Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 4:00 PM

Library Partnership Improves Accessibility for Immigrants

Today, the St. John’s Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) together with Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries (NLPL) announced the results of the Welcome Project, which will improve language accessibility and intercultural learning at public libraries.

“When newcomers arrive in St. John’s we want them to feel welcome,” said Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth, Chair of the Community Services Standing Committee. “Improving accessibility by removing language barriers and creating more opportunities for learning at our local libraries is an important part of the welcoming process.”

The project has been made possible through an $11,500 grant from Cities for People – an initiative of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation - in partnership with Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Libraries are natural places of convergence for newcomers and residents alike - they bring together people curious to find out more about the world around them, but also places where people find comfort and familiarity,” said Remzi Cej, Chair of Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission. “We are pleased to see the St. John's libraries promoting inter-cultural understanding and respect for cultural and linguistic diversity in our communities, which will help promote respect for the dignity and human rights of all our residents."

The Welcome Project’s investment will provide many new library services and enhancements:

  • Over 320 new dual language picture books in English and 47 other languages
  • Over 100 new single language picture books in French, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic
  • Over 50 new multicultural picture books in English
  • ‘PENpal’ pens that allow readers to hear books read out loud to them in several languages
  • Translation of basic library information into several languages

Libraries play a key role in facilitating learning, and creating a sense of belonging. By expanding its collections to include resources in many languages the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries are reducing barriers newcomers may face when accessing library services.
Media Contact:
Kelly Maguire
Media Relations
City of St. John's