Library Archives

Summer Reading: Why’s, How’s, and Where’s

Encouraging Summer Reading

The school year is wrapping up and many children are looking forward to putting routine to rest for a couple of months. Taking a break is not a bad thing. We all need some rest to increase our ability to think and be creative. But a break from school doesn’t mean a break from reading – just the opposite; summer break means lots of extra time for reading!

Reading books is grounding. It gives us space to be calm and to shut the noise of the world outside, giving us clarity and focus. It allows us to explore the thoughts and feelings of others. It helps us grow our imaginations – we can dream, invent, and examine possibilities from different points of view. Reading helps us better communicate with the world around us and develop our knowledge and potential. Reading helps us understand life, culture and people which helps us adapt and adopt new ways of being and better understand and accommodate others and their perspectives and behaviours.

Picking the Right Books

Each child is different in their reading ability. Help them choose the appropriate level by the ‘rule of four:’ have your child read a book of their choice to you. If they make more than four mistakes on a page, they are reading a book that is above their level. For their own reading, have them choose something that they can be successful in; this will give them the foundation to work towards more difficult and grade-appropriate reading levels. If they’re wanting a book at a more difficult level, make some time in your day to allow yourself to read aloud to them. Shared story time is connection time.

Libraries throughout the Lower Mainland offer a Summer Reading Club. This free literacy program is designed to help school-aged children, ages 5-14, read throughout the summer. It is fun, educational, inclusive and community oriented. Head into your library branch to get your reading record, stickers, and calendar. Keep track of each day that you read. Read books, magazines, eBooks, or listen to audiobooks. Read in any language and read things that you enjoy. Read by yourself or have someone read with you.

Summer Reading Programs

Check out the participating libraries, get your child their own library card (it’s free!) and sign them up for some summer reading fun:

In Celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day

Recognizing Indigenous Cultures

Before Canada existed, this land was rich and diverse with many Indigenous cultures: First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples. These original inhabitants of the land that is now Canada knew the land intimately and thrived.

Explorers landed on the East Coast in the 1500s. They quickly learned that the Indigenous Peoples could teach them to survive the harsh conditions of this new and strange land. The generosity of our Indigenous ancestors not only helped these explorers survive and thrive, but also shared with them the natural resources of this new land; namely the fur from the abundance of animals.

Beaver fur, one of the most valued of commodities, quickly became a symbol of wealth and status throughout Europe in form of a fur hat. Wearers couldn’t get enough of this durable, waterproof, soft fur. So the Fur Trade was born and created an exchange between Indigenous Peoples and Europeans. The Indians traded furs for goods such as tools, cooking utensils, and weapons with the Europeans.

As time passed, trade relations grew and changed. Following that, more explorers headed to this new land in hopes to claim their fortune and to escape the poverty of the European nations. This created a scarcity in the natural resources they had come to rely on and pushed explorers further to the west.

Consequences and Reconciliation

History tells us that the Fur Trade was instrumental to the birth of Canada. It also tells us that the arrival of the Europeans decimated much of the diversity of our Indigenous Peoples. Parcelled into reservations, stripped of their culture and heritage, the Indigenous populations began their demise as the Europeans claimed this land as their new country.

As time has passed, our governments have realized the wrongs of our European ancestors. Instead of trying to erase the many cultures and traditions of our first peoples, there is growing effort to rebirth them. Canada is undergoing a process of Reconciliation. Each person has an important role to play in reconciliation. Reconciliation begins with oneself and then extends into our families, relationships, workplaces and eventually into our communities.

National Indigenous Peoples Day is June 21. This day marks the official day of celebration to recognize and honour the heritage, cultures and valuable contributions to society by First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Libraries and organizations in BC have many events and activities scheduled for each of us to learn more about our Indigenous people, cultures, and practices. Take a moment to find the event in your community and head down to discover the rich history of our Indigenous peoples.

