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Lila, a Library Champion story

BC LibrariesA Library Champion story

I am Venezuelan. I was born and grew up in Cumaná, a small historical city. I studied as a Teacher in preschool education and have a degree in teaching Spanish and Literature. I have always related to the world of teaching and learning; always interested in learning and knowing many things. I have a great passion for arts, literature, music, photography and cinema. You can often find me reading, writing, taking photos, watching movies and listening to music. I am drawn to anything related to languages and cultures. I love to know about this world of ours, and as a result, I like travelling a lot and I enjoy it to the fullest.

I moved to BC because of destiny; BC caught my husband, and as a result of that, me too. This is how we came to live here. I am impressed by this country’s advancements, modernism, and the development of its libraries, its cities and the opportunities that are offered. This country amazes me daily. With the mild climate, I have been able to enjoy exercising in the outdoors – mountain biking, playing tennis, going out for walks, and going to nearby locations to connect with nature.

Shortly after coming to BC, I went to the Cloverdale Library with my husband to see what they had to offer. Later, we went to the Vancouver Public Library and the Surrey Public Library (Central branch). I was surprised by the modernity of the library systems, the buildings, and the comforts they offer. The different activities each library organizes monthly and their autonomy both surprises and delights me. I’m still discovering libraries in the lower mainland and love what I have found so far. Getting my library card was fast and super simple, but also very valuable to me. Having this card is like having the key to knowledge.

BC libraries contrast sharply with libraries in my own country – they have fallen in immense deterioration. While a few are saved, like the libraries of universities, there are many deficiencies as a result of economic, political, cultural and social factors. There was an era when we had a system of a Bibliobus (like library Bus), that took the library to the communities distant from the city and with the incentive to bring knowledge by means of the books to everyone. This is not so prevalent anymore.

I volunteered for the Library Champions Project here. It was so wonderful and important to me – a great opportunity to grow and have experience in Canada doing something so positive to support other newcomers. This program allowed me to know what libraries have to offer as well as relate to other newcomer Canadians. I got to know new people from different cultures and countries and this made it more entertaining and meaningful.

I am still newcomer to this country (7 months). There are still many new things, some things not so new anymore, but I am patient. I am currently studying English. I would like to work, but I am going step by step. I feel like I should have learned more English before coming to Canada, but I also feel that knowing if I had known more English, I would not have been given these opportunities I have now. For the moment I enjoy this process in which I am now.

I miss my mom, my family, and the many friends from my country. I miss the warm weather that’s always in my country, the sunsets, the beaches and the food of Cumaná town where I come from. I am grateful that I am here with my husband – the one who has been my biggest support here – and to the many new friends that I have been meeting on this journey to know my new country.