If I were to move to a new country, I would want to be able to check in with someone; to ask questions without worrying about making a fool of myself, to get an inside scoop as to the way my new home works, to check in with regards to employment tips and tricks or any other variable that came my way.
In BC, public libraries are a perfect place to inform and refer immigrants to other services. They are offering an astounding number of programs and services to welcome and assist newcomers in their transition to a new life and they are serving more and more newcomers every year. NewToBC was created to support libraries in Metro Vancouver in their effort to help people who are new to BC. Working with partner libraries and external organizations, NewToBC promotes the programs, services and resources available to newcomers.
One branch of NewToBC is the Library Champions Project. Newcomers are invited to contribute to their community by helping other recent immigrants discover their public library. They are trained to provide resources and knowledge to educate newcomers in their community, sharing information about programs and services in their public library. The connections they build are personal and meaningful.
Champions use their own language and cultural understanding to reach out to newcomers from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. They help newcomers discover programs and services available to them at their library and immigrant service providers. In turn, Champions receive a Certificate of Achievement for completing their training while gaining valuable work experience.
The Library Champions project is currently looking for volunteers for the second cycle of recruitment. There is a particular need for new Champions at the Richmond Public Library. If you know of a newcomer who would benefit from volunteering and who would be able to help move this project forward, in Richmond, or any other participating library, please refer them to Branka Vlasic: Branka@facilitatenow.ca for more information.