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AT THE LIBRARY: Welcome to your public library

By Greg Hayward

Moving to a new community can be difficult, and one of the biggest challenges can be just getting to know your new home. This can be even more of a challenge for newcomers to Canada who may face other barriers like learning a new language or local customs. Luckily, the library has many resources to help!

In November, we will be offering financial literacy workshops for newcomers at the Antigonish Town and County Library and the New Glasgow Library. Whether you are wondering about ‘banking stuff’, ‘government benefits’ or ‘income tax' - or maybe you have questions about buying a home, student loans, credit and credit cards, budgeting, social benefits, tax credits, or loans to support a small business? Then this session will be the right place for you. All are welcome to join us for a one-hour financial literacy workshop at the library. It will be offered in both Arabic and English. The public presentation will be followed up by one-on-one appointments. These workshops have been made possible through the partnership and support from the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration, YREACH, Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and RBC.

The two Antigonish Town and County Library workshops will take place on Nov. 14. The first workshop starts at 11:30 a.m.; the second workshop starts at 5 p.m. For more information and to register, please email jubanti@awrcsasa.ca

The two New Glasgow Library workshops will take place on Nov. 15. The first workshop starts at noon; the second workshop starts at 5 p.m. For more information and to register please email wendy.hughes@halifax.ymca.ca

Here at the library, we believe all newcomers are vital to the growth of our communities, whether you are from another province or another country. Each of our library branches acts as a Newcomer Welcome Centre where you can find information and in-person help to get to know your new community. We also provide 24/7 access to many online resources on our Newcomer Welcome Centre homepage, which you can find on our website www.parl.ns.ca. Two examples of great local resources included on that page are the Pictou County Settlement Guide, a great guide for anyone new to the area with information on housing, healthcare, education, faith communities and more; and Pictou County 150 (+1): 151 Great Things About the Place We Call Home, a guide to the many wonderful things Pictou County has to offer and includes activities for all ages and abilities.

Rocket Languages is another resource available to anyone with a library card. This online language learning program allows users to learn conversational language at their own pace and, with downloadable lessons, you can be learning a language anywhere. Rocket Languages is also available as a free app for Android and iOS devices - just search your favourite app store. All you need is your library card to start learning a new language.

At your local library, you will also find many print materials that help support newcomers to our area. We have everything from library welcome brochures in four different languages (English, French, Arabic and Tagalog) to dual language books in a variety of languages, language learning kits and books that celebrate the diversity of our communities. Our 100 Books to Celebrate Diversity collection offers something for everyone and reflects the diversity and strength that newcomers bring to our community. The full list of books in that collection is available at www.parl.ns.ca or you can visit your local library to speak with our staff about what books might appeal to you.

The library welcomes everyone to visit and learn more about our services and your community.

Greg Hayward is the technical services librarian and branch librarian for the New Glasgow Library

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