Volunteer of the Month – December
We are happy to announce our Volunteer of the Month for December Kelly Cloutier! Here is a message from Kelly: “What a pleasure it’s been volunteering for ! Spending time each week recording videos of reading and discovering new books has allowed me to share my life long passion for reading with young children remotely during these challenging times. Being able to share the joys of reading and story time truly is a gift and I hope my videos help to spark an interest in the minds of young and future readers.“
FRASER HICKSON WELCOMES CELINE COOPER AS NEW BOARD PRESIDENT
MONTREAL, November 16, 2020 – Fraser Hickson is pleased to announce that Celine Cooper will assume the role of President and Chair of the Board, effective January 1, 2021.
Cooper is the Managing Director of the Consortium of English-language CEGEPs, Colleges and Universities of Quebec based at Bishop’s University. A former columnist with the Montreal Gazette and politics editor at The Canadian Encyclopedia, Celine’s work has been published in some of Canada’s most widely read policy publications, popular and international media. She appears frequently as a political analyst on television and radio public affairs programs in Quebec. She is a member and former chairperson of the board of directors for The Association for Canadian Studies. She holds degrees from Queen’s University and York University, and is a part-time instructor at Concordia University’s School of Community and Public Affairs.
Celine will be taking over from outgoing President and Chair, Nicholas Hoare. Nicholas owned and operated a chain of lovingly curated bookstores in Canada for many years, including the renowned Nicholas Hoare bookstore on Greene Ave. in Westmount.
Helen Fortin, CEO of Fraser Hickson, extends her deep gratitude to Nicholas for his commitment to early childhood literacy and expresses great excitement at Celine’s appointment. “With her exceptional track record in academia and the press, as well as her deep commitment to early literacy development through innovative library programmes, Celine is ideally positioned to lead the board. She is a team-oriented leader with a passion for personal connection. As a current board member, she has already proven to be a great fit!”
Celine Cooper “In our increasingly complex world, there is a genuine need to foster early literacy skills among children. It’s an honour to accept the mantle of president of the governing board. I’m deeply grateful to Nicholas Hoare for his dedication and leadership in this role over the years. As Fraser Hickson continues to evolve, I look forward to working with Helen Fortin and the whole team to promote a love of reading, books and community connection through this beloved Montreal institution.”
Cooper is taking charge as Fraser Hickson’s much acclaimed project continues to expand its mission to raise literacy levels by empowering partners to instill in children a life-long love of reading and learning from birth and to enable free access to books and animation services.
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About Fraser Hickson – was the first free public library established in Montreal in 1885 and is currently celebrating years of community service through its hallmark outreach project, .
Volunteer of the Month – November
Kyarra Ross Dalton
We are happy to announce our Volunteer of the Month for November Kyarra Ross Dalton! Here is a message from Kyarra: “It has been so much fun volunteering for ! When I started I didn’t know how much I would enjoy reading and making videos, but as the weeks went on I took on more and more books. I am so touched that the kids enjoy the videos just as much as I do. It’s so important, especially with these times that there’s a way to keep positivity and I think gives this opportunity. It’s beautiful to be able to share a story. I hope to be able to read to kids in person when it is possible and safe. But for now I look forward to sharing stories that I hope everyone will enjoy just as much as I do.“
Volunteer of the Month – October
We are happy to announce our Volunteer of the Month for October Nesrine Benchoubane! Here is a message from Nesrine: “There is so much going on between the cover of a book. It rains peas and mashed potatoes. It is chasing wizards and witches or pirates or ROBOTS ! But, there is also compassion, love and kindness engraved in small actions or little looks that we portray in our minds. That is why I’m so thankful to because at the end of the day, when the book closes, I hope that children grow up to be as fearless and brave as their favorite character. I hope they always always extend that same love to themselves first. (and i hope they don’t grow up too fast!!!!!!) “
Volunteer of the Month – September
Marie- Noël Thibodeau
We are happy to announce our Volunteer of the Month for September: Marie- Noël Thibodeau!
Here is a message from Marie- Noël Thibodeau: “My experience with minibiblioPLUS started with reading books in video format, but it was when I started reading directly to children that I saw the impact I could have. They love to be read to and they are so curious, it’s beautiful to see. I am fortunate to have fallen in love with reading from a young age and hope I can pass this love on to children. The book I chose was one of my favorites when I was a kid!.”
Volunteer of the Month – August
We are happy to announce our Volunteer of the Month for August: Lance Lee-Chen! Here is a message from Lance: “It’s been a privilege to be able to give my time every week to the groups of kids I work with, and to want nothing in return. The deepest feelings of gratitude I’ve experienced in life, are a by product of people who have made the time for me and wanted absolutely nothing in return. Those who’ve left me with a positive experience I will never forget until the end of time. My sincerest thanks to and the staff at Superkids who have permitted me with the opportunity to continue my work with an amazing group of kids in-person, live, and present.”
A Message from the Fraser Hickson team on our Commitment to Diversity and Anti-Racism
July 29th, 2020
At the Fraser Hickson Institute, we believe in equality and stand in solidarity with those protesting against anti-Black racism and structural racism in Canada. In this letter, we would like to publicly address the actions our organization is taking to commit to diversity and anti-racism in our programming.
The Fraser Hickson Institute’s mission is to raise literacy levels by empowering partners to instill in children a life-long love of reading and learning from birth and to enable free access to books and animation services. Our project provides daycares and community centres across Montreal with free access to books and volunteer storytime animators. The communities we serve are among the most diverse in Canada, home to people of different races, ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic status, gender identities, religious beliefs, and physical abilities. Therefore, we believe that it is vital that these communities have access to books that accurately reflect their diversity.
A step towards addressing systemic inequality is by having more positive representation in literature because stories significantly impact children’s social and identity development. Children’s self-esteem is mostly influenced by how society views the cultural group to which they belong (Naidoo, 2014). When children do not see their culture represented in library collections, they receive the message that their culture is not important enough to be featured in the library (Naidoo, 2014). Therefore, we commit to including more books authored by and featuring people of colour and other diverse identities in our library collection. Going forward, we will be prioritizing diversity and representation when curating our library materials and online resources.
Lastly, to advocate for anti-racism and to help build a greater understanding of the actions we all can take, we have compiled a Black Lives Matter reading list on our Facebook page. We encourage individuals to use this list to become more informed and engaged as we do our part to increase representation in children’s literature in our communities.
Helen Fortin, CEO
Asha Dixit, Operations Manager
Vanessa Foran, Partner and Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator
Marco de Petrillo, Librarian
Naidoo, J. C. (2014). The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children (pp. 1-14,
Rep.). Association for Library Service to Children.
Volunteer of the Month – July
We are happy to announce our Volunteer of the month for July: Amanda Founier!
“Reading has always been a central part of my childhood, from sensory books as a baby to “how-to” books like this one (which still remains one of my favourites today) a bit later on. I believe that early literacy is a fundamental part of a developing child’s mind. This is why I saw volunteering with as a wonderful opportunity to share my love of books, and to support parents/guardians in promoting reading to young children during these challenging times.“ Amanda Founier