$159,500 OTF Grant to Support Bibliotherapy in the Community

MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy was at the Pickering Public Library to assist the Literacy Network of Durham in launching its multi-year project to expand bibliotherapy services. Thanks to a $159,500 Resilient Communities Fund grant that it received last March from the Ontario government through the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), the Literacy Network has been increasing the effectiveness of its bibliotherapy programming through strategic planning, increased programming and expansion of the model.

“I’m proud to see our government investing in the Literacy Network of Durham Region through the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Resilient Communities Fund,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge. “This will bring a space for solace, understanding, and shared experiences. I value the opportunity to meet with representatives from the Literacy Network as it launches its bibliotherapy program here in Pickering.”

Funds from the two-year-long grant are being used by the Literacy Network of Durham Region to help with key staffing and program costs involved with the bibliotherapy program. The grant is also used for technical equipment, marketing materials and online licenses, as well as professional development and training costs and producing materials for workshops.

Bibliotherapy offered by the Literacy Network of Durham Region was described as a non-clinical, developmental intervention offered through guided reading groups. In addition to providing a social arena for the discussion of literature and poetry, it was noted as assisting individuals in addressing mental, physical, emotional, developmental or social challenges.  In the bibliotherapy model, reading selections offered through topic-related group sessions promote hope and resilience through contemplation, conversation and discussion. The program continues to be run across various locations in Durham Region, both online and in person and is inclusive, supportive and uplifting.

“The impacts of social isolation resulting from COVID are a well-known issue for many members of our community,” said Jennine Agnew-Kata, Executive Director of the Literacy Network of Durham Region. “We are proud to be able to expand our bibliotherapy program with the generous help of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Bibliotherapy is a model that addresses social isolation by providing literature selections read by a trained facilitator who then convenes participant conversations that promote resilience and hope. We know that the positive impacts of bibliotherapy are well recorded and that our community will benefit from this much-needed and valuable grant.”

“Non-profit organizations across Ontario deliver programming that makes a difference,” said Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “That’s why funding that my ministry is providing through the OTF is so important. Our government wants to ensure that these programs and spaces remain the heart of communities across our province.”

The Literacy Network of Durham Region is committed to offering both bibliotherapy programming and facilitator training over the next year. If you wish to enquire about the model, please visit the website at: www.lindr.on.ca

The Ontario Trillium Foundation’s (OTF) mission is to build healthy and vibrant communities across Ontario. As an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations, last year, OTF invested over $110M into 1,022 community projects and partnerships. Visit otf.ca to learn more.