Libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.
-Neil Gaiman, 2013
Under the direction and collaboration of both the TBPL Board of Directors and AETS Board of Directors, AETS has made the transition into the TBPL through a partnership which has enabled the TBPL to realize its ambition of transforming Waverley Library into a Community Hub.
AETS is an incorporated, not-for-profit organization, celebrating its 21st year as part of a national network delivering an Indigenous Skills and Employment (ISET) Training Program. The objective of the national program and each of the regional agreement holders, is to increase the participation of Indigenous Citizens in the Canadian labour market. Within the North Superior Region, AETS delivers continuing education and training-to-employment programs which build capacity for First Nation Citizens from the following nine communities, and sometimes beyond, under special circumstances:
- Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek (Lake Nipigon Ojibway)
- Biigtigong Nishnaabeg (Pic River First Nation)
- Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek (Rocky Bay First Nation)
- Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (Sand Point First Nation)
- Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek (Gull Bay First Nation)
- Michipicoten First Nation
- Pays Plat First Nation
- Pic Mobert First Nation
- Red Rock Indian Band
The AETS Board of Directors has a vision to develop the organization through various strategies, including enhanced co-operations with local, regional, and national partners. Over the last decade, AETS has increased services and programs as well as strategic partnerships with employers and other stakeholders.
In collaboration with Biigtigong Nishnaabeg – Endzhi-gkinoohmaading (Pic River) Private High School, AETS is working co-operatively for the development of a skilled workforce through Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) credits (i.e.: Land Based Fall 2018 Course and Others). Another partnership is with Leadership Thunder Bay (LTB), for the next delivery collaboration of the Aboriginal Youth focused community leadership program. The Dinowigehmin – Aboriginal Youth Leadership Program (AYLP) will be implemented based on the LTB model within the framework of The Seven Grandfather Teachings, The Medicine Wheel, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The program is designed to contribute to participant’s cultural, spiritual, mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
A new key partnership is between the Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL) and AETS. This partnership will enable AETS to accommodate its continued growth to empower the Anishinabek, and support the TBPL’s strategic plan in Community Hub development, decolonization, relationship building and facilities renewal at both Waverley and Brodie Resource sites. This partnership not only helps AETS in the delivery of services, but also serves as an example when it comes to inclusion and reconciliation as well as the impact to and for the community. We trust that the recent Waverley renovation value and design (i.e.: interior, signage and architecture) will result in an experience that enables people to learn, grow and be inspired.
On behalf of the AETS Board of Directors and Staff, AETS is excited about the move as we settle into the space. AETS has been graciously welcomed by the TBPL Board of Directors and Staff, and have already undertaken some internal meet and greet activities. AETS is looking forward to working collaboratively with the TBPL.
Most of the major facilities renewal, including eight new shared computer workstations, is complete at Waverley, with some final touches expected to be done my mid-September. Please visit our website at www.aets.org for details and/or feel free to drop by in person to Waverley, and note that after September 3rd AETS is open to the public on weekdays from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
John DeGiacomo, Executive Director AETS – www.tbpl.ca. If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you. Please comment below!