QLNB is midway through a project exploring innovative ways to meet a need for literacy and learning support in publicly owned seniors’ housing.
This need was recognized by the Department of Social Development, our major partner in this project. The Department is involved with five area residences: Brunswick Drive (The Village); Danells Drive (Lower West); Smythe Street; Charlton Place and Stephenson Towers (two buildings located between the Old North End and Crescent Valley). The DSD Community Liaison Coordinator engaged in conversations with residents, and together they identified local library development as one strategy for promoting the learning, mental health and well being of the residents.
Reading is an enjoyable leisure activity which has a direct, positive impact on the literacy and cognitive capacity of each individual. Neighbourhood libraries, by improving access to books and services, as well as providing opportunities for hands on learning, contribute to improved literacy levels, increased mental health and well being, and an improved quality of life for individuals and communities.
Our work in support of this consists of
- Talking with residents about their priorities in terms of access to literacy materials; quality and content of materials in the library and what kind of potential is there to build capacity of residents to manage their own library and obtain and maintain library resources.
- Following through on specific resident requests for library materials and library service.
- Provide the short-term support, training and information needed for residents to maintain and run their own residential libraries.
All in all, this has been an exciting and interesting project.
Generous funding support for this project came from the City of Saint John and the Greater Saint John Community Foundation.