In this issue:
- Letter from CELA’s Executive Director
- Governor Generals Award announces its winners
- The Shaughnessy Cohen Shortlist Announced
- Featured title for adults
- Top five books
- Featured title for kids
- Top five for kids
- Top five for teens
- Books for Learning: Residential Schools
- Feature Library: Winnipeg
- Summer Reading Clubs Kick off for the season
- Check out our blog this month!
- Service Tip
- Holiday hours
- Stay connected!
Letter from CELA’s Executive Director
CELA’s role, as a repository of stories and information, is one we take very seriously. We work with publishers, literary awards and reading programs to ensure that everyone, regardless of how they read, can stay informed and take part in our national conversations. Whether you choose the Governor General Award winning Five Little Indians about residential schools, the Trillium award winning How to Pronounce Knife, or one of the fantastic books from the TD Summer Reading Club, we have books to help you learn, to make you think, to entertain or engage you. We also work very hard to make sure that the books in our collection reflect the diverse experiences and stories of our own users. We should all be able to see ourselves and our neighbours in the stories we read.
We are also celebrating the beginning of Summer Reading Club season. CELA collaborates with the TD Summer Reading Club to supply adapted notebooks to kids with print disabilities and to support other Summer Reading Clubs, like those in BC and New Brunswick, to provide accessible versions of many of the books on their reading lists.
If there are books you would like to see added to our collection please use our book suggestion form to let us know. And stay tuned to our social media, our blog and our newsletters this summer for exciting announcements about additions to our collections.
Books have always been a way to help us make sense of the world. Like many across the country, we have been grappling with the news of the identification of nearly 1000 unmarked graves at residential schools in the past weeks. Throughout the month of June, we have been featuring Indigenous authors, especially residential school survivors, as it is their voices and experiences that need to be centered in these conversations. Our hearts are with all those affected by this national tragedy.
CELA Executive Director
Governor General’s Awards announce its winners
The 2020 Governor General’s Awards for Literature were postponed due to the pandemic and recently announced on June 1, 2021. CELA works with the awards to make shortlists of key categories available to our readers and we want to congratulate all the winners and the nominees.
The winners for the 2020 awards include:
- Fiction: Five Little Indians by Michelle Good
- Nonfiction: This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart by Madhur Anand
- Poetry: Norma Jeane Baker of Troy by Anne Carson
- Young people's literature - text: The King of Jam Sandwiches by Eric Walters
The 2021 awards will return to the regular schedule and be given out this fall.
Congratulations to other recently announced award winners:
- Canadian winner, Canisia Lubrin won the Griffin Poetry Prize for The Dyzgraphxst!
- Hilary Mantel won the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction for The Mirror and the Light
- Souvankham Thammavongsa won the Trillium Book Award for How to Pronounce Knife
- Sydney Smith who won the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for Small in the City
The Shaughnessy Cohen Shortlist Announced
The Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for the best in political writing was announced earlier this month. Books from the shortlist currently in the CELA collection include:
- Desmond Cole’s award winning The Skin We’re In which chronicles one year in the struggle against racism in Canada
- Can you hear me now by Celina Caesar-Chavannes, a leadership book and memoir by the successful Black entrepreneur and former Member of Parliament
- Reset by Ronald Deibert exposes the disturbing influence and impact of the internet on politics, the economy, the environment, and humanity.
- The Abortion Caravan by Karin Wells about the seventeen women who “occupied” the Prime Minister’s front lawn in Ottawa, led a rally of 500 women on Parliament Hill, and shut down the House of Commons, the first and only time this had ever happened in an effort to ensure a woman’s right to choose.
- The last nominee, Whipped by Alex Marland, will be added to our collection as soon as possible. The winner will be announced September 22, 2021.
Featured title for adults: Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL's First Treaty Indigenous Player
Trailblazer. Residential school Survivor. First Treaty Indigenous player in the NHL. All of these descriptions are true - but none of them tell the whole story. Fred Sasakamoose, torn from his home at the age of seven, endured the horrors of residential school for a decade before becoming one of 120 players in the most elite hockey league in the world. He has been heralded as the first Indigenous player with Treaty status in the NHL, making his official debut as a 1954 Chicago Black Hawks player on Hockey Night in Canada and teaching Foster Hewitt how to pronounce his name.
