At the Learning Centre on Monday afternoon

Joanne Harris honoured with literacy award

The Nelson Public Library’s Joanne Harris received the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy’s annual award.

Everyone who attended Joanne Harris’ literacy award ceremony at the Learning Centre in Nelson this week got to go home with a free book whether it was a Salman Rushdie novel or an illustrated children’s book called How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?

“I first met Joanne when I registered to participate in a mother and child Mother Goose program [at the Nelson library] with my six-month-old daughter,” Nicole Purvis of the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy said. “Joanne ran this program in Nelson for 17 or 18 years.”

“A song can seem like a small thing, but Joanne knows a secret and she shared it with me: a song is a chance for parents to have fun, to pass along valuable language skills to their babies, to physically bond and enhance brain development, to play face to face and pass on culture.”

But why just talk about it? Instead Purvis invited parents to gather on the carpet and demonstrate what they’ve learned.

“Sing, sing, sing with me, sing out loud and clear, to tell the children everywhere that Mother Goose is here!” they sang, before moving on to “Zoom, zoom, zoom, we’re going to the moon! If you want to go on a trip, climb aboard my rocket ship!”

Chief librarian June Stockdale told everyone Harris was a founding member of Project Literacy West Kootenay, and “brought that love of reading and learning and early literacy skills to generations of kids.”

Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy’s Joan Exley seconded the sentiment.

“I don’t usually get emotional in front of a crowd, but I find myself quite overwhelmed,” she said. “The legacy Joanne leaves is just too big to capture in pictures or words.

“She pulled me into the world of literacy. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Joanne and her great big heart. She founded a lot of the stuff that happens now. She wrote the very first literacy plan for Nelson. A lot of what we’re doing now is built on the foundation Joanne built.”

Exley figures Harris, who has just retired from the Nelson library after 30 years, will still be around.

“She’ll come back,” she joked. “She just won’t get paid for it!”

Harris was moved by the award.

“I am amazed that I’m the recipient of this award. I just wanted to say when I look back on past connections I realize how important this work has been to me.”

Her journey began in 1982, when she volunteered at the Nakusp library. She’s found the work intensely fulfilling. To sum up her feelings, Harris shared an excerpt of the poem “The Reading Mother” by Strickland Gillian.

“You may have tangible worth untold; caskets of jewels and coffers of gold; Richer than I you can never be I had a Mother who read to me.”

 

 

Just Posted

Nelson, Salmo councils decline to contribute to preservation of Cottonwood forest

The decisions have effectively stalled negotiations between the RDCK and the landowner, Kootenay Land Corporation

KBRH on watch for bed bugs after two recent cases

Spokesperson Mandy Lowery says there has not been a bed bug sighting at KBRH since Dec. 8

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

Coffee card donations return at Wait’s News

The program supplied over 200 cards last year

Trafalgar students build home for sanctuary horse

Grade 8 students collaborated on a project with a local farm sanctuary

Tommy Chong says Canada took wrong approach to pot legalization

He also talked about the likelihood of another Cheech and Chong film

Final phase of Kelowna hospital cardiac centre completed

Finishing new recovery rooms marks completion of $381 million project

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Mike Duffy can’t sue Senate over suspension without pay, judge rules

Duffy’s lawsuit sought more than $7.8 million from the upper chamber

Language on Sikh extremism in report will be reviewed, Goodale says

A public-safety ministry document indicats terrorist threats to Canada included a section on Sikh extremism for the first time

Questions raised over retailers who shame shoplifters with photos

Alleged theft from a sex shop in Newfoundland led to posts on social media

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Kootenay woman victim of a broken health system

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

Most Read