How To Join

Biblioterre offers flexible  membership options. These options are designed to meet your unique needs, and can change over time according to your needs.

We operate as a solidarity coop, meaning ownership is shared by members. 

Members can either live onsite, or offsite. The choice is yours. All member types play an equitable role in Biblioterre’s governance

Image by Janelle Soto

Becoming a Member

Biblioterre is a solidarity cooperative, supported by members who purchase one-time qualifying shares, pay monthly member dues that fund the common spaces and shared resources, and pay usage fees to lease land and accommodations. Applicants select from three options of member type: 

  • User members 

  • Worker members 

  • Support members 

If you feel that you might align with Biblioterre’s vision and core initiatives; if you are someone who wishes to build a deep connection with Land and Water; if you are someone who is willing to build bridges across divides and help remove systemic barriers to land relationships for others in your unique communities, then this project is an option for you, and we would be grateful for your consideration and contact. This project is at a crucial point. It is still young and open for new, creative ideas; yet it is ready, with a vision, and so much of the tedious, logistical work done.

By becoming a Member of Coopérative Biblioterre, you will be contributing to an innovative project that is committed to taking actions toward: Natural Responsibility, Indigenous Allyship, Equitability, and Holistic Health. Onsite or offsite, you will have access to opportunities to build skills and strengthen your relationships. 

As we are not yet Land-based, all new members will start as offsite members. We are in the process of acquiring the finances needed for Biblioterre's financial sustainability, and are seeking new support members, share holders, and donors who resonate with the values of Biblioterre and who would like to participate in the governance of the project.

Onsite Members

 

For people interested in living onsite, we are anticipating that it may take 1-4 years before most members will be able to begin living onsite year-round. Some members are committing to become Worker Members to help Biblioterre in its establishment. We still have a few future-onsite-memberships left for Worker Members ($5,000/year AO Shareholders) willing and able to put in time into bringing Biblioterre from a concept to a  community. Beyond our limited amount of Worker Member positions, we are also holding space for future-onsite members who come from communities which face systemic oppression. 

Biblioterre aims to build an onsite membership that represents a diverse range of people. We hope to become a safe, welcoming and accessible space for members who identify as coming from historically-marginalised groups who face systemic oppression. People who identify as Indigenous to these lands, people of colour, the Black community, people who face racial discrimination, people who face challenges due to their abilities, people who are trans-gendered, people who are two-spirit, people who are gender non-conforming or non-binary, and/or people who identify with other marginalised groups not mentioned on this list are strongly encouraged to apply. We recognise that systemic barriers run deep. These barriers affect who has access to Land, farming opportunities, rural living, healthy food, and clean drinking water, and these barriers play a role in one’s decision to apply for membership in Biblioterre. Biblioterre is attempting to lift these barriers.

Image by Steve Halama

Membership Benefits

● Equal voice in decision-making/Biblioterre governance 
 
● One vote in our Annual General Meeting 

● Access to all ​libraries ​ (tool, media, art supplies, kitchen supplies, etc.) 

● Most leasehold opportunities
 

● 25% discount on space rentals (does not include leaseholds)

● 10% discount on Biblioterre-run events  

● Advance notice of events, trainings, and workshops 

● Access to ​commons during open hours 
 

● Access to opt-in clubs, shares, initiatives, and volunteer opportunities 

● May bank ​surplus volunteer hours ​ to put toward applicable events, workshops, and products 

Onsite-​only ​ Benefits: 
 

● Access to Onsite-only spaces and circles  

● Full leasehold opportunities, all rental opportunities 

● Full-time access to ​commons ​ 

● May host non-members and off-site members 

We Need Your Support Today!

Membership Steps

1. Ensure that you have thoroughly read through all of our available documents so that you have a strong understanding of what becoming a member entails (please email membership@biblioterre.ca if you have any questions or comments):

2. Familiarize yourself with Sociocracy - which we use as our governance model. Please Watch This Video for an overview.

3. Complete the Member Interest Form.

4. Wait for Biblioterre to contact you to arrange a Meet & Greet (with other interested folk and a few Biblioterre members). Interest thus far is greater than our capacity to respond so please be patient. If you do not hear from us within 2 weeks, please send us a follow-up email.

