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Seniors Find Connections through Literature Club


Surrey, BC – Seniors are building connections and feeling nurtured through a Literature Club program they access via telephone. Surrey Libraries offers the live weekly readings of short stories, poems, and other works of literature to homebound seniors. 

 “You feel nurtured,” said listener Lynda Brown. “Somebody has taken the time to find a book for you, to read for you, and to do something for you. It makes you feel cared for and it’s engaging for the mind. There’s something just so fascinating about listening to someone else read for you.”

The readings began two years ago during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is hosted in partnership with the Brella Community Services Society (formerly Seniors Come Share Society) and their Seniors’ Centre Without Walls (SCWW) program (

“One of the very few silver linings of the pandemic is that we had to find new and creative ways to offer our programs,” said Renée Zolinski-Ward, Information Services Technician at Surrey Libraries. “We read everything, from classics, to popular thrillers, to contemporary short-story authors like Carol Shields. The listeners add their comments at the end of our readings. They bounce their observations off each other, and the conversation often goes in directions that you don’t expect. Everyone is so eclectic!”

While libraries have always offered recordings of books in many different formats over the years, what makes the Literature Club special is its intimate and interactive nature. Since its introduction, the program has delivered more than 200 readings to almost 1,600 listeners.

“The Literature Club might be a bit different from what people would typically expect,” said Edwin Chau, SCWW Coordinator at Brella. “But it offers a unique experience you can’t get anywhere else.”

Another listener, Joan Bywater, really appreciates how the program helped get her through the pandemic, “I love listening to the librarians. Although we’ve never seen the other people, we get to know their voices and you feel like you’re friends and you’re really interested in what they have to say. It really is quite a social thing, not just listening. We all take turns and get a chance to say something.”

The free telephone readings take place on Tuesdays at 2:30pm. Registration, which is not limited to seniors, is through Brella’s Seniors’ Centre Without Walls at Tel: (604) 531-9400 ext. 205. 

Selections of the Literature Club readings are also available online on Surrey Libraries’ YouTube channel: surreylibrariesbc. Find more great seniors’ programming and other library programs at


Photo: Renée Zolinski-Ward, Information Services Technician at Surrey Libraries, gets ready to read for the Literature Club program.

About Surrey Libraries

Surrey Libraries is one of the most-used community services in Surrey and runs hundreds of programs and services for children, youth, and adults to support their diverse learning needs. Serving the community since 1983, Surrey Libraries is a leader in supporting literacy, creativity, connectivity, and lifelong learning. Find out more about Surrey Libraries and its diverse programming at