Speakers fluent in each language will be reading a story in a variety of languages, including Spanish, French, Cree, German, Ukrainian and even sign language.
They are also interested in the possibility of featuring more languages if they can find individuals who are fluent and wish to share their language with an audience.
Francois Gervais, who works at the library, will lead the first reading, in French, on Jan. 19.
Those at who work at the library realized their staff could singlehandedly host several different story sessions in about half a dozen languages.
“We are really trying to reflect more of Prince Albert. It’s more than French and English,” he said.
“There’s an insane amount of diversity in this city,” said Tara McKay, who is in program services at the library.
There have been repeated requests for readings in more than just English.
“Different patrons come in asking if we have story time in different languages,” McKay said.
These readings are not only for those who speak the featured language, but also for those curious to learn something new.
“They are just going to absorb the language,” McKay said.
“I think it’s valuable because they have friends that speak other languages at home,” McKay said.
The readings are open to anybody of any age or language that is interested in learning something new or hearing the sounds of a story in another language. Perhaps it is the language they speak at home or the language their friend at school speaks at home.
“It’s all about promoting literacy and an open mind,” Francois Gervais said. -
The only requirement is interest and an open mind, Gervais said.
“We expect they’ll be open to the theme (language),” he said.
He sees young people being exposed to another language as potentially very beneficial.
“It’s all about promoting literacy and an open mind,” he said.
“It is just to be open to a different culture. (they’ll say) ‘Oh I don’t understand,’ they’ll be exposed to something else. It only takes one kid to go home and say, ‘Hey mom, it was so cool … eh I want to learn this or I want to take lessons or I want to travel,’” Gervais mused.
For those interested in continuing their exploration of another language, the library has a number of books for young readers in French, Cree and Spanish.
They may need to expand their collection in some of the other languages they are featuring, Gervais said.
“We’ll have to explore a little bit,” he added.
For him it will also be an interesting change of pace. As a high school teacher he is used to working with an older audience but says the experience will be worthwhile and he will have the help of other assistants who regularly work with younger children.
The first session will be in French with Gervais, on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 2:30 p.m.