West Vancouver library launches ‘dial-a-story’ series with Squamish Elders

WEST VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — June is National Indigenous History Month, and one Metro Vancouver library has launched a series of phone-in storytelling events featuring elders from the Squamish Nation.

‘Dial-a-Story: Indigenous Storytelling by Squamish Elders,’ will run every Wednesday next month — the only thing required is a telephone, and a little advanced planning.

Community Experience Coordinator Lynn Brockington says the first session, set for June 2, is already full. As for what exactly to expect, Brockington says not even she knows because it’s been left up to the Elders to decide.

“We are leaving it completely up to them. My understanding is it’s probably going to be a mix of personal life stories, and cultural stories from their oral tradition that have been handed down,” she explains.

“But we will not know in advance, it will be a surprise on the day.”

Dial-in storytelling is something the library began to offer because of the pandemic, when staff realized not everyone could access their vritual programs.

“After we closed last year, and we took all of our programs online” Brockington explains.

“We just realized there were a lot of people who were being left out because they didn’t have an internet connection, or they weren’t very digitally savvy. I had heard about phone-in programs as an alternative, and investigated it and found some ways to do it that are pretty low-barrier.”

Those who sign up for one of the sessions in June will get a phone call when it begins.

“They press one, and then they’re in the meeting. They just need their landline or cell phone, and then they can listen to the program.”

Brockington says there are two things that account for how popular this storytelling series has been so far.

“People want to hear those stories they just absolutely love the idea that the elders are sharing their stories,” she says. “It’s very easy to join, so I think that that’s appealing as well.”

While seniors living on reserve were directly invited, Brockington says there’s been widespread community interest.

More information on the program can be found online.  

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