Hazelton’s Northwest Community College held several events for Family Literacy Day on Jan. 24 and a Skate-4-Books was held at the Ken Trombley arena on Jan. 27.
“We just thought it would be nice to rent the arena this year,”
Carol Pritchard, NWCC librarian, said.
This is the 15th anniversary of a national campaign initiated by ABC Literacy Canada in 1999.
Literacy Day events have happened for several years at Hazelton’s NWCC campus, but this year was much more inclusive.
Lu Ann Dietrich, learning assistant specialist and accessibility co-ordinator at Hazelton’s NWCC, led the organizing of Literacy Day.
“We’d never really branched out and involved other community organizations before,” Dietrich said.
Events ranged from Gitxsan nursery rhymes to body literacy, which is learning how to read what your own body is telling you, through practicing yoga.
There was also movement games for children and parents led by Tara Williston.
“It’s nice to see people who maybe hadn’t met before making connections, especially with the moms and tots,” Dietrich said.
“It just reinforces the awareness of community.”
Delia O’Brien led young children and their parents through some familiar nursery rhymes, but all were translated into Gitxsan.
“It was really nice to have Delia here,” Dietrich said.
“She brought knowledge and smiles to all in the room.”
The Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly; Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and You are my Sunshine were among the songs.
Gord Jack handed out cards with Gitxsan sayings on them to promote the local language.
Political citizenry was also promoted during the Literacy Day.
A Rock the Vote booth, setup in the hallway by NWCC student union members, reminded all in attendance of the upcoming provincial election in May.
Julie Maitland, NDP MLA constituency assistant to Doug Donaldson, was also on hand to ensure those present were registered to vote with their current address up-to-date.
“It’s important for people to have all their information current before going to the polling stations,” Maitland said.
“It prevents needless headaches.”
The Hazelton Public Library had several books on display and had an employee, Keegan Schopfer, available to register and distribute library cards.
The Book Bus was parked on campus for anyone to board, browse and select some literature for free.
The bus tours from Gitanyow to Kispiox year-round handing out books.
More than 30,000 books are circulated annually through the bus.
Dusty Cooper, driver of the bus, is quick to point out the most popular category.
“Cookbooks go fast,” Cooper said.
“People around here like to expand their menu, I guess.”
The bus operates on a donation basis.
“I think the people here enjoyed their time,” Dietrich said.
“It was such a positive atmosphere and everybody contributed something to that.”