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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.

ecc-volunteers

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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National Volunteer Week: Alison Bullock

We’re celebrating National Volunteer Week, April 10 – 16!

Meet Alison Bullock, an integral part of the team that runs French Immersion Tutors at Forest Heights Community Library.

Bilingual volunteers help French immersion students with their homework every Thursday afternoon from 4 – 5:30 pm.

It’s a volunteer position that’s perfectly suited to Alison, who is a Digital Literacy Support Teacher at Waterloo Region District School Board. That means she’s a technology coach for teachers and students, helping them integrate technology into the curriculum. She has a workload of 25 elementary schools, about half of which are French immersion schools.

Alison Bullock

Alison Bullock

“I’ve always been a huge believer in libraries. I’ve always appreciated that it’s there for me, with free books and community events,” she says.

As a child, Alison went to KW Bilingual School, and took French immersion at Elmira District Secondary School. Volunteering is one way she keeps her language ability strong.

“I have to speak and think in French at least once a week, so that’s good to keep my fluency going, too,” she says.

Alison and the other team members help students with specific homework assignments, or use technology to practise French in a more informal way if there’s no homework to be done. And she’s taking a leadership role by training other volunteers in how to use online games, Tumble Books, and apps such as TFO, to help integrate technology into tutoring.

“We’re morphing and changing how we do things,” she says, noting that it’s not always beneficial for a child who just spent all day at school to come to the library and sit at a table for tutoring. That’s why volunteers make an effort to sit on couches or the floor and use interactive learning tools.

Alison notes that French Immersion Tutors can be particularly helpful for families with parents who speak little or no French. For the students, “just to sit and speak, to think and process in that language can be beneficial,” she says.

Alison has also trained to be a shelf reader. During the summer months, she plans to help us keep our French language resources in good shape on days when rain keeps her from the golf course.

Alison, thank you for all you do to contribute to your community!

FRENCH IMMERSION TUTORS
Thursdays at Forest Heights until May 12
1/2 hour sessions
4 pm, 4:30 pm, and 5 pm
Register for each session you wish to attend

Learn more about language resources at KPL
including books and DVDs in French for children and adults


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March Break Boredom Busters

Central - Art Smash 4

We had an amazing March Break at Central Library and all four community libraries, and we hope you did too!

The staff of Children’s and Teen Services planned and hosted more than 50 Boredom Buster free events and programs, with more than 2,000 participants.

It was a week-long party including arts and crafts, opportunities to play with technology, and Free Flicks on the big screen. We offered video games, Lego, Sphero robots, Star Wars, Evergreen Environmental Adventures, wild animals, and Superman vs. Batman. There was something for everyone, from video competition workshops for teens to toddler dance parties.

Cheers to the staff who schemed and dreamed and planned and pulled this all off: Aleida, Barb, Cheryl, Christy, Emily, Farzaneh, Jen, Karen B., Karen, W., Kelly, Kira, Olga, Olivia, Priscilla, Roberta, and Sarah, and to Laura Reed, Manager of Children’s and Teen Services.

There are months of unseen work that go into creating this one fantastic (but sometimes frantic) week, and we applaud you.

 

 


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Happy trails to you, Ann Wood!

1977_Halloween_Ann Bullock

Ann Wood, Halloween, 1979

Silly Love Songs by Paul McCartney and Wings was playing on on the eight-track.  People got off the couch and changed the channel from Laverne and Shirley to Charlie’s Angels. Pet rocks and jumping beans were almost as popular as real pets.

It was 1976 when Ann Wood started her career at Kitchener Public Library, and we kept her here for four decades. But this week, we say goodbye as she leaves for a well-deserved retirement.

Ann started in the cataloguing department, and moved into public services in 1989 working as branch manager at both Pioneer Park and Forest Heights community libraries.  While at Forest Heights, she returned to school and earned her MLIS from the University of Western Ontario.

Since then she’s held several positions of increasing responsibility, including co-ordinator of public service, co-ordinator of electronic library resources, and acting manager of public and technical services.

She began her current role as Senior Manager of Public Services in March, 2000, where she oversees all the librarians and other information services staff, children’s and teen services, borrower’s services, volunteer services, and the community libraries. It’s a huge role, and one that she has managed extremely well.

2006_Kidspark_1

Ann with Marketing and Communications Manager Dale Dyce at a rainy KidsPark, 2009.

But that’s the boring, obvious stuff. What’s harder to convey about Ann is her sense of humour, her willingness to help at any task, the mentorship she has offered to people at all levels throughout the organization, her warmth and friendship. I’m not in Ann’s department, but I’ve turned up at her door many times with a stupid question, or an idea I wanted to discuss, and she’s unfailingly gracious with her time and knowledge.

