George Mackie Library community librarian Minakshi Sidhu is offering appointments in Punjabi and Hindi for those looking to learn more about library services in their own language. (Grace Kennedy photo)

North Delta library offering individual sessions in Punjabi, Hindi

Community librarian Minakshi Sidhu is available for sessions on Mondays and Thursdays

English isn’t a requirement to experience local libraries.

That’s the message librarian Minakshi Sidhu is trying to share through a new program at North Delta’s George Mackie Library, one that allows library users to book individual sessions with a librarian in Punjabi or Hindi.

“This idea is an old idea, book-a-librarian, in other languages,” Sidhu said. “But it works all the time. It’s just, we have something. You can talk to somebody in your native language.”

Sidhu first worked at the George Mackie Library in 2010, offering computer lessons in both Punjabi and Hindi.

“We would have line ups, and long waiting lists,” she said. “I thought this is a really good service to provide. It’s reflecting our services and how we want everybody to feel [they] belong to their local library.”

Now that’s she back at the Mackie as the community librarian, taking over for now-retired Frances Thomson, she wanted to bring a similar program back. But the needs of the community, she found, are a little different than what they were eight years ago.

“They have bachelor degrees, so their needs might be different than 10 years ago when they wanted to learn computers,” she said about the immigrant community. “Now they want to search jobs, contribute right away, because they are highly educated.”

Sidhu is the only librarian that speaks both languages and has been offering the sessions twice a week since the beginning of July. She is available Mondays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to noon, for bookings.

The scope of each session is different, depending on what the community member needs, Sidhu said. Sometimes it’s an introduction to the library’s many online resources for skill upgrading, job searching or language learning. Other times it could be referrals to an outside resource, or a general overview of the libraries.

“Sometimes people think that libraries are books and nothing else,” she said. “Well, those days are gone.”

Now, as the community librarian, Sidhu finds the book-a-librarian program not only brings more people to the library, but also helps her get an understanding of the type of programming they would like to see.

“Sometimes they have questions, but they hesitate and they shy away from asking, or telling,” she said. “That telling might be very, very valuable.

“‘Unless I tell you what I think, you can’t help me.’”

Sidhu knows the importance of libraries well, through her career and her own experience as an immigrant. Sidhu came to Canada from India in December 2004.

“When I was a new immigrant, I know the first step I took was going to the local library,” she said.

“Although I had tons of experience, every other country is different,” Sidhu continued. “It answered quite a few of my questions: what is required, how can I make it happen.”

The program at the George Mackie Library is still new, but Sidhu has high hopes for its future.

“I want people to take benefit out of it,” she said. “I want more people to come to the libraries. I want them to take this information into the community so they can help other people, because this is their library as well.”

“The face of North Delta is changing,” she continued. She hopes that more community services will come to North Delta, so the library can partner with them, but for now, “wherever we see the need, we have to be there.”

“This is the first step, offering something in their own language.”

Anyone interested in booking Sidhu for an appointment is invited to call the library at 604-594-8155, or visit the library in person.



grace.kennedy@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

BREAKING: Cloverdale McDonald’s employee tests positive for COVID-19

McDonald’s Canada immediately shut down the restaurant

Southridge students raise $5,600 for hospital meal program

GoFundMe campaign funds two months of meals at Peace Arch Hospital

Surrey kids get cooking during free SuperChefs camps pushed online by pandemic

‘Enthusiastic’ launch of program, which sees ingredient pickup at one local school

Court awards woman $143K for two Whalley rear-ender crashes, one by a bus

In both cases, Brigitte Bergeron’s vehicle was hit from behind while stopped at an intersection

Surrey RCMP searching for missing woman last seen in Crescent Beach

Milcah Kasomali-Chirumbwana last seen at 4:35 p.m. July 5 in the 12300-block of Beecher Street

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Abbotsford school vice-principal accused of getting Instagram ‘confessions’ page shut down

@A.S.S.S.Confessions page claims school officials contacted families to find out person behind page

Recreational chinook openings leave First Nations frustrated on the Lower Fraser

Limited recreational openings for chinook on the Chehalis and Chilliwack rivers being questioned

Most Read