First Nation to get new library on reserve

Wed. May. 20/15

The Snuneymuxw First Nation will soon have a new library.

The effort to place a portable trailer on the reserve to house a library is part of the Write to Read Project, an initiative of the Lt. Governor of British Columbia and the Government House Foundation.

To date, more than a dozen libraries housed in trailers have been established in First Nation communities across B.C. as part of the project, and at the request of the SFN, the local band should have one by the end of the year.

Bob Blacker, Write to Read co-ordinator, said the project is an equal partnership between participating parties with a shared interest in increasing the level of literacy among aboriginal people in B.C.

In Nanaimo, those partners so far include the Young Professionals of Nanaimo, who intend to donate all the proceeds of their upcoming All Sport Challenge to the cause. Herold Engineering has committed to donating design work on the structure. Each library can cost up to $50,000, depending on the community in which it is built and the design which works best.

While the trailers, books and computers are donated in kind, funds are needed for transportation, installation, furniture and equipment, sustainability and communications. "Our next step is to determine exactly where on the reserve the people want this to be located, and we'll talk to the community to determine what people want to see in the library," Blacker said.

"We have almost 30,000 books in our storage facility in Surrey, including many aboriginal authors, so we already have a lot to choose from. We're also in the process of setting up computers in the libraries." The Write to Read Project was begun by Steven L. Point, who was sworn-in as British Columbia's 28th Lieutenant Governor in 2007 and had strong connections to the province's First Nations.