The new (Ilitaqsiniq) Nunavut Literacy Council's pop-up library is going over well with youth of all ages in Rankin Inlet.
Located next to RBC in Rankin, Kelly Lindell said the decision was made to go ahead with the pop-up library when the Rankin District Education Authority made the decision to close the school library at Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik (MUI).
Lindell said Ilitaqsiniq was in the process of taking over the MUI school library when they were informed MUI would no longer be able to house it.
She said they swiftly moved to Plan B, trying to make the best of the situation, and opened the small pop-up library in the space at the Okinkingutigiit Building it was renting from Piruqsaijit Ltd.
“It opened for the first time on Sept. 8, and we're trying a schedule from Monday to Friday that has public library time from 9 a.m. until noon, then it's parents-and-tots time from 1 to 3 p.m., followed by our after-school program,” said Lindell.
“The after-school program runs from 3:30 until 6 p.m., and then it's public time again, ages 14 and older, from 6 to 8 p.m. to round out the weekdays.
“Then, on Saturday, our pop-up library is open to the public from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.”
Lindell said Ilitaqsiniq is working hard with the space it has to try and grow the library and secure more books.
She said a suggestion box set up inside is getting a fair number of ideas from kids and adults using the library, and a lot of people are just simply enjoying the space.
“It's a very, very comfortable and welcoming space we have at the library, with coffee and tea available all the time, as well as a snack of some sort.
“It seems to work well, the way we have it set up, with an adult room, as well as a quiet kids reading room and a kind of playroom area where we have some toys and children’s books.
“We also have an arts-and-crafts room and an instructional area where the kids do a literacy activity every day during the after-school program. We try to change the activity every day to keep it fresh for the kids.
“And, also, we have a kitchen area where we do the snacks.”
Lindell said, to date, the after-school program is, by far, the most popular time at the new library.
She said due to Covid-19, the library is limited to 25 children at any one time.
“Kids are actually running as fast as they can to the library after school so they'll be one of the 25 allowed in.
“They've been super excited to come, so we've had to actually turn some kids away when we're full. We're keeping an eye on that — the kids have to sign in when they arrive — just to make sure it's not the same kids getting in every day.
“It's great to know that the program is popular and people want to come. It's, really, almost a community centre as much as a library.
“The program is funded until March of 2021, and, if this proves to be something the community really wants, we'll do our best to secure the additional funding we need to keep it open.”