Vancouver Island Regional Library has another award for its trophy case. 

That’s because its Indigenous Voices initiative received the 2020 American Library Association Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects.

VIRL’s executive director Rosemary Bonanno said since it launched in 2018, Indigenous Voices has grown into a movement that brings people closer in communities large and small.

“It has been integral in our commitment to reconciliation for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of our community,” she added.

The goal of Indigenous Voices is to work with First Nations Elders across the library’s service area to create innovative, entertaining, and thought-provoking programming that “celebrates and shares the rich diversity, voices, and perspectives of Vancouver Island and increases community understanding and closeness.”

When Indigenous Voices first launched in 2018, more than 1,300 people came out for almost 60 Elder-led programs. 

Attendees learned about reconciliation and residential schools, listened to creation stories, embarked on medicine walks to discover medicinal uses of local plants, participated in drum making sessions and smudging ceremonies, and more.

As part of ALA’s recognition, an article about Indigenous Voices will be published in the July issue of American Libraries magazine.

Indigenous Voices was also the recipient of a British Columbia Library Association 2019 Building Better Communities award.