Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Collège Mathieu




Virtual library

Collège Mathieu is a Francophone secondary school in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan. Since 1986, the college has provided on-campus adult college courses in cooperation with the Service fransaskois en formation aux adultes (SEFFA). Since 1998, working with the college, SEFFA has offered an online certificate in Entrepreneurship.

At the college, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) has supported the development of a "virtual library" for Francophones. The virtual library will be located at "Le Lien," a French-Canadian resource centre established in 1986 by the Collège. It will offer an online Francophone resource library from which students, not only in Saskatchewan but throughout the West and in the North, can borrow books and materials that are sent through the mail.

For the virtual library, WD funding has helped purchase computer equipment, including a dedicated server for the resource library and updated Biblionet lending software. Library space is being renovated and expanded, while new resource materials include books for all ages: newspapers, magazines, documentaries, films (VHS and DVD), games and teaching aids. The library is also updating its website and improving its connections to interlibrary loan services at other libraries.

With WD's support, "Le Lien" has doubled its resource items to 70,000 publications that can be borrowed by Fransaskois schools, Francophone communities, and anyone interested in French culture. Le Lien also serves as a resource centre for SEFFA.

SEFFA would like to offer more distance education courses and facilities at the college but the necessary technology and expertise is not available. The virtual library is a way to begin filling this gap. Moreover, the library will meet the needs of virtual campuses that French-language colleges are setting up in B.C., Yukon, Saskatchewan and NWT. As it expands further, Le Lien will have the capacity to provide an essential resource of French-language materials for students taking distance courses throughout the region.