Community members and leaders from remote KO First Nations met online with professional and academic librarians, students along with public officials this past Friday to discuss ways to improve library services in Ontario's far north. Click here to see the workshop website which contains a wealth of information and resources.
Workshop participants from Deer Lake, Keewaywin, North Spirit, Sandy Lake, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Ottawa and Toronto met via video conference. Other from across the country watched the web streamed video session and contributed online through a monitored chat service. The entire event was archived and is available for viewing at http://webcast.knet.ca/RICTA under the Online Library Workshop event (nearly 8 hours in length).
Participants discussed ways to improve library services in remote nd isolated communities. Chief Raymond Mason of Keewaywin First Nation commented that he recognizes the importance of libraries especially for young people. He likes what he learned during the workshop and looks forward to seeing his community utilizing these resources. Darlene Rae, the e-centre manager of North Spirit Lake says she is excited about the opportunities of establishing a digital library in the north. "This is wonderful. We need a digital library to serve our people better." Freda Kenny, the vice principal of KiHS, reminded participants that "If you want to promote literacy, you also need print. Children and youth need books to promote a love of reading," said. The Honourable James Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario opened the workshop saying that improving library services in the north is a pressing need that cannot wait. He recommended to the workshop participants that they use all of the opportunities that modern technology can offer to create a digital library even though a "bricks and mortal" solution might be preferable.