Supporting Ukrainian newcomers, one book at a time

It has been 18 months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which spurred millions of Ukrainian refugees to flee their home country. Strathcona County welcomed Ukrainian refugees with open arms, offering a variety of services to newcomers—from counselling services, to free and discounted recreation and transit passes, to resources and classes at the Library, just to name a few.

Donations to purchase Ukrainian children’s books

As Ukrainian newcomers were settling in our community, the Library received many requests for Ukrainian language children’s books to help children cope in their new situation. As soon as Friends heard of this request, we approved a donation to purchase children’s books published in the Ukrainian language. By all reports, the books have been well used and newcomers have been introduced to our wonderful library and a welcoming new community.

In addition to this donation, we are pleased to report that the lucky winner of our 2023 St. Patrick’s Day 50/50 Raffle generously donated her winnings back to Friends for the purpose of purchasing more Ukrainian children’s books!

How the Library supports newcomers

In the face of displacement, the Library serves as a space of solace and healing for refugees. It offers a temporary escape from the challenges and traumas they may have experienced, providing a safe haven where they can immerse themselves in stories, information and creativity. The act of reading and learning (especially in their first language) can offer respite from the difficulties of their new lives and help alleviate feelings of isolation and alienation.

In the broader context, the Library provides newcomers with vital tools for their future endeavours. Access to educational resources, language learning materials and information
technology equips them with skills that can lead to better employment opportunities and self-sufficiency. The Library’s role as an information hub can empower refugees to navigate their new environment and community effectively.

The Strathcona County Library offers resources and classes to support new immigrants and English-language learners. The Library also hosts a settlement practitioner from the Edmonton Immigrant Services Association who can help newcomers with tasks like:

  • Finding a place to live
  • Setting up bank accounts
  • Assessing work skills and licenses
  • Helping students adjust to a new school

Friends has supported Ukrainian newcomers who visit our library, one book at a time. It may seem like a little thing in the midst of chaos, but it is a way to welcome newcomers to our library and to our caring community. With your donations to Friends, you have helped make an impact on the lives of many newcomers—thank you for your support!

One comment

  1. Extremely well said.
    Makes me feel proud to be a member of the Friends of Strathcona County Library Society. A big thank you to all the executive and all the friends volunteers who have helped make this possible.

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