More resources for local Francophones are coming to the Peace country. The library in Falher has gotten $5,250 from Farm Credit Canada to better support French speakers in the area.
Chair of the Falher Regional Intermunicipal Library Board Jackie Hockey says a large part of the funding will be used to translate some of their online resources from English to French.
“People, I think, like to be able to learn in their own first language. We have a bilingual staff, but we felt it was important also to have the ability for people to read and access this information 7/24 from their home to self-teach as well.”
The library’s online resources range from electronic magazines and children’s books to guides on automobile repair and learning languages. The 10 most popular will be translated, and then shared through the Peace Library System, which includes Grande Prairie.
“There’s been a pent up demand for this, and through this Farm Credit Canada grant, we’re able to help in this area,” Hockey says. “It’s something where unfortunately most resources are English-based.”
Falher is one of four Alberta communities that are officially bilingual. Based on the 2016 census, Statistics Canada reports 245 of its roughly 1,040 residents speak French most often at home, and 42.8 per cent of the population consider it to be their first official language spoken.
“What we’re trying to do is support the robustness of a second language,” Hockey explains. “We’re making sure people have access to resources in different languages and maybe increase awareness that it doesn’t have to be English or French.”
The project has a larger scope that will include more Francophone programming and resources in the future, but the eLearning documents will be the first step. Grande Prairie already has the French Language Resource Centre, which Hockey says they rely on, so Falher’s library is looking forward to returning the favour.