First Nations Public Libraries in Ontario
- First Nations communities require public libraries just as much as any other community.
- Public libraries often serve as an accessible gathering place and information sharing resource for many First Nations communities, where they exist.
- There is broad recognition and support for the concept of continuing education at the community level as well as increased accessibility to all educational outlets, including public libraries
- There are 133 First Nations communities in Ontario. Of these, only 46 have public libraries.
Funding Ontario’s First Nations Public Libraries
- The traditional source of tax revenue for non-native public libraries does not exist for public libraries in First Nations communities.
- Provincial funding for these libraries is administered by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport through the Public Library Operating Grant (PLOG) and the First Nation Salary Supplement Grant (FNSS). These funds provide on average $15,000/year to each of these existing libraries.
- Federal funding for these libraries is taken from funds that are allocated for on-reserve education. Funding levels for on-reserve education are more than 30% lower than off-reserve, leaving little left to establish new libraries.
- Band Councils are therefore tasked with providing essential support such as rent, hydro, internet, fax and telephone service.
Challenges Faced by Ontario’s First Nations Public Libraries
- First Nations public libraries are either governed by their Band Council or their education department. The location of the library in the school system can make it difficult to establish a public library identity in the community.
- A significant number of First Nations people don’t own or have access to a computer or the internet. Many cannot afford to buy books for themselves or families.
- Ontario’s First Nations students under the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada system face an 80% failure rate
- Students who participated in provincial standardized testing in 2013-2014 showed an average literacy score of 21% for boys and 32% for girls.
- In terms of overall literacy, these numbers place Ontario First Nations students behind 205 other countries — at levels slightly higher than Sub-Saharan Africa.
Treaties Recognition Week (Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Affairs) – Resources to support learning about treaties, treaty relationships, and treaty rights that shape Ontario.
- Video series: Indigenous Voices on Treaties – Indigenous speakers share knowledge about treaties, treaty relationships and rights in Ontario.
- Map of Ontario Treaties and Reserves – Helps students identify the treaty land where they live and go to school.
- Printable resources including: a word-search, crossword puzzle and a treaties in Ontario map colouring page will be available to use and learn about treaties in a fun and interactive way
- NativeLand.ca – https://native-land.ca/ is a website run by the nonprofit organization Native Land Digital.
- Treaty Education Resources – (Anishinabek Nation) Page with lesson plans and videos that complement a treaties-focused teaching guide.
- Robinson Huron Waawiindaamaagewin – Robinson Huron Treaty 1850 and YouTube
- Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Official launch of the Moccasin Identifier
- Historica Canada’s Treaties in Canada Portal – (Historica) – Education guide to support classroom learning on treaties.
- James Bay Treaty Virtual Exhibit (Archives of Ontario)
- Thesis – Anishinaabe Treaty-Making in the 18th-and-19th-Century Northern Great Lakes: From Shared Meanings to Epistemological Chasms – by Dr.Alan Theodore Ojiig Corbiere
- Event – Treaties Recognition Week: Dr. Alan Ojiig Corbiere “Anishinaabe Treaty-Making in the 18th- and 19th-Century Northern Great Lakes: From Shared Meanings to Epistemological Chasms” –
- Our Way Forward: A Strategic Plan for Ontario First Nation Public Libraries
- Ontario First Nations Public Libraries Needs Assessment Report, 2017
- First Nation Public Library Week – coordinated by Ontario Library Service – North
- First Nation Spring Gathering – coordinated by Ontario Library Service – North
- Native and Local Collections Development Policy – Six Nations Public Library Native and Local Collections Policy
- Reciprocal Borrowing – Template Policy for Reciprocal Borrowing – Municipal and First Nations Public Library
- insideOLBA Article – First Nations Collection (2013) by Sabrina Saunders
- Ontario Library Service – North First Nation Language Portal
- Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport: First Nations Libraries and Language Resources