Thanks to the tireless work and fundraising efforts of Vancouver’s Black community and beyond, a new library featuring the work of people of colour has just opened to the public. Its location? The historic Hogan’s Alley in Strathcona.

Past

For folks who don’t already know – Hogan’s Alley was once a sprawling, cultural hub in Vancouver’s East End, and home to much of the city’s Black population by the early twentieth century. The area served as a much-needed “nucleus” for a diverse range of immigrants and people of colour – and during a time when overt racism and discrimination greatly limited these communities.

The construction of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts in the 1970s destroyed most of the area’s buildings and displaced many residents – leaving a huge void in Vancouver’s Black community.

“Since then, most Black people in Vancouver seldom find themselves in a large-scale connected community,” explains Maya Preshyon, the founder and executive director of Vancouver Black Library. 

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Present

Flash forward to today – and Hogan’s Alley is now home to Vancouver’s first-ever Black Library. Located on Keefer Street near Gore Avenue, the space will serve as a spot for Black and BIPOC community members to gather and study, chill, and connect with each other through skill-sharing.

We think Canadian author Wayde Compton said it best: “There has been a Black community in Vancouver since before there was a Vancouver.” And now, there is a dedicated, tangible space for connection and development.

Future

In the future, the initiative hopes to extend its offerings to group therapy, childcare, art exhibitions, book clubs, poetry readings, zine production, and more. All of this, of course, is dependent on continued crowdfunding efforts and donations. You can view the library’s current goals & projections here.

The new library is open from 11 to 5 pm from Friday to Sunday on the basement floor of the Sun Wah Centre. Keep your eye on their socials for upcoming events, live performances, and even drag shows! 

Vancouver Black Library

When: Now open
Where: 268 Keefer Street, Unit #072