education institutions now advocate learning coding concepts as part of basic literacy, i.e. teaching computer science as language acquisition and communication skill, just like reading and writing. The argument, in a nutshell, is that future work will require a fundamental understanding of computers and AI. Lots of emphasis is being placed on job skills for obvious reason....

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Get Your Broken Things Fixed! Every Sunday with Repair Café Toronto

Posted by on Apr 19, 2018 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

According to a recent article in National Geographic, Canada leads the developed world in per capita production of garbage. Faced with things like planned obsolescence and the expense and difficulty often involved in getting broken things repaired, it’s easy to see why so many Canadians opt to toss often perfectly good things away, without attempting to fix them first. This is why we host Repair Café Toronto every Sunday afternoon from 12:00-4:00pm at our 830 St Clair West location to hold repair events. Bring in your broken treasures – everything from jewelry, textiles, small appliances, bicycles, electronics, etc. – and their amazing volunteer ‘fixperts’ will help you fix them! Enjoy coffee, tea and treats while you wait. While the service is free, we encourage people to make a donations as this fantastic organization that works to keep things out of Toronto landfills is entirely run on donations from the public. Our hope is that an increasing number of Canadians will begin demanding that affordable, accessible avenues for repairing broken things become a norm in Canada. For instance, Sweden recently introduced tax breaks on repairs, which will make it more affordable and will also stimulate jobs and businesses in the repair sector. These are the kinds of policy changes we need to implement to kick Canada’s throwaway culture to the curb. Learn More About Repair Café Toronto...

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5 Benefits of a Maker Education for Kids

Posted by on Mar 9, 2018 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

Tinkering, making, creating and playing. These activities are finally being recognized for what they are – an essential part of a child’s education and development. The Maker Education Revolution that began in Makerspaces across the world over 10 years ago is finally breaking down the barriers into the mainstream – and into our classrooms. And that is a very good thing for our communities and our planet. This is why we run Maker Education programs through our 1803 Danforth ave Makerspace. In our modern world with an ever-changing technological landscape and evolving job market, it is integral to give young people the opportunity to discover what the Maker Movement has to offer. MAKER EDUCATION PROGRAMS * A Maker Education:   1) Promotes a ‘Growth Mindset’ Author and psychologist Carol Dweck proposes two mindsets that the growing brain can take on – one is called the fixed mindset and one is called the growth mindset. When children take on a fixed mindset, they believe that they are good at some things and not others and that their skills just come to them naturally. With a growth mindset, the learner believes that they can become good at something through doing, learning, experience, etc. Learning and development is something you work at, not something that just happens. Children who have developed a growth mindset tend to be more resilient, handling challenges better and pushing themselves passed obstacles. Maker education fosters this Growth Mindset because of it’s emphasis on not knowing the solution to a problem and then developing and learning through the process:  “It’s not just a matter of what you know, it’s a matter of taking risks and perhaps failing and learning from those failures.” Learning how to fail – and subsequently picking yourself up, reflecting and trying again – is a crucial skill for navigating our constantly changing world.   2) Develops Character and Purpose Learning-by-doing not only helps children become resilient in the face of challenges, it also works to develop character and a sense of purpose: “That is one of the most important outcomes a maker educator sees…Learning how to make things, being involved in maker-centered education, helps young people develop a sense of agency in the world, a sense that they can change the world.” At the heart of making is the concept that all students are creators. Rather than memorizing facts to regurgitate on a test, young makers are encouraged to bring what they know to a problem in order to solve it or to use their skills to design and build a project. Whether it’s designing and building a pinball machine from scratch or bringing to life a computer-generated design on a 3D Printer, these activities are important precisely for the reason that they instil a sense of confidence...

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NEW Robotics Programs for Youth with STEAMLabs!

