Sunday, January 22, 2017

AGM 2016

QLNB will be holding its AGM in Room 1 of the Saint John Free Public Library, Central Branch (1 Market Square, Saint John, N.B.)  at 6pm on Thursday, March 2nd.

For more info, please contact Cheryl Brown, our Community Literacy Coordinator, at 333 2601 or

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Reflections 2016

reading at a qlnb cvcta christmas party
Christmas with the CVCTA (2016)

We had the pleasure of helping out at the CVCTA's Christmas party again this year. We wrapped and gave out 40 books (each child receives a wrapped book and a toy/game from Santa near the party's end) and also set up our regular colouring / reading / crafting corner.

CVCTA QLNB Christmas party

This happened to be our 14th year with the CVCTA. Alas, we miscounted and thought it was the 15th year, and told everyone it was the 15th, and became so excited about that that we decided to write a short piece talking about how our practice had changed over a decade and a half, and....


We've amended our count, but here's the document: Community Literacy at Christmas (2016) .

You can find this and other writings further down the right-hand sidebar of this website. Or click the Our Stories tab above.

puppet show at a qlnb cvcta christmas party
Christmas with the CVCTA (2002)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Quality Storytents 2016

quality storytent in martinon

Now that Trunk or Treat is finished, it's time to sum up the 2016 Quality Storytents project.

This year we partnered with many organizations, both old and new, to provide programming and event tents across the city.

Summer Reading Club outreach Nick Nicolle

Plans for the Old North End neighbourhood changed a little to better accommodate their summer programs. Rather than a traditional outdoor storytent, we delivered a Summer Reading Club launch and book give-away, and followed up with four family literacy sessions, delivered once weekly in the "Lobby Library."

These sessions adopted the 2016 Summer Reading Club theme Explore!/Explorez! and provided a weekly reading time with family activities grouped around the five SRC themes Dinosaurs, Vikings, Knights, Pirates and Astronauts.

Working with the Department of Social Development, we piloted the tent in a neighbourhood with a significant proportion of Syrian families. This turned out to be very exciting. Tents ran for five weeks on the common green space managed by Social Development as part of their Public Housing program. Families requested books in English, French and Arabic (which we were able to provide). Some adults sought our support while reading to their children in an unfamiliar language. Children engaged in writing activities; imitating worker’s note-taking and, on occasion commandeering and repurposing workers’ notebooks.

These kids love writing and drawing. I think they’ve commandeered every piece of paper we’ve got, all our pens and pencils, and my glasses. We’ll bring the writing box next week for sure.
- Worker Field Notes

storytent in the rain

Also on Saint John’s East Side, we ran nine weekly Storytents beside the Nason Road playground in partnership with the Silver Falls Community Association.

“I can read this one all by myself now – my mom read it twice and now I can read it,” says one girl. She proceeds to ‘read’ Mortimer to me. Then she picks up Yummy Yucky. “I know how to read this one.” A few weeks ago she was talking about how she was having problems reading the [very low level] Dog book.
- Worker Field Notes

storytent at rockwood park

 We also delivered nine event storytents.

At the Reservoir tent a mom read to her children and then talked with me briefly about the challenges and joys of reading to her children. I listened and co-verified. She said, “Thanks for being here. Thanks for listening. I needed to have that with a mom.”
- Worker Field Notes

Boy makes a short stack of books already read to him. "This is our empty one."
- Worker Field Notes

The Teddy Bear Picnic proceeded as usual. We read to children once they received their new book (and stuffed animal and snack). I put out several good books as an invitation to the children to continue reading. One little boy put the books in a row and each time we finished, he would choose the next one using ‘eenie meenie.’ In this manner, he read all the books. Allowing children to choose which books they read is an important part of our process.
-Workers Field Notes

The impact of event tents is hard to measure given that there is rarely any borrowing and our opportunities for engagement are limited. Nonetheless, our field notes record positive signs. We have notes of families making reading part of their day at the park or the beach. We have notes about parents asking questions and sharing ideas. We have notes of children exploring books and reading in a more playful way than they might expect to be able to when at school. We have notes of community partners saying “That was wonderful” and “I hope you can come back next year.”

At Trunk or Treat, one mother told us that she and her child read last year’s T’orT’ book “over and over”. They were pleased to receive another book by the same author. Another girl told her mom, “I’m so glad they’re giving away books again;” a key marker of the successful promotion of literacy and love of reading among families and young children.

Adult: Excuse me, is your name 'Wendell'?
Wendell: Yep.
Adult: I have your book for you. You gave it to me a couple of years ago to get my GED.
Wendell: Oh hey! Did you get it?
Adult: What?
Wendell: Did you get your GED?
Adult: Yeah. I got it.
(Hands us a Steck-Vaugn GED Preparation book. It's a little beaten up.)
Adult: Sorry.
Wendell: Hey, no. No problem.
Adult: Thanks.
Wendell: Thank you.
The books we lend almost always come back; just not right away.
- Worker Field Notes

The 2016 Storytent Program was full of surprises. We did not expect to be receiving returned GED textbooks, purchasing children’s books in Arabic, delivering tents on Roxbury Drive, or joining the District Labour Council at Rockwood Park. Nonetheless we were pleased overall, as were our partners.

