Hi, my name is Ann Johannes and I’m the Community Development Liaison. One of my favourite programs that I participate in is the Library Champions Program (LCP). It is a three-month volunteer program that gives new immigrants valuable Canadian experience. To participate, you need a PR number and be able to speak enough English to communicate with other newcomers.
During the project, Library Champions are trained to conduct outreach to other new immigrants. The LCP’s training sessions focus on building communication, presentation and outreach skills and on the range of programs, services, and resources that are available in libraries and out in the community.
With COVID, the program has changed a lot! We used to meet in person for 3-hour sessions but now, everything is done online. In the current session that’s going on now, we’re meeting once a week for 6 weeks for training and then we have 3 check-in sessions while people are doing their outreach. Again, most of the outreach is done online or through social media and there’s a fair bit of flexibility in how it’s all done.
All the Library Champions I’ve met have been just amazing people – who love libraries and see all the benefits that libraries provide to a community. They know more about the services that libraries offer than most people and I love the passion and enthusiasm the Champions have for libraries.
The Champions become friends, and support each other through the challenges and joys that newcomers – and all of us - face. We’re even running two programs – the English as an Additional Language Book Club and the Chess Club - that were ideas that former Champions had.
If you’re interested in getting involved in the next round of Library Champions training, please contact Branka Vlasic
or Ann Johannes