The following personal stories were shared with us and highlight why Surrey Libraries is so well loved, and so important to our community. These stories inspired us, and we hope they’ll inspire you, too!

Do you have a special library story to share? We’d love to hear from you – submit your story.

"One of my fondest memories is of making a Christmas wreath…"

I love my library! From the poster on the door proclaiming all are welcome regardless of race, religion, gender, and more, to the easy-peasy self sign-out, it is a welcoming place. One of my fondest memories is of making a Christmas wreath at my local library. In the spirit  of reduce, recycle and re-use, we were given old discarded books, and used their pages to make a wreath composed of tubes shaped like angels' trumpets. The books, when new,  had served to inform or entertain, and now it was amazing how the print on the twisted pages added texture to the finished wreath. I proudly display my wreath to this day. – Joan

"It was not possible for my family to buy such a big number of books…"

I taught two of my grandsons from year 2006 till now using library resources. It was not possible for my family to buy such a big number of books of diverse subjects. The Surrey Libraries have a big role in the success of my grandsons' achievements. I owe to Surrey Libraries. Thank you Surrey Libraries. - Narinder

“Storytime became a huge part of our week…"

City Centre Library became an important part of our life as soon as our son was born. Baby storytimes, books to bring home and a place to get out of the house with a little one. As he got older, storytime became a huge part of our week. Now that he is in school, he is flying through the books and our library card gets a workout. We can't wait for more in person events to attend in the future. – Maryanne

“Some of my fondest memories were born at the Surrey Library.”

As a child I would visit the library all the time with my siblings and mom. We would pick out books to read and we would find all sorts of activities that were run by the Library, that were great for kids to participate in. Now as an adult, I still love going to the Surrey Libraries to see their selection on books, participate in their activities and be in my happy place. - Anonymous

“My father loved the Ocean Park Branch…”

He’d stop in regularly to pick up the photocopied crosswords for himself and my mother and always chatted to the staff. He was overjoyed when he won the occasional book bag stuffed full of books. He took out travel books and read them cover to cover. He died 3 years ago and I will never forget going into the library to cancel his beloved library card because the librarians were so upset about his passing. They genuinely cared. Here’s to Surrey Libraries and the kind and caring staff!

- Anonymous

“We were so focused on the stories; it's a good memory…”

My son started visiting City Centre Library when he was 2 months old. He enjoyed baby story time, family story time, Christmas story time, daddy's story time and so on. Thanks for the library staff who organized so many events for kids. When he was 11 months old, I took him to a Christmas story time, and the staff took pictures for the event. A few months later, I saw the attached poster in the library. I like the picture very much, because we were so focused on the stories; it's a good memory; and we advertise family story time for the library.

My son is 8 years old now. We still visit the library every week, even during pandemic. I remember we selected books online and picked up them through the window last year.

My son learned French from Grade K to Grade 2; he speaks Mandarin at home; he is in Distributed Learning this year and [even though] he didn't learn English in school, his English is in Grade 3 level, because he read 2000+ English books from the library and attended all kinds of events in English.

Borrowing books from libraries is sustainable, because we don't waste paper or trees, we re-use the books, that's the other reason I will keep this good habit.

- Yue

"We can’t imagine our lives without the colourful words and pictures…"

We love to visit the library with our 2 year old who loves reading and looking at pictures in the books. He has been a regular at the Clayton Library and has learned how to pick his books, bring them to the check out station and check them out with assistance! This is one of his favourite activities and he treasures those books. We can't imagine our lives without the colourful words and pictures those books brought into our lives. Thank you for being there for us, library. – Anonymous

Visiting the library is one of the activities that brings family together…

The library has always been a safe environment for the whole family. We love the inclusion of our children in City Centre branch. There is always a great book to pick and a movie to watch. Visiting the library is one of the activities that brings family together rain or shine and a favorite for us during the weekend. Thanks to the variety of movies we started the tradition of Friday movie night since we moved to  Canada, and our weekly visits on Thursdays after school. The beautiful children’s books have helped my son be interested in reading and also have a wonderful story time with mama before bed. We are so happy to have Surrey central library and are proud to be living in a country that supports education through a Library. - Lilian

