From Library Champion to Library Service Assistant
Library Champions often find themselves becoming champions for life. Whether that be through volunteering as a library board member, or finding employment with libraries, many have found a way to stay connected after the completion of the Library Champions Project. Such is the case for Renata, she just completed her four-month program and has found employment with the Vancouver Public Library! In this blog, she shares her journey with us to light the path for other Library Champions.
Making the Big Move from Brazil to Canada
Before moving to Canada, in January 2016, I worked at one of the largest drugstore chains in Brazil. I was responsible for the operation of 93 stores located in three different states. I moved here with my husband, my daughter, my son and my younger sister. There are several reasons we decided to move; however, the main ones were to provide a better education for our children, and to have the opportunity to live in a safe place.
The Library Champion Experience
I discovered the Library Champions Project through an email received from YWCA’s Tech Connect program manager, after participating in that program in January 2020. I attended the Library Champion Information Session and decided this was something I would love to be a part of. I completed this program online, through Zoom. It was the best experience. I had the chance to learn about the different resources offered through the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) and met people from different cultures with the same goals as me. Participating in the Library Champions Project gave me self-confidence. In addition to admiring the library, I decided I wanted to be part of the VPL team.
The Interview Process
After I completed the Library Champions Project, I wanted to be part of this beautiful library and to be able to contribute with my skills and knowledge. I applied and was provided with an interview. During the interview, I was asked to provide scenarios in which I had to make decisions without having a supervisor approve, as well as explain what I felt would be the most challenging aspect of the role I was applying for. I was successful in my interview and am now employed as an on-call Library Service Assistant.
Working at the Vancouver Public Library
What makes me most excited about working at the Library is how much it values diversity, learning, innovation, creativity, and sustainability; these values resonate with me completely, since I have applied them from the start of my career. The Vancouver Public Library is a pride for all of us who live in BC. It has many resources and programs to engage and help the entire population. The library staff is highly committed to what they do and love working there.
The Library Champions Project
The Library Champions Project is a three-month volunteer opportunity for newcomers to Canada. This program connects new immigrants to their local public libraries, helps them meet other newcomers, and teaches them about programs and services available to help immigrants settle in Canada. Champions then share this information with other newcomers through their networks and communities.
For two months after the training, Library Champions share the valuable insight they gained with their networks through outreach activities. By using virtual communication tools, Library Champions share important information with newcomers, especially during this time of social isolation. These outreach activities will also provide Champions with the opportunity to practice new skills such as their digital communication and presentation skills as well as improved English fluency, all while building confidence, connections to the community, and strengthening their friend circles.
The outreach conducted by Library Champions is recognized as a valid volunteer work experience. After outreach is completed, Champions receive a signed certificate from the Chief Librarian of their home library and a written or verbal reference from the project facilitator may be requested during work search.