We Are All Learners

Literacy Now Burnaby is a task group whose members are working in partnership with community groups and organizations to build and enhance literacy services, programs, and networks in Burnaby.

Our mission is to collaboratively identify literacy needs in Burnaby, to encourage community efforts to add literacy components to current programs, and to create new literacy initiatives where needed.

Literacy Now curates a list of literacy programs and providers in Burnaby, and we invite you to have a look at the map.

Community groups and individuals interested in furthering literacy in Burnaby are welcomed to attend our regular task group meetings and events. Please contact us to find out more.


Literacy Now Burnaby is Growing!

As COVID-19 restrictions are easing, we are again out and about, and on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, we gave away over 300 books at the Burnaby Neighbourhood House South food hub.

This time with support of our own team of dedicated Literacy Now volunteers, we worked tirelessly in hot weather in 2 shifts to continue with our mission to put a book in each child’s hand.

We’d like to express our special gratitude to 5 anonymous community members for their generous donations of bestseller books, puzzles, and board games! 

Follow us on social media to stay up to date on all of our activities. We have plenty more good things in store! 


Book Donation for Literacy Hampers

Thanks to the Chilliwack Learning Society for the generous book donation for our Literacy Hampers.
For now, these and many other books are sitting in boxes at the Burnaby Neighbourhood House, waiting to be distributed safely as soon as the situation gets better! Stay healthy – keep on reading.


Literacy Hampers at the Food Hub

Literacy Now Burnaby handed out 100s of books at the Burnaby Neighbourhood House south food hub today.

With the help of our busy volunteers, people received literacy hampers with age-appropriate books, colours, activity sheets, The West Coast Reader, and info in various languages on community resources like the Neighbourhood Small GrantsBurnaby Public LibraryNewToBC, etc.

This project was made possible through the Raise a Reader campaign and donations from community members, with materials from First Book Canada.

Thanks to everyone at the BNH food hub, we hope to continue this project to put a book in every child’s hand!


Raising a Multilingual Child

Saturday, April 10, 10:00am
Online on Zoom
Register online, at any BPL location, or call 604-436-5400.

Are you a parent or caregiver with a young child who is learning English?
Are you worried that your child may lose their home language or not learn English well enough? 

Join us for an online workshop, where you’ll learn practical tools to use in your daily life to support your child as they learn another language. We’ll help you create a plan for your family to help you keep your home language while learning new ones, and teach you best practices for raising a bilingual child  that is fluent in both English and their home language.

This workshop is presented by Dr. Anne Rimrott from Bilingual Family Consulting. Anne is a parent of children growing up with English, German, Bosnian and French and a language acquisition expert with a Ph.D. in linguistics from Simon Fraser University.


Resources for Multilingual Families

Saturday, April 3, 10:00am
Online on Zoom
Register online, at any BPL location, or call 604-436-5400.

Are you a parent or caregiver raising a multilingual child?

There are so many resources at Burnaby Public Library that you can use to support your child’s first language and to help them learn about other cultures. In this workshop, we’ll show you how to find these resources and we’ll also share tips and practical information for raising multilingual children.

This workshop is presented by Andrea Lukic, Teen Services Librarian and will take place online using Zoom. To join, you’ll need a device with internet connection, audio, and a microphone.


Mother & Child Emotional Power Program

An online program for parents with children ages 0-6 years
New Immigrant Families and Refugees are welcome!

This program includes:
– Exploring the role of emotional well-being in early childhood
– Become aware of your child’s emotions
– Encourage healthy expressions of emotions
– Parenting
– Children’s developmental stages
– Community resources
– Connecting with other parents

Learn together with your child through Fun Games, Storytelling, Arts & Crafts, Songs 

When: Every Monday 10 – 11 am, February 22 to March 29, 2021 
Where: On Zoom

Tel: 604-436-1025
Vancouver& Lower Mainland Multicultural Family Support Services Society 


Library Champions Online

Are you a new immigrant looking for:
Canadian volunteer work experience?
Online access to community and library resources?
Better communication skills?
More confidence?
New friends and connections to community?
A better understanding of your community?

The Library Champions Project offers all of these things and much more!

To be a Library Champion, you must:
Want to volunteer
Love libraries and helping other people
Be comfortable using technology to connect with others online
Be 19 years or older
Be a permanent resident but NOT yet a Canadian Citizen

For more information, go to or call 604-437-8441


Raise-a-Reader with Harman Pandher at the Burnaby Neighbourhood House

Literacy Now is honoured to have Harman Pandher’s illustrated children’s book, Gurpreet Goes to Gurdwara: Understanding the Sikh Place of Worship at the Burnaby Neighbourhood House!

Harman, himself a former member of the board of directors of BNH, came back as a visiting author to do 3 live virtual readings made possible through the Raise a Reader initiative. The local Burnaby author’s book provided students insights into Sikh faith and culture in Canada.

The readings were accompanied live by traditional Indian music, and a few lucky young readers won copies of the book to take home and enjoy with their families. Thanks to all for their commitment in making these very special events happening!

Pictures (clockwise from top-left):

  • Local Burnaby author Harman Pandher presenting a signed copy of his book to BNH executive director Antonia Beck.
  • Harman at the virtual reading from his illustrated book.
  • Students listening attentively to Gurpreet’s story.
  • The Harmonium and Tabla created a wonderful ambience for the readings.

Raise-a-Reader at the Global Family Clinic

Low literacy is an important issue in Canada and is deeply rooted in early childhood. The Canadian Pediatric Society states that “promoting literacy is a key part of practicing preventive medicine”, hence emphasizing how low literacy can influence health outcomes both directly and indirectly. Primary care providers are ideally situated to promote childhood literacy due to their early and frequent contact with families.

The Fraser Health Burnaby New Canadian Clinic (BNCC) and the Global Family Care Clinic (GFCC) provide comprehensive primary health care, support and advocacy for refugees living in Burnaby, New Westminster and Tri-Cities. Most of the patients come from conflict-stricken countries all over the globe including Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Eritrea. Almost 70% arrive with low proficiency in English and require an interpreter during their appointments. Between the two clinics, the family physicians and nurse practitioners see about 1000 well-child visits annually. These visits provide a valuable opportunity for health promotion, parent education, and provide an ideal setting to promote literacy for newcomer families.

In August 2019, the clinic began to implement a literacy intervention into well-child visits. This intervention includes an assessment of literacy, demonstration of reading, and gifting a new age-appropriate book at every visit. The intervention is based on successful models in Montreal and the Reach Out and Read program in the United States, which have shown to result in parents being more likely to read with their children and higher language scores in preschoolers, among other benefits. With the Raise-a-Reader grant and support from the Tommy Douglas Branch of the Burnaby Public Library, the team at the clinic was able to purchase nearly new 300 books from First Book Canada and United Library Services to gift to newcomer infants and children attending the clinic. 

Raise a Reader funds come from the Raise-a-Reader Foundation itself, the Ministry of Education, and Decoda Literacy Solutions. Please get in touch with Literacy Now if you want more information on the funds or other family literacy projects. You can donate here to contribute to great projects like the Childhood Literacy Intervention at the Global Family Care and Burnaby New Canadian Clinic or other initiatives that foster community literacy in Burnaby!

Picture: Dr. Susan Nouch, Ranjit Lehal NP and Jennifer Woo NP at the Global Family Care Clinic in Burnaby received new books in English, Arabic, Farsi, and Spanish to gift to newcomer children who attend the refugee clinic for their medical appointments.