Princess Sophie and her husband Prince Edward were among those dignitaries who cut the ribbon at the opening of the Ditidaht library on September 15. Click here for video. Princess Sophie donated an entire bag full of collected books (“stories about English children”) to the library, and talked about the importance of reading to the many Ditidaht children that attended the opening.
The moment the ribbon was cut, all of the children in attendance made a rush for the library door. As well as functioning as a full library with over 4,000 books, the Ditidaht library will also act as a community centre, sporting several tabletop games like a pool table. A side room contains new computers donated by London Drugs. The computers are connected to the Internet. The library is a project of the North Delta Rotary Club, who raised all the necessary funds and assisted with the renovation of the former Ditidaht school.
The Write to Read Project has been largely a secret until recently, but it may soon be time to spread the word. A 60-second PSA (click here) for TV has been produced and will soon be distributed to BC television stations. The message is simple. Our project is an aboriginal literacy initiative that seeks to assist remote communities gain access to reading. To get involved, simply call your local Rotary club. W2R is looking for books, computers, donations and volunteers.
The main expense of the project is transportation. Britco Structures has kindly donated 10 modular buildings, but shipping them to remote reserves is not always easy or inexpensive. While BC Ferries has assisted by waiving fees, sometimes its necessary to rent barges and trucks. Donations to offset costs are welcome, and Government House can issue a tax receipt for larger gifts.
Viewers are encouraged to forward the link to the PSA to friends and colleagues. It only takes a minute, and the 60 seconds it takes to watch the video may be the best expenditure of time any of us can make in our day. Spread the word!
Members of the Royal Family were on hand along with B.C. Lt. Governor Judith Guichon and many guests at the opening of the new library and community centre at Ditidaht, Vancouver Island this week. Prince Edward and Princess Sophie cut the ribbon on the new facility as band members joined in the celebrations.
Ditidaht is a small community of 350 residents located about 90 minutes drive on gravel roads south of Port Alberni, the southern most members of the Nuu-chah-nulth people. Sensibly, the Royals arrived by helicopter on a beautiful sunny day that reflected the upbeat mood of the 200 or so people in attendance.
Several members of the North Delta Rotary club arrived a few days in advance to put the finishing touches on the library, already stocked with 4,000 books and several computers donated by London Drugs and Hewlitt Packard. The club raised all the funds necessary to paint and restore the former schoolhouse. Kenn Whitehouse of the Port Alberni Arrowsmith chapter of Rotary also showed up with more books and computers on opening day and reported his club would like to become involved.
Write to Read Project coordinator Bob Blacker acted as MC of ceremonies as a dance and drum ceremony was held outside the library. Chief Jack Campbell, the Prince and Her Honour all spoke words of welcome as several eagles could be seen circling high above nearby trees.
The arrival of the Royals puts the final and officla stamp of approval on the literacy project, adding to the support of Her Honour Judith Guichon who has continued the tradition set by former Lt. Governor Steven Point. Both the Prince and Princess mingled freely with the large crowds, with Princess Sophie joining a crew of young paddlers to take a turn out on Nitinat Lake. The event was crowned by a huge feast in the high school gym, with local teacher Eva Clarke recognized for the work she has done to bring the project forward.