Category: Student Committees

LWB at McGill & the Native Friendship Centre

The collaboration between the McGill chapter of Librarians Without Borders (LWB) and the Native Friendship Centre (NFC) of Montréal centres on the importance of connecting Indigenous communities with Indigenous literature and film. When LWB first formed a partnership with the Native Friendship Centre in autumn 2014, we were asked to find ways to promote literacy within the Indigenous community in Montréal, specifically through developing resources and programming at the NFC. We began by developing a small library for youth who frequent the NFC, with a focus on graphic novels and children’s books written by Indigenous authors. These materials often grapple with histories and experiences undergone by Indigenous communities in ways that are at once complex and accessible to younger readers. However, we’ve since realized that occasional visits by LWB to the NFC library are not enough to continue developing a sustainable relationship with the urban Indigenous community.

LWB McGill committee members cataloguing at the NFC

LWB McGill committee members
cataloguing at the NFC

In autumn 2015, our LWB chapter initiated weekly film showings in the NFC’s youth centre for young adults, again focusing on films made by and about Indigenous communities. Following the viewing itself, the participants, NFC animators, and LWB volunteers discuss any thoughts stirred by the film. Several participants have come to the viewings every week, and give us feedback on the different films. For instance, they have repeatedly expressed interest in learning about Indigenous communities from other parts of the world, and discussing how they are similar to or different than those in Montréal and Québec. As time goes on, the LWB chapter will purchase selected films to add to the NFC’s library for long-term access.

LWB has also partnered with a small library in the Katavic School Board that focuses on resources for learning Inuktitut. Through this collaboration we have learned a lot about the importance of language preservation and the role librarians can play in making these resources available.

In the future, LWB McGill would like to continue supporting initiatives both locally and internationally to assist Indigenous communities and help connect them with the various resources they need and want to use.

Curriculum Project: LWB Student Committee Literacy Work on the Thai-Burma Border

Librarians Without Borders’ Kaitie Warren, Founding member and current Co-Chair of LWB’s University of British Columbia iSchool Student Committee, has dedicated herself to supporting the Curriculum Project. The Curriculum Project works to design curricula and provide teacher training for schools serving Burmese exiles and refugees on the Thailand border. Read about how Kaitie got started with the Curriculum Project, and her continuing adventures and support of this service-based group.

Along the Thai-Burma border, hundreds of thousands of people from Burma are away from home for many reasons, including access to education that isn’t available at all or past a basic level. There is a large network of schools along the border, in Thai towns and villages and in nine refugee camps. Curriculum Project is one of the organizations supporting these schools. They focus on post-ten learning centres offering programs to students who have passed high school, and adult education through community organizations.  Curriculum Project writes and distributes course books for a wide range of subjects, including social studies, environment, English language, math, and community development. These books and Curriculum Project’s other resources are very valuable to teachers and students, and in many schools are the only current, relevant materials available. Educational resources are difficult to get in this mostly remote, rural area because of language barriers, an evolving model of rote learning, and a huge lack of funding.

Kaitie Warren with Project Curriculum students.

Kaitie Warren with Project Curriculum students.

I got to know the area through Project Umbrella Burma and over the past three years have spent time teaching at a post-ten school. Recently, as a professional experience project linked to my library science program, I created a collection of resources that add to the Curriculum Project books on General English, Southeast Asia Studies, and Teaching Skills. A resource guide for each of these subjects presents relevant materials for teachers to use in lesson planning, class activities, student assignments, and quizzes. To minimize the amount of internet access required, almost all of the resources can be downloaded or printed.  The materials follow the contents of Curriculum Project books, which teachers are already familiar with and can build on. These resources offer more options to teachers, and the chance for them to present a fuller learning experience to their students.

Project Curriculum students at work.

Project Curriculum students at work.

For more information about LWB student committees, please see our website. And to keep up with LWB’s news and service projects, sign up to receive our newsletter.

