Voices of the Invisible

I don’t’ like it here, she says
I don’t speak the language.

But there are many places you could go, I said,
To make friends with others like you.

Please don’t laugh at me,
I don’t even know how to take the bus.
I can’t read the names of the stops,
And I don’t know when to pull the bell.

When I go somewhere,
I have to count the number of stops.
But buses here are strange,
They don’t stop at every stop.
When I miscount,
I get off at the wrong place,
And get lost.

And oh, how I dread the long winters here,
When it rains day in and day out.
I stay home,
Staring out the window,
Listening to raindrops beating on the roof,
And talking to raccoons.
Yeah, I learned to talk to myself.
People ask me, “How come you keep talking to yourself?”
“Well, l learned to do this in Canada,
Because this is the only thing I can do.”

I don’t like it here,
I wish I could run away.
I am too old to learn the language,
People laugh at me when I try,
Now I am a prisoner of my mother tongue.

What am I supposed to do,
An old woman like me?
Scared, ashamed, desperate,
More than ever in my life.
What shall I do? What could I do?
I can’t go back,
And yet I don’t belong here.
Tell me please,
Is there a place in between?

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Wouldn’t it be nice to take a Career for a Test Drive?

What do you want to do? For many, it’s a struggle to answer.  The Fraser Valley Regional Library has added Career Cruising to their list of available services to help with this question. Career Cruising is a web-based career exploration and planning tool to explore career and educational options.

What you’ll need to begin:

Your Library Card and your PIN (Personal Identification Number)
Your email address

What you’ll do here:

Explore your interests

Explore intersts

Learning style inventories are available for you. Discover how you learn and retain information and find tips on how to improve your study habits to suit your learning style.

Learn about careers

Search by alphabetical index, by school subject, by focus areas or by clusters of occupations. You’ll get the earnings range (how much money can be made), the level of education required, personal attributes of the workers, and an understanding of what the job looks like on a day to day basis.

Explore educational options

Search Colleges and Universities, or programs in BC and Canada. Find out what the admission requirements, program requirements and tuition costs are before you embark on this career option.

Find jobs

Enter the location you would like to find a job, or the type of job you wish to find.

What you should keep in mind while you’re exploring this website:

  1. Think about where you’d like to be in 5 years. You may not end up here, but it’s a starting point and gives you a direction to move towards.
  2. Write a personal manifesto, or mission statement. If you Google this term, you will see many examples of manifestos; such as this Holstee Manifesto:The-Holstee-Manifesto
  3. Volunteer in a position that interests you and allows you to gain the skills required. There are not only skills to be learned, but connections to be made. It also gives you a chance to share your life.
  4. Be curious. Try new things.
  5. Remember; not everyone knows what they want to do. Keep an open mind and see where it takes you.
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3 Easy Steps to eBooks for Kids

You know how sometimes you avoid doing things because you think they’re going to be hard? I’ve been doing that with the eBook section of my local library. I finally decided to tackle my procrastination. I set aside some time to set my kids up with some good, online content. I wish I had done this sooner, because it was too easy. My avoidance has cost me time my children could have been interacting with books on their own.

There are 3 easy steps to the process of getting a book to your computer, tablet or phone.

1. Go to your local library’s e-content catelogue and choose the appropriate option available (I chose the first one, BOOKflix).

(I did explorStep 1e the options, but started with BOOKflix. It seemed like the best option for my children at the age they’re at.)

I was asked for my Library Card # and my PIN (Personal Identification Number) to log in.




2. Choose your category for the type of book you would like to watch/read.

Step 2I chose ‘Adventure’ as both my children are adventurous!  We browsed through the various book titles and found ‘Scaredy Squirrel’. They’ve not read this book yet and we do love new stories.




3. ‘Watch the story’ or ‘Read the book’

Step3There are two options to choose from:

Watch the Story!: Scaredy Squirrel can be read to you or your children. The words spoken are highlighted which is great for children learning to read along.

Read the Book!: Turn the ‘Read Along’ on and watch the words highlighted as they are read. When you are ready, you can turn the page and continue reading.

We did both.

What we enjoyed was the pairing of the fictional book with the non-fiction. It was great to read a new story, online. It was also great for my children to learn about ‘real’ squirrels. I loved how each word was highlighted as it was read; an opportunity to learn words by sight. We will be spending more time seeing what our options are now that I realize just how easy this is!

Happy reading folks!


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The Little Boy Who Doesn’t Hear

The following poem is written by Library Champion May Wang. It took my breath away.

The Little Boy Who Doesn’t Hear
–Does he have hearing problems?
The teacher asks my mom.
–He doesn’t answer my questions,
And he doesn’t respond to other kids.

Yes, I hear you.
And it HURTS.

When Mom said we were moving to a new home,
In the most beautiful place in the world,
She was not lying.