“What a gift to have found the Keep On Writing group at Ocean Park Library…”

I've loved libraries as long as I can remember.  I'm retired now so that's a long time. I love to read and I love to write. I took my first writing course at a library years ago.  It inspired me to keep writing and for awhile that was enough, but I longed for feedback. What a gift to have found the Keep On Writing group at Ocean Park Library. The location and time were perfect for me. I found fellow writers there that gave me the feedback I needed to make my writing better. There are social benefits as well, to having 'writing friends'. We encourage each other, exchange ideas, and share successes.  We've managed to continue by Zoom during the pandemic but I'm looking forward to the day we'll be back at the library. If I ever become a famous author,  the Ocean Park Library and the Keep On Writing group will have played a part.

- Marlene R.

 

“Thank you for helping us adapt and grow in this amazing country!”

As newcomers, the Library soon became our friend and guide. We got connected with community resources and books became our companions as we did not have any friends or family members in Canada.

Books are my daughter's best friend from the time we first visited Surrey Library.

Thank you for helping us adapt and grow in this amazing country!

“Libraries are my imagination station!”

Libraries are my imagination station! Whenever I want to armchair explore or just learn something new, I like going to the library and grabbing some books, magazines, and DVDs. And with COVID restrictions, this has been incredibly helpful to keep learning about new places and people.

- Ken

“When I was 50 I was unable to work. The Surrey Library became a big part of my life…”

As a child I lived in an abusive home. I used books to escape, and the one library in town was literally a lifesaver for me as my parents were happy to see me learning and I was happy to be away from home. The Public Library was a safe place.

I continued to read and read and read into adulthood. When I was 50 I was unable to work. The Surrey Library became a big part of my life as  I visited everyday for a couple of hours, reading quietly and using the computers. This gave me a goal each morning - a reason to get up, a place to go and people to talk to - the staff were always friendly. I had been unable to buy books as I had no income. Libraries are free. I gradually read more and more, often a book a day or every 2 days. Even when I returned to work and money, I continued to use the library.

Most recently I developed a hole in my retina, first one eye and then the other. An unusual problem related to getting old which required surgery. Throughout the two years of surgery and healing I used audiobooks from the library. I still listen to audiobooks and I have discovered another use - as I listen to an audiobook, I fall asleep! So, I rarely experience insomnia and when I wake up at night, I put on my audiobook from the library and I am asleep within 10 minutes!!

I now share my love of reading with my grandchildren.

- Susan

“I was new to the country and did not have many friends here. In the absence of that, I made friends with the characters in the books…”

I was a young teen immigrant from Pakistan in the mid-2000s. I loved books and music, and wanted to keep in touch with my friends. I spent many afternoons and evenings at the Newton Library, browsing on the computers and borrowing books and CDs. I read pretty much the entire YA section over a few months! I was introduced to many magical artists through the CD collection (this was the pre-Spotify and YouTube days!). I was new to the country and did not have many friends here. In the absence of that, I made friends with the characters in the books. I would go to the library with my mom who would read the books in the Urdu section (so awesome that we have a decent selection of Urdu books!). Nowadays, I get my Surrey Library books on the Libby app on my phone, and participate in library online events, and think back to how different times are now. Regardless, Surrey Libraries plays an important part in my life and provides valuable services.

- Kashifa

The library has always been part of my life....

The library has always been part of my life growing up, and also for my kids and now my grandkids. The displays, exciting new books and activities are so much fun. I sure love the new Clayton Library! - Tammy

“My library membership has always been my salvation. I can get lost in a book, I love that I can.”

As a full time working mom of a HS student & an elementary school student. A wife, a daughter, helping take care of my husband, two sets of parents, whilst being an active member in my community - my library membership has always been my salvation. I can get lost in a book, I love that I can. Books take me to places I long to go, feel feelings that elevate my day from ordinary to extraordinary!!! Books give me peace of mind, ground me, make me aware of all my blessings and give me quiet time when I crave it. Books are my salvation. My library membership gives me this. I cannot imagine a life without books. Long live the library!!! - Shahee

“…the library was instrumental in fostering our closeness.”

