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Sask. vending machine distributes Indigenous books


Prince Albert is now home to a unique vending machine. Instead of chips, it dispenses books written by Indigenous authors — free of charge.

The machine is operated by the Prince Albert Indian and Métis Friendship Centre and is located at the Bernice Sayese Centre.

Anne Stene, program director with the Friendship Centre, said readers are encouraged to keep the books.

“We don't want the books back, we want them to stay in the home, and say the child is done with a book, they can give it to a friend,” Stene told CTV News in an interview.

The machine is part of an initiative by an Ontario-based organization called Start2Finish, with a goal of bringing cultural awareness to communities.

According to the Founder and Executive Director Brian Warren, it’s the first of its kind in the province, and one of seven in Canada.

"It’s creating excitement for literacy and it's creating a pathway of education,” Warren told CTV News.

Warren said the aim is to make Indigenous content more accessible, so the machines are placed in community hubs.

The machine is open to the public and runs on a token system. Stene encourages anyone looking for a book to contact her at the Friendship Centre, or staff at the Bernice Sayese Centre.

"We have coins readily available. The books should be fully stocked throughout the year,” Stene said.

The books are designed for readers from ages five to 18, with a variety of media like picture books, chapter books and books written in Cree.

Indigenous author David Robertson wrote the book ‘When We Were Young,’ which can be ordered from the machine. Robertson told CTV News the accessibility will help spark conversation on reconciliation.

"The more stories that are out there, Indigenous content written by Indigenous writers, the more people are learning from a place of truth," he said.

The machine is on a trial run for three years, then the partners will determine whether or not to keep it there permanently. In the meantime, Stene hopes it will serve upwards of 2,000 readers. Top Stories

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