Sasakamoose played against such legends as Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, and Maurice Richard. After twelve games, he returned home. When people tell Sasakamoose's story, this is usually where they end it. They say he left the NHL to return to the family and culture that the Canadian government had ripped away from him. That returning to his family and home was more important to him than an NHL career. But there was much more to his decision than that. Understanding Sasakamoose's choice means acknowledging the dislocation and treatment of generations of Indigenous peoples. It means considering how a man who spent his childhood as a ward of the government would hear those supposedly golden words: "You are Black Hawks property." Sasakamoose's story was far from over once his NHL days concluded. He continued to play for another decade in leagues around Western Canada. He became a band councillor, served as Chief, and established athletic programs for kids. He paved a way for youth to find solace and meaning in sports for generations to come. Yet, threaded through these impressive accomplishments were periods of heartbreak and unimaginable tragedy - as well moments of passion and great joy. This isn't just a hockey story; Sasakamoose's groundbreaking memoir sheds piercing light on Canadian history and Indigenous politics, and follows this extraordinary man's journey to reclaim pride in an identity and a heritage that had previously been used against him.
Read Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL's First Treaty Indigenous Player
Top five books
Most popular with our readers this month:
- The push by Ashley Audrain General fiction
- The four winds: A novel by Kristin Hannah Bestsellers (fiction)
- Willie: The Game-Changing Story of the NHL's First Black Player by Michael McKinley Hockey
- The first cut by Peter Robinson Mysteries and crime stories
- Quiet in her bones by Nalini Singh Suspense and thrillers
Featured title for kids: Last night at the telegraph club
Acclaimed author of Ash Malinda Lo returns with her most personal and ambitious novel yet, a gripping story of love and duty set in San Francisco's Chinatown during the 1950s. "That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other." And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: "Have you ever heard of such a thing?"
Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father - despite his hard-won citizenship - Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.
Read Last night at the telegraph club
Top five for kids
Most popular with kids this month:
- Too young to escape: a Vietnamese girl waits to be reunited with her family by Van Ho
- Judge Judy Sheindlin's win or lose by how you choose! by Judy Sheindlin
- The adventures of Hotsy Totsy by Clive Cussler
- Inkheart (Inkheart #1) by Cornelia Funke
- Dog Driven by Terry Lynn Johnson
Top five for teens
Most popular with teens this month:
- The wild by Owen Laukkanen
- Storm and fury (The Harbinger) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
- Truthwitch: Witchlands series, book 1 (Witchlands) by Susan Dennard
- One of us is lying by Karen M. McManus
- Hatchet: Hatchet series, book 1 (Hatchet) by Gary Paulsen
Books for Learning: Residential Schools
As Canada grapples with the discoveries of unmarked graves at residential schools, many of us are turning to books to educate ourselves and gain new understanding of our history and the harms done to Indigenous communities.
We wanted to offer some resources from our collection, and our deepest condolences to Indigenous communities across the country.
- The reports from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
- The Red Files by Lisa Bird-Wilson
- Five Little Indians by Michelle Good
- The Education of Augie Merasty by Augie Merasty
- Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
- Picking up the Pieces by Carey Newman
For young children
- When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson, Julie Flett
- Shi-shi-etko and Shin-chi's canoe by Nicola I Campbell, Kim LaFave
- Stolen words by Gabrielle Grimard, Melanie Florence
For older children
- Fatty Legs and A Stranger at Home by Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton
- I am not a number by Kathy Kacer, Jenny Kay Dupuis
- These are my words: the residential school diary of Violet Pesheens (Dear Canada) by Ruby Slipperjack
- As long as the rivers flow by Oskiniko Larry Loyie, Connie Brissenden
- Speaking our truth: a journey of reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith
Feature Library: Winnipeg
As part of Open Book’s occasional feature profiling our member libraries, Faline Bobier, CELA’s Training Coordinator, spoke with Carolyn Minor, Section Head, Special Services Department, from Winnipeg Public Library about the recent addition of Victor Reader Stratus players to the library’s resources for their customers with print disabilities, and how the library’s accessible services have fared through the pandemic.
CELA: Tell us about the recent addition to your services and how it’s been received.
Carolyn: Thanks to funding we received from the Library Board we have been able to purchase Victor Reader Stratus devices to circulate to customers.
It’s working really well. People are really happy to use them. We advertise as 'try before you buy.' Most customers borrow them on a temporary basis, which is of course what we wanted and some of our customers have bought their own players. We have a 3 month borrowing period and require people to return them at that time so we can clean and maintain them. Some people repeatedly borrow them. Because we sometimes have long waitlists we need to let those people know that they may not always get one and unfortunately for them it is not a reliable means of access to the technology. But it has definitely been a positive addition to our collection.
