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Some Canadian public library Aboriginal services updates

It seems that I have no time to blog since returning to work from maternity leave. Our organization isn’t core funded, so I’m busy with proposal writing, planning, and budget development. I come home and want to spend time with our 15-month old son, and before I know it, it is time for bed!

When I catch a spare moment, I take steps to remain current on where things are at regarding Aboriginal librarianship in Canada and/or librarianship for Aboriginal peoples in Canada. I’ve recently found the following items that identify some of the activities going on in urban, public libraries. Here they are:

Thanks go out to these libraries for sharing this information. It can be challenging to find out what libraries are doing (if you don’t ask each of them directly). Reporting on these activities and making this information publicly accessible is an important part of the process. These reports provide guidance to others, contribute to the generation of new ideas, and provide necessary information for analyzing trends in this area of librarianship.

If your library has a similar summary to share, please let me know and I’d be happy to add it to the list. As Kokum Mary from Wapos Bay might say, “Inquiring minds want to know, you know”. By the way, season 2 of Wapos Bay is now available for purchase. I highly recommend this program for all public libraries in Canada. It is an absolute gem.


Help keep the John Tetso Memorial Library open!

Text taken directly from NationTalk

January 13, 2009

The MLA for Nahendeh, Kevin Menicoche, would like to see the library in Fort Simpson remain open. The Deh Cho Hall, which is the current home of the John Tetso Memorial library, is scheduled to permanently close its doors next month. The Deh Cho Hall is an older building formally used for government offices, which are being relocated in February. Mr. Menicoche says, “A short-term solution is to continue housing the library in the Deh Cho Hall until the spring. This approach would provide more time to find a permanent space for it.”

Mr. Menicoche adds, “I have received many emails and phone calls from concerned citizens not wanting to see their library shut down. My constituents have been trying to find a solution on their own, but I think that the government should step-up to the plate and offer to find a solution. I have contacted the appropriate Ministers, but have yet to receive any positive response.”

Mr. Menicoche will be aggressively pursuing a viable solution during the Third Session of the Legislative Assembly which reconvenes on February 4, 2009.

For more information call:

Kevin Menicoche
MLA Nahendeh
P: 867-669-2294 or toll free 1-800-661-0784
F: 867-873-0276
E: kevin_menicoche@gov.nt.ca.

Gates Foundations gives $1 million to Vasconcelos, a mobile technology program

Below are links to more information and news sources on Vasconcelos, recent recipient of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries Access to Learning Award:

Advocacy for Tribal Libraries – Sandy Littletree

Sandy Littletree delivered a presentation on advocacy for tribal libraries at the recent gathering of Arizona Tribal Libraries. A big thank you goes to Kelly Webster for sharing this information.

The Working Together Project

The Working Together Project focuses on examining and developing tools to support public libraries in more effectively meeting the needs of the underserved and socially excluded. On the project website, it states that:

Libraries remain primarily successful in serving the middle-class while the disadvantaged, the non-literate and those from marginal social circumstances do not necessarily feel welcome and do not feel that the services provided are for them. A substantial body of literature going back to the Royal Commission on Poverty and further demonstrates that government offices, schools and hospitals/doctor’s offices are frightening and alien to many who are disadvantaged in society. Libraries are perhaps less intimidating but still not comfortable places for many socially excluded people.

The Project has recently released a very impressive resource, The Community-Led Libraries Toolkit. It provides a lot of sound advice and examples from community development librarians throughout the country and could be of benefit to many libraries.

Those of us who work for the members of our communities who are traditionally underserved by and underrepresented in libraries know that community involvement is essential to librarianship.  In order for us to better serve the traditionally underserved, we need to engage, engage, engage. I think that oftentimes we forget that our community members are the experts! We librarians and library workers are the facilitators.

Library Advocacy Kit

Ontario Library Service North has developed a really useful resource that can be used by First Nation library staff to advocate for their library. It is called Our Way Forward: An Advocacy Tool Kit Guide for Ontario First Nations Public Libraries and has been developed as part of their Strategic Plan. The kit includes a number of worksheets and provides good examples of advocacy in practice.