Library Collaborations Project

Our research shows that building social connections is a core foundation in strengthening democracy. When individuals don’t feel connected to one another, democracy simply can’t survive. Harnessing the strength of public libraries as a core element of democratic culture, SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue’s Strengthening Canadian Democracy initiative, in partnership with the BC Libraries Cooperative, launched the Democracy Spark Grant for public libraries.

In the Fall of 2019, public libraries in British Columbia were invited to submit applications for micro-grants of $1,000 each to help fund programming centered around one of the follow three themes:

  • Climate Change 
  • Social Isolation
  • Local Solutions

The opportunities for learning created by these grants does not end in their communities. Recipient libraries will each have an opportunity to share their programming ideas, best practices, and key learnings for future democractic convening programs at the BC Association Conference in the Spring of 2020. 

Take a look at the map below to see a list of some of our 18 participating libraries. 

Sample Projects

  • Creating a "queer space" to catalyze social connections, celebrate diversity, and promote inclusivity for members of the queer community. The space will be used to create a Teen Pride Community Advisory Network which will develop a teen-led Pride event in the community in the spring.
  • Recognizing that both teens and seniors are demographics at risk for social isolation, one library will use the grant to offer programming that will connect these two populations. This intergenerational story recording project provides teens the opportunity to learn about storytelling and recording and put these skills into action during interviews with the older participants.
  • A Renewable Energy Fair that will bring together businesses, local government, non-profit organizations, and community experts to showcase innovative and practice renewable energy options in the areas of transportation and home energy consumption. 
  • Bringing local residents together at the library to learn about simple steps they can take to create a more sustainable lifestyle. Programming will include workshops on creating zero-waste products for the home such as toothpaste, beeswax wraps, and shampoo.
  • Moving forward on their reconciliation journey, one library will use their grant to ensure that their programming is inclusive of the local Indigenous community and provide the opportunity for non-Indigenous citizens to increase their knowledge and understanding of Truth and Reconciliation issues and ultimately encourage them to take actions towards reconciliation.