“Ann’s the best. She understands people and the library like no one else I have ever worked with, and she has taught me so much,” says Laura Reed, Manager of Children’s and Teens Services. “We have laughed and cried and cussed, a lot. I will miss her every day.”

“She’s been my mentor for 25 years. I’ve had the privilege of working under Ann in a variety of roles and I’ve always known I can go to her with any situation or issue. I’ve grown under her leadership and support,” says Sheila Bauman, Events Planner at KPL.

No one will fill Ann’s place – literally. We’ve restructured departments and roles, and Penny-Lynn Fielding,  formerly Manager of Strategic Planning and Projects, is taking on the role of Director, Customer and Community Engagement.

“It’s hard to imagine Kitchener Public Library without Ann Wood,” Penny-Lynn says. “Her dedication to customer service excellence will have a lasting impact. We’ll miss her sense of humour and creative approaches to library service.”

Happy trails to you, Ann! We hope your retired life allows plenty of time for dog walking, horseback riding, reading, and wine.

 

 

 


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TGIF: Feb. 13 – 14

Long weekend

Happy Family Day weekend everyone, and happy Valentine’s Day! It’s going to be extremely cold outside but we’ve got plenty of indoor activities to keep you warm, including live music, family-friendly crafts, stories, and music, and an art exhibit. And for the bravest of you, we’re even hosting a winter hike!

All library locations are open Saturday, Feb. 13, and Central Library is open on Sunday, Feb. 14 from 1 – 5 pm, with FREE parking. All locations are closed on Monday for Family Day, but check the bottom of this post for a few great community events.

And remember, any time is a good time to browse, read, borrow magazines, movies, and music, visit the Art Gallery or Hacienda Coffee at Central Library, discover and create in the Digital Media Lab or at the Tech Bar, or relax and unwind with colouring pages for adults.

SATURDAY

Kitchener Market – Take the kids and take a break at the KPL Kids’ Club on the upper level. 9 am – 11 am

Huron Natural Area – Join us for a and learn to recognize common animal tracks. Part of our It’s On series, created for the 20s/30s crowd.  10 am – noon

Central Library – It’s a Teddy Bear Picnic! Bring your favourite stuffed toy and celebrate love. All ages. 10 am – 10:30 am

Forest HeightsLove is in the Air with these stories and songs for kids and their families and loved ones. All ages. 10:30 am – 11:30 am

Forest Heights – You’ve heard of speed dating, now try Friend Speed Dating. A great way to meet new people. Part of our It’s On series, created for the 20s/30s crowd. 2 pm – 4 pm

Pioneer Park – Create Art from the Heart – a mixed-media masterpiece for yourself or for someone you love. For children and families. 2 pm – 3:30 pm

Grand River Stanley Park –  Create Art from the Heart – a mixed-media masterpiece for yourself or for someone you love. For children and families. 2 pm – 3:30 pm

Central Library – Try a little tenderness and join us for an 80s Flashback Free Flick, Pretty in Pink. Watch the trailerRated AA. 2 pm – 3:40 pm

SUNDAY

Central Library – Settle in to the beautiful Reading Lounge for live jazz with this week’s Music in the Lounge performance by the Willem Moolenbeek Trio. All ages. 1:30 – 2:30 pm

Central Library – A dinosaur-themed amusement park. What could possibly go wrong? Today’s Free Flick is Jurassic World! Watch the trailer. Rated PG. 2 pm – 4 pm

MONDAY – All library locations are closed. Check out these community events!

KW Art Gallery – A fun-filled annual Family Day Celebration, with activities, art, and storytellers from Kitchener Public Library. Suggested donation of $5 per child. All ages. 1 – 4 pm.

Kitchener City Hall – Bring on the Sunshine hosts African Festival 2016, with music, food, workshops, and a craft market. Entrance by donation. Free parking underground. All ages. 10 am – 6 pm

The Aud – Join MPP Daiene Vernile for a free Family Day Public Skate. All ages. 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm

TheMuseum – Stay all day for robots, MakeyMakey, coding, Minecraft and more with Year of Code Waterloo Region’s Family Hack Jam.$8.95. All ages. 10 am – 4 pm.

Vernile_Skate-poster_web

Bring on the Sunshine


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Family fun at Forest Heights

Forest Heights Community Library is our busiest community library. Aside from being right in the centre of a great neighbourhood, it’s also attached to Forest Heights Collegiate and Forest Heights Pool.

So it’s no surprise this location is the hub for west-side family activities, and the staff there had an incredibly busy November. Take a look at the action:

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