Montreal Children’s Library – Contrary to what some people might think, the Montreal Children’s Library (MCL) is independent from the Montreal library network and not funded by tax dollars. Instead it relies on donations and grants to keep its doors open. In fact, the MCL wants to expand its hours by opening on Saturdays, but funding constraints make this is a challenge.
Unfortunately, the summer months tend to be the season when Canadians feel the least charitable. To meet this challenge, CanadaHelps and The GIV3 Foundation have launched the fourth annual Great Canadian Giving Challenge. MCL is the chosen charity to represent the province of Quebec, so every dollar donated to the library in June viaCanadaHelps.org or GivingChallenge.ca automatically enters it to win an additional $10,000 in a contest.
“Some 80% of our funding comes from donations,” explains Alexandra D’Arrisso, President of the MCL. “We also have a lot of volunteers—including myself and the entire board–working for the library. Our annual budget is only $150,000, most of which goes toward operating costs and book acquisitions. We run a very tight ship!”
When the MCL first opened in 1929, it was the only children’s library in the city. For many years it was housed in the same building as the Atwater Library, but has now moved to the St. Michel borough.
“We also have outreach programs based out of six sites across Montreal,” continues D’Arrisso. “Our clientele ranges from newborns to 18-year-olds with the ‘Parent Child Mother Goose’ program addressing our youngest clients. For young adolescents, we run journal writing courses. We also try to address immigrant populations and go to where the needs are.”
“Libraries are more than just books; they are also a destination to go after school, a place for homework support, many different programs are offered out of the MCL and they are all free,” says D’Arrisso to justify the role of libraries in the computer age. “Most of these programs address the underprivileged. We have Lego and robotics classes, role playing games, we provide an escape for Mom, are the venue for events such as Halloween parties, and can provide mentors.”
“I work in a school, and can tell which kids have benefited from exposure to books at an early age. It helps them academically and provides innumerable benefits,” adds d D’Arrisso who is a child psychologist by profession.
In 2017, 77,785 Canadians participated in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, donating almost $10 million to over 10,000 charities. This represents an 83% increase in donations compared to June 2014. Donations to the MCL are tax deductible.
The MCL operates out of a community centre on 42nd Street in St. Michel and is currently open Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm. More information about the MCL and its outreach programs is available at the contacts below.
Montreal Children’s Library
Bibliothèque des jeunes de Montréal
4121, 42e Rue
Montréal, QC H1Z 1R8