KITCHENER – At Forest Heights Library there is a small display of books and materials in Arabic, a new addition to help incoming Syrian refugees.
“We put it on a prominent place,” said branch manager Chris Schnarr.
The collection of books and materials was added to the shelves at the community branch this week and the hope is that it will provide newcomers with a little reminder of home and a chance to learn English or improve their skills. language skills.
Books in foreign languages are generally kept at the central branch of the Kitchener Public Library.
But over the past week, Arabic titles and DVDs have been distributed to the library’s four community branches to make the titles more accessible to the more than 1,000 Syrian refugees expected to arrive in Waterloo region.
“Just knowing about the arrival of so many refugees has given us the opportunity to work with local community organizations to see how we can help,” said Laura Luopa, Manager of Services information at the Kitchener Public Library.
She said that resources such as English as a second language and books on Canada for native speakers of Arabic will also be available next year.
“We anticipate that there will be several people in the community looking for help with ESL, perhaps trying to improve their English,” Luopa said.
The hope, Luopa explained, is that newcomers will have easy access to documents in Arabic, no matter where they are.
“The center (branch) may not be as accessible for some of them,” she added.
The library already hosts conversation circles in English, but also hopes to schedule nightly tours of the library for newcomers to explore the resources available to them.
Welcome meetings for people who have privately sponsored refugees are also underway, Luopa said.
At Forest Heights Library, the shelf of fifty titles in Arabic has already attracted the attention of passers-by.
“The Arabic script has caught the attention of a few families,” Schnarr said.
“A few people have already checked the documents.”