Thank you for your interest in Biblioterre and for supporting the values we hope to put into action.
How It Works:
Biblioterre is a solidarity cooperative, supported by:
The wider community
As a solidarity cooperative, Biblioterre has 3 types of members:
Worker (may be onsite or offsite)
User (may be onsite or offsite)
Friends Of Biblioterre
We have had many people express interest in joining us at Biblioterre. In growing our community, we are guided by a number of values including equitability, anti-racism and anti-oppression. We seek to create a community where the power dynamics are not centred around the voices of white, cisgender, able-bodied folks in ways that replicate power dynamics seen within larger governing bodies. Currently, we are doing this by limiting our application for membership to those who identify as BIPOC.
Therefore, we are creating a new category of involvement called ‘Friends of Biblioterre’ for anyone who would like to be part of Biblioterre. This is a great way for you to check out Biblioterre, without all of the responsibilities that come with membership, and a low-pressure way for us to get to know each other and see if we are a good fit together.
Benefits (These benefits are a work in progress – subject to change):
- Friends of Biblioterre who meet the requirements to become support or onsite members will have the opportunity to participate in some of our circles (where the Friend of Biblioterre would be considered an advisor and where participation would not contribute to an imbalance in power dynamics).
- Participation in Biblioterre’s identity-based affinity and solidarity groups (an opportunity to connect with folks in similar situations to explore how experiences with privilege and oppression affect us and how we may use our experiences to learn and grow)
- Invitation to many of our social events and learning opportunities;
- Our intention is to have Friends of Biblioterre have access to the Land and some libraries. We are still defining what this will look like. For now we are asking Friends of Biblioterre to contact a member for access while we are developing a relationship to the Land.
Friends of Biblioterre – Steps
Before becoming an official ‘Friend of Biblioterre’, you will be asked to:
- Submit an Interest Form.
- Sign agreements to show that you understand and will uphold Biblioterre’s vision, goals, and pillars.
- Review the Oppression-Based Harm and Conflict Resolution policies.
- Participate in a series of social gatherings to get to know the members and ensure mutual trust and support.
- Watch a series of videos to help you gain some of the knowledge and understanding members have in terms of sociocracy, non-violent communication, and anti-oppression. If you are a settler member, you will also be expected to complete an Indigenous Cultural Competency Training which we will offer once/year.
After becoming a Friend of Biblioterre, we ask that you contribute at least 2 volunteer hours per month supporting Biblioterre.
If you are eligible for membership, we will check in with you to see whether you would like to continue as a Friend of Biblioterre or move towards membership.
Membership with Biblioterre
We are at the beginning of our journey to create our community and develop the practices that will inform the ways in which we begin to live and work together. Biblioterre initially lived in our imaginations and in conversations between friends. We then began to extend outward. We have been inspired by the relationships that have developed so far and the community that has been taking form.
However, we have a lot of work to do. As we look around at those who have gotten involved so far, while our membership represents a lot of folks with different lived experiences and identities, we also see that our membership so far includes many white settlers. It is for this reason that we are putting a freeze on new applications from folks who do not identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Colour) while we seek to build relationships with and hold space for people who identify as BIPOC. We do not wish to replicate the dynamics of white dominance. We understand the importance of having BIPOC voices and leadership from the beginning.
We are moved by the outpouring of interest and energy that folks have expressed and the questions that folks have posed about getting involved in Biblioterre. We are exploring ways for people who do not identify as BIPOC to get involved. Here are some ideas that we are working with:
- We are hoping to continue to develop a new category of involvement “Friends of Biblioterre”: people who do not plan to live on the Land, yet wish to be involved in Biblioterre. Friends of Biblioterre are an essential part of this project. We just need a few months to a year to sort out how this will work so that involvement will bring mutual and reciprocal benefits to everyone.
- As we enter into our first years on the Land, the membership may change. Staying in contact with Biblioterre will allow you to be notified of openings for onsite living and offsite membership. Following our social media, and subscribing to our newsletter means you can stay up-to-date with the progress and challenges of Biblioterre, which may open up doors to your participation in the future.
- We intend to evolve the Biblioterre model so that it can be replicated on other landbases. We intend to offer training and matchmaking services to connect people together who may wish to form their own land libraries elsewhere.
When making decisions about new members, here are some of the guiding principles that we use. At this time, we are prioritizing BIPOC membership. However, our overall vision for our membership includes the following:
- We are committed to social justice and environmental activism. We seek members who have experience with anti-oppression work and a commitment to environmental justice. This includes acknowledging and respecting the personhood of all beings, and actively examining and confronting the systems of oppression that we ourselves participate in. We are committed to and value the knowledge that experiences of intersectionality can bring to the growth of our community and also understand that working on anti-oppression issues when it is your lived experience can be emotionally exhausting and at times harmful. It is important to us that members choose how and where to engage and centre their own wellbeing in the process of developing our community. We desire that members engage in aspects of the community that bring them energy.