Join the LWB Team: Become Our New uWestern Advisor

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Dear LWB Friends and Supporters,

Looking for a chance to join the LWB Executive Team? Have a keen interest in supporting literacy around the world? We are currently seeking to fill a vacancy as Committee Advisor to our University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario) group.

As UWO Advisor, you will provide mentorship, support and guidance to LWB’s London, Ontario based committee. You will sit as a member of the Executive Team of Librarians Without Borders International and help support the organization’s global literacy and education work. You’ll also gain valuable experience and skills that can be applied to your future academic and professional careers.

Desired Qualifications (full job description below):

  • Be a member of Librarians Without Borders (sign up here: Membership Form).
  • Be passionate about our mission and have a dedicated interest in providing library services to communities in need.
  • Preferably live in or close to London, Ontario, or have some connection to the UWO Committee or the London library community.

All interested applicants are encouraged to send a brief (100 word) statement of interest to: mark.gelsomino AT lwb-online.org

Any questions will be happily answered via the same email address – and don’t forget to read the full job description. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Student Committee Advisor Job Description

*This is a volunteer position which will require approximately 8-15 hours per month.*

Literacy Work on the Thai-Burma Border

by Kaitie Warren, Co-Chair University of British Columbia LWB Committee

Librarians Without Borders has recently opened a brand new local committee, based out of the iSchool at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Founding member and current Co-Chair, Kaitie Warren, has recently returned from a service trip to the Thai-Burma border. Read all about her adventures supporting the Curriculum Project of Burma. The Curriculum Project works to design curricula and provide teacher training for schools serving Burmese exiles and refugees on the Thailand border.

Kaitie with an old student Thit Koh, who graduated last March and completed a four-month medic practicum in December.

Kaitie with an old student Thit Koh, who graduated last March and completed a four-month medic practicum in December.

After my first semester-and-a-quarter of Library and Information Science at the University of British Columbia, I began working on a resource guide for teachers on the border of Burma and Thailand. I first visited two years ago with a small Non-Government Organization, Project Umbrella Burma. ‘My students’ are at Kaw Tha Blay Learning Centre, where Karen students learn for two years after finishing high school. This past December I got to visit and set up a little project that will support teaching at similar schools.

Students have finished high school in Thailand, mostly in one of the nine refugee camps on Burma’s eastern border, because at home there are either no schools or they can’t afford to go. A lot of them left home long before high-school too; accessing education is one of many reasons that hundreds of thousands of people are forced to leave Burma. It has been this way for a very long time, and despite recent changes in government structure, this reality has not changed.

On the border, there is a fierce commitment to education. Students write and say things like ‘I need education to help my people’, ‘Without education I can’t do anything’, ‘Education is the weapon to fight for the future’. It’s very powerful to hear these thoughts and the stories behind them, and see how difficult it is for students to get the learning they’re looking for.

My project right now is to make it a bit easier for teachers to find materials for class. That’s difficult for many reasons. This is a very rural area, with government checkpoints blocking the road for refugees and migrants. There isn’t much money to buy books with; it’s also difficult to get appropriate books. At the few schools with Internet, people are quite new at using it, and finding extra resources online is not a part of most people’s experience. Even with excellent Internet skills, resources that are relevant to the students and at a good language level are very hard to come by.

Curriculum Project is the NGO I’m working with. They make coursebooks with content for this area, and support adult education on the border in other ways. This resource guide will go with those coursebooks, and add materials that teachers can use to build lessons, audio to play in class, readings and research activities for students. The topics are a range of English levels and a host of social studies like Systems of Democracy, History of Burma from a Multi-Ethnic Perspective, and Environment Issues.

This resource guide is a way to make it easier for teachers and students to find the information that they want. It also presents useful resources side by side with the coursebooks that they’re already using – it will be clear how to put them together for better learning.

Second year students at Kaw Tha Blay Learning Centre intrigued by the insides of a computer.

Second year students at Kaw Tha Blay Learning Centre intrigued by the insides of a computer.

 

Karen students practicing their traditional Done Dance under the misty mountains.

