Program Session

2 - Dare to Dream: Promoting Indigenous Children's Interest in Health Professions through Book Collections

Tuesday, May 30
3:20 PM - 3:35 PM
Room: 612

Objectives: Indigenous peoples in Canada face significant health challenges. They represent 4.3% of the population, but less than 1% are doctors, and few pursue careers in the health sciences. We will present descriptions of innovative programs by medical librarians in two Canadian provinces designed to encourage children in First Nations communities to dream of careers in the health professions.

Methods: Case studies of two special projects will be presented in this paper. The first project was led by a university library in Quebec. Book collections in science and health were developed for Indigenous school libraries. Library and information science students, as well as a librarian from the University were involved in health and education related activities in the recipient schools. This experience informed the second project, which was adopted as the community service project of the joint CHLA/MLA/ICLC Mosaic 2016 conference. The mechanics, benefits, and challenges of the programs will be discussed including: methodology for selecting books, methodology for collecting or purchasing books, and partnerships formed for distributing books to remote First Nations communities. Some qualitative evaluative data collected informally from recipient communities through conversations with teachers and community leaders will provide evidence of the value of these projects.

Results: Hundreds of books have been delivered to First Nations schools in both Quebec and Ontario.  Qualitative evaluative data collected from the recipient communities indicates that the books are well received and has allowed us to identify children's favorite topics.  This information will iinform future updating of the collections in the ongoing project.  Some difficulties in providing optimal access to the books were identified due to communication problems or the relative lack of library infrastructure in these schools.

Conclusion: Reading for pleasure is linked to student's academic success.  Access to varied and quality literature is therefore important for school achievement. Books are often in limited quantites in remote communities, and it is believed that the books donated will benefit both the students and their communities. Even if the effect of these collections on impacting the students’ future decisions to enter in to health professions cannot be easily measured, potential impact on future life chances and the fact that indigenous high school graduates choosing to pursue schooling tend to select a profession linked to the needs of the community are enough to consider those two programs as successful.

Keywords: Health professions
Aboriginal peoples
Indigenous peoples
First Nations
Consumer health
Children's literature
Library school students
Community engagement

Program Session

Sandy Iverson

Manager, Health Information & Knowledge Mobilization
St. Michael's Hospital
Toronto, ON, Canada

Sandy Iverson is manager of the Health Information and Knowledge Mobilization program at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto where she has been employed since 2010. She holds graduate degrees in library science and adult education. Her career in library and information services has included positions as diverse as managing learning centres for English as a second language students; selling library information and technology services to libraries; writing eLearning curriculum for public librarians; managing academic and health sciences libraries; and providing information and communication consulting services to non-profit organizations. Her research interests include health and information literacy, measurement and evaluation, and bibliotherapy. Sandy is also a practicing psychotherapist in the province of Ontario.


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Monique Clar

Bibliothèque de la santé
Universite de Montreal
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Monique Clar is a biomedical librarian within the Bibliothèque de la santé of the Université de Montréal. She supports evidence-based practice within the Faculty of Medicine. Monique’s interests include graphic medicine, aboriginal health and education, interprofessional education, comprehensive literature searching, and information literacy.


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2 - Dare to Dream: Promoting Indigenous Children's Interest in Health Professions through Book Collections

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Send Email for Dare to Dream: Promoting Indigenous Children's Interest in Health Professions through Book Collections