A Visit With Story Circle for Adults

There are no shortage of innovative and exciting programs at the Vancouver Public Library. Over the years, Friends members and volunteers have supported many of them, including the Story Circle for Adults. 

Story Circle is a drop-in program designed especially for adults with developmental disabilities, their family, friends, and caregivers. As a group, participants will hear a story, sing and maybe more. A Friends member was able to join a story circle last year and wrote about her experience:

It was a bright morning when I joined an excited group of people waiting for Renfrew Branch Library to open. We were there to attend Story Circle for Adults, a new program at VPL. The program is based on one pioneered by Surrey Public Library, and was run as a pilot project at Oakridge and Terry Salman last year. Funding from Friends of the VPL paid for a training session for twenty-one VPL staff, facilitating the expansion of the program to other branches.

Eleven adults from the Grandview Day Centre, ranging in age from their early twenties to early forties, were accompanied by five caregivers. They are regulars at the bi-weekly Story Circle at Renfrew, and have also attended the Story Circle at Oakridge Branch.

A VPL staff member stands in front of books on display reading a story.

I chatted briefly with Shenuri Nugawila (pictured at left), Acting Community Librarian at Renfrew Branch who previously worked as a Children’s Librarian, and Jonna Milledge, a Senior Public Library Services Associate, from Mount Pleasant Branch who is planning to start the program at her branch. Both were enthusiastic about the training and their experience so far with Story Circle. They were especially impressed with input from the Developmental Disabilities Association trainers, who trained staff about the use of accessible techniques to better include adults with different abilities.

Shenuri designed her Story Circle based on those techniques, and they certainly worked! We sang “You are my sunshine” out loud and with sign language, danced to Elvis and Chubby Checkers, waving scarves to the music to allow participation from those with mobility issues, answered trivia questions about St Patrick’s day, and enthusiastically participated in solving the puzzles raised in the interactive picture books Shenuri had chosen. (This is Not a Book, and Duck! Rabbit!). A thoroughly enjoyable time was had by all.

– Judith, longtime Friends Member

The next Story Circle event can be found by visiting VPL’s events page and searching for Story Circle for Adults.

Help support programs like Story Circle by becoming a Friends member or donating to Friends of the Vancouver Public Library. Friends is open to sharing stories from all of our members. Members, please email Friends@friendsoftheVPL.ca if you would like to share your experience attending a VPL event.