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Dare to Dream: Promoting ndigenous children's interest in health professions through book collections
Is part ofMedical Library Association Annual Meeting ; Seattle (Wash.), 2017-05-26 - 2017-05-31.
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 110 of 124 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.