Chinese projects to receive financial boost

Lion dancers make their way to the Chinese Public School on Fisgard Street through the smoke of firecrackers during Sunday’s  New Year celebrations.

Lion dancers make their way to the Chinese Public School on Fisgard Street through the smoke of firecrackers during Sunday’s New Year celebrations.

Libraries to increase Chinese language collection, UVic to tell Chinese stories through digital project

As part of the celebration of Chinese New Year, a display of posters and DVDs greeted patrons on the second floor of the Central library branch on Broughton Street.

The items are just a small sampling of the library’s extensive Chinese language collection.

“It means a lot to the new immigrants and the seniors,” said Aiyang Ma, who put the display together.

“Some of our patrons — they don’t speak much English.”

Last week the Victoria Foundation contributed $15,000 to grow the collection and purchase DVD documentaries about Chinese-Canadian history.

“That grant will make a great difference,” said Ma, multicultural services librarian. “We can subscribe to more current and new materials. We also can expand our children’s collections.”

Romance, biographies and children’s books are the most popular, she said.

Seven of the 10 Greater Victoria Public Library branches carry a total of 6,568 Chinese-language materials, half of which cater to Mandarin speakers and the other half to Cantonese speakers. The GVPL also subscribes to more than 1,000 Chinese magazines and newspapers online.

The grant is one of five announced by the Victoria Foundation that aims to celebrate Chinese culture.

The University of Victoria will receive $26,000 for digitizing and translating significant at-risk historical documents stored by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association at the UVic library archives.

The City of Victoria will receive $5,000 to create a mural or other art installation in Chinatown. The Victoria Chinatown Community Care Foundation was awarded the same amount for bedding and other needs.

The largest grant recipient is Simon Fraser University’s David Lam Centre, which received $50,000 to help launch a Chinese-Canadian history project.

“We are honoured to provide this gift to the Chinese-Canadian community,” said Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson.

“It represents an important cultural investment for our community as a whole and will create a vibrant legacy not only for our city, but for our province and our country.”

rholmen@vicnews.com