The following personal stories were shared with us and highlight why Surrey Libraries is so well loved, and so important to our community. These stories inspired us, and we hope they’ll inspire you, too!
Do you have a special library story to share? We’d love to hear from you – submit your story.
Of the many benefits, the greatest was a love of reading had developed.
My wife made sure our children were involved with the library even before they started kindergarten. It was a family ritual every Wednesday ......3:00 p.m., off to the library. I saw how my two sons began to really look forward to the experience. Even after having started school, Wednesday, 3:00 p.m. .....off to the library! I watched them go from just looking at picture books to elementary reading, to more involved matters. The library was an event. Of the many benefits, the greatest was a love of reading had developed. It served them well in their college years. I picture them now, sitting in the well at the center of the library floor, reading and excitedly sharing what they were discovering. It leaves me with a warm and grateful feeling. They have prospered thanks to the local library. – D.J.
I grew up in a country where we did not have such resources, so I always teach my daughter, spend time with books and you will never be lonely wherever you go.
Surrey Libraries has been a companion for me and my daughter ever since we moved to Canada in 2018. We go there every week, to read and to use other resources. We bring a lot of books home and spend as much time as we can with those books. It would not have been possible if I had to think about buying those books. I grew up in a country where we did not have such resources, so I always teach my daughter, spend time with books and you will never be lonely wherever you go. Surrey Libraries has been a part of our family and we are so thankful. - Sunita
When I was younger, my mom would bring me to the library, and it became a safe and welcoming place for me.
The library has played a big role in my life by being a place where I could spend time with my mom and grow a passion for books. When I was younger, my mom would bring me to the library, and it became a safe and welcoming place for me. I was able to explore the shelves, pick out books, and read in a peaceful environment. It helped me develop a love of reading and learning that will stay with me throughout my life. - Anonymous
“…we’ll always look back on those memories with smiles…”
My daughters grew up visiting our local library often (shout out to Guildford branch!) and every now and then we'd visit other branches too. They attended story times, Valentines Day, Hallowe'en and Christmas events, Reading Buddies, book clubs, craft days, visits from magicians and animal rehab centres (rare photo included), teen events, one helped paint the kids' window and the other got to lead a weekly teen games club! When they reached adulthood and went on to work, one got a job there for a while before moving away. We homeschooled, so they spent more than a few mornings reading and studying in the kids' section too! They made many friends there, kids and staff, and we'll all always look back on those memories with smiles. Many thanks to all the staff at our libraries, especially Guildford! :-) – Kim J.
“…the library was a place to encourage my curiosities…”
I grew up with the library! I remember going for Summer Reading Club and feeling so encouraged and excited by the sticker sheet and prizes. As a teenager I borrowed young adult books and discovered the world. As a university student I used quiet spaces to study. Later, the library was a place to encourage my curiosities and find movies. And now, I bring my little one to Babytime at the library. The experience continues. – Anonymous
"I see bits and pieces of my childhood when I walk into the library."
Newton library was like my second home as a kid. I remember looking forward to going to the library every day after school. I looked forward to seeing the librarians, attending the programs, meeting new people and seeing if any new Geronimo Stilton books were available. I still remember Sharleen’s story times, winning a colouring contest and making an art piece during Wacky Wednesdays. Now I see bits and pieces of my childhood when I walk into the library. The spot where I would hang around and talk to the librarians, the framed art piece that me and bunch of kids created during a program and my favourite reading spot in the teens section. – Anonymous
"Surrey Libraries was instrumental in helping me with resources when I became a mature post-secondary student at the ripe old age of 35 years old."