In the early 1980's, when my children were young, we didn't have a TV. We made a weekly visit to the library and I would help them choose books, which we would read together at night. Remembering those times makes me realize the library was instrumental in fostering our closeness. - Nancy

“…my favourite place to go every Saturday…”

My small hometown had a library that was my favourite place to go every Saturday – that’s where I fell in love with reading, a pleasure I continue to enjoy today. - Beth

"I am 84 and still reading every day!"

I went to the library with my big sister when I was 6 years old. She helped me pick out books. I read “Ozma of Oz” and then all of the Oz books. That started me on the joy of reading and now I am 84 and still reading every day!  - Marina

“No boundaries to what you can learn!”

I used to be terrified of the library and the books it housed when I was a kid. However, when I first moved to Canada and had the opportunity to visit the Public Library, I was utterly taken aback by how different a library's concept may be. Surrey Libraries was quite helpful in assisting me with my transition to Canada.

With access to the digital branch, I was able to take advantage of several online classes and events, practice for my English test, learn job-search tactics, and, most importantly, begin my first volunteer position as a "Library Champion." Above all, the Library has aided my daughter in developing a love of reading and books. I felt so motivated and warm when I discovered Surrey Libraries and went through the door, whether it's the Guildford Branch or one of the other branches. The Library is genuinely unique in that it provides a bright, open environment where members of the community can congregate freely to read, study, investigate, and understand their surroundings. It's the epicentre of all nice things. It introduced my daughter and me to a whole new world of things to discover, which is why it's the finest!

- Pragya

“I adore libraries and always have!”

In the spring of 2019 my daughter & I attended a free DiscARTed class on magnet making at Newton Library! We had such fun! Seriously, we thought it would be hot epoxy, and messy, and dangerous but all was well with store bought glass cabichons! The magnets came out terrific, and that set my daughter and I off, making them for home and friends! Then in 2020 I applied for a small grant to buy all the supplies to make magnets & give them away… as part of a 'Random acts of kindness & senseless beauty' project! I spent over 10 months crafting 1,000 free give away magnets and am finally finished the project! One thousand fridges in Newton bear a small love gift from the community! Many, many people were thrilled to receive a small free caring gift from a stranger, especially through this last year dealing with Covid-19. Some folks even cried a bit just because of the kindness.

I adore libraries and always have! When I was a young child I read a children’s book every single day and  won every month at book report challenge.  Librarians then and now are my heroes & heroines!  Always friendly and welcoming to all who enter! Thank you especially to Newton Library which is close to my home and sees me almost daily! I have taken out over 1300 items now and am proud of that number.

Katheren

 

“My local public library is my sanctuary where I can escape from the craziness…”

It’s a calm place where I can find a great new read, research information on a computer, or just avoid the inclement weather for a while. Growing up in small towns in Saskatchewan, our family of nine would anxiously await the mobile library that brought books for all to enjoy.  Now, as a retiree, I am so very grateful to have a beautiful library in my neighbourhood, the central city core of Surrey.

Anon

“…I am a better person today because of this special place”

The Cloverdale Library has been a big part of my life. The library has helped me develop my love of reading since I was 10 years old. I used to take out the max limit of books and spend hours at a time immersed in different stories. Eventually I started to volunteer for the library as well. I’ve volunteered multiple times for the reading buddies program and have loved it.  I’ve built countless friendships with people involved with the library and I can say with confidence that I am a better person today because of this special place.

– Natasha

 

 "I have been going to Guildford Library since coming to Canada many, many years ago…”

I have always loved books. The library has been one of the few places where I find comfort just being there.  I have been going to Guildford Library since coming to Canada many, many years ago. I do not think I will ever get tired of going here for as long as I can.

Now that I have a child of my own, I have hoped to pass on to him my love of books.  Have started reading to him almost every night since he was born and bringing him to the library whenever possible. My heart flutters with joy seeing him reading on his own and actually enjoying it.  Among his favourites right now are Wishtree, The One and Only Ivan, and Harry Potter series. We only started tracking his borrowing history about four years ago and he has borrowed over 1000 books and DVDs so far. :)

Thank you, Surrey Libraries, for being a part of our little family legacy.

