In 1991, a committee assembled to determine library related issues that was pressing in Saskatchewan. Impetus came from needs identified by the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Center (SICC), the Albert Library in Regina and other public libraries in Saskatchewan. The name of the committee was “Library Services for Saskatchewan Aboriginal Peoples” (LSSAP). Some issues and needs identified are:
- All types of libraries are experiencing increased demand for materials with Aboriginal content, especially information relating to Saskatchewan Indian people.
- There is a need for library training for persons working in libraries on reserves.
- Public libraries recognized the need to improve library services both on and off reserves.
- Libraries often work in isolation from one another; therefore, linkages need to be made to provide uniform effective and universal information services.
In 1992, a two-day conference was held in Saskatoon, followed by another in 1993 at La Ronge and again in l995 in Saskatoon. These gatherings continued to provide networking opportunities, generate discussion of issues and promote a vital information service. Conference goals and objectives were:
- Identification of library training that meets the needs of Aboriginal people.
- Creation of personal and organizational linkages to better serve Aboriginal people.
- Better knowledge at the local level of the options for library service.
- Library staff who are more knowledgeable about how to encourage and promote reading, family and community based literacy.
- Identification of sources of information relating to Aboriginal people.
In 1996 - Industry Canada provided computers to many band schools in Saskatchewan through the “Computers in Schools Program”. LSSAP hosted hands-on workshops for new users including basic windows, email, list serves, Internet searching, bookmarks, saving and printing files, and creating home pages. These sessions were in co-operation with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.
1997 - May and September, LSSAP hosted additional two day training sessions in Saskatoon.
1997 - The LSSAP committee donated $200 to Moose Jaw's "Festival of Words" to support their efforts to promote Aboriginal writers, storytellers and libraries.
Access to Aboriginal Content
Summers of 1997 and 1998, the LSSAP committee provided financial assistance to the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Center to hire students to index periodicals that were predominantly Aboriginal. This database index is accessible on the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centers web site.
In 1998, the LSSAP committee hosted 2 sessions at the joint "Prairie Library Conference" in Regina. Presentations were planned co-operatively by Saskatchewan, Manitoba and North Dakota Libraries, the Saskatchewan Library Association and the Provincial Library. Registration and rooms were paid for 2 delegates.
1998 - 2 committee members attended a world library forum in Norway.
1998 fall, and March and June of 1999, more training sessions in Saskatoon on Web Page Building were provided to persons of Aboriginal descent who worked in a school / band / public libraries.
1999 – Two members of the committee attended the First “International Indigenous Librarians Forum”, sponsored by the Maori Library and Information Workers, in Aucklund New Zealand.
The purpose of the Forum is to strengthen an international network of Indigenous library and information professionals. As Aboriginal librarians, this is an immense opportunity to meet and discuss common issues and concerns with such a broad base community, and, in doing so, strengthen the Aboriginal community and information base.
The Forum addresses ways to foster and preserve language, traditions, culture, and the value of information while improving access for Indigenous peoples. In addition, it develops agreement on further directions for international Indigenous librarianship.
2000 – Several committee members attended the Saskatchewan Library Association conference.
Access to Aboriginal Content
2000 - $2500.00 was donated to the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Center to hire Aboriginal students to complete more work on the First Nations Periodical Index.
2000 - Wendy Sinclair was a guest presenter in Kelowna at the British Columbia Library Association’s annual conference.
2001 - Phyllis Lerat, from the S.I.F.C. and Wendy Sinclair from Albert Library conducted a workshop at the 2nd “Indigenous Librarians Forum” in Jokkmokk, Sweden.
2001 - Wendy Sinclair and Phyllis Lerat were invited presenters at the Canadian Library Association conference in Winnipeg. Several other committee members also attended.
2001 - The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, appointed a Ministers Advisory Committee regarding library services and Aboriginal people. Wendy Sinclair and Ava Bear co-chaired that committee. Public forums were held in several communities and a report was produced and launched in February of 2002. The report titled INFORMATION IS FOR EVERYONE Final Report of the Minister's Advisory Committee on Library Services for Aboriginal People.
2003 April – Edna Mirasty, Phyllis Lerat, Suzy Bear and Wendy Sinclair presented 2 sessions at the AWASIS Conference in Saskatoon
2003 - Wendy Sinclair and Edna Mirasty were invited to do presentations at the joint Canadian Library Conference/American Library Conference in Toronto, on the Ministers Advisory Committee Report Information is for Everyone and a session on school/public libraries.
2003 - Wendy Sinclair was invited to the Alberta Library Conference in Jasper in April to present the Saskatchewan Ministers Advisory Committee Report to the Alberta Library community.
2003 - International Indigenous Librarian's Forum 2003 was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Some LSSAP committee members attended the Forum.
2004 - The LSSAP Committee and the Parkland Library Region is taking the initiative to promote an Aboriginal Storytelling Week to be held throughout Saskatchewan in February of each year to promote First Nations and Métis oral traditions and the use of public libraries.
The winter timing for the Storytelling Week observes the First Nations traditional time for storytelling. This project is Recommendation 43 of the Information is for Everyone, the final report of the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Library Services for Aboriginal Peoples. The intent is to have a storyteller at various locations throughout the province to promote culture, oral tradition and reading to the youth of Saskatchewan. This project will involve Public, School, and Community Libraries through a variety of programming to enhance reading.
2004 - Hosting a Pre-conference at the Saskatchewan Library Association 2004 Conference on “Elder Protocol and Aboriginal Cultural Awareness” on May 6 in Regina.
2005 - Co-hosting the Fourth International Indigenous Librarians Forum in September 2005.