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One Book One Province: Saskatchewan Libraries Promoting Culture

July 17, 2017

By Alan Kilpatrick

This article originally appeared in the Law Society of Saskatchewan Benchers’ Digest, , Volume 30 (2017) Issue 2, Page 16.  

In 2017, the Saskatchewan Library Association (SLA) celebrated 75 years of steadfastly advocating for libraries, culture, and communities in Saskatchewan. To help mark the occasion, the SLA held Saskatchewan’s inaugural provide-wide literacy and reading campaign, One Book One Province (One Book) in March.

One Book encouraged Saskatchewan’s residents to read The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir by Joseph Auguste Merasty and David Carpenter throughout that month. The memoir, published by the University of Regina Press, describes Merasty’s painful experiences as a student at a residential school in Northern Saskatchewan in the mid-1930s.

Beyond simply promoting literacy in Saskatchewan, One Book’s goal was to encourage residents to learn about and discuss residential schools, Indigenous culture and reconciliation, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. SLA’s intent was to provide “opportunities for residents to become more socially engaged in their community through a shared story.” Libraries across the province were encouraged to host community events about the memoir. In addition, the co-author, David Carpenter, participated in a province-wide reading tour.

Unfortunately, Merasty passed away at the age of 87 mere days before One Book’s launch on March 1. One Book One Province was a fitting tribute to his memory and legacy.

Please note that One Book One Province was a pilot project for 2017. A report is currently being drafted measuring the success of the campaign. The SLA Board of Directors will review the report and make a decision about the future of the campaign. For more information, visit the Saskatchewan Library Association website:

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