Chief Council Greg Louie shares a laugh with Judith Guichon, lieutenant governor of B.C., during her visit to Ahousaht that led to a new library in the community.
The Right to Read program has donated a fully furnished library to Maaqtusiis High School in Ahousaht. According to school librarian, June Titian, the library books and furnishings are expected to arrive by barge to the isolated island community in early June 2017.
This donation is the second of it's type in Nuu-chah-nulth territories. The first Right to Read library donated to a Nuu-chah-nulth nation went to Ditidaht Community School in 2015.
The Right to Read program is an initiative launched by former Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Steven Point. Point, a Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl member of Skowkale First Nation, is a lawyer and has been involved in politics since the age of 23 and served as B.C.'s lieutenant governor from 2007 to 2012.
During his tenure as lieutenant governor, Point recognized that there was a need for books in remote communities. He launched Write to Read in an effort to promote literacy in the far reaches of the province.
Bob Blacker, a retired police officer, worked with Point to gather and bring books to the community. He is still involved in the program, now working with Point’s successor, Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon.
Blacker has been working closely with Maaqtusiis school staff for several months in an effort to bring a donated Write to Read library to the community.
Maaqtusiis High School principal Joe McHale said Elected Chief Greg Louie brought Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon for a tour of the school during a past visit to Ahousaht and it was plain to see that there were very few books in the high school library.
Principal McHale is grateful for Ahousaht community champions of the project including Elected Chief Greg Louie, teacher Patti Burridge, and librarian June Titian.
June Titian says the new library is a welcome addition to the school. The present library carries very few books for the high school grades.
Not only will there be more age-appropriate books catalogued by volunteer retired librarians, but there will also be furnishings built by inmates at Brannon Lake Correctional Institute. Everything will be delivered by barge to Ahousaht in early June 2017.
Principal Joe McHale says it should take a couple of days to set the new library up and then there will be a grand opening ceremony.
Special guests could include Ahousaht Ha’wilth Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and representatives from the provincial government.
The Write to Read program has visited and made library designs for other remote first nations communities including Nuu-chah-nulth nation Kyuquot/Cheklesaht.
There are future plans to visit Pacheedaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations.