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Resources at your fingertips, on paper
A new guide available at Tanner’s Books will help people from all walks of life search out information and resources.
The 2014 edition of My Help! Book published by a local woman features 64 pages of resources — phone numbers, email addresses, street addresses and more — all in one small guide.
Cynthia L’Hirondelle, the book’s publisher, got the idea because she was frequently asked by friends and family for resource information and contacts.
“There are people out there who frequently get asked for advice or direction, people who are informal community helpers or perhaps volunteers. After hearing the questions, people were asking, I thought, ‘why not put all this information in one easily accessible place?’ That’s how the book was born,” L’Hirondelle explained.
As backwards as publishing a paper book may seem in this day and age, L’Hirondelle said there are advantages to it.
“Many people have problems finding the information or help they need on the internet because of three things: not knowing what to look for, information overload and not knowing what key words to use. There’s a distinct digital divide out there, not everyone has access or wants access to resources online. So a tangible resource like the My Help! Book is a necessity for some people.”
The books are priced at $5 (some sponsors like Salvador Davis in Sidney purchased the books bulk and donated them to the SHOAL Centre to give to residents at no cost) and L’Hirondelle hand-picked each resource listed.
“It has 45 sections and 900 listings covering every aspect of individual and community services including key provincial and national listings and listings for the lower mainland. The book lists contacts for everything from legal resources, health resources, crisis lines, employment resources and more. It definitely doesn’t list every single resource out there but I’ve carefully chosen the contacts to reflect a good diversity.”
L’Hirondelle said she is also working on a digital version of My Help! Book for mobile devices that should be available in 2015.