Hamilton and Six Nations Public Libraries announce collaboration

Hamilton and Six Nations Public Libraries announce collaboration



“Feather Maracle, left and Paul Takala announced a partnership between Six Nations Library and Hamilton Public Library for reciprocal borrowing between communities. – Hamilton Public Library


Six Nations Library houses the largest First Nations public library. They are collaborating with Hamilton’s library system to offer residents access to one another’s space, material and information. – Tara Lindemann/TorstarCanada’s largest First Nations library and one of the country’s largest library systems are partnering up.

Six Nations Public Library and the Hamilton Public Library have announced a plan for reciprocal borrowing, which will allow residents from both communities free access to space, information and materials.

It’s to the mutual benefit of both said Six Nations CEO and director of library services Feather Maracle, at the Oct. 2 announcement.

“(It’s allowing) Six Nations community members increase access to Hamilton’s print and online resources and offering Hamilton residents an increased awareness of (our library) and its wealth of Six Nations and Indigenous-specific resources and material.”

And those opportunities can be helpful to any library user.

“My best friend is Mohawk,” said 10-year-old Danny Kaye, while sussing graphic novels at Hamilton Public Library’s central location. “I can borrow books to learn more about his culture and maybe even language.”

Located in the heart of Ohsweken, Six Nations Public Library is an intimate space packed with books and resources and perfect nooks for anyone to sit and read. It also holds an impressive archive of historical resources and language materials.

Hamilton Public Library has housed the colourful archives of Hamilton’s history since 1914.

To become a library card holder for either library system, residents must visit the partner library and simply sign up with an agreement for each. Borrowed materials must be returned to the library from whence the items were borrowed. Books, music, movies and e-materials are available throughout.

Paul Takala, the CEO and chief librarian for Hamilton Public Library, says the reciprocal effort will provide “meaningful connections, understanding and sharing of history to ensure that our future is brighter for all.

Both library representatives said their efforts will reduce barriers and create opportunities for learning and dialogue. And both libraries have powerful mission statements that marry perfectly:

Six Nations’ is “Knowledge is Power” and Hamilton’s commits to the“Freedom to Discover.”

Amy Hill, who was visiting from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, watched as her three children poured over books in the front room of Six Nations Public Library, with sunlight shining on the pages of the several books opened on the floor.

“The library saved me,” she said, watching them. “Libraries are a huge opportunity for anyone to grow.”

She chuckled.

“I grew up with a stigma outside the reserve that was always … wrong to me, hurtful. Unjust,” said Hill.

“Libraries are a gift in the path of learning and gives us all no excuse to walk as disconnected as this nation has.””