Winnipegger opens lending library to educate people on residential schools

Lindsey Brown created a lending library to educate Winnipegger about residential schools one book at a time. (Source: CTV News/Gary Robson)

A Winnipeg woman is running a lending library in front of her Lakewood house for people to educate themselves on residential schools.

In the wake of unmarked graves being discovered at former residential schools across Canada and growing discussion about their impacts, Lindsey Brown decided to gather books on the subject and create a lending library for Canada Day.

"I was hearing some rumblings about very hurtful comments being made, and it's definitely a topic which I've come to learn people aren't very familiar with or just know the bare basics," said Brown.

Brown said the library started with books she already owned.

"It started with a few books I had for my children, a few books I had for myself and a few books I had for my classroom. I gathered them up and I went through a list online relating to stories of residential school stories," she said.

The library has since grown to around 20 books, with Brown ordering more online.

"There's been a lot of people sending messages and asking what's available. We have people coming to change and trade out books one or two at a time."

Brown said the reaction to the library has prompted her to leave it out all summer.

"The Facebook community groups, there's been tons of response. A lot of people really thankful and grateful for having access to these books," she said.

Brown said the issue of residential schools is very personal, as she comes from a Metis background.

"I think we are coming to a place where we see it affects the community we live in today," said Brown. "I grew up with some of the fallout of the intergenerational trauma and some of the situations that went on as a child, which is hard to talk about. So it definitely hits close to home."

Along with the books, Brown added printouts of additional online resources and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action.

"For me being an early years teacher, [education] is always something I feel we can learn and grow together," Brown said.

Although just a temporary fixture, Brown said maybe the library would get a more permanent box in the future or return for Orange Shirt Day in September.