CELA: Are you able to use the Direct to Player service with these new Stratus players?
Carolyn: It’s definitely on our wish list. We have to work out some technology and internet related challenges first.
CELA: Like a lot of libraries, you rely on volunteers to deliver library materials to your home service customers. How are things working during COVID?
Carolyn: Unfortunately, we’ve had to stop with the home delivery service during this time. In some cases, family members have been able to pick up where the volunteers left off, which has been great.
CELA: Did any of them explore using online service, or was that not something they were comfortable with?
Carolyn: Paula, our library staff person in Special Services, does a great job of screening those home service customers so they were able to use online. She set up that stream right from the beginning. We have had some people ask about having material delivered directly from CELA, who may not have previously received direct service from CELA.
CELA: Do you feel like the library has other connections in the community that are useful in terms of advertising the service, or trying to find other people who might benefit from the service?
Carolyn: I think we would like to have more connections. This is one of the things I was working on before the pandemic happened and we had to set a lot of these projects aside. We’ve had great luck working with Teaching Assistants or Educational Assistants because they are really motivated to get students access to materials through public libraries.
We have also had luck working within care facilities by connecting with recreation directors. Those people are on top of things and quite motivated. They’d be willing to go out of their way to connect people with technology. I’ve definitely had staff who would borrow a DAISY player for a customer, or if the customer had a DAISY player, they would get discs for them.
The challenge of course is maintaining all these relationships over time as people’s jobs shift. These relationships are individual and we really want to have a bigger impact.
CELA: What would you like to share with other libraries about your service?
Carolyn: I think it is valuable to have more than just one point of access. Customers should be able to walk into any branch or call any branch and have the staff be able to offer them something, even if it’s just, "I can give you a ‘print disability’ card."
But it is also really very useful to have people with a unique body of knowledge (like Paula) that you can refer people to for additional services or more information.
CELA: Are there things you would like to learn from other libraries?
Carolyn: I’d be interested in learning how other libraries use volunteers in their home delivery or accessible services departments in ways that are effective for customers and efficient from a staff and management perspective. I would specifically like to know what processes libraries used to deliver books during COVID.
Thanks Carolyn for sharing your thoughts with us.
Summer Reading Clubs Kick off for the season
We could all use a bit of extra fun this year. Libraries across the country have planned great activities and programs to keep kids entertained and reading!
The TD Summer Reading Club, the largest in Canada, has plenty of additional activities on its website, including a battle of the books, a web comic, activity suggestions and book recommendations. CELA works with the TD Summer Reading Club to produce an adapted notebook which can be requested at the local library or downloaded from the TD website.
Visit CELA’s TD Summer Reading Club page to find links to the accessible versions of featured titles.
CELA also has accessible titles in French and English for the New Brunswick Summer Reading Club as well as titles for the British Columbia program.
Are there topics related to accessibility that you would like to see included in our webinars? We regularly update our content and always appreciate hearing ideas from library staff. Send your suggestions to email@example.com.
An overview of CELA service, including collections offered, eligibility, how to order DAISY audio books or other alternative format books for your library, patron registration, and promotional ideas.
Frontline staff webinar
This webinar will provide an introduction to CELA services for your colleagues who need to understand the basics about your CELA service so they can direct patrons appropriately.
Educator Access Program webinar
This webinar will introduce the CELA Educator Access program which allows public libraries to offer educators at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels in their community access to CELA services on behalf of students with print disabilities. This webinar is for both educators and public library staff.
Check out our blog this month!
Are you interested in making your library programming more accessible but aren’t sure where to start? We’ve got an article from Rachel Breau, Manager of Member Services, full of tips and resources to help. And we’re also introducing our first ever practicum student, Mackenzie, who wrote a post about her experience working with CELA.
As member libraries slowly reopen across the country, we want to reiterate that our Member Services team is available to support you. Please feel free to reach out to members services with any question you may have. In addition, we have a number of resources on our website which may be helpful as you begin reconnecting with patrons who use your accessible services.
Getting started with CELA
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CELA will be closed on Thursday, July 1st for Canada Day. We will re-open on Friday, July 2 with our regular hours.
Visit CELA's social media, including Twitter, Facebook and our blog, for more news about what's happening in the world of accessible literature.