The Fredericton Public Library launched a bilingual social media campaign titled “Learn, Unlearn, and Relearn.” The library’s staff will be posting material on their Facebook page from their collection of Indigenous resources, fiction and non-fiction, for 215 days in honour of the 215 children found in unmarked graves at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
Julia Stewart, the director of the Fredericton Public Library, said the staff were inspired by the Vancouver Public Library that posted Indigenous material on their social media.
“People are looking for ways to connect, to relearn, to reimagine [the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada] and are looking for ways to do that, so I really feel like the library can be helpful for folks who are trying to understand,” said Stewart.
The library already has an expansive collection of materials on Indigenous Peoples in Canada, as well as works written by Indigenous authors. Stewart said the library’s collection includes titles on residential schools, truth and reconciliation and missing and murdered Indigenous women.
The different titles posted on their Facebook range from adult fiction to children’s picture books.
Stewart said, as a librarian, she likes to share information and gain new understandings.
She said the library staff wanted to honour the tragedy coming to light in the media and hopefully challenge individuals to question any preconceived ideas they held about Indigenous history.
“This work is difficult and it’s super sensitive and horrific. In some ways, it can be traumatic for everyone,” said Stewart. “I think the library offers an opportunity to come in and borrow a book they may have seen on social media and revaluate how they may have looked at something in the past.”
Stewart said the library has taken the likes and comments on their posts as an indication that the public is enjoying their content.
COVID-19 put many of the outreach activities the library did with Indigenous communities on pause.
She said the library is working hard to develop relationships with Kingsclear First Nation and St. Mary’s First Nation since before COVID-19, and this initiative is an opportunity to continue that outreach during the pandemic.
She hopes that the library can ultimately make some change through this campaign.
“The more we talk and the more we listen, the more I think things will change,” said Stewart.
“I think that our big hope for this social media campaign is to somehow make an impact, to make a change.”