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Please read something other than To Kill a Mockingbird

Throughout the month of February we’ve been featuring books about black history, and books, movies and music created by black artists, on our website and on display in our library locations.

Our February Free Flicks included BlacKKKlansman, Sorry to Bother You, and In the Heat of the Night. And we hosted a dance workshop – thank you to our partners, the Afro-Tribal Dancers!

afro dance workshop

As the month draws to a close, we want to share some resources to support you in reading, listening to, and supporting black artists all year long, as well as a few books that may help further your thoughts and conversations about race and racism in this community and in this country.

Watch: Check out these films from CBC’s Curio collection, including How Much Do You Know About Black History in Canada, hosted by Amanda Parris.

Listen: Here’s a Black History Month playlist from Freegal, free for you to download with your library card.

Read: A few recommendations from our collection:

They call me George: the untold story of black train porters and the birth of modern Canada by Cecil Foster (Foster will be appearing at Central Library on April 6)

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard

Unapologetic : a Black, queer, and feminist mandate for radical movements  by Charlene A. Carruthers

How to Be Less Stupid About Race by Crystal M. Fleming

So what’s wrong with To Kill a Mockingbird? Nothing, really. Harper Lee’s novel (and the movie, stage adaptations, children’s books, and graphic novels inspired by it) continues to be well-loved. But many parents and educators are turning to other books to open conversations about racism, including books that do not centre white people. Here’s a piece by Kristian Wilson for Bustle that offers five alternatives.

For more recommendations, ask a librarian, or head to the website of the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD). FOLD’s mission is to celebrate diversity in literature by promoting authors from marginalized communities.

What else can you do? Save these dates: On Thursday, March 21 we’re partnering with several local organizations to host a film screening and conversation to mark International Day for the Elimination of Discrimination. And on Saturday, April 6, we’re hosting a mini-FOLD festival at Central Library with artistic director Jael Richardson and authors S.K. Ali, Cecil Foster, and Waubgeshig Rice. Stay tuned for details, and we hope to see you at one or both of these events!

fact-fiction-fold

 

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Let’s talk about mental wellness

bell lets talk

It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day, a day to focus on reducing stigma around mental illness, raise awareness of mental wellness, and raise funds for mental health initiatives.

As a public library, we strive to be one part of community-based mental wellness initiatives by providing resources and programs about mental health, creating partnerships with local agencies, and by providing warm, light-filled, non-judgmental spaces where everyone is welcome.

Just visiting your public library can be one part of your mental wellness strategy. Research shows that reading can boost mental health in many ways. Attending a program can help reduce isolation, and listening to live music can make us happier and healthier. 

In addition, all Kitchener Public Library locations have light therapy lamps that may help reduce the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. These lamps are provided in partnership with the Downtown Kitchener Community Health Centre and the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network, through the #Lightbrary initiative pioneered by community builder and library board member Robin Mazumder.

We’ve also curated some reading lists for you on a variety of topics. Click on each topic to see the lists and reserve titles right away:

Mental Wellness

Mental Health Memoirs

Addiction

Addiction Memoirs

Addiction Recovery 

If you need to talk to someone, here is a guide to community mental health resources. Feel free to bookmark it, print it, and share it with friends, family, and colleagues.

As we talk today about mental health issues, it’s important to remember that these issues matter all year long. Statistics show that 1 in 3 Canadians will experience a mental health issue at some point during their lives.  You are not alone.


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Celebrating 10 years of LSP

It’s Library Settlement Partnership Week in Canada, and we’re proudly celebrating our 10-year anniversary in partnership with the KW Multicultural Centre and Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

LSP staff meet one-on-one with clients and help them to navigate and access resources related to language learning, health, housing, education, citizenship, and more. The service is available at Central Library and at Forest Heights and Grand River community libraries.

LSP staff also hold programs and events for all ages. In 2017, that included men’s and women’s health sessions, technology help for Arabic speakers, Christmas stories in Spanish, Ramadan for children, a Syrian youth group, a tax information session in Mandarin, community programs for adults 55+ in a variety of languages, and an opportunity to meet the Iraqi ambassador.

