After waiting nearly two years and nine months due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, we flew to Québec City in late September to visit the House of Literature (Maison de la littérature). One of 26 public libraries in the provincial capital city, the Maison is a library in the traditional sense with shelves of books and reading desks, but it is also a performance and exhibition space, home to poetry readings, musical performances, art installations and literary residencies for people from around the globe.
We rescheduled the journey twice before visiting Québec. Through it all we received encouragement from Dominique Lemieux, the Maison’s former Director. Dominique is now director of all public libraries in the city. He and the four writers and artists we interviewed for the project were supportive of our plan to feature learning centers of the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence River region. And where better to begin than with Québec City? Founded in 1608, the cradle of New France (La Nouvelle France) was home base for generations of persons who traveled from the Old World on voyages of discovery and to improve their lives. Dominique and the Maison’s new director, Valérie Lambert, welcomed us with a tour of the building as well as a portfolio of photos presenting a timeline of the Maison’s transformation from a historic church into a contemporary library. Merci Québec!