5. Once one or more of the members of the Membership Circle have had some correspondences with you and you have mutually decided that you will pursue membership, a "sponsor member" will guide you through the next steps, which will include completing a questionnaire and signing our member agreements. If you think you may want to become an onsite member in the future, please consider becoming a Shareholder.

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Image by Joa Pietilä

Fees & Dues

  • Buy-in: $160 (membership share; one-time payment; reimbursable)

  • Commons Dues: $25/month +tax (supports common resources/spaces)

  • Onsite Commons Dues: $55/month +tax (reflects additional use of commons) AND a 2.5% income contribution (a sliding-scale commons due for increased financial accessibility for those with lower incomes)

  • all applicable service usage fees (ie. leasing and renting spaces)

Owning Shares in Biblioterre

  • Start-up Shares* are optional shares that will go toward start-up expenses and the down payment on the purchase of land ($25,000 to reserve an acre for future lease, once available);

  • Annual Operations Shares* are optional shares that secure Biblioterre’s annual costs of operations until Biblioterre is meeting its expenses through use-of-services revenue ($5,000/year for 5 years will allow a member to be onsite in their moveable dwelling).
    *see Own Shares in Biblioterre! for more information

Leaseholds & Rentals*

– agriculture incubator space: acreage, greenhouse space, tool libraries
– affordable worker’s housing, storage, and private greenspace
– studio, office and event spaces 

*as we are not yet on land, we do not yet have available space for lease or rent. Once available, space will be prioritised according to our Diversity & Inclusion Policy and our shareholder contracts.

*see Leaseholds & Rentals fees on pg.15 of our Introduction Package for more information

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As an example, I am planning to be an onsite member. Thus, every month I pay my $25 Commons Due, my $55 Onsite Commons Due, an income contribution of $41.67 [I make about $20,000/year: ($20,000x2.5%)/12=$41.67], a Building Plot fee of $46.50 (I have a home I built at 300 square feet so I lease a building plot at $558/year), and an acre of Land for $33.73 (I lease an acre/year for $404.80). In total, I pay Biblioterre $201.90 +tax per month.

 

I own 6 Annual Operations Shares at $6,000/year (or $500/month), so I use my shares to pay my fees and dues, leaving me a remainder of $298.10/month of AO Shares.

 

Other members may pay more (maybe they choose to live in a Biblioterre-owned dwelling, or maybe they rent space in an outbuilding, or maybe they have built themselves a screened-in porch or a private outhouse), and other members may pay less.

Member Types

As a solidarity cooperative, Biblioterre offers a few different choices for membership, and these are based on a member’s primary link to the co-op. A member may change their membership class over time to reflect their changing link to Biblioterre. Every member has a voice in the governance, a vote in the coop, and an equal ownership of Biblioterre.

 

Worker Members

 

Workers members are distinguished by their foundational commitment to Biblioterre. Worker members are relied upon to establish the leasable onsite spaces for the benefit of user members, as well as common spaces for the benefit of all members. Worker members also hold annual operations shares that proactively finance the costs of operations during the co-op’s establishment years. They may also choose to hold start-up shares that finance part of the initial land purchase.

 

Features and Benefits of Worker membership:

  • Hiring priority, once Biblioterre is able to offer paid positions;

  • More representation on the Board of Directors (3 of the 5 directors must be worker members);

  • If worker-housing is created (additional housing on agriculture- zoned land), worker members may have access to these housing options.

  • By subscribing to 5 sets of AO Shares for 5 years, ($5000/year over 5 years) worker members are immediately entitled to live onsite in a moveable dwelling or in other temporary accommodations, and have 24/7 access rights to the land;

  • Worker members (as well as user members, or pods), who have bought $25,000 or more in Start-up Shares, will have on-site living priority once leasable residential spaces become available (on-site consideration will otherwise prioritize our diversity and inclusion policy, and will be decided sociocratically, taking into account a given member’s demonstrated commitment to the cooperative);



 

User Members

 

Users are members who will link with the coop mainly through leaseholds, rentals, and other contracts once these spaces and resources are available. Users may also hold Start-up and Annual Operations (AO) shares in order to reserve spaces that will become available for lease at a later time.

