Saskatchewan Libraries Print This Page
Aboriginal Library Services

Introduction to Saskatchewan Aboriginal Library Services

In 2001 the Minister responsible for the Provincial Library and Literacy Office (PLLO) appointed the Minister's Advisory Committee on Library Services for Aboriginal People. The Advisory Committee was mandated to identify ways to meet the library and information needs of First Nations and Métis people in Saskatchewan.

The Advisory Committee was composed of representatives from libraries and First Nations and Métis organizations. In conjunction with the PLLO, the committee hosted a series of public consultations and discussions throughout Saskatchewan. Representatives from First Nations and Métis organizations, public libraries and regional libraries were personally invited to attend the consultations. Representatives of the Advisory Committee also spoke with Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) and invited representatives from various organizations and government departments to speak with them about possible best practices and partnerships for libraries.

The consultations resulted in the report; Information is for Everyone, final report of the Minister's Advisory Committee on Library Services for Aboriginal People which was produced in October, 2001.

The report cites forty-six specific recommendations grouped into seven categories:
1. Universal Access to Public Library Services
2. On-reserve Public Library Service Points and Agreements
3. Government Relations and Funding
4. Public Library Relationships with First Nations and Métis People
5. Employment and Training
6. Development of First Nations and Métis Public Library Programs and Services
7. Next Steps

The most critical recommendations were that every resident of Saskatchewan, including First Nations people, have access to the full range of public library services and that the province provide funding to public libraries to ensure this.

In 2003, The Public Libraries Regulations, 1996 were amended to remove the definition of resident of Saskatchewan, which included First Nations people only if their Band had made an agreement with a library board and paid the annual fee. At the same time, the Government of Saskatchewan provided additional funding to the base grants for the public library systems for Aboriginal library services. Since 2004/05 Aboriginal library services funding has increased yearly by 1%, 2%, and 2%. Together these changes ensured universal access to off-reserve public libraries for all First Nations residents.

Through the Committee on Aboriginal Library Services (CALS) and the Library Services for Saskatchewan Aboriginal Peoples (LSSAP), public and multitype libraries continue to work on strategies and initiatives to build stronger relationships and to ensure libraries are more inclusive and receptive to the diverse needs of Saskatchewan First Nation and Métis people.