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BC Library Conference 2020

T03 - Restorative Justice: What is it? How does it work? Why should Public Libraries learn to use it?

Thursday, April 16, 2020 at 9:00 AM–10:15 AM Eastern Time (US & Canada)
Meeting Room #3
Session Description

This introductory session will explore how Public Libraries can implement Restorative Practices to help achieve our mandate as learning institutions. Restorative practices are both a philosophical perspective and a series of practical processes. At its heart restorative practice is the art of having difficult conversations. The restorative perspective seeks to turn bad situations into good learning opportunities. Howard Zehr, one of the founding thinkers of restorative justice describes the practice as based on three pillars. First: Understand the harm that has been done and how everyone has been effected. Two: Build agreement about how the person can be accountable and make it right. Three: Engage the person who was hurt, the person who caused the harm and the wider community in the process. Restorative practices build stronger communities because they reduce recidivism, increase public safety and are cost effective. Victims are empowered to have a voice and a say in what will help them. People who have caused harm by their behavior have the opportunity to make it right, express remorse and be accepted back in the community. These practices exist on a continuum from simple conflict prevention strategies to highly formal processes with expert facilitators that are used to address serious crimes. We will look at this continuum and offer resources that you can access along it’s breadth. A brief overview of the history, philosophy and science behind restorative practice will be offered. Library staff who have participated in formal Restorative Justice Circles will share their experience. There will be a lot of time left for question and answer period.


Curated by Toby Mueller, Lillooet Area Library Association.

Toby Mueller is the Library Director for the Lillooet Area Library Association. Short on credentials, but long on experience, she brings years of community based organizing to her work as a Community Librarian and administrator. After working towardsa degree in Environmental Studies and Cultural Studies at Trent University, Toby went to work in the non-profit sector. She is a volunteer Community Justice Forum facilitator for the Lillooet Restorative Justice Program.

Haroon Bajwa

Haroon is a proud member of the Lower Mainland Restorative Justice Network and the Restorative Justice Association of British Columbia. He has been in the restorative justice field for close to fifteen years. In that time, he has had the privilege of being mentored by a number of passionate and talented restorative justice practitioners. He counts himself lucky to be part of the restorative justice community, which persists, in spite of many
challenges, to create a just and harmonious society. Most of all, he is inspired by the people he serves, who find the courage to respectfully engage with one another in fixing what is broken.

Lee Anne Smith, Richmond Public Library

Lee Anne has worked at Richmond Public Library since graduating from SLAIS in 2003. After starting as an Auxiliary Librarian she has had many opportunities at RPL to grow into positions of higher responsibility. Currently she is the Coordinator of Innovation and Learning Services focusing on three diverse areas: bringing more digital services to community branches, improving metrics to tell the impact of the library and supporting staff learning. She supervises five Heads of different services, mentoring them in new roles and with large scale projects. In 2018 she chose to use Restorative Justice after a library incident.