Sault Public Library to add French, Indigenous signage
SAULT STE. MARIE -- The Sault Ste. Marie public library will be updating its wayfinding signage to feature both French and Ojibwe language.
According to the library's Chief Executive Officer Matthew MacDonald, the decision was made to make sure the library is more inclusive.
"When I first started at the organization ten years ago, there wasn't a lot of support in the organization for French collections," said MacDonald. "So I've been working hard to make that happen ever since and we've come a long way."
MacDonald said the library wanted to add new signage ever since opening its north branch in November 2019.
"We did a little bit at the north branch, when we opened up…but there's certainly more that we can do," he said. "COVID-19 has gotten in the way of course, so this took a bit of a back burner."
The signage update comes thirty years after city council controversially passed its French language resolution. That saw council declare that English was its only official working language, which according to the Sault's Francophone centre caused significant damage to the local community.
"Many of them moved out of the Sault once that happened," said Tiziana Principe, coordinator and translator at the Francophone Centre. "But things are changing, there's definitely a rebirth and a reconnection to much more acceptance and I've seen a difference in only a few two years."
Principe said that updating the signage at the library is more than just symbolic of inclusivity.
She said it directly helps the Francophone centre's mission to preserve the French language and culture.
"It's all connected, you can't just have francophone schools and then expect the French language to continue if people don't have outlets outside of schools," she said.
The library said it hopes to have most of its signage updated by the end of the year.