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  • Writer's pictureWest Island News

Literacy Unlimited and Volunteer West Island create a custom library to promote adult literacy.

Literacy Unlimited and Volunteer West Island have partnered to launch the first Community Reads! bookshelf.

Community Reads! is a Literacy Unlimited initiative that brings small-scale, custom libraries to local community groups to help improve adult literacy. Thanks to the generosity of a corporate sponsor, Literacy Unlimited has partnered with Volunteer West Island to build a library into their space. This library has been customized based on the reading needs and literacy level of the clientele of Volunteer West Island. Their community members can relax, talk to others in the library, or read a book. Like a traditional library, books can be read on-site or borrowed and returned.


59% of households in Quebec do not invest in books. Books can be for entertainment, but studies show that books are important in the home, especially for early literacy development. Literacy Unlimited believes that importance continues into adulthood. Reading books can help people learn and develop personal or work skills. Books can also provide newcomers with helpful information and opportunities to learn more about their community. Reading can also offer access to necessary resources in today's knowledge-based society.

Left to right: Shelley Hayden, Ingrid Fischer, Lucy Baum, Leslie Carr and Sarah Goblot (Literacy Unlimited, Volunteer West Island).

"We have learners who are too intimidated to walk into a traditional library," said Mary Ann Mete, President of the Literacy Unlimited Board of Directors. "We are removing barriers and taking the books to them." 

The Community Reads! custom library at Volunteer West Island encourages reading and becomes an engaging space for promoting literacy, lifelong learning, and access to books if there aren't many at home. Books and resources are free and available in a familiar location for their clients. People can also meet with members of their community, which helps build a stronger community. 


"This is the first Community Reads! custom library. We have two others in the works. We are excited about this project. It is an innovative model of pairing a corporate sponsor with a partner to bring books and other reading materials into our community. We will seek additional sponsors as we look to build additional libraries in our community," said Lucy Baum, Executive Director at Literacy Unlimited. "Our core program is our free one-on-one adult tutoring. But we work with local organizations to expand our reach and support the West Island community. Community Reads! libraries help us strengthen literacy in the West Island."


About Literacy Unlimited

Literacy Unlimited is a community organization dedicated to changing lives through improved adult literacy. Founded in 1981 with one tutor and one learner, Literacy Unlimited now offers free English language literacy tutoring to tutor-learner teams and provides classroom and study support skills to the Adult Education Centres of the Lester B. Pearson School Board. Literacy Unlimited can be reached at 514-694-0007 or online at

To donate to Literacy Unlimited, click here.

To donate to Volunteer West Island, click here.

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