Contact: the pleasure of books

On the ground


The city has a network of 45 libraries within its 19 boroughs that serve a population of 1,988,423 people[1]. The Montréal libraries offer access to reading, information, knowledge, culture and recreation. Through their offerings and their accessibility, they are an agent of social inclusiveness and help to promote living together in Montréal.

More than 70% of newcomers to Québec settle in Montréal, which makes for a constantly changing portrait of the Montréal population.


Each day, Montréal is enriched with new residents who arrive from all over the world. In 1999, as part of a city agreement with the government of Québec, Montréal’s public libraries developed the “Contact: The Pleasure of Books” program, first for new Montrealers and then, beginning in 2007, for all Montrealers.   

Through its original approach to reading, “Contact” is based on the idea that children under 5 and books are important keys to improving living conditions for all residents.

This unusual program consists of bringing children’s books to life for an hour. The pro in front of an audience composed of children under 5 and their parents. The program is for immigrant populations or French speakers from underprivileged neighbourhoods in all 19 of Montréal’s boroughs.

The “Contact” program’s facilitators have been working actively to create ties with parents for the past several years by reading books to young children. The facilitators want to raise parents’ awareness of the importance of reading to children by showing them how much enjoyment and interest even the youngest of children show when adults read to them. 

Facilitators also inform parents of services offered by their neighbourhood library to incite them to visit the library and integrate books into their everyday life.


The program’s general objectives are:

  1. Showing adults how interested young children are in books
  2. Getting parents interested in reading, both to their children and on their own
  3. Educating parents about the importance of getting children interested in reading and writing
  4. Getting immigrants interested in learning and using French
  5. Getting parents interested in discovering and visiting their neighbourhood library.


In 2016 :  

  • 12,966 adults and young people attended
  • 20,080 adults and young people came to meetings with activity leaders
  • 1,591 activities
  • 35 weeks of activities: January to June and September to December  

[1] Montréal in Statistics Web site, visited on April 1, 2018.