̴ T

“Thanks for being an important part of our family’s life…”

We're very thankful to have the library. It has helped our kids gain a love of reading. Whether it's before bedtime or throughout the day, our kids ask us to read to them. It has also been an encouragement for our five year old to get motivation to learn to read on her own. Even when at the grandparents, our kids will often ask us to read to them after we've been gone for a little while. Thanks for being an important part of our family's life.

̴ Stephen

“The TLC also makes me love the library more cause it helps teens…”

…I started going to this library when I first heard of the Guildford Library in elementary school, when they came to my school and did cool activities and stuff. The TLC (Teen Library Council) also makes me love the library more cause it helps teens and haves them help the library to make it fun and welcoming for new people, and we also get volunteer hours as well. So this is why I think our library is great and you can really feel the energy. Thank you.

~ May

A few years ago I borrowed some teaching material that had awesome books, puppets and activities that I used for a summer camp program. Thanks for putting the kits together and making them available to teachers.

“The library gave me a window into other worlds…”

It allowed me to travel our world, far off lands, the past and into the future. That love of reading is wearing off on my kids, who got their own library cards, and are now off exploring their own adventures.

“I then took a writing course which was a turning point in my life…”

I have been a Surrey resident - and a member of Surrey Libraries - for over three decades. To say that SPL has played a major role in my life would be an understatement. When I first became a member I used the library for the typical services i.e. borrowing books. Then I retired and started using the library more and more. For example, I took the library's help in learning how to use my computer more effectively. I then took a writing course which was a turning point in my life. In the writing class I met Helga, who said she was an artist. We collaborated, with my writing and her illustrating a Children's Picture Book. The book, Ramya's Stars, was published, translated into over twenty languages and was a huge success. This gave me the confidence to write more and more and I am now a full-fledged freelance writer. I have participated in and attended the SPL's Authors Among Us and benefited from it. With COVID came another turning point. I still read extensively by borrowing eBooks from Overdrive. Also, I am continuously taking online courses offered by the Library (Gale Courses). I have already completed four courses and I'm signed up for two more. Two of these are to learn Spanish. I'm supplementing what I'm learning in the course by borrowing children's books in Spanish and English. What a boon the library is!

- Mala

“The library has been my happy place during Covid-19. ..”

The library has been my happy place during Covid-19. I discovered e-books and audiobooks on Libby and it is a fantastic app. But more importantly, I have re-ignited my passion for reading. Thank you Surrey Libraries!!

After my daughter was born, I was grateful for baby time at the library

When I first moved to Surrey, I was 7 months pregnant and I wasn’t working. Being a lover of books, within the first two weeks of moving I got my library card. As a kid, the library was a safe haven of endless possibilities of adventure and a place to escape from daily life. I always felt safe and at peace in the library. The love of libraries has only grown throughout my life. After my daughter was born, I was grateful for baby time at the library, being a new resident I didn’t have any mom friends and a chance to interact with other moms was sorely needed. I was able to checkout books on advice for sleep training and baby food recipes.

Now that my daughter is two, and the library has reopened (woo hoo!) we go every other week to get new books. My daughter has the same love for books as I do, and can spend lengthy amounts of times skimming through books. Libraries are a big part of our lives and I always want my children to value and support them.

 - Heather

These creative programs the Surrey Library has offered over the years has creatively kept my kids engaged and loving books

I am a proud Mom of 2 hard working high school students. Libraries have definitely been an integral part of their upbringing. Specifically, the Semiahmoo Library, which is our community library and with the proximity to our home, we have been able to enjoy walking and cycling there as a family over the years. My kids Nana was also a librarian in England 50 years ago and it’s where she met their Grandad... so you could even say it’s in their blood. ❤️ Right from newborn, I brought my kids to the library. There were amazing Babytime and then storytime programs, where song, story, crafts and movement carried them through their early years. We just loved our weekly library day, and of course got to fill our double stroller with books we all picked out afterwards. The kids started school and then it was bedtime story time we attended from time to time. During the Summer, my kids enjoyed taking part in the Summer Reading Club, and then Teen Summer Adventure. It got them reading, out in the community and parks, and also making sure they got to check off all the activities in their booklets! (Which they really missed this past Summer). These creative programs the Surrey Library has offered over the years has creatively kept my kids engaged and loving books. The kids are looking forward to continuing taking part in programs once things open up again, but for now their talk includes which books they are going to reserve next from the library. I know our libraries will continue to play an important role in shaping the lives of our children and communities.