Project Sponsors:

  • Province of New Brunswick
  • Saint John Free Public Library

Project Partners and Hosts:

  • C. E. Nick Nicolle Center
  • City of Saint John
  • Crescent Valley Resource Centre
  • Martinon Community Centre
  • New Brunswick Department of Social Development
  • Rivercross Church
  • Saint John and District Labour Council
  • Saint John Free Public Library
  • Silver Falls Community Association

Additional support for our book give-aways came from the Peter Gzowski Invitational, Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Trunk or Treat

QLNB got to hang out with the Rivercross Mission gang again this year at their Trunk or Treat on Hallowe'en.  Like last year, we came as two of our favourite children's book characters - Gerald and Piggy.  We brought along our bookwagon, and handed out 140 books.

It was cold, but we were warmed by the chance to reconnect with some neighbourhood friends.  It was especially nice to hear families say they were glad to see us again this year.  Giving out good quality books at Trunk or Treat is becoming one of our favorite fall activities.

Friday, October 7, 2016

A local celebration of the 50th International Literacy Day

QLNB Writing the future 50th International Literacy Day
QLNB 50th International Literacy Day

UNESCO’s theme for the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day was “Reading the Past, Writing the Future.” QLNB asked the CVCTA to help us mark the day.

Writing the future 50th International Literacy Day
Writing the future - 50th ILD

Together, we organized a barbecue for CVCTA members and a few invited guests. Invitations were sent out by email or hand-delivered. On the day, we offered water or juice, hot dogs and vegetable shish kabobs, and a decorated slab cake. We set up two display boards; one holding remembrances of past events, and the other personal aspirations for future learning. We also had blank journals and books for children, youth and adults to give away. (Forty of these children’s books were supplied by Talk With Me - Parle-Moi;.) The event began at 4:30 and wrapped up at 6:00.Volunteers from the CVCTA, TWM-PM, and QLNB helped out. Local MLA Trevor Holder was on hand to cut the cake.

QLNB Cutting the cake 50th International Literacy Day
MLA Trevor Holder

About 50 people were in attendance, with 48 books or journals being claimed (Fifteen by adults, 33 by or for children). Remaining food items were left with the CVCTA for use in their community. Remaining books and journals were left with QLNB to be used in at a future event.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Wrapping up Storytents 2016

family reading at storytent on Michael Crescent

We're coming up to the last few storytents of the season.

Our last 2016 tent at Roxbury will be on Wednesday, August 24, from 4:00 - 6:00. Our last 2016 tent on Michael Crescent, at the Nason Rd. playground, will be Thursday, August 25, from 4:00 - 6:00.

boys reading at storytent on Roxbury Drive

After that, we have two more event tents scheduled.

We will be joining RiverCross on Sunday, September 4, for their Fall Corn Boil (Hope Mission, Main St., 4:00 - 6:00; times may vary).

Our final tent will be on Monday, September 5, at the Labour Day barbecue held by the Saint John and District Labour Council in Rockwood Park at Fisher Lake, right after the parade (11:30 to 1:30; times may vary). This is a family barbecue open to the public in celebration of labour solidarity and pride, and a new event for us.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Storytents at Roxbury - Where everything's new!

children reading in quality storytent at Roxbury

 After a slow start, our Roxbury tent has filled with readers.  Last week we had 15 kids and 4 adults join us, many wearing their new "I love Storytent" t-shirts. We also had a visit from Children's Librarian and QLNB board member Heather McKend.

child borrows book from storytent on Roxbury

This is a trilingual tent where you can hear English, French and Arabic (and, yes, we have books in all three languages). It's also a place where many families are new to us, to storytent, to Canada and, in some cases, new to English. This has opened a wonderful space for us to reflect on how we communicate with families and what messages we most want to get across.

quiet storytent on Roxbury

This Wednesday coming, Environment Canada warns, we might be sidelined by heavy rains and lightening. Roxbury is already pretty windy because it is perched on a hilltop. A thunderstorm would be much too exciting for us to put up a tent. But maybe the rain will blow through earlier in the day.

Location of storytent on Roxbury Drive

Here's hoping.

Poster about storytent on Roxbury Drive

sponsors of 2016 quality storytent

Saturday, August 13, 2016

MLA Trevor Holder Visits Storytent


Those lazy, hazy days of summer. Portland-Simonds MLA Trevor Holder stopped by the Michael Crescent area storytent to read a few books and chat with residents. Mr. Holder has been a longtime supporter of storytents, and it was he who introduced us to this neighbourhood in the south-eastern corner of his riding.

In our storytent program, adults and children are invited to drop in and read to themselves or each other, and maybe borrow a book or two for the week ahead.  Some families only come to read.  Some only come to borrow. In either case, there are no fees, no fines, and anyone who wants can sign up to the provincial Summer Reading Club.

Storytent is a casual, come-as-you-are program.  We also like to say it's a rain-or-shine program, and usually it is. But when a sudden August rain squall blows up, threatening to blow away our tents, we tend to take cover.

In partnership with the Silver Falls Community Association, the Saint John Free Public Library, and the City of Saint John, and with support from the Province of New Brunswick and the Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick, QLNB will be running storytent at the Nason Road playground, from 4 to 6, for two more Thursdays.  Hope to see you there.

silver falls community association logo

sponsors of storytent 2016