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21 September 2012

Library as a tool for integration

By PRADIP RODRIGUES, Can-India News, September 21, 2012 Extract:
I was at our Mississauga branch library over the weekend and as I surveyed the readers I realised that most looked South Asian, many of whom were new immigrants perusing books on resume building and writing cover letters. Others were searching and applying for jobs on the internet while others were reading technical material or studying for some exam or the other, and then I overheard a twentysomething South Asian in conversation with the librarian requesting her help in finding books about the history of Ontario with an emphasis on Toronto and Mississauga. I was intrigued, perhaps he was a research scholar, so later when I saw him hunched over a book and I enquired about his reading choice. He’s a landed immigrant who came here a little under a year ago and it was important that he understood the history and geography of his new adopted homeland. He wanted to travel across Canada with his family next year, over the summer he attended many of the free events in and around the GTA. He was on a quest to discover Canada, it’s people and history. Years ago I met an older immigrant who compared immigration to an arranged marriage. It’s the same principle. According to him, an immigrant’s home country is his or her’s first love, but something went wrong- you needed to separate and so you opted to live in a new adopted homeland which in his parlance is an arranged situation. Naturally there is an adjustment period and to be happy with this new homeland, you have to understand all aspects of it, be involved, do things together and eventually grow to love your new country. And the new immigrant in that Mississauga library was doing just that. continue reading

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