A Volunteer’s Thoughts on Volunteering

Daily positive impact

Volunteers are an essential part of Halifax Public Libraries. Their positive impact can be seen on the faces of those they interact with and help, and the skills and talents they 'gift' to the Library are immeasurable.

Our volunteers help with everything from Home Delivery Service to children's tutoring.

Hugh's experience as an English Language Learning volunteer

For over a year now, Hugh has volunteered with Halifax Central Library’s English Language Learning (ELL) program. The ELL program matches volunteers with adults looking to improve their English communication skills and learn more about their local community. 

Last year, more than 400 adults speaking 30 different first languages participated in our ELL sessions.

Hugh currently spends 2 hours each week with Mohamad, a new Canadian who is working to improve his English. Hugh and Mohamad spend their time chatting, sharing stories, and going through any homework Mohamad has from the English classes he takes during the day. 

A friendship has grown as they share stories of fatherhood, family, and life in Halifax. Hugh says he has found his volunteer work immensely rewarding and speaks passionately about the importance of the ELL program. 

“It’s all about finding connections. The Library offers a safe, inviting space for people new to Nova Scotia to learn and connect with their community.”  

It’s not just about learning a language. New Canadians are also looking for a safe place to ask different cultural questions.  For example, what is Remembrance Day or Halloween?

The power of ELL

Rita, the Adult ELL Program Coordinator at Halifax Central Library, works hard to carefully pair volunteers with learners. For each match, there are 2 different stories to take into consideration, and the potential outcome of bringing 2 different people together to connect in a really positive way.  

During break time, Rita knows the program is working when she hears all of the chatter and laughter filling the room. Many of Rita’s volunteers have been involved with the program for years and beautiful friendships have emerged. 

When asked what he would say to those considering volunteering, Hugh responded, “the gift of time is precious, and it’s one of the most meaningful gifts you can give.”  

Volunteer with us

There is a wide range of different volunteer opportunities available for you, depending on your interests. Check them out!

And, if you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with English Language Learning at the Library, more information can be found here.