Libraries have been part of my life since I was a child borrowing books from the travelling book mobile in the 1960s. My first introduction to Surrey Libraries was in 1979, when I moved to Cloverdale with two young daughters. I am certain the introduction to the wide selection of books the borrowed contributed to their lifelong passion for reading. In fact, one of my daughters is now a teacher-librarian in the Surrey School District. Surrey Libraries was instrumental in helping me with resources when I became a mature post-secondary student at the ripe old age of 35 years old. I continued using the library resources until I graduated with a MEd in Counselling Psychology. Books were an important asset throughout my career as a Trauma Counsellor. Later my focus changed to include frequent visits to Cloverdale Branch’s Genealogy department. Family history is a passion that continues to this day. Most recently, Surrey Library was a life-saver during COVID when I could access e-books to continue enjoying my favourite pastime - reading. Libraries feed my soul! - Anonymous
“Every time I enter a library it gives me a warm, comforting feeling. A little bit like hope and motivation…”
Whenever I feel like there is too much work to do, a bit overwhelmed, I go to the library. The beauty of the books that capture creativity, research and history - it all calms me down. The first time I went to the library the books made my world and life into a new place. As a child, I used to read this one book with my grandparents; just that one picture book helped me learn values like kindness and empathy that I still hold close to my heart. Thinking about this old book made me realize just how impactful books are. How much knowledge they give, a way to escape your own world, and think about different perspectives. My grandpa loves to read, so does my mom, me and my younger brother. It makes me so grateful that we have our libraries to go to. Every time I enter a library it gives me a warm, comforting feeling. A little bit like hope and motivation. There are so many programs, like the summer reading club etc. All such wonderful resources that, child, youth and anyone can access. In a way they are an inspiration to make our lives more interesting, meaningful and full of creativity... I know, you might be thinking how can a place be so amazing? For me, it really is. – Sukhman
“I am grateful for all the wonderful librarians…”
I am a mom of three. It was a tough time during the pandemic when I had to stay home all the time with three toddlers. That was when I started using the library a lot. The holding and pick up system on the website is so convenient. I am grateful for all the wonderful librarians who worked hard so we can get access to fre
e books throughout the pandemic. Now we do homeschooling. The Library is where I find all kinds of science, social studies, and story books. My kids all love reading. When we pick up new books, they will spend more than an hour digging into the books. That is amazing! - Jasmine
“…the first thing I do when I move to a new city… is get a library card.”
Libraries were my escape. Growing up in a small town, with no family or friends in the area, my mother loaded a green wagon and walked twenty minutes with her three children every Monday and Friday no matter the weather to take us to Storytime and other events to involve us in the community and our new hometown.
It worked, giving me a love of reading, stories, books and the first thing I do when I move to a new city as an adult, is get a library card. - Victoria
“We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but the library kept our lives well enriched…”
I grew up in Surrey, and have been a member of the Surrey Public Library since I was a child. My mom would take my siblings and I to the library at least once a month(as loans are/were 2-3 weeks). I’d be so excited to explore the different materials available for us to borrow! We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but the library kept our lives well enriched. We would get picture books, videos, cassettes, children’s novels. It was fun to be part of the different library activities that we could do for little to no cost. To this day, I love going to the library and taking part in the activities they offer. Maybe one day I’ll he able to work there, until then…I’ll just keep enjoying the multitude of services and material. - Anonymous
“…it is a place that allows all those to be equal, have equal opportunities to grow...”
When I was a child the summer reading program made a great difference in my life, as I have severe learning disabilities. The summer reading program encouraged me to keep reading throughout the summer season. It was free and gave me many opportunities to take part in activities that otherwise I wouldn’t of been able to as we were a very low income family. The library gave us the freedom to take out books, videos, magazines. Programs on history, craft making , the environment and many more have over the years provided opportunities and continue to provide opportunities for me as a person who’s on disability and have low income. It’s been a place to learn and grow as a community; it’s were I go with friends to play table games , watch movies. It’s become a hub for the community. No longer is it just a place that holds books but it is a place that allows all those to be equal, have equal opportunities to grow in knowledge, friendship, and community. Without the library our communities would just not be the same. They provide so much more than just a place to take out books, they truly are the heart and soul of every community. By providing resources and programs, giving equal opportunity to every person. They give access to computers to those who do not have access... Those who have never used the resources in the library, you do not understand how much and how important the library truly is. - Anonymous
“The library has been a part of my regular life since I moved to Canada…”
First I was visiting libraries mostly to do my own studying, and leisure reading while I'm taking a break. Since I've become a mom, I started exploring and getting involved with the events and learning about the functions and activities that truly opens my eyes! With a toddler I am so thankful to have our Surrey Libraries hosting babytime, storytime, and having a place for my child to explore many different books to open his perspectives! What a wonderful thing the library is for our community and our next generation. We are so thankful for this community resource! - Anonymous
"One of my fondest memories is of making a Christmas wreath…"
I love my library! From the poster on the door proclaiming all are welcome regardless of race, religion, gender, and more, to the easy-peasy self sign-out, it is a welcoming place. One of my fondest memories is of making a Christmas wreath at my local library. In the spirit of reduce, recycle and re-use, we were given old discarded books, and used their pages to make a wreath composed of tubes shaped like angels' trumpets. The books, when new, had served to inform or entertain, and now it was amazing how the print on the twisted pages added texture to the finished wreath. I proudly display my wreath to this day. – Joan
"It was not possible for my family to buy such a big number of books…"
I taught two of my grandsons from year 2006 till now using library resources. It was not possible for my family to buy such a big number of books of diverse subjects. The Surrey Libraries have a big role in the success of my grandsons' achievements. I owe to Surrey Libraries. Thank you Surrey Libraries. - Narinder
“Storytime became a huge part of our week…"
City Centre Library became an important part of our life as soon as our son was born. Baby storytimes, books to bring home and a place to get out of the house with a little one. As he got older, storytime became a huge part of our week. Now that he is in school, he is flying through the books and our library card gets a workout. We can't wait for more in person events to attend in the future. – Maryanne
“Some of my fondest memories were born at the Surrey Library.”