Here are a few:

The Burnaby Public Library invites you to celebrate National Indigenous People’s Day in the civic square. Learn Indigenous history through storyteller Deborah Baker, carver Troy Baker, and Hip Hop artists Mumarudegyal and Rude Gang Entertainment.

The Vancouver Public Library will offer National Indigenous Peoples Day Family Storytime, as well as a showcasing of the movie Indian Horse.

The Richmond Public Library will be at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery where there will be performances, story-telling, workshops, demos, food, and activities for all ages from 12pm – 4pm on Saturday June 22nd.

The City of Surrey – Surrey’s National Indigenous Peoples Day event will showcase cultural sharings, teachings, storytelling and practices and give participants an opportunity to experience the rich cultural history of Canada’s Indigenous people and allow for inter-generational connections to take shape.



New Beginnings with Richmond Public Library

Starting Out in a New Country

I proposed the idea of immigrating to Canada to my husband and daughters many years ago, but they felt Shanghai was their home. Fast forward to 2009, my family and I visited Toronto, Montreal, Victoria, Vancouver, and Richmond. This trip changed their mind. They were attracted to the friendly people, the good education system, and the beauty that this country had to offer.

New beginnings at the Richmond Public Library

Shelly Gu, the author

My part-time job for an organization in Ontario helped us obtain our Visa. When I mentioned to my employer that I thought of moving to Canada, they applied for an AEO (Arranged Employment Opinion), and my immigration visa approved me as a short-term Skilled Worker.

Since I had a part-time job in Ontario, I originally thought of settling in Toronto. I was advised that it was not necessary to work in that location. As well, I heard that Toronto was cold! During our previous visit to Canada, we enjoyed Vancouver and Richmond the most. After I was awarded my visa in 2013, we visited the Vancouver area in the 2014 Chinese New Year to choose a city to settle in.

We had a good friend in Richmond who had lived there for ten years and made the decision to move nearby so that our families could be close together and help each other out. It was the right decision. Richmond has good weather, nice organizations, it is convenient, and the people are friendly; it is just ideal in every way. The biggest surprise for me moving to Richmond is that there are so many Chinese people living here. You can easily get by without speaking English.

Settling Into a New Home

I discovered the Richmond Public Library’s (RPL) Library Champion Project through my husband’s classmate who participated in this project. Through this, I was able to learn about the services that the library provided and introduce this to my friends and neighbours. Many of them, like me, were so excited to discover more about their libraries. There are so many activities and services to attract people to the libraries and most are free! I shared information from the Richmond Public Library WeChat with my friends. When talking to other parents when dropping off/picking up my children at school, I found this a good conversation starter when meeting new people. We all enjoy the many lectures that our libraries have to offer. They are so useful and engaging!

The libraries in Shanghai are bigger than those here. I have a feeling that the larger libraries, such as the Shanghai Library or Shanghai Pudong Library have more books compared with Vancouver Public Library or Richmond Public Library, but they do not have the many programs, lectures, and free services that we have here. The main function of libraries in Shanghai is access to newspapers, books, and checking data. Here we can borrow many more items per person than in libraries in China.

Balancing the Old and the New

When we moved here, I missed my parents the most. My parents were nearing 80 years old and did not want to come with us. They lived with my family for long time, and they were very sad when we moved to Canada. Each time when we came back, they were so happy, but at the time of saying goodbye, my mother would cry and be sad for long time. She passed away two years ago, and I miss her very much. I wonder, if we had not moved to Canada, would my mom have lived longer?

My father came to stay with us for three months after my mom passed away. He likes Canada and is satisfied with our life here, but he needed his own home, his neighbours, and his friends so much that he decided to stay in China.

If I were to do it again, maybe I would apply for immigration later, when my parents no longer needed us, or when we found a suitable business we could do in Canada, but for my kids, I think it was the best decision to move to Canada as early as possible.

New Beginnings at the Richmond Public Library

Shelly and her family in their new home