  • Combined, LSP staff speak 14 languages
  • Clients speak a total of at least 38 languages, and come from 43 different countries
  • In 2017, LSP staff met with about 830 clients, and 855 people attended 46 programs
  • Top countries of client origin represented: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Syria, Iran, and Afghanistan
  • Top languages spoken by clients: Tigrinya, Arabic, Amharic, Farsi, and Dari

On our 10th anniversary, we want to thank our LSP partners, and in particular the staff: Hadembes, Mira, Gina, Juan, Wasan, Omaima, Ahmed, Yoke, Fariba, Ana Luz, Feyza, and Marta.

Do you want to get involved in helping newcomers settle in Waterloo Region?

Volunteer with KW Multicultural Centre’s one-on-one English conversation program

Volunteer with one of Kitchener Public Library’s English Conversation Circles

Sign up for Waterloo Region Connectors and help a newcomer build a network

MORE INFO

ESL materials and programs, including English Conversation Circles

International language collections

Learn more about LSP services and programs


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Caring Across Boundaries

Over the next month, we’ve got exhibits and events featuring Indigenous artists, filmmakers, storytellers, and families. We hope you can attend and contribute to the important work of truth and reconciliation in our community. These all-ages events take place at Central Library. All are free, and no registration is required.

Manitou: Spirit of the Land
Saturday, June 3 @ 1 pm
Meet artist Jessie Buchanan at her opening reception and artist talk for this exhibit, found in the Art Gallery at Central Library throughout the month of June. Jessie is a member of Aamjiwnaang First Nations who was chosen for the Canada 150 Art Express’d project at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Later this summer she’ll be travelling to various communities in the far north to share her work and lead community art projects.

Jessie Buchanan_invitation

Caring Across Boundaries
Tuesday, June 6 @ 7 pm
Join us for the opening ceremony of a new exhibit, located on the upper level of Central Library throughout the month of June. Caring Across Boundaries shares the daily experiences of three First Nation communities, and was created by Cindy Blackstock of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, and photographer Liam Sharp. The official opening includes a smudging ceremony and talk with Banakonda Kennedy-Kish Bell, a Traditional Practitioner and Knowledge Carrier.

Learn more about exhibits

Storytelling & Drumming with Jan Sherman
Saturday, June 10 @ 11 am
Join us on Neighbours Day as Jan Sherman – an Anishinaabe Métis woman, mother, storyteller, drummer, and singer – shares stories of her life, and from First Nations traditions.

The Winemaker: Film Screening and Discussion
Saturday, June 10 @ 2 pm
(parental discretion; unrated film created for an adult audience; includes no graphic violence, swearing or nudity)
Hosted by local First Nation writer, director, and filmmaker Narsiesse Paul. Stay and join in the discussion afterword. Learn more about the Paul family.

Have you read the executive summary of the Truth and Reconciliation report?
Find it here

 


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Neighbours Day!

Kitchener-multi-bright-8x10

Put your Kitchener home on the map!

The City of Kitchener’s Neighbours Day is designed to showcase the many programs, services, and facilities available throughout our great city. It’s a day for everyone: kids, teens, adults, and seniors.

From now until the third annual Neighbours Day on June 10, use our 3D printers to create a mini model of your home, and help us create your neighbourhood on a giant map.

STEP ONE
Use Tinkercad to design your home
OR
Use Thingiverse to find a pre-designed model that looks like your home
Design at home, or at any library location.

STEP TWO
3D print your project at Studio Central (at Central Library)
or at Country Hills Community Library
OR
Leave your file with us, and we’ll print it for you

Need help? Staff are available to answer your questions or to help with your 3D printing project. Just ask us!

print my hood

3D printed models of City Hall, a house, and Central Libary

Artist Louise Jessup is creating a large map of the neighbourhoods of Kitchener as a puzzle. Puzzle pieces for the neighbourhoods near each library will be at that library on Neighbours Day. All 3D-printed homes will remain at the library and will populate the maps for Neighbours Day.

Visit your library location on Saturday, June 10 to see the results! Come and see your house on the map in YOUR neighbourhood.

Take pictures and share them using the hashtag #PrintMyHood.

Be sure to check out all the other KPL Neighbours Day activities.

