Feb. 7, 2014
Hanover Library Wins a Second Ministry of Culture Award
At the recent Ontario Library Association conference in Toronto, Hanover Library was again in the spotlight. Michael Chan, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport presented library CEO Agnes Rivers-Moore with the Minister’s Award for Innovation, small libraries category, for the ESL Café. This is the second year running that the Hanover Library has won a provincial award.
Moving to a new country with a different culture and language can be daunting, to say the least. Newcomers to Canada can feel isolated and alone, and there are very few resources in rural areas and small towns to assist them. Could the library be of more help to new Canadians in easing their transition to living in our community? Recognizing the need in the community, Assistant Librarian Theresa Seim (retired) was inspired to find a way to help.
She contacted the Adult Education centre to partner with the Library to present the ESL Café, which she launched in the summer of 2012. This monthly get-together is free and open to everyone. It is a way for people to meet new friends, offer mutual support, learn about the community, and practice their language skills in an informal relaxed atmosphere. The library provides space, light refreshments, and a staff member to organize the sessions and facilitate discussion.
The ESL Café has changed lives in many positive ways, and continues to support newcomers. One participant said “For me, the group was like my first ‘home’ in Canada. The group helps me to understand that this is my place. They help me to deal with the challenges and find new opportunities. This group, to us, is more than words can describe. It has helped my soul and my mind, and opened all the doors.” Another remarked “I love to get together and share our experiences in Canada, our achievements, our goals. This group is like a small family of people who have something in common.”
If you or someone you know would benefit from participating in the ESL Café, the next meeting is on Wednesday, March 26 at 7:00 pm. Call or visit the library for more information.