P.E.I. libraries see increase in demand for Indigenous books
The release of the Truth and Reconciliation report in 2015 helped drive more interest
Over the past few years, P.E.I. libraries have seen an increase of public interest in Indigenous material.
"We can definitely see it at the branch level," said Grace Dawson, the regional librarian with P.E.I. public library services.
Truth and reconciliation
"There seems to be a lot more inquiries from members of the public that are interested in acquiring books on different topics that relate to Indigenous culture and Indigenous history," she said.
Dawson says the release of the Truth and Reconciliation report in 2015 helped drive that increased demand for Indigenous content at the library.
"So we've seen a big uptake since that report was published," she said.
Popular Indigenous titles, which were borrowed during 2018 at the P.E.I. public library, include Richard Wagmese's Indian Horse, Thomas King's The Inconvenient Indian and Eden Robinson's Son of a Trickster.
In addition to expanding Indigenous materials in its collection, P.E.I. libraries are partnering with community groups such as the Lennox Island Daycare, the Abegweit First Nation Early Years Centre in Scotchfort and the Mi'kmaq Family Resource Center in Charlottetown.
P.E.I. libraries also selected Haisla and Heiltsuk author Eden Robinson's Son of a Trickster for their 2018 Book Love program.
Curated list of Indigenous content
Although there isn't a budget specifically set aside for Indigenous content, more and more of the budget is being dedicated to obtaining Indigenous material and books written by Indigenous authors, Dawson said.
In response to the Island's increased demand for Indigenous material, the library has specifically curated its own list of various titles relating to Indigenous culture, history including Canada's history of residential schools.
Many other titles on the curated list centre on Indigenous storytelling.
"I think especially with information on Indigenous individuals is something that perhaps libraries haven't focused so much on, in the past."
"So it's an area that we're very committed to expanding. And it's an area that we focus on not only in our collections but our programming as well," she said.