April 11, 2024

New Westminster Public Library is excited to announce the launch of a revamped, city-wide literary festival. The newly coined Bridges Literary Festival will be held May 9 – 12 in partnership with local businesses and organizations.

“We are so thrilled to provide the opportunity for local residents to celebrate and connect over a love of the literary arts,” says Caitlin MacRae, Programming Librarian at New Westminster Public Library. “For this year, we have 15 events taking place across the city, including author talks, kids’ storytimes, crafts, author panels, a book launch, a local author book club and discussion, poetry readings, workshops and social events! The idea is to not just passively consume stories but to learn how to create and share them, whether you are a budding novelist, poet or just want some advice with your own writing,” says MacRae.

The festival is the library’s first since prior to the COVID pandemic. While the focus is local, the aspiration is to use this first year as a launchpad to grow into a larger event each year.

“As a small library we wanted to capitalize on the power of partnership and community to deliver a festival that would appeal to as many as possible. What we have assembled here is a starting place that will hopefully grow to represent as many experiences and points of view as possible,” says Elaine Su, Chair of the Library Board of Trustees.

For this inaugural outing, the library is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Arts New West, Groove Cat Books & Records, Kinder Books, Moodswing Coffee + Bar, New West Writers, Royal City Literary Arts Society, SFU Writer’s Studio, Steel & Oak Brewing Co., and Wildfires Bookshop. All events are free and residents are encouraged to pick up a flyer or visit the library’s festival web page for details at http://nwpl.ca/bridges

About the New Westminster Public Library
Founded in 1865, the New Westminster Public Library is committed to providing accessible and responsive community services, that balance the needs of traditional library users with those seeking the tools and experiences of a modern, technologically relevant public space. The library provides dynamic and vibrant means for the community to continually grow, learn, and succeed.

For more information, contact Caitlin MacRae, Programming Librarian, cmacrae@nwpl.ca.


September 5, 2023

The New Westminster Public Library announces What Housing Means to Me, a photovoice exhibit running through the entire month of September 2023. The exhibit includes photographs and recorded stories of a number of women experiencing housing precarity and/or homelessness. The project was originally facilitated by Artist-Mentor photographer Mihailo Subotic with funding realized by the Community Poverty Reduction Committee and Douglas College. The goals of this project are to use photography and storytelling to highlight the importance of home, belonging, and community while also facilitating dialogues around affordable housing, and the misconceptions and stereotypes about those living in poverty and experiencing homelessness. The resulting exhibit, features photographs taken by 4 different women with lived experience. This particular exhibit builds on previous displays of the works by including recorded conversations with each of the women. Through both the exhibit and dialogue it is hoped that there will be greater community awareness and support regarding the need for more affordable housing and the value of including those facing housing challenges in future discussions about housing development in our city.

The exhibit has been made possible through a partnership between the New Westminster Public Library and the Changing the Conversation Project at Douglas College. The impetus for the show came out of the relationship-building work Community Librarians have undertaken with vulnerable and marginalized members of our community. The exhibit will highlight the photos and digital stories of each of four women who were involved in the original project. Each of their stories have been made available through sound recordings accessible at www.nwpl.ca/housing. In-person visitors to the library can scan a QR code to learn more about the importance of the project and those involved in bringing it to fruition.

What Housing Means to Me will be available to view starting September 1, 2023, on the top floor of the Library’s main branch at 716 6th Avenue.

For more information, contact Liz Hunter, Community Librarian Lead, lhunter@nwpl.ca.

Joining the ranks of several libraries across Canada, the New Westminster Public Library is thrilled to announce the launch of a Seed Library, beginning February 11, 2023.

“We hope people will take some seeds, grow a garden however and wherever they are, then bring some of the seeds they produce back to us for sharing,” says Caitlin MacRae, librarian at NWPL and coordinator of the Seed Library. “Saving seeds is actually fun, free, and a great way to expand your knowledge of gardening while being a part of a larger community effort to go green.” Users will have free access to a variety of seed types including vegetables, flowers and a variety of herbs.

The idea of a seed library is not new for libraries but is for the New Westminster Public Library. “It’s one thing to loan out books about gardening” says Christopher Koth, Manager of Community Programs and Engagement, but after being approached by local members of the community “we realized there was an amazing opportunity to support city-wide efforts to promote issues around climate action and food security by offering this kind of a service”. The library’s 2021-2025 strategic plan emphasizes the City’s Seven Bold Steps for Climate Action as a priority, and Koth notes this is one way of lending support.

Starting Saturday, February 11, gardeners of all types can come to the Main Branch of the Library, fill out a short registration form, and then ‘check out’ some seeds. There are also a small number of gardening tools and planting templates available for loan, whether folks are planting a small container on a balcony or starting their own garden in a backyard. Details about this unique collection are available at: www.nwpl.ca/seeds

To launch the service, the library has partnered with FarmFolk CityFolk and Gardens4Kids to offer an all-ages celebratory “Seedy Saturday” event, February 11 from 10am to 2pm. The day will feature a range of programming including a number of gardening talks like how to build a container garden, and how to support pollinators, while also offering a special seedy storytime & activities for kids. There will also be an ask-a-gardener booth, a garden gear swap, and, of course, an introduction to the seed library! Some of New West’s favourite food trucks will also be on hand outside the library, with some door prizes to be won.

The event is planned to take place indoors and outdoors, rain or shine. As with all library services programming is free and open to all. “Above all, we want to encourage people to exercise their curiosity about local gardening of all types, and connect with others who share these interests” notes MacRae.

Anyone wanting more information about the Seed Library or the Seedy Saturday launch events can contact the library at 604-527-4660, email askus@nwpl.ca or check out the website at www.nwpl.ca/seeds .

Contact: Caitlin MacRae at 604-636-3541 or cmacrae@nwpl.ca