West Vancouver, B.C.—The West Vancouver Memorial Library is launching Dial-a-Story: A Phone-in Program for Adults in an effort to address the needs of isolated adults on the North Shore. The program also includes a special edition: Indigenous Storytelling by Squamish Elders.
West Vancouver’s 2019 Vital Signs report found that 28% of West Vancouver residents live alone, and estimated that up to 16% of seniors aged 65 and older experience social isolation. This social isolation is worsened by a lack of access to technology—which the Library’ 2019 Library On-Site & Online Survey found impacts 23% of those 80 years old or older.
Ever since the Library reopened last July, all programs and events have been offered virtually.
The Library’s Community Experience Coordinator, Lynn Brockington, is behind the new Dial-a-Story program. “The current virtual offerings at the Library exclude many people in our community who don’t have internet access,” she explained. “The Dial-a-Story program aims to address this gap and is open to anyone who enjoys listening to short stories read aloud.”
The program runs every Wednesday, June through December. Attendees simply call in, and volunteer narrators will read from a wide selection of genres, enabling participants to hear old favourites and discover new authors and literary styles.
A special edition of Dial-a-Story is presented in partnership with the Squamish Elder’s Centre. Dial-a-Story: Indigenous Storytelling by Squamish Elders will run Thursdays in June. In this edition, attendees will hear traditional stories told by a different Squamish Elder each week.
Elder Kiyo-wil Bob Baker will be participating in the program. He says, “Storytelling is the history of our people from long, long ago,” he said. “We lived it and learned from our grandparents and great-grandparents, the history of our lands and ancestors. What we tell is not known by everybody, some of it might hurt, the truth has to be told.”
Another storyteller, Elder Tseatsultux Sam George, says, “To the listener of my story, I hope it puts light on the footsteps of our past.”
To learn more about this program and to register, visit wvml.ca/events or call 604.925.7403.
These programs were made possible thanks to a Community Grant from the West Vancouver Foundation.
Also thanks to funding from the West Vancouver Foundation, as well as the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund and the Province of British Columbia, the Library also recently started lending portable WiFi hotspots for those without internet access. Cardholders can borrow a hotspot (offering 50GB of data per month) for 12 weeks. Five hotspots have been added to the collection, while five are held for the Library’s Assistive Services patrons and partner organizations.
Sarah Barton-Bridges, Head of Communications