Monday, November 2, 2009

Newcomers to Canada benefit from the Library Settlement Partnership at Ottawa Public Library

November 02, 2009
Ottawa Public Library (OPL) staff, along with partners from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and various settlement agencies, celebrated the Library Settlement Partnerships (LSP) program, a service now available at the OPL that will help newcomers to Ottawa more successfully settle and integrate into their new home. Made possible through a three-way partnership between Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the settlement sector and public libraries, the Library Settlement Partnerships program provide information referral, and other services for newcomers in ten branches of the Ottawa Public Library. The program has been rolled out in 11 communities in Ontario and is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

“Our government is helping make settlement services more accessible to immigrants,” said Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney. “Through this program, newcomers living in the area can access information on housing, transportation and employment opportunities in their neighbourhood library. Improving their access to settlement services will not only ease their transition to life in Canada, but also strengthen the community as a whole.”

“We are enormously proud to be able to provide newcomers with a program that will make their move to a new country a little bit easier. By offering the LSP program in our branches, newcomers to Ottawa can make a smoother transition to their new home,” said Barbara Clubb, city librarian. “The library already offers many services to newcomers of all ages. These range from story times in Mandarin to preparing for the citizenship test in Arabic. The Library Settlement Partnerships program makes a wonderful complement to the already existing services.”

The celebration of the Library Settlement Partnerships program, held at the Main Branch, coincided with the official unveiling of the branch’s recently renovated Newcomer Services space. The space provides the newcomer information officer a dedicated area in which to meet with clients and develop programs to help newcomers settle into the community. The funding to construct the Newcomer Services space was provided by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA).

LSP partners include Citizenship & Immigration Canada, the Ottawa Public Library, the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization, the Lebanese and Arab Social Services Agency, the Somali Centre for Family Services, the Ottawa Chinese Community Services Centre and Conseil Économique & Social d'Ottawa-Carleton.

For more information about the many services offered to newcomers at OPL, please visit the OPL website at www.BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca or call Info Service at 613-580-2940.