- Lorelei

… enjoying your story/song times from Ash Vale, in Surrey in the UK!

I just wanted to let you know that we have been enjoying your story/song times from Ash Vale, in Surrey in the UK! I accidentally found the videos on YouTube after searching for Surrey Libraries rhyme time, which my 2 year old daughter Alice really likes. She has a new baby sister so we often sing along with videos on my phone when I am feeding the baby. The first video we watched was from the Guildford branch (our closest town here) and it was only on the third Canadian accent that I realised it wasn't our Guildford!! Nontheless, we have thoroughly enjoyed the different songs especially the ones with a guitar and the shaker. Alice's favourite stories at the moment involve the Big Bad Wolf so we were pleased to see he is popular where you are too! All of the staff are really engaging and the videos are enjoyable for both of us. Thank you so much for improving our lockdown time, we really appreciate it.

- Kate

"I still have the medals and I remember the pride I felt every time I looked at them. "

When I first came to Surrey, I was around 7 or 8 years old. Some of my fondest memories as a child were in the library. I would take out stacks of books and I remember taking out DVD movies when they used to be a thing. I always signed up for programs and the library just felt like a homey place to be. I always remember doing the summer reading programs and I took them so seriously. I still have the medals and I remember the pride I felt every time I looked at them. Reading was a way for me to leave this world and enter a place where anything is possible.

- Muntaqim

“I enjoy coming to our library to keep up with the current news events and meeting people.”

Since my wife passed away over 4 years ago, I have been coming to the library more often than before. I usually come to the library 3 - 4 times per week. I enjoy coming to our library to keep up with the current news events and meeting people. I have also taken out some books to read mainly on health issues and have enjoyed them very much. ALL of the library personnel are very friendly and helpful. Thanks for making my days enjoyable whenever I visit your library.

- El

"An amazing opportunity for my children to foster a love of reading, songs, games, and friendships."

As a new mom with no mom-friends in the area, I started taking my newborn daughter to babytime on Thursdays to help her socialize. Almost three years later, my two daughters and I still walk to the library at least once or twice a week to borrow books and dvds, attend storytime, and for get-togethers with some of the many friends that we have made there. It has been an amazing opportunity for my children to foster a love of reading, songs, games, and friendships.

- Jennifer

"We have saved so much money going to the library, and we are so much closer as a family."

It is the greatest joy for me so far as a parent, that my son loves reading as much as my husband and I do. When my son was very small I used to take him to Baby Storytime. Now that he is a bit older, he loves being read to, and is learning to read himself. Every week, we go to the library together to pick out 15 - 20 childrens picture books to read our son for the week, and a novel or two each for my husband and I, and a movie for our son and a movie for us. The outing is fun in itself. Our son likes the pop-up books to be read to him there, and he loves the kid iPad station, and the puzzles. Then we have something to do together during the week, too. We have saved so much money going to the library, and we are so much closer as a family. I can't thank Surrey Libraries enough for keeping my family close and connected.

"I went on to university and was the first in my family to graduate."

When I immigrated to Canada, the library was a lifeline. The support I received from staff in accessing services and materials to help improve my English helped me not only build my language skills, but also my confidence. I went on to university and was the first in my family to graduate. The library enriches our community's economy, access to learning, and social well-being.

"Without the library, I would not have been able to get in touch with my family"

Without the library, I would not have been able to get in touch with my family through email when I first came to Canada. The library staff were very kind and gave me a card right away, which I still have up to this day. The staff also helped me print my resumes, and showed me where to fax them, so I can apply for jobs. I now have 3 children and they always sign up for the Summer Reading program. They love getting those medals at the end of the program. The library is like a safe and secure haven for me and my children. We may not visit often anymore, but we still drop by once in a while to borrow books. Thank you to the Guildford and the Cloverdale public libraries for all you do.

Check back often to see more stories.

Want to share your own? We would love to hear from you.