Here trees and grass are forever green,
And there are flowers all year round.
Little bunnies peep at you from under the bushes,
Chubby squirrels nibble happily at your food.
Baby ducks waddle behind the big ones
Huge flocks of snow geese make spectacular sights

But all these put together,
Still don’t make happy homes,
Not even with the Spiderman costume on Halloween,
Not even with all the gifts under the Christmas tree,
Not even with everyday turning into no-homework day,
Not even with pinky clouds looking like cotton candies.

Not when mom’s eyes begin to cloud up with doubts,
Not when daddy is only a talking face on the screen.
And not when I don’t have a clue how to behave at school.

When do I stand?
When do I sit?
When do I talk?
When do I laugh?
When am I getting too close to someone else?
I am scared of this so called “personal space”.

Of course I hear you,
I just don’t understand.
I don’t even speak the language.
So I build a wall of silence for self-defense.

And when you ask my mom that question,
I hear you,

And it hurts

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No time to read? Try Audio Books!

Book club is coming up and I had absolutely no time to read the book. I did, however, have the time to listen. I had a long drive from Vancouver to Calgary ahead of me. I decided to get the Audio Book using my new borrowing privileges from the Surrey Public Library (I recently added the Surrey Public Library to my currently library card to increase my borrowing privileges).


Usually, I arm myself with music on my iPhone for the drive. After about 8 hours, I get pretty tired of the selection that’s on there and simply drive in silence, willing the time and the miles to pass quickly. This time, I took along my book. I plugged it into my CD player and started the drive. It was fantastic.

I was transported into the book by the voice of the narrator. I was taken. The same road that I’ve travelled so many times was suddenly not the same boring drive. In fact, I didn’t really even notice the drive (though it was beautiful!). I was busy focusing on the ever thickening plot of the novel. Time passed, daylight waned, the book came to an end. Before I knew it, I was in Calgary. The drive hadn’t seemed as long.

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I wished I had brought more books for the ride home (I managed to finish 3!). I am looking forward to doing this again, as well as exploring other audio opportunities; I have been wanting to learn another language. I know where I’ll be headed for my next visit to the library: the audio languages section.



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Connecting to Communities through Summer Festivals

I try to make a point to take my girls to the various festivals that occur throughout the Lower Mainland. There are two reasons for this: fun, and exposure to culture and diversity. It’s fun to explore new neighbourhoods – each has it’s unique stamp: people, organizations, pride. It’s also nice to see the diversity of each place we visit and how it changes demographically, by a few kilometres.

Recently, we visited the ‘Hats off Day‘ festivities in Burnaby. We meandered up and down Hastings. We stopped to climb all over a fire truck and discussed how firefighters work hard to save lives. We witness the ribbon cutting of the new South Burnaby Neighbourhood House. We watched gymnasts jump ridiculously high on trampolines and imagined the girls as future gymnasts. We stopped at the Burnaby Public Library and had a reprieve from the busy-ness of the day (My favourite! Have you seen the “I Spy” Table?!).


The following week, we participated in ‘Car Free Day‘ in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood. Again, the street was closed and I watched as my girls took over the street with no care for cars. A clown gave the girls balloon creations, the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund had volunteers paint their faces, and music played on to the beat of ‘Swing’ as dancers demonstrated their magic.


With summer festivities in full swing, and opportunities abound, I reflect on the importance of such events. Attending these events give me a sense of community. Belonging. I can ask questions that I wouldn’t otherwise ask because my children are curious (I can ask on their behalf). I lose my inhibitions this way and feel closer to those who take the time to give to the community to give us these days.

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Human Libraries: Modern Day Oral Storytelling

In books, I am swept up in the story of another life, and whisked away to an alternative reality. In oral storytelling, I am drawn in further; it’s like I can visualize, more clearly, the story and the characters as a result of the visual cues, the emotions, the facial expressions and the first-hand experiences. This is why I was so excited about the Surrey Libraries (Semiahmoo Branch) Human Library initiative. I could borrow a human book to hear a story and ask questions as the tale unfolded.


I rented two human books (believe me, I wanted to rent more!): Christian-Catholic (Peter) and Pagans-Order of Scáthach (Michael and Sara Lasure). I was given 20 minutes to converse with each and, let me tell you, it was fun, enlightening and heartwarming. Each ‘book’ explained their journey to finding their religion and the impact it had on them and how they connect with their world. Each explained the guidelines of their religion to me in simplistic terms, enthralling me in the process. Each answered any question I had with patience and respect.

I left with a sense that something in me had shifted and I spent some time reflecting on the impact of what I received during this brief encounter. What I realized is this:

      • I received a human connection to the story being told; a first person perspective full of raw experience, emotion and history.
      • I became hungry to learn more about each respective religion.
      • I connected to another person, at a very deep level, within the 20 minutes; deepened by the lack of fear I had in asking questions and receiving profound responses in return.
      • I increased my knowledge about another religion and expanded my world as a result.
      • I was connected to a person within the religion who I could contact if I had further questions.

I am looking forward to the next Human Library when it hits a library in the Lower Mainland and I would encourage you to participate in this transformative experience. In the meantime, I have some reading to do!

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