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Polar vortex holiday party

During an onslaught of snow, wind, and chilly temperatures last week, a group of our amazing volunteers held a warm and cosy holiday party at Central Library for the participants in English Conversation Circles.

English Conversation Circles are a great way for newcomers in the community to practise English in a relaxed, supportive, and informal setting. These groups are run with the support of YMCA Immigrant Services and our incredible volunteers, many of whom are teachers or retired teachers.

Volunteers at Central Library planned a party complete with snacks and drinks, crafts, and gifts for the children – a lovely opportunity to talk about and share holiday traditions from different cultures.

“I’m from Bulgaria, so the tradition there is that children will open the gift on January 1st,” said Diana, who minds the children while their mothers are in the Women’s Social and Conversation Circle.

Thank you to Erin Aquin, Barbara Campbell, Ellen Forrester, Paula Kienapple-Summers, Karen Quehl, Gail Wright, Carol Lee, Diana Mileva, and Salma Sohail at Central Library.

Thank you to Romany Arnold, Marlene Burke, Enoc Chevez, Marilyn Dufresne, Shirley Guo, and Vicky Vilayhong at Forest Heights Community Library.

Thank you to Amy Aldous, Elaine Decleir, Jeff Decleir, Carolyn Pegg, and Marg Reid at Grand River Stanley Park Community Library.

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Big thanks to our enthusiastic volunteers, Paula, Ellen, Barb, baby Audrey, and Erin. 

English Conversation Circles return in January. These classes are FREE and no registration is required to attend. Please share this information with anyone who would like to practise English, or with people who are supporting refugees and newcomers in the community. Need transportation? There are bus tickets available (excluding Mondays at Central).

ENGLISH CONVERSATION CIRCLES

Central Library
Mondays from 1 – 2:30 pm
January 9 – Feb. 27 (no session on Feb. 20)
More info

Grand River Stanley Park
Wednesdays from 7 – 8:30 pm
January 11 – February 22
More info

Forest Heights
Saturdays from 10 – 11:30 am
January 14 – February 25
More info

WOMEN’S SOCIAL AND CONVERSATION CIRCLE

Central Library
Thursdays from 10 – 11:30 am
January 12 – February 23
Child minding available for children ages 2-6.
Register only if you require child minding.
More info

MORE RESOURCES

We’ve got books, magazines, movies, and newspapers in many languages, both for children and adults. Learn more here.

Find out more about resources for English as a Second Language learners.

Meet with a settlement worker at the library, available with these languages: Arabic, Dari, English, Farsi, Kurdish, and Spanish.

Find out more about resources and services offered for refugees and sponsors.

 


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Party in the Stacks

andrea-sam-and-craig

Andrea Bellemare of CBC-KW, Sam Allen from the band Run Coyote, and our amazing MC, Craig Norris of CBC-KW

This fall, we held a fundraising kick-off party for our new digital media studio, Studio Central, and we’re overwhelmed with the support we saw from this community. Party in the Stacks was a big success, thanks to so many of you. See the photos below.

It was a sold-out event, with more than 300 people in attendance. We had 14 generous sponsors, 12 companies that supported the event with their time, talent and equipment, and the Downtown Kitchener BIA and local restaurants provided the food.

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Craig Norris from CBC-KW acted as our incredible MC. Our amazing speakers included keynote speaker Gerry Remers, past president of Christie Digital. Steven Woods from Google, City of Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, and Hive Waterloo Region founder Stephanie Rozek.

Performers included the band Run Coyote, magician Scott Hammell, and dancers from Star Performance Academy.

Our volunteers and staff helped the event run smoothly: Karrie Zettler, Veronica Naas, Pam Gruetzmacher, Kim Cluthe, Elaine Tustin-Smith, Sara Faulhafer, Nancy Duncan, Claudia Naas, Sherry Erb, Shelley Zettler, Brandon Abram, Kristin Johnson-Perlock, Robyn Zondervan, Meg Harder, Laura Reed, Janice Colussi,Berkeley Wall, and Jim Tomeo.

To all of you, we can’t thank you enough. Your support and enthusiasm for Studio Central , and will mean so much in this community as we all work together to provide opportunities for digital literacy to everyone. The transformation has already begun, with the installation of a virtual reality system.

Stay tuned as Studio Central continues to develop. We can’t wait to see what you create, record, edit, and share with the world!

Halloween babies!

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little-old-man

It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year!

Not much to say – just check out these babies in disguise. Thank you to their parents and caregivers for allowing us to share them, and to KPL staffer Cheryl Jankowski for inviting us for a photo shoot with these little cuties.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

This gallery contains 9 photos


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Let us help you do it yourself!

