While travelling to a family wedding in Powell River this past weekend, I was able to spend a night in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast with my cousin, Sherryl and her husband Mike. Sherryl is the Program and Outreach Coordinator at the Sechelt Public Library. I never miss a chance to check out libraries wherever I go so I tagged along with her one morning while she was setting up for that evening’s programming.
The library is a beautiful building that is filled with natural light. Immediately my eye was drawn to the artwork on the walls that depict cedar and Indigenous imagery. Quite stunning.
The Indigenous collection at the Sechelt Library is the first thing you see when you enter the building. It is an extensive collection with many books from up and down the Sunshine Coast that reflect the realities of Indigenous lives through the art, songs and stories of the people. I was surprised to see the poster for First Nation CommunitiesREAD and a selection of nominated and winning titles front and centre on the shelves. It makes me very proud to know that this program reaches all across Canada and that the First Nation Librarians in Ontario have such an influence on the books people read.
The library is also participating in an important and unique ongoing reconciliation movement called Syiyaya. Syiyaya is the word for friends and family in the local shishalh language. This movement is intended to nurture and strengthen relationships between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities on the Sunshine Coast. Every Monday a weaver spends time in the library demonstrating her art and teaching others this very old practice. The Program is called Weaving Reconciliation: The Fabric of our Lives. Such a great example of reconciliation in practice.