As a child I would visit the library all the time with my siblings and mom. We would pick out books to read and we would find all sorts of activities that were run by the Library, that were great for kids to participate in. Now as an adult, I still love going to the Surrey Libraries to see their selection on books, participate in their activities and be in my happy place. - Anonymous
“My father loved the Ocean Park Branch…”
He’d stop in regularly to pick up the photocopied crosswords for himself and my mother and always chatted to the staff. He was overjoyed when he won the occasional book bag stuffed full of books. He took out travel books and read them cover to cover. He died 3 years ago and I will never forget going into the library to cancel his beloved library card because the librarians were so upset about his passing. They genuinely cared. Here’s to Surrey Libraries and the kind and caring staff!
“We were so focused on the stories; it's a good memory…”
My son started visiting City Centre Library when he was 2 months old. He enjoyed baby story time, family story time, Christmas story time, daddy's story time and so on. Thanks for the library staff who organized so many events for kids. When he was 11 months old, I took him to a Christmas story time, and the staff took pictures for the event. A few months later, I saw the attached poster in the library. I like the picture very much, because we were so focused on the stories; it's a good memory; and we advertise family story time for the library.
My son is 8 years old now. We still visit the library every week, even during pandemic. I remember we selected books online and picked up them through the window last year.
My son learned French from Grade K to Grade 2; he speaks Mandarin at home; he is in Distributed Learning this year and [even though] he didn't learn English in school, his English is in Grade 3 level, because he read 2000+ English books from the library and attended all kinds of events in English.
Borrowing books from libraries is sustainable, because we don't waste paper or trees, we re-use the books, that's the other reason I will keep this good habit.
"We can’t imagine our lives without the colourful words and pictures…"
We love to visit the library with our 2 year old who loves reading and looking at pictures in the books. He has been a regular at the Clayton Library and has learned how to pick his books, bring them to the check out station and check them out with assistance! This is one of his favourite activities and he treasures those books. We can't imagine our lives without the colourful words and pictures those books brought into our lives. Thank you for being there for us, library. – Anonymous
Visiting the library is one of the activities that brings family together…
The library has always been a safe environment for the whole family. We love the inclusion of our children in City Centre branch. There is always a great book to pick and a movie to watch. Visiting the library is one of the activities that brings family together rain or shine and a favorite for us during the weekend. Thanks to the variety of movies we started the tradition of Friday movie night since we moved to Canada, and our weekly visits on Thursdays after school. The beautiful children’s books have helped my son be interested in reading and also have a wonderful story time with mama before bed. We are so happy to have Surrey central library and are proud to be living in a country that supports education through a Library. - Lilian
“What a gift to have found the Keep On Writing group at Ocean Park Library…”
I've loved libraries as long as I can remember. I'm retired now so that's a long time. I love to read and I love to write. I took my first writing course at a library years ago. It inspired me to keep writing and for awhile that was enough, but I longed for feedback. What a gift to have found the Keep On Writing group at Ocean Park Library. The location and time were perfect for me. I found fellow writers there that gave me the feedback I needed to make my writing better. There are social benefits as well, to having 'writing friends'. We encourage each other, exchange ideas, and share successes. We've managed to continue by Zoom during the pandemic but I'm looking forward to the day we'll be back at the library. If I ever become a famous author, the Ocean Park Library and the Keep On Writing group will have played a part.
- Marlene R.
“Thank you for helping us adapt and grow in this amazing country!”
As newcomers, the Library soon became our friend and guide. We got connected with community resources and books became our companions as we did not have any friends or family members in Canada.
Books are my daughter's best friend from the time we first visited Surrey Library.
Thank you for helping us adapt and grow in this amazing country!
“Libraries are my imagination station!”
