British Columbia is the third largest recipient of immigrants in Canada.
Immigration to the province has increased roughly 15 per cent each year since 2010, making BC an ethnically and linguistically diverse place to live.
This increase in newcomers has created a need for resources in a variety of different languages. Therefore, most of British Columbia’s libraries have multilingual collections.
These multilingual collections include a variety of materials in languages other than English, such as fiction and non-fiction books for adults and children, magazines, newspapers, CDs, DVDs, eBooks, audiobooks and an array of online resources.
The NewToBC Multilingual Collection page is an excellent place to search for materials in specific languages and communities across the province.
Multilingual collections differ from library to library, but most of the branches offer resources in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
Accessing multilingual collections
The Fraser Valley Regional Library, which has 25 locations, offers a multilingual collection made up of 42,000 items, ranging from adult and children’s literature to DVDs and CDs.
The FVRL’s collection includes resources in various languages like Vietnamese, French, Japanese, German, Italian, Russian, Punjabi and more.
The Greater Victoria Public Library is also home to an impressive multilingual collection that has books and digital materials in 15 different languages, as well as magazines and newspapers in 10 different languages.
In total, eight out of 10 GVPL locations carry world language materials, ensuring that all communities in the region have access to the resources they need.
The Vancouver Public Library also has an extensive multilingual collection across its 22 branches.
The Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library alone contains materials in 16 different languages.
Chinese speaking Vancouverites can access multilingual collections at all VPL branches. The collections include fiction and non-fiction books for adults and children, comic books, DVDs, CDs, newspapers and magazines.
Chinese speakers living in Richmond can also access resources at all branches of the Richmond Public Library, which includes Brighhouse, Ironwood, Cambie and Steveston.
In addition to Chinese, the Richmond Public Library also offers materials in French, Gujarati, Hindi, Japanese, Punjabi, Spanish, Arabic and Urdu.
North Vancouver’s libraries offer a selection of books, audiobooks, music, CDs and DVDs, magazines, newspapers in various languages like Farsi, French, Korean, Spanish, Bengali, Japanese, Mongolian, Thai, Hindi and French.
Chinese movies, CDs and magazines, such as Reader’s Digest, can also be found at the North Vancouver City Library.
White Rock residents interested in Korean language materials, can find books, including fiction, non-fiction, fantasy fiction, comic books, eBooks and short stories in Korean at the White Rock Library.
Multilingual collections – including newspapers and magazines in German, French, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and Persian/Farsi – are available at the West Vancouver Memorial Library, as well as books in Chinese, German, Japanese, Spanish, French, Korean, Persian/Farsi and Tagalog.
The West Vancouver Memorial Library also offers DVDs from more than 80 countries and in over 40 languages with English subtitles included, as well as French newspapers and magazines like Le Monde Diplomatique, Paris Match and L’Actualite.
Anyone interested in learning more about these extensive multilingual collections should visit the NewToBC Multilinguals Collection page to find resources in their communities.