Karen students practicing their traditional Done Dance under the misty mountains.

Class on the badminton court on a chilly morning.

 

Freshly Minted: LWB’s Newest Committee Forms at the University of British Columbia

Over the past several years Librarians Without Borders has grown in leaps and bounds. We’d like to announce the latest addition to our library family – a new committee at the iSchool at University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

The UBC Crew: Matthew Root, Becky Epplett, Kaitie Warren, Kelly Savage, Kelsey Ockert

The UBC Crew: Matthew Root, Becky Epplett, Kaitie Warren, Kelly Savage, Kelsey Ockert

The UBC Committee will be be aided by another new addition. Danielle (Dee) Winn, will join the Librarians Without Borders parent group as Advisor to the UBC team. Dee currently works as a Librarian at the UBC Education Library, and will be on hand to advise and guide the UBC Committee as they grow.

On behalf of LWB, please welcome our newest committee!

Toronto Event: Author Sheila Dalton reads from Giller Reader’s Choice novel

Hello Toronto library folks and LWB supporters,

The Toronto Public Library will be hosting an author reading by longtime LWB member and support Sheila Dalton. She’ll be discussing her acclaimed novel The Girl in the Box. LWB Treasurer, Nalini Battu, will also be on hand to talk about our work in Guatemala and beyond. Details are below.

Dalton

Sheila Dalton
The Girl in the Box
A Giller Reader’s Choice Top Ten Pick, 2012.
A mute Mayan girl held captive in the Guatemalan jungle, a big city
psychoanalyst with a rescue complex, and a journalist with a broken
heart are the focus of this provocative tale. Sheila is a former librarian
and a member of Librarians Without Borders. Meet members of
Librarians Without Borders tonight.

Thursday September 26, 7pm
Kennedy/Eglinton Branch
2380 Eglinton Avenue East
416-396-8924

Librarians Without Borders McGill is having a party! Le comité Bibliothécaires sans frontières de McGill organise un party!

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Librarians Without Borders McGill is having a party! Join us for an evening of raffles, dancing and music.

https://www.facebook.com/events/193374334177410/

McGill School of Information Studies students, information studies students at Université de Montréal EBSI, and information professionals from the Montreal community are all invited. A great opportunity to meet new people and to build your professional network!

Thursday, September 12 at 7:00pm

Bar Le Gymnase (410, Rachel Est)

* All drinks $2
* Tickets $7 at the door, 5$ in advance
* There will be a raffle with great prizes to be won!

We look forward to seeing you there!

**Librarians without Borders (LWB) is a non-profit organization that strives to improve access to information resources regardless of language, geography, or religion, by forming partnerships with community organizations in developing regions. Our vision is to build sustainable libraries and support their custodians and advocates—librarians. We have worked with international libraries in Guatemala as well as local organizations here in Montreal, such as the Native Friendship Center of Montreal and the women’s shelter Chez Doris.**

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Le comité Bibliothécaires sans frontières de McGill organise un party! Joignez-vous à nous pour une soirée de tirages, danse et musique.

https://www.facebook.com/events/193374334177410/

Les étudiants de l’école des sciences de l’information de l’Université McGill et de l’École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l’information (EBSI) de l’Université de Montréal, ainsi que les professionnels de l’information de la communauté montréalaise sont tous invités. Une belle opportunité de rencontrer de nouvelles personnes et d’agrandir votre réseau professionnel!

Thursday, September 12 at 7:00pm

Bar Le Gymnase (410, Rachel Est)

* Toutes les boissons à $2
* Billets 7$ à la porte, 5$ en pré-vente
* Il y aura des tirages avec de très beaux prix à gagner!

Au plaisir de vous y voir!

