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North Van library’s borrowable backpacks helping to build community

The Community Caring Kits, filled with resources such as books and games, were developed in the wake of the 2021 Lynn Valley stabbing attack.
COmmunity care kits
The North Vancouver DIstrict Public Library has borrowable backpacks available that include resources such as the one pictured, the "Learning about Truth and Reconciliation” kit for adults.

Created in the aftermath of the Lynn Valley stabbing attacks in an effort to create community and further education, the North Vancouver District Public Library has doubled its Community Caring Kits as they continue to fly off the shelves.

Filled with resources to create community building and resilience, along with inter-personal understanding, the borrowable backpacks are filled with books, puppets, games and the like, all chosen to engage people of different ages.

“Since their launch, we have seen just how popular the kits are with library users, and we continue to add kits on new topics in response to what our community needs and wants,” said Krista Scanlon, manager of collection services at the library.

Each kit contains different media to support the community to learn in different ways. The “Learning About the Impact of Residential Schools” kit contains an Indigenous puzzle, a Talon the Eagle puppet from Native NorthWest, and five books, while the “Conversation Starters” kit for adults contains two books, and card sets that inspire thought-provoking questions.

“This is one of the most impactful and exciting collections we have ever developed. The kits are designed to support individual learning and understanding for all ages, while developing a sense of shared connectedness, and the vision is that these kits will help broaden community perspectives and appreciation for one another,” Scanlon said.

Launched initially through a donation from St. Clement’s Anglican Church in the wake of the attack in March, 2021, the kits were sponsored through donations to the Caring Community Fund.

“The church and the library are each community-builders in our own way,” Rev. Peggy Trendell-Jensen said. “When we helped to create the Caring Communities Fund, we hoped that others would continue to make donations to offer thanks, remember a loss, or otherwise pay tribute to the importance of a compassionate and connected community."

Jacqueline van Dyk, the library’s director of library services, said libraries are places that nurture and build resilient and engaged communities.

“These kits will further strengthen community awareness and knowledge, and foster important conversations about issues and topics our community is facing,” she said. “We are deeply grateful to St. Clement’s Anglican Church and community members who donated after the tragic events that took place in 2021.

Kits are on display at the Lynn Valley library, however they are available to borrow at any NVDPL.

Charlie Carey is the North Shore News' Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.