The library en Francais


Maia Blackmore, 2, is engrossed in a story read in French by Michelle Koskitalo at the Petrolia Library Friday. She’s part of the French for Fun story hour held every week.


Josane Blackmore is trying to pass on her Acadian heritage to her children, but it is a bit difficult in the middle of rural Ontario.

But there is a little help for the Petrolia woman at the local library. Blackmore brings her daughter Maia, 2, and her infant son to the French for Fun story hour on Friday. There, Michelle Koskitalo reads books and engages the youngsters in county games like many other story hours, but this time in French.

In an English-dominated community, it’s a welcome program. “I’m from the Acadia Peninsula (in New Brunswick),” says Blackmore who moved to the area two years ago with her husband for a job. “It’s a real struggle to keep the language.”

While Blackmore speaks French exclusively to her children “everything she hears is English. I’ve spoken to her in French only since birth…but she speaks mostly English.”

Blackmore says it is important for Maia to have places outside the home to use French. “The saying is true; if you don’t use it, you lose it,” she says adding Maia “just loves” the time spent at the library.