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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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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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New goals for 2016? We can help!

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So it’s a new year, and you’ve got plans and goals, and things you want to do and achieve and BE. Let’s not call them resolutions, because research suggests that only about 8 per cent of people stick to them.

I think you’re perfect just the way you are! But if you want to try something new in 2016, we can help. And remember, all of our resources and programs are free. Here are a few ideas:

LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE
In addition to books and CDs, we have an online learning program with grammar and speaking lessons in more than 90 languages. No experience necessary, you just need a library card to sign in. Try Transparent Language Online today.

EXPRESS YOURSELF
Join former artist, poet, and filmmaker Janice Jo Lee for spoken word poetry workshops at Central Library, beginning next week. No experience is necessary; attend one, two, or all three. Learn about storytelling, activism, and performance.

MOVE MORE
Find out if Aquafit is a good fit for you. Take a Curvy Yoga class (yoga is for every body!) in January or February. Bring your baby to yoga. Join us for an Azonto Dance Workshop, part of our Black History Month celebrations.

GET OUTSIDE
Borrow a pedometer and count your steps. Come out with us for a few nights of winter stargazing. Join us for a winter hike at the Huron Natural Area.

MEET NEW PEOPLE
Come out for a fun, no-pressure round of Friend Speed-Dating: it’s like dating, but just to meet potential new friends. Like movies, or reading? Meet and socialize with people who share your interests at Film Club or one of our many book clubs. Or try new games and drink free coffee at Board Game Cafe nights.

VOLUNTEER
Share your talents with your community by volunteering at Kitchener Public Library. Or find out if fostering a pet is right for you; you could help KW Humane Society by caring for pets until they find a forever home.

PRESERVE YOUR PAST
Learn how to write your family story. Save your old film, slides and VHS tapes for free, using our digital conversion tools. Find out the best way to organize your files and photos in this helpful workshop. Or contact Karen Ball-Pyatt, our local history librarian, for a 30 minute one-on-one genealogy coaching session.

BECOME FINANCIALLY FIT
Take care of your money so it can take care of you! Learn about budget and money management basics, effective tax strategies, retirement planning, lines of credit, credit reports, and more. We’ve got a finance class that’s just right for you.

There’s plenty more! Check out our website and take a look at our calendar of programs and events. Whatever your goals and dreams and aspirations are for 2016, we can help make them come true.

 


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We’re thankful for: our volunteers

Thank you pumpkins

It’s Thanksgiving, and we want to take this opportunity to thank an incredible group of people – our volunteers.

On October 7th, we honoured their service at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Night.

Because we have volunteers from such a diverse age range, from teenagers who have just started with us, and up to adults who have volunteered for 35 years (!), the theme of the evening was cross-generational support.

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Volunteer profile: Maddie Fielding, Jill of all trades

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We’re celebrating National Volunteer Week with profiles of some our amazing volunteers!

Maddie Fielding is one amazing teen. She’s been volunteering with us here at the library for more than three years, and cheerfully tackles any task we give her.

If you’ve been to any of our major public events, you’ve probably seen her smiling face: she’s helped out at Kidspark, Family Literacy Day, and the Word on the Street Festival, and our community Kids’ Clubs.

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Volunteer profile: Carlos Benevides, Reading Buddy

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We’re celebrating National Volunteer Week with profiles of our amazing volunteers! 

When he’s not behind the microphone at 91.5 The Beat, Carlos Benevides can often be found at Kitchener Public Library.

The charismatic, energetic radio host has been a Reading Buddy volunteer for about two years. Reading Buddies work one-on-one with children who can read, but need a little more practise.

Carlos found his way to our doors through a zany radio experiment a few years ago: 30 Deeds in 30 Days. He volunteered at a different local organization every day for 30 days in a row, sharing his experiences with radio listeners and writing about it too.

His goal was to highlight how easy it is to make a difference, once you’ve found the right volunteer position among the many opportunities available. It was fellow radio colleague and library board member Mike Farwell who suggested he give Reading Buddies a try.

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Volunteer profile: Maca Suazo, shelf reader

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We’re celebrating National Volunteer week with profiles of just a few of our amazing volunteers!

Maca Suazo has a long and deep connection to libraries and literature. In her native country of Chile, patrons were not allowed to browse, but had to request books that were kept in locked glass cases. Her mother travelled by train to access books to read aloud to Maca.

When she came to Canada in 1998, she was amazed first by the five-storey library at York University, where her husband was a student, and then by the Toronto Public Library, with its thousands of picture books and books in Spanish for her daughters.

She moved to Kitchener seven years ago and now volunteers as a shelf reader at Central Library.

Shelf readers make sure our collection is tidy and that every item is filed in its proper place, so customers can always find what they’re looking for.

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