By Laura Lukasik, special to the News
The Hamilton Public Library is a hub for many members of our community. If you are new to Canada or know someone who is, we welcome you to visit your neighbourhood branch to get a free library card and discover all of the programs, services and collections available to help you as you settle in Hamilton.
Of course, the library has many wonderful collections including dual language books and picture dictionaries. Dual language books, written in English and another language, are available at many branches, including Terryberry, Turner Park and Sherwood. For many individuals learning English, it is helpful to see words in English and words in their first language. Family Language Kits are backpacks full of dual language books and picture dictionaries for the whole family to use. Kits with CDs and books are also available to borrow and are helpful to adults learning English.
If you have a computer or use the computer at the library, be sure to try our online programs. Learning Express now offers Canadian citizenship practice tests and Mango Languages features 14 English-as-a-second-language courses. With TumbleBooks, a children’s online program, you can listen to stories and follow along as each word is spoken. This is a fun way to learn new words and practice pronunciation.
Hamilton Public Library’s Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada program is generously funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The program staff is TESL certified and match trained volunteers with adult newcomer learners so that they may work together on spoken and written English skills. Volunteers are always needed! It is based out of the Central Library on the fourth floor. You will find many resources there to help with your English.
A partnership with the YMCA makes it possible for settlement workers to be available in six library branches to provide referrals and information to newcomers. The Library Settlement Program also offers English Conversation Circles designed so that newcomers can improve their spoken English and meet new people. Special information sessions with guest speakers are also offered and feature topics related to life in Canada.
Canadian citizenship test preparation sessions are currently offered at Central Library and Red Hill branch, with plans to add Terryberry branch to the list. The program consists of two sessions, one held each week, and covers information from the Discover Canada Guide Book. The program is presented in partnership with St. Joseph’s Immigrant Women’s Centre and is limited to 10 people.
The Hamilton Public Library has so much to offer and it is all free. Newcomers to Canada will certainly discover a welcoming staff and helpful information available through our collections, programs and services. Visit your local branch or the Hamilton Public Library’s website (www.hpl.ca) or call 905-546-3200 to find out more.
Laura Lukasik is Hamilton Public Library’s manager of partnerships and outreach.