After 10 successful years of helping newcomers in the Lower Mainland connect to their local libraries and settlement organizations, the Library Champions Project has been granted funds to expand province wide. We are excited to help our newcomer friends who reside in smaller communities realize the benefits of libraries and know where to find help in adapting to their new life. The program’s first stage of expansion will begin with the Okanagan Regional Library, and the Sea to Sky and Sunshine Coast Libraries*.
Newcomers can Borrow Items from Many Libraries in BC
Newcomers are often surprised to find that, no matter their community, they can borrow from other libraries.
- You can request an item and have it delivered to your own library for pick up through Interlibrary loans. Loans can be made to obtain books, microfilms, photocopies, and other materials not owned by your own library. Bowen Island Public Library and Lillooet Area Library Association both offer this service. If you aren’t able to find the item you wanted in their catalogue, you can try finding it elsewhere in BC using Illume, a catalogue for all BC libraries. If you find it at another library, request it to be delivered to your home library for pick up!
- You can visit another BC public library directly and easily borrow items. The best part is that you can return these items to any other BC public library, so if you’re traveling through BC, it’s easy to drop items off as you go. The BC OneCard allows you to borrow up to 5 items at one time including books, magazines, audiovisual items, audio/music tapes and CD’s. With 247 Public Libraries in BC, there’s a lot of material you can access!
Newcomers can Access Community Services Through their Library
When newcomers connect to their library, they unwittingly connect to services and organizations that help them settle into their new communities.
- The Whistler Public Library has services specifically designed for newcomers. One such service includes connection to the Whistler Welcome Centre. The Welcome Centre provides information, learning, and connections for immigrants and newcomers living and working in Whistler. They are excellent in helping newcomers get settled, become a Canadian citizen, improve language skills, and more.
- The Okanagan Regional Library also has a plethora of services listed for newcomers in the Okanagan Region. Here, newcomers will find information sorted by community. The Kelowna Community Resources (KCR) Immigrant Services provides support to help newcomers find a job, access translation services, and will help with other referrals and resources as needed.
Newcomers can Access Many Free, Online Resources with their Library Card
When newcomers have a library card, they can access many resources for free.
- The Powell River Public Library has online databases that provide free access to professional journals, magazines, and encyclopedias, plus digital media, including popular magazines, eBooks, audioBooks, movies, and more. They also have homework help guides for Kids and Teens.
- The Squamish Public Library offers eBooks, Audiobooks, Magazines, and Movie Streaming services with their library card. All of these resources are free to patrons of the library.
With so many resources and services available in our BC Public Libraries, you can see why we’re so excited to be expanding our Library Champions Project. If you’re a newcomer living in the Okanagan, or the Sea To Sky Sunshine Coast area, and you would like to know more about library and community services and programs, sign up for an information session. We’d love to share more details about this project with you and the impact it has made on the 1,800 immigrants who have volunteered with us.
This project, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and managed by Public Library InterLINK, is open to Permanent residents of Canada who are interested in developing their English, communication and networking skills and want to give back to the community. Library Champions will learn about the range of programs, services, and resources available through libraries and community agencies within the region and share that information with other new immigrants.
* Sea to Sky and Sunshine Coast Libraries include: Bowen Island Library, Gibsons & District Public Library, Lillooet Area Library Association, Pemberton & District Public Library, Powell River Public Library, Sechelt Library, Squamish Public Library, and Whistler Public Library).