GUEST BLOG POST BY AIMEE JEFFREY, LIFELONG LEARNING & LITERACY LIBRARIANdiy-festival-poster-chamo

 

DIY Festival
Saturday October 22, 2016
11 am- 3 pm at Central Library
plus activities at all community libraries

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calling all makers, urban homesteaders, and do-it-yourselfers!

Join us for a day of hands-on learning at our 2nd annual DIY Festival. We have invited an inspiring group of skilled experts to help you become more self-sufficient.

Booths will be set up throughout the Reading Lounge at Central Library with hands-on activities to learn and explore. Walk around, ask questions, and find your new hobby!

There will also be workshops in the lower level throughout the day. Here’s the lineup:

11:00- 11:30
Publishing, Self-publishing, and How to Get Your Work Published with Jane Ann McLachlan

11:45- 12:15
Home Remedies with Joseph Schneider Haus

12:30- 1
Natural Dying of Wool, Fleece, and Yarn with Kitchener Waterloo Weavers and Spinners

1:15- 1:45
Hobbyist Beekeeping with Chris Inch

2:00- 2:30
Student Portfolio Preparation with Sheepdog Animation School

2:45- 3:15
Making a Makerspace with THEMUSEUM

This year we are excited to offer two special events during the Festival. We want to encourage and promote the value of sustainability through clothing repair, reducing waste, and building community. As part of this, we are hosting a Repair-a-thon and a Clothing Swap.

Repair-a-thon: In partnership with Sew Oiseau and KW Sewing Centre. Bring in your damaged clothing to be mended by our volunteers! Buttons/ Hems/ Rips/ Zippers. Please bring your own replacement zipper.

Clothing Swap: Hosted by Trusted Clothes. Bring your gently used, clean clothes to swap for something new (to you). Who doesn’t love free clothes!

There will be activities for all ages, interests, and skill levels. DIY Events will also be happening at all of the community library branches.

For more information, check out our Facebook page or calendar listing.


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Profile: Meg Harder, visual artist

GUEST BLOG POST BY MEG HARDER, SENIOR LIBRARY ASSISTANT

If you frequent Central Library in Kitchener, you might recognize me as the person at the information desk who helps you find that-book-you-heard-about-on-the-radio-can’t-remember-what-the-title-is-maybe-the-cover-had-a-bird-on-it. I imagine that in our many interactions you have come to believe my life looks something like this:

shes-an-old

What you might not have known is that outside of my job at the library, I am a visual artist. So my life is actually more like this:

oh-i-see-ha50kv

But actually, I am very privileged to say I have the freedom to make art that I love and enough community support to keep it going – including the support of the library.  I am a graduate of the University of Waterloo Fine Arts Program, which included an exchange to the Bezealel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, Israel. Inspired by the politically imbued art world I was immersed in while in Israel, I have been interested in understanding the capacity of art to address and affect local communities and issues. Since returning to Canada, I have focused on addressing primarily environmental concerns through sculpture, installation, and collage.

Most recently, I have been pursuing an art practice in alignment with the longstanding animating cultural principal of bio-regionalism, a notion or intuition that we can find our physical and spiritual truth in the local natural systems that we inhabit. The resulting work acts as a point of mediation between individuals and the bio-region and imagines alternative ways of living. This includes resisting artistic practices that require consuming goods that have come from somewhere else.

summer-solstice

Summer Solstice Night Sky from Latitude 45 | 2015

I started by creating some collage work with recycled paper on wood panel which grew in to the work featured in Mediating Nature, my first solo show, which debuted at the Art Gallery at Central Library last winter, supported by The Waterloo Region Arts Fund.

home

Home | 2016, invasive plant material and thread

This past spring I was honoured to be chosen as the first annual artist-in-residence at rare Charitable Research Reserve , an ecological reserve that promotes research, education, and appreciation for local ecology. During my time there, I collaborated with ecologists to create installation and traditional art materials such as paper, pigment, and tools using invasive species or green waste. I hoped this process of art making would not only elevate the local bio-region in the minds of community members but also contribute to restoration of the local environment.

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Civilization of the Wild | 2016, green waste

Drawing on similar ideas, I created the installation Civilization of the Wild featured in the public art biennial Contemporary Art Forum of Kitchener and Area (CAFKA)  this June. This was a site-specific installation of debris huts on Roos Island in Victoria Park where the community was invited to learn and share knowledge about the local bio-region. A debris hut is four-season human shelter made from foraged natural materials inspired by squirrel’s nests. The occupation of Civilization of the Wild in the region’s urban core was meant remind the community of their fundamental connection to the natural world.

You can see more of my work on my website at www.megharder.com. Feel free to subscribe to my e-mail updates for news about future projects.


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Happy Canada Day: Welcoming newcomers

9 A conversation circle

We’d like to wish everyone a happy Canada Day, especially newcomers to Canada who are celebrating with us for the first time.

