Breathing new life into the community and a landmark library!
The landmark Fraser Hickson is a private, independent and free library serving Quebecers since 1885. Over the years, it established a reputation for excellence and introduced the love of books and reading to thousands of children. Changing times and the economic challenges of running a privately financed non-profit organization lead to a period of reflection, planning and reorganization.
The library’s renaissance began with the introduction of the MINIBIBLIO programme, an initiative that combines innovation AND ‘back to basics’ librarianship MINIBIBLIO grew into MINIBIBLIOplus, which incorporates an Early Literacy Component. This is an outreach programme that empowers community organizations and daycares as they, in turn, work to empower our youngest and most vulnerable citizens by introducing them to books and the love of reading at an early age
We collaborate with community partner organizations to establish library collections that meet their needs and that they themselves manage on their own premises. We provide support services to them as they promote literacy through early childhood exposure to books and reading and this in turn, positions their young charges to thrive in school and beyond. We also assist them in helping parents understand the importance, and develop the habit of, reading to their children especially during the First 1000 Days of a child’s life.
Our presentation will chronicle how a library struggling under rapid social changes and financial challenges has recreated itself anew by focussing on the one of the fundamentals of librarianship: the right to access. It will also explore how the library is partnering in innovative ways with other collaborators to increase accessibility, especially to marginalized citizens, and is taking a leadership role in forging new networks to empower the entire community.
The goal of the presentation is to demonstrate how, by focusing on a core mission, user needs and personal connection, a library can thrive even under the most difficult circumstances, and even come quickly to play a leadership role in the community.
We will present the milestone steps in our rebirth process, the key factors in our success thus far, the challenges and lessons learned and our prospects for empowering families in our communities to meet the social and economic challenges of the future.