OPP collecting books for First Nations

Fort Frances OPP, along with other detachments elsewhere, is participating in a province-wide initiative called the Lieutenant Governor’s Book Program, with the aim to donate books to school libraries that serve First Nation communities in Northern Ontario.
Cst. Caroline Spencer said about 50 books have been donated by the public and police officers here, including a couple of sets of encyclopedias.
“I think it’s about time I cleaned out my house, too,” she remarked this morning. “You hate to give away stuff when you don’t know where it’s going.
“But with this, you know it’s going to a good cause.”^Most of these books already have been sent away to be shipped to northern communities, but the local OPP detachment still is accepting “gently used books” until Feb. 28.
Last month, Lt.-Gov. James K.
Bartleman invited members of the public to participate in this initiative, noting the books could be dropped off at any OPP detachment during business hours.
“On my visits to schools in Ontario’s far north, I see lots of shelves but no books,” said Bartleman.
“Books can stimulate the imagination and open up new worlds for everyone.
“For many aboriginal students in the far north, there is no access to bookstores or libraries,” he noted.
“Books will lead them to want to carry on in school and build a more fulfilling life, rooted in their aboriginal heritage but also in the wider world.”^Since the initiative began last month, more than 300,000 books have been dropped off at Queen’s Park and OPP detachments across Ontario.
The first shipment—consisting of almost 20,000 books—was slated to leave CFB Borden today for 16 priority communities accessible only via ice roads in the winter.
The 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, a mainly aboriginal reserve unit of the Canadian Forces, as been tasked for this mission.
The OPP will transport the remaining books by air to 17 additional First Nations in the coming months.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Book Program is part of Bartleman’s broader effort to encourage aboriginal students to pursue reading and education in order to get a good start in life.
He is spokesperson for the Canadian Rangers’ “Stay in School” program and often speaks with First Nations students in their schools and via radio and video-teleconferencing.
Support for aboriginal youth is a key priority of his mandate as Lieutenant Governor.
Bartleman is a member of the Mnjikaning First Nation.