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Government of Ontario

Ontario Releases First Nations Public Libraries Needs Assessment

November 6, 2017

The Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport released a report commissioned to better understand the needs of First Nation Public Libraries (FNPLs) and to identify opportunities for responding through improved supports.

The research, conducted by NVision Insight Group with the participation of 40 First Nation Public Libraries (FNPLs), found that:

  • the libraries function as vital community hubs that are safe spaces for community members
  • support for language and culture revitalization is a priority for First Nation communities and that FNPLs see themselves as well positioned to play a role in this area. FNPLs support community literacy, provide First Nation-specific and Indigenous resources and encourage literacy and reading among children and youth.

The research indicated FNPLs face the following challenges and barriers:

  • Lack of funding
  • Inadequate Salary Support
  • Lack of Understanding of FNPLs’ Unique Role
  • Geographic and Infrastructure Barriers
  • Training Barriers
  • Collections and Technology Barriers

The report makes eight recommendations grouped into four themes:

  1. Improved funding structures, formulas and supports
    a) Implement a new funding structure and process
    b) Consider other funding for operational funding
    c) Provide funding support for additional staff
  2. Support the management, preservation and revitalization of First Nation languages and cultural resources and programming
  3. Improved Coordination and Advocacy
    a) Bring northern and southern library staff together more frequently
    b) Coordinate with other Ontario Ministries and the Federal government for funding and support to FNPLs
    c) Advocate for and support broadband Internet access for all First Nations in Ontario
  4. Streamline and simplify reporting processes and expand eligible expenses.
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