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve received a grant of $20,470 from the Immigration Partnership Council that we’ll be using to host English conversation circles for Syrian newcomers, beginning this fall. The grant funding will be used to pay for translation services, new resources,  and bus tickets for participants.

On June 24, Premier Kathleen Wynne visited Central Library and met with six local Syrian families for a private conversation circle of their own.

With an Arabic translator on hand, Premier Wynne said “We want you to fell welcome, and we want you to feel that you have opportunities.”

Library CEO Mary Chevreau and Wayne Buchholtz, chair of the library board, led Ms. Wynne on a tour of Central Library. Kitchener-Centre MPP Daiene Vernile and Dr. Liana Nolan, head of public health for Waterloo Region, were our local hosts. Other dignitaries who attended were Deputy Premier Deb Matthews, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworski, and Waterloo Region Chair Ken Seiling.

Librarian Kristin Johnson-Perlock, who leads our multicultural and ESL programming, is still finalising details, but she’ll continue working with our valued community partners on this new initiative.

“So many incredible organizations, agencies, and individuals support refugees and newcomers in this community. It’s really exciting that the library can contribute to these efforts to broaden the scope of programs for refugees and newcomers,” she said.

We’ll be offering English Conversation Circles at Forest Heights Community Library and Grand River Stanley Park Community Library,  and a Women’s Conversation and Social Circle at Central Library.

“Libraries are welcoming spaces that aim to serve everyone in our community. With this grant, KPL has the amazing opportunity to welcome and connect with our newest community members. We hope that these programs will provide refugees and newcomers the chance to practice and learn English in an informal and supportive environment, socialize with others, and feel a part of the community,” Kristin said.

You’ll find more details in our fall issue of In Touch magazine, and on our website later this summer. Please share with your network of friends, family, community organizations and churches to help us reach people who can benefit from these conversation circles.

LEARN MORE

  • More than 28,000 Syrian people have arrived in Canada. Of those, about 1,275 have settled in Waterloo Region, most of them in Kitchener.
  • The Immigration Partnership Fund for Syrian Newcomers continues to accept applications for support from agencies and private sponsors on a rolling basis. The next deadline is July 6, 2016. Community donations up to $400,000 are being matched through The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation.
  • English Conversation Circle: An opportunity to practise speaking English in an informal, safe, and relaxed environment. A chance to improve English language and listening skills; increase confidence in speaking English; learn about Canadian culture and customs; and socialize with others.
  • Women’s Conversation and Social Circle:  For women, with child-minding services provided. An opportunity to practise speaking English in an informal, safe, and relaxed environment, as well as socialize with other mothers. Program content will have a greater focus on topics such as parenting, self-care, women’s issues, etc. Speakers can be invited to discuss relevant topics.
  • Join us for an info session about IELTS (International English Language Testing System) provided by YMCA Immigrant Services

 


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Look, listen, learn: June exhibits & festivals

Be inspired this month as we host a series of art exhibits and demonstrations including sound, photography, history, acrylics, and oils.

We’ve got three new exhibits at Central Library in June, and we’re a partner in two amazing local festivals!
Don’t miss out on:

octave

Credit: New Westminster Media Gallery

OPEN EARS FESTIVAL 
As part of the Open Ears Festival, Central Library is hosting a special sound installation in the Theatre Lobby on the lower level.
Octave by Tristan Perich
Twelve sound panels that project 300 different frequencies; each distributed at equal distances in ascending order over the length of the display. Walking back and forth along the display, listeners get varying perspectives on the different sounds and tones.
Exhibit runs until June 25.

make it kitchener

MAKE IT KITCHENER
As part of Make It Kitchener, an initiative of the City of Kitchener, see the exhibit in the Reading Lounge on the main level.
Dedicated to the makers, hackers, writers, coders, builders, and creators in this city, from 1854 right up to today, the exhibit combines historical and contemporary photos with objects found by Bernie Rohde and curated by Eric Rumble. Be sure to pick up a Make it Kitchener magazine while you’re here.

GRIPS install      June Art Exhibit_GRIPS

GRAND RIVER IMAGING PHOTOGRAPHY SOCIETY (GRIPS)
In the Art Gallery at Central Library, on the lower level.
See this exhibit mounted by members of GRIPS, a club for photographers of all skill levels that strives to increase the enjoyment of photography through workshops, outings, and friendly competition. Exhibit runs until June 30.
Everyone is welcome to attend the Opening Reception on Wednesday, June 8 at 6:30 pm.

 

latitude_logo

LATITUDES STORYTELLING FESTIVAL
As part of the Latitudes festival at Central Library, see these two Artist-at-Work demonstrations:
Saturday, June 11
10 am – noon: Alex van Gaalen, oil painting
1 pm – 3 pm:    Sheila Diemert, acrylics
Feel free to chat with the artists and ask questions as they work.

Learn more about our Artist Program.