VIRL’s Indigenous Voices Wins BCLA Award

June 12, 2019

Nanaimo, BC: Vancouver Island Regional Library’s Indigenous Voices program took home a prestigious Building Better Communities award at the 2019 BC Library Association (BCLA) conference. According to the BCLA website, the Building Better Communities award recognizes an individual or organization for increasing the relevancy and impact of library service through partnership, collaboration, and building trust where little had previously existed.

“Indigenous Voices initiative forged new relationships and understandings in library branches from Sidney to Masset,” says VIRL’s Executive Director, Rosemary Bonanno. “This Elder-led program is educational, entertaining, thought-provoking, emotional, and inspiring. It brings people closer and opens up new channels of communication and understanding in many VIRL communities.”

The program launched in January 2018 at VIRL’s Sidney/North Saanich branch. By year’s end, 20 Indigenous Elders hosted 56 events at 20 VIRL communities to 1,384 participants. Attendees learned about reconciliation and residential schools, listened to creation stories, embarked on medicine walks to discover medicinal uses of local plants, participated in drum making sessions and smudging ceremonies, and so much more.

The program continues in 2019 with many exciting programs planned for the year.

VIRL is proud to share the Building Better Communities award with West Vancouver Memorial Library, awarded for its Honouring Reconciliation: Hearing the Truth program. The awards were presented on May 10 at the 2019 BCLA Conference. VIRL’s Melanie Barnum, who was instrumental in launching the program, picked up the award on behalf of VIRL. More information about all 2019 award winners is available here.


For more information

David Carson, Director, Corporate Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Direct: 250.753.1154 ex 248
Cell: 250.327.3651