Preparation work on the Village of Metlakatla’s new compact library is well underway, with excitement in the community growing as it awaits the opening.
The facility is being donated by the Write to Read Project, started by Steven Point, former-Lieutenant Governor of B.C., and his aide-de-camp, Bob Blacker, back in 2007 as a way to promote literacy in remote First Nations communities.
Once complete, Metlakatla’s library will be the 10th provided by the Write to Read Project in isolated communities throughout B.C., including Bella Bella where the group erected a modular library earlier this year to replace the community’s facility that mysteriously burned down.
“Since we started doing this, it’s been amazing seeing the transformation of the communities when they get their library,” Blacker, Write to Read project coordinator, said.
It was through Write to Read’s involvement with the creation of a library in Lax Kw’alaams’ soon-to-be constructed community school that the donation would come about.
Blacker and Cpl. Jennifer Collins of the RCMP North Team were working on the project together when Blacker informed Collins there was a compact library available. Collins, who work closely with the communities of Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla, said she immediately thought of Metlakatla.
“I told him that I thought it would be perfect for Metlakatla for a number of reasons. It’s a small building, there is no school in the village, the 29 school age children are taken on the ferry every day to school and I thought that the community would be receptive to it,” Collins said.
The library will be housed in an eight by 10 foot structure donated by Western Camera Buildings.
Affectionately dubbed the “Hobbit House”, the building has the capacity for 1,500 books, shelving and two computers available for community use.
The library was transported to Metlakatla from down south earlier this month, with two of Write to Read’s librarians travelling to the community last week to start organizing and setting up the library.
“Metlakatla is such a great community. When we were bringing the building into the community, it was really interesting to see people’s reaction,” said Blacker.
Blacker said plans are being arranged to hold an official opening ceremony for Metlakatla’s library in February.