FORT RUPERT—Kwakiutl members were joined by Rotary dignitaries and the Lieutenant Governor of B.C., the Hon. Judith Guichon, last week in opening the new library and literacy centre in Tsakis.
Called Nuyum mat’si — a place to tell stories or legends — the new centre boasts nearly 3,500 books available for loan, with plans to add computer stations in the near future.
The project was initiated by the previous Lieutenant Governor, Steven Point, in May 2012, inspired by the success of similar projects abroad.
Kwakiutl Education Administrator Marion Hunt said that the new centre will be used initially as a hub for existing programs offered within the village, such as the Bachelor of Education program in partnership with UVic, as a language lab for Kwakwala students, and as a venue for the homework club.
“We’re hoping to offer more partnership programs so students can learn and remain in the community,” said Hunt.
And, of course, as the name suggests, as a venue for storytelling.
Currently the library offers close to 3,500 titles across a spectrum of genres, including around 200 First Nations titles, a number Hunt would like to see grow.
A group of community volunteers worked with the Library Response Team to catalogue and order the titles in just three days ahead of the opening ceremony.
Computers will soon be added to the centre offering job search and resume writing opportunities for community members.
The library was built as an initiative under the Lieutenant Governor’s literacy program: The Write to Read Project, a partnership between the Government House Foundation and Rotary to assist in building co-operative relationships between urban groups and First Nations communities.
“As you look around, you can see this is so much more than just a library,” said the Lieutenant Governor. “This new facility is a place to learn, a place to discover and explore the past and to reach out into the virtual world and communicate ideas for the future. This is a place for community.”
Sponsors of the Fort Rupert library include the Government House Foundation, Britco, Success By 6 and Rotary Clubs of Burnaby Metrotown, Port McNeill and Port Hardy. Other libraries under the Write to Read Project have opened in Toosey First Nation, Stone First Nation, Halalt First Nation, Old Masset, Bella Bella, Rivers Inlet and Malahat. An additional library is scheduled to open in Ditidaht in September.