** Bibliothécaires sans frontières (BSF) est une organisation à but non lucratif qui vise à améliorer l’accès aux ressources d’information indépendamment de la langue, la géographie, ou de la religion, en formant des partenariats avec des organismes communautaires dans les régions en développement. Notre vision est de construire des bibliothèques durables et de soutenir leurs bibliothécaires. Nous avons travaillé avec des bibliothèques internationales au Guatemala ainsi qu’avec des organisations locales ici Montréal, tels que le Centre d’amitié autochtone et le refuge pour femmes Chez Doris.**

Join the Team! Dalhousie/Halifax Committee Advisor Needed!

These boys were really friendly and curious about us, having followed us along our hike through the mountain village.

These boys were really friendly and curious about us, having followed us along our hike through the mountain village.

Dear LWB Friends and Supporters,

Looking for a chance to join the LWB Executive Team? Have a keen
interest spreading literacy to the developing world? We are currently
seeking to fill a vacancy as Committee Advisor to our Dalhousie
(Halifax) group.

As Dalhousie Advisor, you will provide mentorship, support and guidance
to LWB’s Halifax based committee. You will sit as a member of the
Executive Team of Librarians Without Borders International and help
support the organization’s global literacy work. You’ll also gain
valuable experience and skills that can be applied to your future
academic and professional careers.

Desired Qualifications (full job description below):

-Be a member of Librarians Without Borders (sign up here for
free: Membership Form).

-Be passionate about our mission and have a dedicated interest in
providing literacy services to communities in need.

-Preferably live in or close to Halifax, or have some connection to
the Dalhousie Committee or the Halifax library community.

All interested applicants are encouraged to send a brief (100 word)
Statement of Interest to: mark.gelsomino@lwb-online.org

Deadline: Monday, September 9th.  Any questions will be happily answered
via the same email address – and don’t forget to read the full job
description. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Student Committee Liaison Job Description

sincerely,
Mark Gelsomino & Melanie Sellar
Co-Executive Directors
Librarians Without Borders

*This is a volunteer position which will require approximately 8-15
hours per month.

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Join the Librarians Without Borders Team!

Dear LWB Friends and Supporters,

Looking for a chance to join the LWB Executive Team? Have a keen interest spreading literacy to the developing world? We are currently seeking to fill a vacancy as Committee Advisor to our McGill (Montreal) group.

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As McGill Advisor, you will provide mentorship, support and guidance to LWB’s Montreal based committee. You will sit as a member of the Executive Team of Librarians Without Borders International and help support the organization’s global literacy work. You’ll also gain valuable experience and skills that can be applied to your future academic and professional careers.

Desired Qualifications (full job description below):

-Must be a member of Librarians Without Borders (sign up here for free: Membership Form).

-Be passionate about our mission and have have a dedicated interest in providing literacy services to communities in need.

-Preferably live in or close to Montreal, or have some connection to the McGill Committee or the Montreal library community.

All interested applicants are encouraged to send a brief (100 word) Statement of Interest to: mark.gelsomino AT lwb-online.org

Deadline: Monday, August 12th.  Any questions will be happily answered via the same email address – and don’t forget to read the full job description. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Student Committee Liaison Job Description

sincerely,

Mark Gelsomino & Melanie Sellar

Co-Executive Directors

Librarians Without Borders

*This is a volunteer position which will require approximately 8-15 hours per month.

Reflections from LWB North American Speaking Tour with Guatemalan Partner Jorge Chojolán

During the LWB North American Speaking Tour with our Guatemalan Partner Jorge Chojolán, LWB student committee members were asked to reflect on their experience attending the workshops and public events during the tour. This post comes to us from Emily, a member of the LWB University of Toronto Student Committee and a student in the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto.

I attended two of Jorge Chojolan’s workshops about Miguel Angel Asturias Academy.  His story and the history of the academy are truly inspiring.  Jorge has created an amazing school with such a limited amount of resources.  It was really great to see how Librarians Without Borders helps the school, and how enthusiastic the kids are about their library.  Jorge’s presentation made me realize how much the work and fundraising that we do means to communities in need of library resources.

 

Speaking Tour Workshop (Toronto): Challenges of preservation of indigenous languages and culture in Guatemala – Faculty of Information, University of Toronto

 

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