- We are committed to centering anti-racism and decolonisation. We imagine a community where BIPOC members are not in the minority and white settler members are actively engaging in anti-racism work. We seek BIPOC members who share this commitment and have skills and experience with anti-racism work. We acknowledge that our community has many white settlers currently and that we must grow as a community to address the dissonance between where we are and where we would like to be. We will take guidance from our BIPOC affinity group and are developing ways to support our current membership to actively engage in anti-racism & decolonizing practices.
- We are committed to Indigenous solidarity. Biblioterre is located on traditional Algonquin Land; unceded, and without a treaty. As of February 2021, our members are predominately settlers. We seek members who are Indigenous to Turtle Island and to the Land we occupy. We recognize that relationships and trust take time, and given the historical and ongoing invasion and genocide against Indigenous folks, our engagement with potential Indigenous members must be patient, loving, intentional and thoughtful. Our intention and hope is to continue to build upon our relationships with local Indigenous community members. We are committed to listening and following the guidance of the Indigenous elders and community members who have been supporting the birth of Biblioterre. We are also committed to continuing to listen, learn, and build connections with local Indigenous community members in a respectful way that honours the traditions and procedures of local Indigenous communities. We are also committed to taking accountability when we cause harm or don’t get things right and actively engaging in repair.
- We are committed to challenging ableism. We seek to develop an accessible community, to listen, to learn and to grow as members identify more ways that we can become accessible and engage in universal design. We seek members living with disabilities who have a commitment to supporting the community to become more accessible. We acknowledge that our community has many able-bodied and neurotypical folks currently and that we have a lot of work ahead of us around accessibility and unlearning internalized ableism. We will centre the perspectives of members living with disabilities and neurodiversity, through our disability caucus, and develop practices to support our membership to continue to unlearn their ableist beliefs & behaviours.
- We are committed to developing a community with a wide-range of gender diversity. We acknowledge that currently our community has many cisgender folks. We seek trans and non-binary members who share our commitment to continually challenging the gender binary within our community. We are centering the work of 2SLGBTQ+ caucus to support our community to help us identify and shift cissexism and cisnormativity within our membership. We are also continuing to develop practices to support our membership to acknowledge and begin to unlearn the ways in which we reinforce the gender binary.
- We view our community as an ecosystem, with each member making up a part of a web of connectedness and interdependence. Strong relationships are essential to the health of our community. Therefore, we seek to recruit members who deeply value relationships, understand the importance of prioritizing communication, and are committed to addressing conflict with an open heart. We also seek to provide community members with a framework and tools to engage proactively in addressing challenges as they arise. Mutual aid and community care are a part of this value. We desire to recruit members who are committed to supporting the collective good and have a strong capacity to self-reflect on their impact on the community.
- Building a community that cares for the Land and one another (financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually, socially) takes time. We expect approximately 6 hours per month of time contributions for each of the offsite-intending members, and approximately 18 hours per month for onsite-intending members (including meetings). This will look different for everyone; some may contribute by writing, some may contribute physically, some may contribute by reaching out to others, and some may contribute in other ways. We seek members who are able to contribute equitably, acknowledging that this means something different to everyone at different times (some people may contribute more or less according to seasons, situations, and each individuals’ ability). We seek members who are able to be accountable and responsible to themselves and to others; to acknowledge their own gifts and limitations, privileges and oppressions, and to be aware of how these may impact themselves and others.
- We are committed to building a strong relationship with the Land where Biblioterre sits. We desire to engage in healing and nurturing practices towards this Land and intend to prioritize it’s needs by engaging in ecosystem restoration, biodiversity protection and regenerative food production. We seek members who want to listen and learn from the Land. We seek members who have a deep reverence for and an emotional relationship with the Earth and all its creatures. We also seek members who have experience and skills relating to this commitment.
- Biblioterre intends to build relationships with non-human animals that are valued outside of the capitalist model. We seek members who recognize the personhood of non-human beings, are motivated to nurture these relationships, and who respect Biblioterre’s Animal Safe Space Policy, which prohibits the killing and commodification of our animal relations on Land cared for by Biblioterre, as an act of compensation for our societal norms. We hold this position in harmony with respect for the traditional cultural values and hunting rights of Indigenous peoples. We seek members who desire to build mutually beneficial and reciprocal relationships that expand beyond species.
- We seek projects and collaborations that promote holistic health and social justice and address how generations of trauma and systemic violence and oppression impact individual and community health. We seek members who share this commitment and have skills that they would like to contribute to achieving this commitment.
- We desire to recruit members who have enthusiasm and energy to contribute to developing the vision of Biblioterre. As we look to build capacity within our membership, we seek to recruit members with specific skills and shared values.