Grand River Stanley Park Community Library

Country Hills Community Library

Pioneer Park Community Library

Forest Heights Swim & Storytime

At Central Library
DrumFit Dance Party
First Nations Traditions with Jan Sherman
Brown Bag Storytime
Free Flicks: movie and discussion 

World Knit in Public Day


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National Volunteer Week: Barbara Campbell

After moving around the world for four decades as an ESL teacher and wife of a Canadian diplomat, Barbara Campbell knows how difficult it can be for women to in a foreign country to find time for themselves.

“I know for myself, moving every three or four years, you think of your children first, then your husband, and you think of yourself last – maybe after a year or so,” she says.

That’s why she knew a volunteer opportunity as a leader of an English Conversation Circle for Women was the right place for her.

Barbara is one of the 453 library volunteers who donated 10,585 hours of their time in 2016.

“You see a lot of happiness, you see budding friendships.”

The English Conversation Circle for Women at Central Library was originally created to help Syrian women who came to Waterloo Region in 2016, and includes child-minding services so that mothers can bring their children.

It’s now quite a large group that meets every week, and includes women from lots of different backgrounds, including some who have moved here while their spouses attend school. Some of the women have been here for 14 years, some arrived just a few months ago.

“It’s a large group, with language levels all over,” Barbara says. “You see a lot of happiness, you see budding friendships. People are free to voice their frustrations. They have time to think of themselves and they realize how lonely they are.”

Barbara, who is one of two group leaders who works with three volunteer assistants, says she likes to present a newsworthy or culturally relevant topic, then give the women vocabulary words and common idioms. Recently, they’ve discussed the arrival of spring, maple syrup, Easter, bullying, and the pros and cons of backyard chickens.

Barbara also likes to help the women practise pronunciation, because the English language is driven by emphasis on certain syllables, unlike Japanese or French, for instance. Frustrated by being misunderstood, the women have steadily improved with two or three sessions of learning how to stress syllables.

“I saw a lot of eyes brightening,” she says.

But perhaps more importantly, this is a place where women can connect with others in the community in a friendly, social environment.

“Many of the women have children in school and this is their first opportunity to get out. They call it ‘my time,’ and it’s fun to see,” Barbara says.

We’d like to thank Barbara and the other 452 library volunteers who use their experiences and skills to make our community a stronger place!

Learn more about ESL resources at Kitchener Public Library

Find out about volunteer opportunities


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National Volunteer Week: Allana and Jessa

Allana Villabroza and Jessa Adloc are relatively new to Canada, but they’re already stepping up and making a big difference in our community.

Both of these young women are originally from the Philippines. Allana, 19, moved here two years ago, and Jessa, 17, moved here just nine months ago. Now they volunteer their time at Central Library, working with kids in Grades 4 to 8 who are learning computer science skills with Google CS.

Allana says volunteering has been a learning experience for her as well as for the kids, and has helped her improve her (already excellent) English fluency. She started volunteering as a shelf reader last summer.

“When I first came here, I didn’t really talk to anybody,” she says. “But this really helps me communicate and socialize with others, especially the kids.”

Allana was the one who suggested that Jessa, a fellow student at Eastwood Collegiate Institute, also volunteer at the library.

“I like hearing the kids ask questions and learning new things,” Jessa says.

Emily McLaughlin, senior library assistant and programmer, says Alanna and Jessa are problem solvers and role models in her Google CS programs.

“The girls are new to coding, but that didn’t slow them down,” she says. “To make solving problems easier, Alanna and Jessa asked to have the course code so they could work ahead of the class, and used their phones to compare the code they created in their own projects with the kids’ code to help them debug their work.

“Jessa and Alanna are always there to give the kids applause and high fives, and award them their badge for the week.”

After they graduate from Eastwood, Alanna hopes to go to Conestoga College to become a respiratory therapist, while Jessa wants to attend University of Waterloo for a degree in biochemistry.

They both miss family and the tropical weather back in the Philippines (“I hate snow,” Jessa says) but they’re beginning to feel like Canada is their home.

“I’ll go to the Phillipines for vacation, but I think my life is here now, and my future,” Alanna says.

Thank you both for volunteering with Kitchener Public Library, and making a difference in your community!

Jessa Adloc’s  recommended reads: