Newcomers to Canada

The Library provides materials, information and programs for people who speak languages other than English or French, or who are new to Canada.

Multi-lingual Materials

Featured Languages
The library provides adult and children’s books, magazines and DVDs in many different languages in addition to English and French.   Currently we offer 16 languages in print and many more in DVDs, in addition to those listed in our Featured Languages.  Please ask about our Multi-lingual Collection!


Language Learning
Improve your English with ESL, TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC or access language learning resources in other languages.


ESL and Literacy Readers
The library provides a variety of book and CD kits, as well as high interest, low vocabulary readers.

Newcomer News & Programs


Newcomers, filing a tax return can benefit you!
Did you know there are benefits and credits that you could get if:

  • You have a social insurance number
  • You file your taxes every year, even if you have no income at all. The government uses the information from your return to calculate your federal benefits and credits, and any related provincial and territorial programs

Visit for more information



Free Income Tax Clinic @ Whitby Central Library
Saturday March 24 or Saturday April 21st, 2018.
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Registration is required.


Free Tax Preparation Clinics:
Whitby Public Library will host Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) volunteers to complete income tax and benefit returns for eligible individuals who have a modest income and a simple tax situation.

Free appointments are available to:

  • Individuals with a gross income under $30,000
  • Households with a gross income under $40,000
  • One adult + one child with a gross income under $35,000. Additional $2,500 income per additional child Ontario Works and ODSP recipients are eligible
  • Returns cannot be filed for those who declared bankruptcy within the past two years

CONTACT:  call the Central Library at 905-668-6531 ext 2020, visit the second floor Information Desk, or email


Black History Month Panel Discussion
"Back to the Future - Reclaiming our Heritage!"

In celebration of Black History Month we will be hosting a panel discussion in which panelists will discuss: Back to the Future – Reclaiming our Heritage! This program is presented by the Congress of Black Women of Canada, Ajax/Pickering Chapter, Durham Welcome Centre and Immigrant Services, Culture Expressions Art Gallery Inc., and the Whitby Public Library.

Special Guest Panelists are:

  • Winsley Belille, Retired Principal
  • Cynthia Chinodo, Parent
  • Roma Beckles, Social Worker
  • Maxine Jones, Parent
  • Keith Richards, Police Sergeant
  • Nicole Perryman, Social Worker

Moderator, Cheryl Mounsey
Registration is required.
CONTACT:  Jaclyn Derlatka  905-668-6531 x. 2007
LOCATION: Central - Meeting Room 1 (A&B)
Sunday February 25, 2018
1:00 PM - 4:30 PM



Black History Month Author Visit
Karolyn Smardz Frost
Monday February 26 at the Central Library
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Karolyn Smardz Frost is the author of Steal Away Home and winner of the Governor General’s Award and recently the Mathieu Da Costa Award from the Ontario Black History Society -- Black History Month event. The author will do a book-talk, Q&A with the audience, and book signing. (Paperback copies will be available for purchase at the event.)  This program is intended for youth 12+ and adults. Registration is required.


Ask Reference
905.668.6531ext 2020
LOCATION: Central - Meeting Room 1B                     



English Conversation Circle at the Central Library
This is an opportunity for newcomers to practice their language skills in a welcoming environment and learn about Canada with the help of volunteers from the Community Development Council Durham (CDCD). Participants with a variety of language abilities come together to discuss topics, have questions answered, share stories, learn about library resources, and so much more! This is a free drop-in program. Please contact Maria Abogado at CDCD for more information at 905-686-2661 ext.109 or

Thursdays, 6:30–8:00 p.m
January 11 - June 28, 2018



2016 Census Results
The 2016 census language statistics have been released.  The top 10 non-official languages spoken most often at home in 2016 were: Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, Arabic, Italian, German, Urdu and Persian (Farsi).



The following language groups recorded growth of more than 25 per cent: Tagalog (+35 per cent), Arabic (+30), Persian (+26.7), Hindi (+26.1) and Urdu (+25). These four posted a decline: Greek (-2.3 per cent), German (-3.3), Polish (-5.5) and Italian (-10.9).


Check out this fun interactive tool to see where you fit in the census!



Test Drive IELTS Online
Try out the British version of IELTS with Road to IELTS Test Drive for 30 free hours worth of practice General and Academic training modules.  Each of the speaking, writing, listening, and reading areas has advice and tutorials, practice zone, and test practice tabs.  And don’t forget to check out the library’s IELTS practice books!



Getting a Job in Canada – Welcome Centre Immigrant Services
Newcomers bring a wide variety of employment skills and experience to their search for employment in Canada; however many are unfamiliar with Canadian job search practices. Welcome Centres offer a wide range of supports to assist in developing the skills needed to find work, such as these job search workshops



Refugee Information
Find information for and about refugees through and Canada Immigration and Citizenship.
Basic refugee information

Local assistance for refugees

Volunteer to help

Welcome Refugees