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Surrey Libraries Information Access and Literacy Support

Access to education and literacy support provides significant benefits for vulnerable communities, newcomers, families and children in Surrey. Research in the United States and Canada has shown that low literacy is strongly related to crime, unemployment, and youth disengaging from school. A high proportion of prison inmates are functionally illiterate. Literacy is a fundamental skill that opens the door to learning, access to services, and personal development. Breaking the cycle of low literacy leading to future vulnerability and anti-social behaviour is a key focus of this initiative.

Libraries are an important hub for information and support for vulnerable people and help build capability and resilience for these individuals. Surrey Libraries strive to instill the value of literacy in parents through the “Read to Baby” program in partnership with Fraser Health, and early years story time programs. Libraries further support the community with a range of free programs and services including: literacy skills, newcomer support, computer access and training, job finding assistance, referrals to social services, vulnerable population outreach and barrier elimination, volunteer opportunities, and print and non-print collections.

Throughout the library network staff encourage community uptake in these programs and services to improve access to, and awareness of, information. Surrey Libraries’ vision is “Where the power of knowledge inspires people to build a better future.” These services provide significant benefits to the community by enhancing community cohesion and connections. Direct outreach to vulnerable people identifies and targets services to those in the greatest need. Literacy support and training also helps vulnerable people make positive changes in their lives, which may reduce their risks of being victims or offenders as well as contact with the justice system.

“Where the power of knowledge inspires people to build a better future.”- Surrey Libraries vision

Library outreach workers proactively go into the community to identify opportunities for helping vulnerable people access information. They also work with the Surrey Pre-Trial Centre to help those awaiting trial undertake positive literacy training programs. One of the programs of the Pre-Trial centre clients is to build ‘Free library’ boxes to be placed in neighbourhoods for book sharing programs.

Get Involved

Get information at your local Surrey library on how you can set up a “Little Free Library".

How we'll measure success

  • Access Cards Distributed
  • Vulnerable Populations Reached

Surrey Libraries Information Access and Literacy Support Partners

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