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Empowering Newcomers: The Library Champions Project

Posted on: May 7, 2024

A quiet revolution has been taking place, one that is transforming the lives of newcomers to Canada. The Library Champions Project is a team effort between Public Library InterLINK and NewToBC to help newcomers discover how to connect to their new communities through library and settlement programs and services. It’s not just about numbers—it’s about personal stories of growth, connection with others, and the power of education. If you will, Empowering Newcomers: The Library Champions Project.

A Journey of Growth

The Library Champions Project began in 2013. It started with a humble vision—to bridge the gap between newcomers and the wealth of resources available to them through public libraries and settlement agencies. Initially operating in ten communities, the project gained momentum quickly. With funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) since 2014, it evolved into a cornerstone of settlement service for newcomers to BC, exceeding targets year after year.

Adapting to Change

When COVID-19 brought the world to a halt, the Library Champions Project pivoted. Embracing online and hybrid formats, the project team continued helping newcomers find the supports and information needed to settle in their new community. This resilience allowed maintenance of program delivery while continuing to beat expectations. During this time, even more newcomers in need were able to find the right supports and resources.

Expanding Horizons

In the winter of 2021, the project took a bold step: leveraging the flexibility of online platforms, NewToBC and Public Library InterLINK extended its services beyond Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, spanning across British Columbia libraries. From urban centers to rural and remote regions, the Library Champions Project now touches the lives of newcomers in 22 communities province-wide.

A Tapestry of Impact

Behind the numbers lies a narrative of profound impact. Since inception, the Library Champions Project has trained over 2,300 newcomers as champions of knowledge and integration. These champions, in turn, have reached out to over 112,000 other newcomers through one-to-one meetings, group sessions, and digital outreach. Using the power of social media, their impact has extended to over 2.3 million individuals—a testament to the dedication and passion of these champions.

A Community of Champions

The Library Champions Project is more than just numbers. The rich and numerous stories of personal growth and community empowerment are a testament to the impact of this program. Through training sessions, champions not only gain knowledge of library and settlement services but also cultivate essential communication skills, deepen their understanding of diverse cultures, and foster meaningful connections within their communities. As they reach out to fellow newcomers, they not only share valuable resources but also extend a hand of friendship and support, enriching the fabric of integration in British Columbia.

Looking Ahead

As we celebrate another successful year of the Library Champions Project, we recognize that its impact goes far beyond the statistics. This project has worked to create welcoming and inclusive environments throughout BC where newcomers can thrive, connect, and build a brighter future. With each passing year, as the project continues to grow, its ripple effect touches lives across the province and beyond.

Join the Movement

Are you passionate about supporting newcomers in your community? Consider becoming a Library Champion and be part of this transformative journey. Together, we can build connections, foster understanding, and create a more inclusive and welcoming British Columbia. Visit to learn more and get involved, and see how you can be part of Empowering Newcomers: The Library Champions Project.