 

Features and Benefits of User Membership

  • No minimum share purchase requirements (aside from the $160 membership fee);

  • Representation on the Board of Directors (1 of the 5 directors must be a User member);

  • By holding AO shares for a given year (or longer), or by leasing available residential or agriculture spaces for a given year (or longer), user members may have 24/7 access rights to the land for this period of time (availability not guaranteed, priority given to Worker members and members from communities facing systemic oppression - as per Biblioterre’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy);

  • By subscribing to 5 sets of AO Shares for a given year (or longer), ($5000/year for 1 year or more) user members are immediately entitled to live onsite in a moveable dwelling or in other temporary accommodations, and have 24/7 access rights to the land for this period of time;   

  • User members (or pods) who have bought $25,000 or more in Start-up Shares, will have on-site living priority once leasable residential spaces become available (On-site consideration will otherwise prioritize our diversity and inclusion policy, and will be decided sociocratically, taking into account a given member’s demonstrated commitment to the cooperative);

 

Support Members

 

Supporters link with Biblioterre mainly in an off-site capacity through monthly due payments, and by helping to govern Biblioterre towards its long-term aspirations. They may also be volunteers and visitors to the land.

Supporters may also hold Start-up and Annual Operations shares, and may lease spaces and resources from Biblioterre, though they do not live onsite and so are required to respect Biblioterre’s hours of operation. 

 

Features and Benefits of Support Membership

  • The membership class with the most flexible commitment expectations;

  • Representation on the Board of Directors (1 of the 5 directors must be a support member);

  • By subscribing to sets of Start-up or Annual Operations shares, support members can pay their shareholder benefits forward to other members/member classes who wish to reserve space to live and/or work onsite.

 

Circles

Though most circles meet approximately once per month for one to three hours, each circle is responsible for making its own decisions regarding frequency and length of meetings, and its own expectations/regulations for circle membership. Offsite members​ are expected to participate in ​at least one​ of the sub-circles of the Top Circle ​or ​ the General Circle. Through the Top Circle, offsite members have access to the Offsite Member Circle, Board of Directors Circle (if elected), and the Land Trust Circle. Through the General Circle, offsite members have access to all of the day-to-day operation circles of Biblioterre. Onsite Members​ are required to serve on ​at least one of each ​of the sub-circles​ ​of the Top Circle ​and ​ the General Circle. From the Top Circle, onsite members have access to Onsite Member Circle, Board of Directors Circle (if elected) and the Land Trust Circle. From the General Circle, onsite members have access to all of the day-to-day operation circles of Biblioterre.

Retreat

Once a year Biblioterre hosts a weekend-long retreat for all members. During this retreat, time is allotted for the Annual General Meeting, for worker-bee volunteering, and for a festival consisting of workshops, tours, speakers, art, music, dancing and food! Planning for and participation at the retreat (AGM and festival) is ​expected for onsite members and ​encouraged for offsite​ members. 

Trainings 

All Members​ are expected to take part in the following trainings/workshops within the first year of their Membership: 

  • Indigenous Cultural Competency 

  • Non Violent Communication 

  • Introduction to Sociocracy (online)

  • Anti-oppression Onsite Members​ are also expected to participate in ongoing onsite training. Onsite training sessions happen at least once/year, but may happen up to once/month.

Chores 

Offsite Members​ are not expected to participate in chores, but may volunteer to do so when onsite, or if staying onsite for an extended period of time. Onsite Members​ are expected to participate in chores for the upkeep of the community building and other community spaces. Tasks will rotate on either a weekly or monthly basis and might range from 1-3h/week. Chores may evolve over time. Additionally, Biblioterre will have Spring and Fall cleaning days when onsite members will spend half the day preparing common outdoor spaces for summer use or to close down for winter.  

Some examples of cleaning responsibilities: 

  • Community dishes and kitchen maintenance 

  • Washroom clean-up (including taking out and cleaning humanure buckets) 

  • Community laundry, dusting, windows 

  • Sweeping and washing common room floors  

  • Maintaining pathways/driveways (sweeping, shoveling) 

  • Organizing & dealing with garbage/recycling/compost 

  • Those who live in the Common House may have additional cleaning tasks.

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