Libraries are a wonderful place to gather and become a part of a larger community; especially for newcomers. There are so many resources and helpful staff to help you find what you are looking for!
Many libraries in BC offer book clubs for newcomers. Many newcomers who visit the library speak their native languages at home and at work. They socialize among people from their home country and may not have much opportunity to use English beyond the basic exchanges while shopping, or going about their daily lives.
Book clubs give a chance for newcomers to practice and improve their English through reading, listening and speaking skills. It gives them a chance to express themselves with others in an environment that offers patience, support, and constructive feedback.
Book clubs can include picture books that English language learners can understand without too much effort. Books can be short and illustrations can help explain the story. Many of these books have adult themes that can be drawn upon to elicit conversation. Once newcomers feel more confident, they can graduate to more advanced books to continue their learning. In book clubs, newcomers can review important vocabulary, work on pronunciation, assess comprehension, and have discussions that reach beyond what is in the book.
Newcomers learn how to use the library, find books, place a hold, borrow a book, and read it before attending book club. These are big steps to newcomers who are learning about their new community, as well as a new language. Additionally, members enjoy each other’s company through this social and educational event and often make strong connections with each other, and their community.
The following libraries offer ESL / EAL book clubs for newcomers:
- The Coquitlam Public Library’s next session is scheduled for Wednesday, November 14th at 7:15pm.
- The Surrey Public Library’s next session is set for Wednesday, December 19th at 1:00pm.
- The Fraser Valley Regional Library’s next session is scheduled for Tuesday, November 13th at 1:45pm.
If your local library is not listed here, you can simply go into the Information Desk to ask what types of services they have for newcomers. If they don’t offer an ESL / EAL book club, they will most certainly be open to the idea if you suggest it to them.