The Greater Victoria Placemaking Network would like to establish a fund, with which to purchase copies of books for children and young adults centered around truth and reconciliation. Volunteers would then distribute these books to the 560 little free libraries (LFLs) around the Capital Regional District, Victoria, BC, Canada.
Rather than focusing on a single book, like our previous project, we decided to set up a fund to purchase a selection of books, focusing on those written by local and Indigenous authors, and from local publishers and book shops. This will allow us to share the work of many authors, support local publishers and bookshops, and help young people read and experience diverse voices and perspectives.
We would like to build on the success of our previous Truth and Reconciliation Little Free Library Book Project , where we raised funds to purchase enough copies of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action to deliver at least one to every little free library in the CRD. We managed to exceed our goal in less than 24 hours, and with the generous support of almost 100 people, raised enough money to purchase 902 copies of this important book.
A team of volunteers then helped distribute these books, with at least one being dropped off to every LFL in the region - there are over 560 LFLs in the CRD, the highest density of little book boxes in the country.
This project was a fantastic success! We noticed, however, that the booklets we were distributing, while being densely packed with important information, were not particularly accessible to younger people.
When it comes to reconciliation, we all have a role to play, and education is a critical element of reconciliation. Understanding diverse perspectives and experiences, as shared through books, is a fantastic way to educate and engage people in reconciliation, and this is particularly the case with younger people.
The Greater Victoria Placemaking Network (GVPN) is committed to reconciliation and wants to do what we can to help. Placemaking helps build and foster community, and we need communities that are knowledgeable about, and committed to reconciliation.
For the past several years, the GVPN has helped map, stock, and build LFLs around the region through the Pocket Places Project. Little free libraries are those little book boxes that can be found around town that operate on the principle of ‘give a book - take a book.’ But LFLs are so much more than little book boxes, they are hubs for spreading information and building community.
Over the years, in addition to topping up LFLs with books, GVPN volunteers have also distributed other educational bookmarks, zines, sidewalk chalk, and other materials to LFLs. We wanted to involve Victoria’s growing LFL network in the reconciliation process.
Our fundraising goal is $10,000.
Any funds raised above the goal will go towards purchasing additional copies of books.
The average retail price of the books that are thus far on our list is $17, which means that these funds will allow us to purchase ~588 books, at least one per LFL in the CRD. Where possible, we will arrange for bulk discounts from local publishers in order to maximize the number of books we can deliver, but always with the goal of supporting local authors.
We have consulted with a number of community members to generate a preliminary list of books, but we also welcome suggestions. If you found a book about truth and reconciliation geared towards younger people, or one that is particularly informative, moving, inspirational, or insightful, please share the title with us in your comments. We will also continue to search out new books over the course of the project.
Some titles we will be considering include:
- When We Are Kind - Monique Gray Smith, (Illustrated) Nicole Neidhardt (Orca Press).
- Speaking Our Truth - Monique Gray Smith (Orca Press).
- You Hold Me Up - Monique Gray Smith, (Illustrated) Danielle Daniel (Orca Press).
- The Orange Shirt Story - Phyllis Webstad, (Illustrated) Brock Nicol (Medicine Wheel Education).
- Beyond the Orange Shirt Story - Phyllis Webstad (Medicine Wheel Education).
- Trudys Rock Story - Trudy Spiller (Medicine Wheel Education).
- 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act - Bob Joseph (Strong Nations).
- Aggie and Mudgy The Journey of Two Kaska Dena Children - Wendy Proverbs (Strong Nations).
- Dear Canada These Are My Words The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens - Ruby Slipperjack (Strong Nations).
- Gaawin Gindaaswin Ndaawsii I Am Not A Number - Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer (Strong Nations).
- Finding the Language - Adelyn Newman-Ting (Voice of Future Generations)
The project will officially launch on Thursday, September 30th, 2021 - The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The fundraiser will continue until the full $10,000 are raised, or until the end of November. If the goal is exceeded, we will continue to accept donations until the end of November.
We will start purchasing books after the first $5,000 is raised. Rather than purchasing all of the books at one time, however, the plan is to purchase collections of 30 to 50 books at a time, and then distribute these to LFLs around the region, with a new book or books featured every 2 months.
A bookplate will be added to each book indicating that the book was purchased through this project and recognizing the support of donors. The cost for these bookplates will be covered by the GVPN.
Book deliveries will be shared on social media, connecting people with the books, LFLs, and authors. Where possible, we will engage with local authors.