Karen (who asked that her last name not be published) praises the Library Champions program at Muriel Arnason Library. Supplied

A Library Champion’s story

Program for newcomers at Muriel Arnason Library in Langley helps adjustment to new life in Canada

The Library Champions Project offers a volunteer opportunity for Langley newcomers that helps them adapt to their new home, a former participant said.

“Coming to a new country, I didn’t realize how challenging it could be until we made the move,” said Karen (who asked that her last name not be used) who recently immigrated to Canada with her family from the Philippines.

“As a new immigrant, with no Canadian experience, finding an employment opportunity in BC was hard.”

The Library Champions Project (LCP) became an opportunity to gain her first Canadian work experience as a volunteer for the Fraser Valley Regional Library.

“What I appreciated the most about the LCP is that beyond giving me the opportunity to gain Canadian work experience, it has provided me with a support system in dealing with the challenges of being a new immigrant,” she said.

“Further, LCP gave me a better understanding, respect and appreciation for different cultural backgrounds. LCP also allowed me to immerse in my local community.”

“Listening to the stories and the experiences of other new immigrant volunteers made me realize that the challenges I was going through were normal phases of immigration.”

Public Library resources in her home country “can be a bit limited” compared to Canada, she said.

“The services have helped me a lot especially with my daughter who has developed a love for books. We regularly visit the library and borrow books … and it’s all for free!

She said the best advice she can give to future newcomers is to network.

”There are many benefits to doing this but the top two for me would be that you get less homesick when you are meeting new people and you get easier access to helpful information for new immigrants. “

She is currently working as an office coordinator for Back In Motion which is a part of Avia Employment Services (WorkBC).

”My involvement in the Library Champions Project helped me prepare for this role in that I was able to practice my social and interpersonal skills in a multi-cultural environment,”Karen said.

Any City of Langley/Township of Langley resident who is a permanent resident and over 19 can participate in the LCP program. An information session will be held at Muriel Arnason Library on Friday, Sept, 21, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 pm.

For more information and registration details, visit www.librarychampions.ca, or call Muriel Arnason Library at 604-532-3590.

The library is located at 20338 65 Ave.

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