Posted by on Feb 27, 2018 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

We are very excited to be partnering with our friends at STEAMLabs to bring two of their signature maker education programs to our 1803 Danforth ave Makerspace for March Break and throughout the summer!   Week long camp, March 12-16th . 9am-4pm (before and after care available) . $475  Inspired by everyone’s favourite video games, kids will work in small groups to bring virtual video games to life and design physical robotic games with our high tech tools. Past robot games have included capture the flag, racing, obstacle courses, stage performances & tricks, and a battle arena. Regardless of what games and robots we build – there will be opportunities for success and celebration for all participants and their robots. What will they learn? Designing in 2D and 3D Laser Cutting 3D printing Simple circuits (LEDs and simple mechanisms) Robotics (Neopixels and motors) Arduino programming Note: robot projects are made in groups – therefore, these are not individual projects that are then taken home by participants at the end of camp. If participants want to take parts of their group project home and it is possible to do so, we work out dividing the parts between the groups as fairly as we can! * DATES Monday, March 12, 2018 – Friday, March 16, 2018 * WHERE Toronto Tool Library & Makerspace, 1803 Danforth Ave * COST $475 / 1 week camp * AGE GROUPS 6-9 & 10-13 * WHAT TO BRING lunch afternoon snack water bottle with your name on it weather appropriate clothing + supplies for venturing out to the park on break (sunhat, suncream, warm layers, rain coat etc.) any medications or epipens with instructions Check the STEAMLabs page to learn more about their Scholarships Program! LEARN MORE & REGISTER   Ever wanted to build your own robot? Now is your chance! At our Robotics Summer Camp, we’ll design games as a group and then build our very own robots to compete in the games at the end of camp. There will be opportunities for success and celebration for all participants and their robots! * What will they learn? Electronics 2D design + laser cutting 3D design + 3D printing Arduino Robotics * COST 4 day camp / $460 1 week camp / $565 2 week camp / $995 (SAVE $135!) $1130 * TIME 9am-4pm (before care from 8am & after care till 6pm available for $10/hour) * WHERE Toronto Tool Library & Makerspace, 1803 Danforth Ave * AGE GROUPS 8-12 * WHAT TO BRING lunch afternoon snack water bottle with your name on it weather appropriate clothing + supplies for venturing out to the park on break (sunhat, suncream, warm layers, rain coat etc.) any medications or epipens with instructions Check the STEAMLabs page to...

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Keep the Tool Library Alive!

Posted by on Jan 26, 2018 in Slider Home Posts |

Today, we’ve officially kick-started our new crowdfund campaign: Keep the Tool Library Alive. This is a critical moment for the Tool Library and Sharing Depot. We need your help to keep our doors open! Keep Sharing Alive in Toronto! Over the last 5 years, we've transformed sharing in Toronto. With three physical locations, we've loaned over 65,000 items and become a local hub for swapping, repairing and learning. Help us keep Toronto a sharing and community driven city by keeping projects like ours alive >>> this video and tell us in the comments below: Why do you borrow? Posted by Toronto Tool Library on Friday, January 26, 2018 (if the video is blurry, turn on HD – in bottom right corner of the video – or watch it online here)   2017 was a tough year, as a non-profit organization, we’ve been hit by several challenges:   Grants: We applied for several grants, but unfortunately weren’t successful last year. In fact, there are very few grants for non-profits that are not charities (which we’re not). Permits: Unexpected City permitting issues have left us in a precarious situation with unavoidable costs. Rent in Toronto is high (as we’re sure you know) and costs us almost $100,000 per year. Basic Salaries total just $140,000 per year for our entire operating staff, including senior staff, program staff and Tool Ninjas, while supported by our network of volunteers! Our goal of $35,000 will not only solve our financial crisis, but will keep our project growing. These funds will help renovate our East York location,  launch a new series of home improvement workshops such as basic tiling, plumbing and electrical, and expand our inventory across all three locations. So we ask you – our supporters – to help keep the doors open! Just a $10 donation or more can go a long way in keeping our sharing project alive. Plus, we’ve got great rewards – from memberships, Valentines Dates and a draw to win a 1-year Makerspace membership. Thank you! Yes, I Want to Keep the Tool Library Alive!...

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