How To Join
Thank you for your interest in Biblioterre and for supporting the values we hope to put into action.
As we have had an influx of membership predominately from people who are white and cis-gendered, we are putting a temporary freeze on new applications, except for people who identify as B.I.P.O.C. (Black, Indigenous, Person of Colour), people with disabilities, and people who face discrimination due to their gender identity (including intersex people). If you do identify as coming from one or more of these communities, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An organization like Biblioterre will not become a diverse and inclusive space on its own. A certain degree of deliberation and contrivance is needed in the beginning, as we seek and hold space for people who wish to join Biblioterre yet face extra challenges in doing so due to obstacles and prejudices built into our society.
The problems facing our planet threaten the lives of all people, and it will take the combined knowledge and effort of all people to heal this planet for good. This is why it is essential that our project be managed by diverse folks who are experts in their own experience, who can take on roles as bridgemakers to bring in participants from their unique communities, friend groups, and families. This is how we will build Biblioterre from the ground up to be a place where all involved will feel safe, welcome and essential to the project’s success.
Lastly, it is important that we do not suppress this positive energy by simply turning applicants away, but instead find new ways to channel this energy forward. Here are some ideas we are working with:
As we enter into our first years on the Land, the membership may change, and people may come and go. Staying in contact with Biblioterre will allow you to be notified of openings for onsite living and offsite membership. Following our social media, and subscribing to our newsletter means you can stay up-to-date with the progress and challenges of Biblioterre, which may open up doors to your participation in the future.
We intend to evolve the Biblioterre model so that it can be replicated on other landbases. We intend to offer training and matchmaking services to connect people together who may wish to form their own land libraries elsewhere.
We hope to have unlimited space in the future for offsite-members who do not plan to live on the land, yet wish to support Biblioterre from afar in reaching its long term goals. Offsite members are an essential part of this project. We just need a few months to sort out how this will work so that membership will bring mutual and reciprocal benefits to everyone.
Thank you all, stay safe, and see you in 2021!
Coopérative de Solidarité Biblioterre
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:
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.
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.
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 transgender, two-spirit, gender non-conforming, non-binary, agender, bigender, gender fluid, gender queer, intersex, 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.
● 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
● 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
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 if you have any questions or comments):
Biblioterre Introduction Package (basically our website)
2. Familiarize yourself with Sociocracy - which we use as our governance model. Please Watch This Video for an overview.
3. Due to a sudden increase in membership, we are putting a temporary freeze on new applications until January 2021, except for people who identify as B.I.P.O.C. (Black, Indigenous, Person of Colour), people with disabilities, and people who face discrimination due to their gender identity. If you do identify as coming from one or more of these communities and would like to become a member of Biblioterre, please contact us at email@example.com.
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
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.
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.
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);
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);
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.