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White Earth Reservation gets grant for new library

The White Earth Reservation received a grant worth over $120,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for building a community library on the White Earth Reservation.

The White Earth Reservation is one of 11 applicants out of 42 to receive to receive IMLS funding. The new community library will be called Maamigin Achigaade – meaning gathering place in the Ojibwe language.

Leaders on the reservation chose the name as they envision the library to be a place where people of all ages keep Ojibwe ways alive through storytelling. The community library is seen as a place to pass Ojibwe ways onto future generations through meaningful, purposeful and effective library programming, preserving language and rich history.

Part of the money awarded will go toward building little free libraries. Some of these small libraries will be made in the shape of a wigwams or little houses and placed throughout the reservation.

People will be able to take a book for free from these libraries and urged to replace it with a different book. The free little libraries will bring literacy to the people of the White Earth nation and foster a culture of education and sharing.

The library will be a pillar of the community and a beacon for life-long learning. The closest library is over 30 minutes to an hour away from most of the 4,200 American Indians on the reservation.

A bookmobile quit servicing the area, leaving many without access to books or reading materials. This coupled with a high unemployment rate of 42.8 percent didn’t leave many options for the people of the White Earth Nation.

The new library is envisioned to be a primary source of information and will develop and reinforce cultural history through storytelling, language programming and books representing Ojibwe culture.

A library committee of White Earth Reservation members and leaders are working on plans and details of the community library. If you would like to participate, please contact Barb Fabre at 218-983-3285.