Un Livrel/One eRead Canada is an annual digital, bilingual, cross-Canada book club initiated and supported by the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) to help Canadian public libraries promote digital reading awareness and issues. It features a title that is downloadable with no waitlists for the period of a month in French and English, on ebook and eAudio for a bilingual reading or listening experience.
Readers can share their experience through the national Facebook Group and with author events broadcast mid-month.
Vi by Kim Thúy was the second book featured, and the first as a bilingual offering. The planning for this edition of Un Livrel/One eRead Canada was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that closed libraries across the country for several months in 2020; in addition, library opening hours fluctuated for up to (if not more than) a year. The timing for the program was postponed from May 2020 to January 2021 as library partners were pivoting to keep up with how libraries could operate in a challenging time. The pandemic made it difficult for libraries to operate beyond survival mode, and lessened the chance of handling peripheral programming in the early stages. Libraries on their own were managing virtual programming very well, but due to the varied effects from coast to coast it was more of a challenge to plan something nation-wide.
The pandemic’s silver lining was that a wider swath of the public discovered library eContent, fast-tracking some of the promotional work around eContent that Un Livrel/One eRead Canada espouses, and underlining the importance of electronic access through libraries.
The inaugural 2019 Un Livrel/One eRead Canada program featured a title published by a small Canadian publisher, Glass Beads by Dawn Dumont from Thistledown Press. In contrast the 2021 title Vi is published by one of the bigger publishing houses of Canada, Penguin Random House Canada; the French publisher of Vi is Libre Expression of Groupe Librex. Choosing a title in eBook and eAudio formats in both French and English is a unique pursuit that doesn’t yield many choices for a broad audience. Nevertheless, in the future we wish to steer towards titles from small publishers as a way to support the Canadian publishing industry and demonstrate to them the value of public libraries.