Library development progresses in Maskwacis

With hard work and determination at the hands of many, the two libraries of Maskwacis continue to flourish.

With hard work and determination at the hands of many, the two libraries of Maskwacis continue to flourish.

Manisha Khetarpal, the librarian for both libraries, has been working hard for years to open up the concepts of library research as well as provide better access of the amenities to the community.

“There needs to be more involvement, input, engagement of the students,” she explained.

With the college’s library, Khetarpal focuses on teaching students the value of online databases, open source journals, specialized historical archives and common Internet search engines

Khetarpal has students use record sheets to keep a tally of what has been researched and to further learn about the authors of the information they’re reading. To Khetarpal, recognizing the writers is as important as the rest of the gathered information.

Following research time, Khetarpal hosts a sharing circle — together the two practices last three hours — so the students can discuss what they have learned and relate it to their own community. “We want to arm them with content.”

“Everybody goes home feeling so fulfilled, satisfied,” she added.

Although the non-traditional process takes several hours Khetarpal sees many benefits through how it is reflected in the students’ education. “I think we must change out assessment tools if we’re going to serve the Indigenous community.”

“I feel so empowered that they come and ask me for help. I find by building relationships everything is becoming embedded,” she added.

Public library use

Maskwacis’ public library started at a grassroots level and with book donations valuing $23,000. It now receives multiple grants that are available to any public library.

“The public library is coming along very good,” said Khetarpal.

Access is provided through transient library-in-a-box kits, 35 e-readers and book bundles.

The library has 12 institutions as clients and 75 individual users. “The biggest benefit is building capacity in the community,” said Khetarpal.

“No fines, no fees, no memberships. It’s done in a very flexible environment,” she added.