Libraries are my imagination station! Whenever I want to armchair explore or just learn something new, I like going to the library and grabbing some books, magazines, and DVDs. And with COVID restrictions, this has been incredibly helpful to keep learning about new places and people.
“When I was 50 I was unable to work. The Surrey Library became a big part of my life…”
As a child I lived in an abusive home. I used books to escape, and the one library in town was literally a lifesaver for me as my parents were happy to see me learning and I was happy to be away from home. The Public Library was a safe place.
I continued to read and read and read into adulthood. When I was 50 I was unable to work. The Surrey Library became a big part of my life as I visited everyday for a couple of hours, reading quietly and using the computers. This gave me a goal each morning - a reason to get up, a place to go and people to talk to - the staff were always friendly. I had been unable to buy books as I had no income. Libraries are free. I gradually read more and more, often a book a day or every 2 days. Even when I returned to work and money, I continued to use the library.
Most recently I developed a hole in my retina, first one eye and then the other. An unusual problem related to getting old which required surgery. Throughout the two years of surgery and healing I used audiobooks from the library. I still listen to audiobooks and I have discovered another use - as I listen to an audiobook, I fall asleep! So, I rarely experience insomnia and when I wake up at night, I put on my audiobook from the library and I am asleep within 10 minutes!!
I now share my love of reading with my grandchildren.
“I was new to the country and did not have many friends here. In the absence of that, I made friends with the characters in the books…”
I was a young teen immigrant from Pakistan in the mid-2000s. I loved books and music, and wanted to keep in touch with my friends. I spent many afternoons and evenings at the Newton Library, browsing on the computers and borrowing books and CDs. I read pretty much the entire YA section over a few months! I was introduced to many magical artists through the CD collection (this was the pre-Spotify and YouTube days!). I was new to the country and did not have many friends here. In the absence of that, I made friends with the characters in the books. I would go to the library with my mom who would read the books in the Urdu section (so awesome that we have a decent selection of Urdu books!). Nowadays, I get my Surrey Library books on the Libby app on my phone, and participate in library online events, and think back to how different times are now. Regardless, Surrey Libraries plays an important part in my life and provides valuable services.
The library has always been part of my life....
The library has always been part of my life growing up, and also for my kids and now my grandkids. The displays, exciting new books and activities are so much fun. I sure love the new Clayton Library! - Tammy
“My library membership has always been my salvation. I can get lost in a book, I love that I can.”
As a full time working mom of a HS student & an elementary school student. A wife, a daughter, helping take care of my husband, two sets of parents, whilst being an active member in my community - my library membership has always been my salvation. I can get lost in a book, I love that I can. Books take me to places I long to go, feel feelings that elevate my day from ordinary to extraordinary!!! Books give me peace of mind, ground me, make me aware of all my blessings and give me quiet time when I crave it. Books are my salvation. My library membership gives me this. I cannot imagine a life without books. Long live the library!!! - Shahee
“…the library was instrumental in fostering our closeness.”
In the early 1980's, when my children were young, we didn't have a TV. We made a weekly visit to the library and I would help them choose books, which we would read together at night. Remembering those times makes me realize the library was instrumental in fostering our closeness. - Nancy
“…my favourite place to go every Saturday…”
My small hometown had a library that was my favourite place to go every Saturday – that’s where I fell in love with reading, a pleasure I continue to enjoy today. - Beth
"I am 84 and still reading every day!"
I went to the library with my big sister when I was 6 years old. She helped me pick out books. I read “Ozma of Oz” and then all of the Oz books. That started me on the joy of reading and now I am 84 and still reading every day! - Marina
“No boundaries to what you can learn!”
I used to be terrified of the library and the books it housed when I was a kid. However, when I first moved to Canada and had the opportunity to visit the Public Library, I was utterly taken aback by how different a library's concept may be. Surrey Libraries was quite helpful in assisting me with my transition to Canada.
With access to the digital branch, I was able to take advantage of several online classes and events, practice for my English test, learn job-search tactics, and, most importantly, begin my first volunteer position as a "Library Champion." Above all, the Library has aided my daughter in developing a love of reading and books. I felt so motivated and warm when I discovered Surrey Libraries and went through the door, whether it's the Guildford Branch or one of the other branches. The Library is genuinely unique in that it provides a bright, open environment where members of the community can congregate freely to read, study, investigate, and understand their surroundings. It's the epicentre of all nice things. It introduced my daughter and me to a whole new world of things to discover, which is why it's the finest!