Nunavut: Talk about Remote! Books and Computers Ease the Struggle for Inuit Communities in Canada's Arctic
Kniffel, Leonard, American Libraries
Imagine living in a place so remote that an airplane is the only available transportation to the next town, a place so rural that your plane is delayed because caribou have to be shooed off the gravel landing strip. The Canadian territory of Nunavut is just such a place--2.1 million square kilometers (about one-fifth of Canada and nearly five times the size of California) with a population of 27,500 (fewer people than Palm Springs) living in 28 communities.
Just for context, says Carol Rigby, head of technical services for Nunavut Public Library Services, The Nunavut Handbook says "the distance between the easternmost point of Nunavut and the farthest western boundary is about 2,400 kilometers, the distance between London and Istanbul."
The challenges facing the indigenous Inuit people of the region, who make up 85% of the population, and those facing the "southerners," who brave life in the far north to establish library and information services, are sometimes similar but more often quite different. For all the residents, life in treeless Nunavut--from the tundra of the west to the majestic mountains and glaciers of the north and east--is life in touch with the raw power of nature, which permits only those armed with knowledge of the land to survive and even to thrive.
What's the biggest challenge facing Robin Brown, policy manager for NPLS in Baker Lake? "Loneliness," she says, quite simply. Brown moved north from Alberta in 2002 to take the job without ever even having visited the town of 1,453 residents.
Perseverance in the Great White North
"Our number-one critical problem," says Rigby, whose technical services operation is headquartered in a separate section of the …
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Publication information: Article title: Nunavut: Talk about Remote! Books and Computers Ease the Struggle for Inuit Communities in Canada's Arctic. Contributors: Kniffel, Leonard - Author. Magazine title: American Libraries. Volume: 35. Issue: 3 Publication date: March 2004. Page number: 32+. © 1984 American Library Association. COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group.
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