Anne Tenning

Anne Tenning

Book offerings on aboriginal culture improved at Nanaimo high school

NANAIMO – John Barsby Secondary School adds to its aboriginal literary library.

Students at John Barsby Secondary School are enjoying an aboriginal book collection and an aboriginal art-adorned bookcase.

Donna Flett, aboriginal support teacher at Barsby, said it is part of an inquiry project.

“We knew that there weren’t very many aboriginal books, particularly contemporary ones, in our collection and we thought, ‘What better way to contribute to the student body, to encourage them to read aboriginal material,” said Flett.

The school had a good base collection, but the diversity was lacking, Flett said.

“We know that we wanted some contemporary novels for the senior readers and we also wanted to go down into the lower grades and bring in some of the picture books that would still talk about history and culture, but that early-literacy students, struggling students could manage to read. That would include our international students. We have some Syrian students, new immigrants, so we wanted to be able to offer something for everyone … so they could access aboriginal history and culture,” Flett said.

In addition, it was thought a bookcase was needed too.

“We decided we were going to contribute some books to the library,” said Flett. “The existing bookshelf was very, very small that housed the collection … so then we thought, why not have a specially built book case to house the collection.”

A design was made and local artist Noel Brown built it and brought it into the library in September, said Flett.

Funding came from Nanaimo school district and the B.C. Ministry of Education.

The school had to apply for the money and will be required to file a report, which will be published on the ministry website, said Flett.

The bookshelf cost $1,110 and the new book collection $726.

Novels and manga (Japanese-style comic books) are expected to be ordered in the near future with a price tag of $300.