Every day, children, adults and communities in New Brunswick benefit from our public library service. They are learning to read, improving their lives, and inspiring us to keep working hard to help them on their journeys. Every one of them has a story worth sharing.

She found a book made for people with dyslexia

Read this story from Librarian Lynn about a girl with a print disability who found help at the library

One afternoon, an 11 year old girl came to the library with her father to look for some books. She was struggling with reading, so her teacher had recommended that she visit the library for help. As we chatted, she mentioned that she had dyslexia. I understood right away why she was feeling discouraged: every book that she tried to read was extra challenging because of her print disability.

I knew that our library had received some new books printed in dyslexia friendly fonts, but when I searched the catalogue, I saw that we only had one such book available on our shelves that she could take home with her that day. I expected her to be disappointed with the selection, so when I handed her the book, I started to apologize and explain that we could order her more books like this from other libraries. I really don’t think she heard me, though. As soon as she opened the book, her face lit up and she exclaimed “Oh my gosh! I can read this! Wow!”

That was so awesome to hear.

She was thrilled that I had found her a novel she could read. She walked out of the library that day with a book in hand and a big smile. When she returned her book a few weeks later, the other novels in the series had arrived so she was able to continue reading more books printed in a dyslexia friendly format.

Libraries are for everyone. The New Brunswick Public Library Service wants this reality to be reflected in our spaces and our collections. We are so grateful for those who give generously to the New Brunswick Public Libraries Foundation because they allow us to make our collections more accessible for all. This means that more happy readers can walk out of the library with a story in hand, which is exactly as it should be.

She didn’t have to give up reading

Read Myrtle’s story about how the staff at her library in Campbellton helped her discover a new way to read

Last summer, Myrtle was having a difficult time reading. Her eyes were not as good as they used to be and the words on the page were getting harder and harder to see. She couldn’t believe that she would have to give up reading. She was absolutely devastated.

Seeing this, a friend suggested that she go to the library and try a large print book. Myrtle took her friend’s advice, but when she returned the book she confessed to Mariette, the supervisor at the circulation desk, that reading even the bigger print was a strain.

“Would you like to try a Plextalk DAISY player?” asked Mariette.
“Well, what’s that?” replied Myrtle.

Mariette explained that it’s a device that plays special audiobooks designed for people who have a hard time reading print: “You can change the speaking speed and even place a bookmark. You’ll love it.”

Myrtle was hesitant – she had never listened to a book before – but Mariette convinced her to give it a try. When Myrtle came back to the library a week later she was delighted. The DAISY player had worked perfectly!

Myrtle now borrows books every week on her Plextalk reader. For Myrtle, joining the library community has been truly life-changing: “Thanks to the library, I don’t have to live a life without reading, and for that I am incredibly grateful”.

She found a book that was right for her

Read a story that comes from Lynn, one of our librarians pictured here in the Beginning Readers section, about a young library patron who was having a difficult time learning to read

One day, a young girl came with her dad to the library to register for the Summer Reading Club. She was about 8 or 9, and was having a difficult time reading so she set herself a personal goal to read 5 books over the summer. Very pleased with herself, she went through the children’s section and picked out the kind of books that the other kids in her grade were reading (small novels) and left with the books, her reading logbook, and a giant smile.

Fast-forward a few weeks, the summer was almost over and it was time for all the kids to return their logbooks and, if they had reached their goal, to come to our little party the next week to receive a certificate. I remember it was almost the end of the day, we were closing in less than an hour, and the little girl walked in with her dad. She wasn’t smiling this time. Her dad explained that they had read every day and worked very hard, but that she was only able to read two books. I believed them (you can tell these things) and I could see that she was disheartened.

So I asked if they could stay for a bit. The dad said yes. I walked the girl over to the children’s section, past the novels, past the picture books and stopped in front of the Beginning Readers – books that are usually for kids just learning to read but are also great for those who are struggling. I found her three books, set her down at a little table with her dad, and told her to come find me when she was done.

About ten minutes before closing, she popped up in front of me at the circulation desk. The smile was back. “I DID IT! Look! I did it!” She handed me her logbook and there they were, written in very careful letters, the titles of the three books I had given her. I looked at both of them: the girl with her ear-to-ear grin and her dad, also smiling, with tears in his eyes. I felt very proud.

The day of the party, she was one of the first kids there. When I handed her the certificate I was so thankful that our library had the right book for her when she needed it, and that she now had a lifetime of reading to look forward to.

The library was there for them when they were in need

Read the note that a library patron from Quispamsis sent along with her donation.

“My husband has been very sick with cancer. When he felt like it, he spent a lot of time reading to take his mind off his troubles. These books that we borrowed (including books I myself borrowed) gave us both a faraway place to go to when we needed it. The library is a great asset. Thank you for your service.” – Kennebecasis Public Library patron in Quispamsis

She learned how to survive

Meet a woman in Fredericton who relied on the library’s books about breast cancer to help her on her journey to recovery.

Jan DeMello turned to her public library when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Jan borrowed books to learn more about her treatments. Later, during the healing process, she again borrowed books to help her move forward.

Having access to the variety of library resources that she did was incredibly important to Jan. Now, many years cancer-free, she is one of the library’s biggest supporters.

She learned to read in a new way

Read the letter that Yvette wrote to her library in Edmundston to thank the staff that helped her learn how to download and read eBooks on her tablet.

Translated from French
“I am sending you this small donation for the library in thanks for the extraordinary service that I have received from the girls who have helped me to learn how to use my Samsung tablet. I would like to thank you very much because you have girls who are truly patient, pleasant, always in good humour. My thanks to them. As an 84 year-old like myself, I did not believe that I could have learned that. I will never forget you. It has kept me from getting bored and it passes a day pleasantly for someone who lives alone.” – Yvette, Mgr. W.J. Conway Public Library in Edmundston

Do you have a story to tell? We would love to hear it!

Please contact the New Brunswick Public Library Service’s Development Officer, Ann Andrusyszyn, at nbplf@gnb.ca or call her toll-free direct line at 1-866-453-3442.