Lt. Governor opens new library in Oweekeno

LRT
Lt. Governor Judy Guichon will be in attendance in late April for the opening of Write to Read’s newest library at Oweekeno (or Rivers Inlet as it also known). Located south of Bella Bella on the coast, Oweekeno is home to 280 members of the Wuikinuxv Nation, many of whom  live off reserve. Currently the band has an administration office, a health centre, a K7 school, a firehall, an airstrip and a Big House for ceremonies. And now a library.

A modular building has been donated by prime Write to Read sponsor Britco Structures in partnership with the Lionsgate Rotary Club of North Vancouver who donated the computers and furniture. The Jack Gin Foundation supplied funding for the transportation of the module. Several Vancouver businesses assisted with installation and construction and the LRT (Library Response Team, shown in photo with Her Honour, centre) oversaw the implementation of a catalogue system and trained the local library volunteers.

According to W2R Project Coordinator Bob Blacker, the delivery of the Oweekeno library has been quite a challenge due to the remoteness of the community and the inlet’s shallow waters. The overall cost of the entire project, including delivery, has worked out to $68,250. Estimates of the total costs of each library vary due to circumstance, but the approximate cost of each project is between $30,000 and $50,000, an extremely low cost considering the many benefits to all concerned.

Not only are thousands of books (appropriate for children) delivered to a community that could never afford them, but computers connected to the Internet allow the kids to gain necessary computer literacy. Perhaps most important is the direct link made between remote communities and urban business groups like the Rotary clubs that are participating. These are equal partnerships based on trust, allowing for future dialogue and new endeavours.

Libraries are scheduled to be built at many more remote aboriginal communities around the province in the next few years depending on sponsorship. Companies, individuals and organizations interested in donating to the Write to Read Project are encouraged to contact Andrew Robinson at the Government House Foundation at 250-356-1829. All donations are eligible for a tax receipt. Donors contributing $10,000 or more are invited to an annual reception and may have their names associated with the libraries.

For media queries, or more information about getting involved with Write to Read as a volunteer, or contribute to the website, or to assist with publicity, please call Write to Read editor Michael McCarthy at 604-441-1846 or email editor@writetoreadproject.org.

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