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Welcome to the Calgary Public Library: a film DVD in 18 languages

Calgary Public Library
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Innovation Summary

Welcome to the Calgary Public Library, a film DVD produced in 18 languages is a resource designed to welcome members of diverse linguistic backgrounds and introduce them to the resources, programs, and services of the Calgary Public Library.

Problem Statement

The Calgary Public Library has been a trusted and valued community asset in Calgary for 100 years. In preparation for a new century of service commencing in 2012, it is making a concerted effort to ensure that library resources, programs, and services are known and accessible to, and more importantly used by, Calgary’s growing population of newcomers, including those with little or no experience of public libraries, and many whose first language is not English. Helping newcomers become library users, connecting them with the array of available vital resources, programs and services to support their learning and enrichment needs will have only marginal success if information about them is available only in a language many are struggling to master. An innovative and creative solution was required to address this challenge, with the resulting creation of Welcome to Calgary Public Library DVD, a multi-language resource for potential library users and the community agencies which serve them.


Welcome to Calgary Public Library, a DVD in 18 languages welcomes and introduces members of newcomer communities of diverse linguistic backgrounds to the Library’s resources, programs and services in a language in which they are fluent. The content includes a welcome message, how to get a membership card and an introduction to the library’s programs, services and resources. Narration of a common text takes place against a background of colourful, lively images from every one of the Library’s 18 locations. New Canadians will see people that look like them both as recipients and providers of programs. This multi-language digital toolkit is aligned with the Library’s strategic and service goals of: • Enhancing community connections, by connecting with members of diverse communities and transforming their user experience; • Approachability, by welcoming them in a language that they know; • Responsive, because the languages chosen including Somali, Amharic, Arabic, Punjabi, Filipino, Urdu, Gujarati, Mandarin and Vietnamese are those spoken by immigrants from the top source countries to Calgary • Innovative, because it employs user friendly digital technology • Accessibility, because it is available through the Library’s website and in DVD format; • Responsible resource stewardship, because the Library leveraged a combinations of internal and external fiscal resources, and founds creative ways to use volunteers in both translation and narration services. The funding for this project was received from 2 sources: a sum of $10,000 was awarded after the idea was chosen as the winning pitch at the Library’s inaugural Dragons’ Den initiative, described in a separate innovation nomination; additional funds were received from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to expand distribution and translation into 8 additional languages. All 18 languages are accessible in DVD format and at www.welcomecpl.ca


Since its launch, the DVD has been very aggressively promoted to and very well received by immigrant serving agencies, ethno-cultural organizations, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Calgary Board of Education who see the value of its content for newcomer families. The DVD was showcased at a meeting of the Calgary Bridge Foundation with a resulting 330 views of the web format to date. It is being well used by library staff in the course of programming in all locations, including at ESL Conversation Clubs; at community outreach events; and as part of the many tours regularly offered to new Calgarians of the Central Library and of other library locations serving large immigrant populations. Going forward, it will be used in more library programs and outreach events and distributed to as many organizations and service providers as possible. Formalized evaluation guidelines and a strategic advocacy and promotion campaign are currently being deveoped.