Saturday, June 22, 2024
June 22, 2024

Library’s Truth & Reconciliation efforts earn award

Salt Spring Island Public Library has been recognized for its Truth and Reconciliation work through a British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) award.

Library director Karen Hudson, library board chair Adrian Wright and Indigenous coordinator Caroline Dick accepted the Building Better Communities Award during the annual BCLA conference held last month in Vancouver.

This award goes to an organization responsible for increasing the relevancy and impact of library services through partnership, collaboration and building trust where little had previously existed.

“Salt Spring Island Public Library formally began doing Truth and Reconciliation work in 2018, with an UNDRIP series, Indigenous author readings and Indigenous displays, and expanded in 2019 with the formation of their Reconciliation Reading Circle, which continues to this day,” states information about the award. “Most recently, in January, they opened ITOTELNEW̱ HÁUTW̱ Tatul’ utew’t-hw, their new Indigenous Learning Area. The awards committee was impressed by the ongoing commitment and leadership Salt Spring Island Public Library has demonstrated to Truth and Reconciliation, and what they have been able to achieve as a relatively small library.”

Pender Island Public Library nominated their Salt Spring counterpart for the award.

In her acceptance speech, Hudson encouraged other libraries to take steps in reconciliation.

“This year’s conference theme is Commitment – Courage – Community, and it takes courage to stand up for what is right, take risks and pursue innovation,” said Hudson. She added they learned that building relationships with Indigenous Peoples is ongoing, takes its own time and the way of working is based on trust and patience. To be successful, you need to be flexible and respectful.

Hudson also mentioned the library’s “ReconciliActions,” including completing the Indigenous mural with Quw’utsun artist Charlene Johnny in 2021, to raise awareness of local Indigenous communities and to be a symbol of the library’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation; making the library’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation a strategic priority, with a focus on policies, operations and programming that support the Calls to Action of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report in 2022; and hiring Indigenous staffperson Caroline Dick in 2023.

After thanking the long list of supporters and Indigenous partners, Hudson encouraged everyone to attend the conference session the next day with herself, Caroline Dick, and Amelia Boissoneau from Surrey Libraries, titled Committing to Community Reconciliation at a Public Library, which was attended by more than 100 people.

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