The Victoria Native Friendship Centre Library opened on May 28, 2014. It is the only Friendship Centre lending library in Canada.
We want to support literacy programs in the community, encourage a love of books and reading, and raise awareness of the valuable and impressive history, accomplishments, knowledge and skills of Aboriginal people.
The VNFC Library has expanded in the last few years to the point that more space is required. The number of items in the collection is over 4800 now, with 66% of the books being either by Aboriginal authors or having Aboriginal content. The Library will be moving into a larger space next door by early February and we encourage you to come to visit and take out a membership, if you have not already done so. Information about joining the Library is included elsewhere on this web page.
Monday - Friday: 12:30 to 4:30 PM
Our hours are subject to volunteers being available.
T) 250-384-3211 - Ext 2292
Upcoming Library Event
The VNFC Library is proud and privileged to screen the insightful and powerful documentary film Us and Them, on Wednesday, March 29th at 6:30PM. Please click for details and to register.
The Victoria Native Friendship Centre Library gratefully thanks Munro's Books for their recent donation of $2500 from their November and December sales of Joseph Boyden's novella Wenjack. This donation was made possible by the publisher Penguin Random House, who gave a discount to all independent booksellers in Canada, if they would pass along the discount as a donation to a non-profit Indigenous organizatioin in their community. Munro's Books, who already offer our Library a discount on books purchased there, chose our VNFC Library for their generous donation. We thank them for this support of our unique library, the only lending library in a friendship centre in Canada.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who can use the Library?
A: Members of the public may visit the Library and use its resources during open hours. Visitors to the Friendship Centre are invited to become members of the Centre, and may then borrow items from the Library. Children of adult members of the Centre may also borrow books. Membership in the Victoria Native Friendship Centre costs $1 per year. Other privileges of Centre membership are listed elsewhere on this web site.
Q: What items are available in the Library to use and borrow?
A: The largest section of our Library is the Aboriginal collection with First Nations, Inuit and Métis items for adults and children. We also have General Interest books. Members and Staff of the Friendship Centre may borrow a maximum of three items for three weeks. A 3-week renewal may be requested by:
email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by
telephone: 250-384-3211 Ext. 2292
or in person at the Library
Q: How did the Library come about?
A: Our story: the Library began as a vision of the Centre's Executive Director, Bruce Parisian, when he purchased the initial Aboriginal collection of books from local bookseller Remi Paul. Bruce had some shelves built and installed in a space the size of 1/3 of a classroom. The books sat on the shelves in boxes until some time later, when Bruce spoke at a Federal Liberal breakfast meeting about the work of the Centre, and Carol Williams who was in the audience, asked if there was something she could volunteer to do at the Centre. Bruce asked her to unpack the boxes, organize the books and put them on the shelves. Carol convinced Sherry Wheeler, Sharon Apsey, and Jennifer Ferris to volunteer, as well. These first volunteers asked Barbara Strachan, a retired school and public librarian, to join them in their task. Later, Lowell Ann Fuglsang came on board to set up a spreadsheet database to record the books.
The unpacking task involved stamping the books and placing them on the shelves in categories and alphabetically. Once that task was complete, the original team left while Barbara and Lowell Ann stayed on to organize the collection similar to a public library. Robyn Whitbread and Lynne Hancock heard about the project from Barbara and Lowell Ann and were delighted to join in. The team of four began work on this project in 2012.
More recently, the University of Victoria Libraries Cataloguing Department has taken on the cataloguing of the VNFC collection. This is a large task for both Libraries and is on-going. Cataloguing allows Library users to search the collection using the University of Victoria (UVIC) on-line public access catalogue to locate specific books or information by subject, author or title. The efforts of the UVIC library staff are greatly appreciated.
The Greater Victoria Public Library staff and administration have been supportive with advice, and they provided surplus shelving and furniture, when they moved to their new Emily Carr Branch Library.
The involvement of the Victoria Native Friendship Centre Board, led by President Ron Rice, has been invaluable in the development of the Library, providing financial support and offering advice in the development of policies for administering the Library. Janice Simcoe, a member of the Centre Board, sits on the Library Advisory Committee with the core group of volunteers. Our former staff liaison person was Leslie McGarry, whose artistic abilities and knowledge are greatly appreciated, as well as her gracious hosting of our special events. There is no staff liaison currently.
Q: Has the Library received any other assistance?
A: The Times Colonist Raise-a-Reader Campaign provided generous grants in 2014 and 2015 to purchase recommended books for children and young adults. Remi Paul, a local bookseller, and staff members at Russell Books of Victoria located the requested books, plus others, and provided them at a discount. More recently, Munro's Books and Strong Nations Publishing in Nanaimo, BC have also provided books at a substantial discount.
Generous donatons were received in 2016 from the Greater Victoria Public Library, the Canadian Club of Victoria, the First Unitarian Church of Victoria and the Rotoract Group at UVIC. We also gratefully thank Dennis Pierson of New Vintage Renovations for donating the time and materials to create three new shelving units for the library, an extra 36 feet of shelf space.
Q: How many volunteers are now involved? Do you need more?
A: Usually, we operate with about 10 volunteers each week. Potential Library volunteers are invited to call the Centre at 250-384-3211 Ext 2292 to ask about the required qualifications and available times to volunteer.
Q: Are there going to be any programs or events in the Library?
A: We provide Storytimes for the Little Paws pre-school children at the Centre and we now offer Storytimes for the children in the new XAXE STELITKEL Daycare which opened in September 2016. Four times each year, we plan to show films or present speakers with themes of interest to VNFC members and guests.
In 2017 the VNFC Library will be collaborating with the Greater Victoria Public Library in presenting a Speaker Series. There will be four events focusing on Reconcilliation and the 150th Anniversary of Canada. Members of the Library, as well as members of the public who gave us their contact information on previous occasions, will be informed of the dates and details of the events when they are confirmed. If you wish to be added to our Friends of the VNFC Library, please send an email to: email@example.com or call 250-384-3211, extension 2292.
Q: Does the VNFC Library accept donated books?
A: We have accepted many donated books for both collections, but our emphasis is on the Aboriginal Collection. Donated books, if not added to the collection due to space and / or appropriateness, will be sold at a minimal price to add to the Library funds.
We hope that local neighborhood residents, as well as the people who come to the Centre to use its various services, will feel welcome to come to the Library for their reading and information needs.
Stay connected for VNFC Library announcements via Twitter: @vnfcreads
Web page last updated January 20, 2017