Moving to a new country and building community is filled with challenges. Newcomers can be overwhelmed by the strangeness of everything. New customs, new languages – finding your place in your new community can be overwhelming!
To build a sense of belonging requires making an active effort and practice. Many newcomers discover that their local libraries help them connect to their new community. With the many events and programs available, newcomers are able to quickly connect to other newcomers and Canadians with similar interests; they realize that others struggle and have challenges also and that they are not alone. There is comfort in this. When connections to their community are made, there is generally an increase in motivation, health, and happiness.
Library Activities in Your Community
If you are or know of a newcomer to Canada, have a look through the Events Calendars at your local libraries. You will be surprised to discover the many types of events that can bring people together over a common interest. I have provided some samples below, but I recommend you go directly to your library’s website to find out what events and programs are available. This events and programs page on the NewToBC website provides easy links to the program pages of all of the InterLINK libraries.
Family Board Games – The Vancouver Public Library offers space, time, and games to families who would like to connect over a board game. You will enjoy playing new games and meet other like-minded families in the process.
Friendship Corner – Head to the Richmond Public Library to practice your English in conversation with others, meet new friends, share your learning with fellow community members. No matter what your English level is, this is a welcoming and supportive space.
Man on the Moon – Male caregivers (dads, uncles, stepdads, foster dads, grandfathers, and other male caregivers) are invited to the Burnaby Public Library for songs, rhymes, and stories for babies. Siblings are also welcome.
Stitch Together – If you’re interested in needlework, you can join other needlecraft enthusiasts for an enjoyable and relaxing time at the Fraser Valley Regional Library Sardis branch.
Fun in Farsi: Stories, Songs, and More – Gather with other families to practice Farsi language and literacy skills at the West Vancouver Memorial Library. You will learn traditional songs, fun stories, and more.
Circle Time with the Spirit of the Children – Join teachers from Spirit of the Children Society for a storytime program with Indigenous stories, songs, and drumming on select Wednesdays this winter at the New Westminster Public Library.
Japanese Conversation – The Gibsons & District Public Library offers Japanese conversation groups. You can drop in and learn a new language and meet new people.
English Conversation Group – The Whistler Public Library offers space for practising English language skills while learning about life in Whistler and Canada.
These are just a small sample of activities to help newcomers build a stronger sense of community for their new life here in Canada. Although building community takes practice, by attending these types of events, your library can act as a resource to help you find common ground with others and to help make connections more easily.