Tag Archives: ABQLA

Smiles in Libraries

4 Sep

I’ll admit that I usually scan quite quickly through my copy of the CLA’s Feliciter magazine when it comes in the mail. This week when I received my latest issue and saw that it was completely dedicated to images from the CLA 2010 conference in Edmonton I assumed that it would quickly be put aside. Although I was disappointed to miss the CLA conference this year because it conflicted with our McGill School of Information Studies graduation ceremony, I wasn’t necessarily excited to look through the photos of all the smiling librarians who did get to attend. However, instead of tossing the magazine aside, I found myself extremely interested in the reports written by the library school students who summarized the highlights of various conference sessions.

The reports were all extremely well written and I felt that the students from the different Canadian library school programs all succeeded in capturing the interesting points from their sessions. I was especially motivated to read University of Toronto iSchool’s Kate Perch’s article on the session “Hot Topic: International Librarianship –CLA’s Role in IFLA”. As many of you know, I am extremely interested in international librarianship and since I dream of one day getting involved in IFLA, the title of this session particularly grabbed my attention. In this article, Kate Perch quotes a discussion question from this session “How many smiles do libraries create every day?”.  I LOVE this question! Since my blog is already full of my geeky proclamations of how passionate I am about libraries and librarianship then there is no harm in admitting that since reading this quote a few days ago, I have become obsessed with this question. Seriously, I have been extra observant of all of our users to see if they are leaving the library with a smile on their faces. I am starting to think that in addition to ticking off  on a page the number of reference questions we receive for our library statistics, we should also be keeping a record of how many smiles we see in the library on a daily basis. This relates somewhat to Alvin Schrader’s talk « Getting Beyond Library Statistics: Challenges in Capturing Library Meaning and Telling the Whole Story of Library Value » at the ABQLA’s 2010 conference in May. Schrader’s presentation also got me thinking of better ways to understand the value of libraries in the lives of our users and a smile is certainly an indisputable visual display of someone’s satisfaction. Are you conscious of the smiles of users in your library? Is there a formal way of calculating smiles that could be included in official reports? Let me know what you think and I’d like to thank Kate Petch for publishing this great article that has got me so pumped!

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Libraries as Learning Places: Reflections from ABQLA’s 78th Annual Conference

11 May

Less than a week had gone by since returning home to Montreal from the LWB Guatemala Trip and I already was already back into the swing of Montreal libraryland. This past weekend was the 78th annual ABQLA Conference on the theme of “Libraries as Learning Places”. I was especially excited about this conference because many of the presentations related to issues of great importance to library directors such as marketing and communications that I felt were not covered in library school classes.

The first keynote speaker was Lori Reed, a librarian trainer from North Carolina. She addressed the hard financial situation faced by many libraries and encouraged participants to promote their libraries as educational institutions in order to highlight to users and policy-makers the importance of libraries within a community. Unfortunately I had to miss the talk of another keynote speaker Mitch Joel’s. However from what I heard, it sounded like it was very similar to talks I’ve heard at Web 2.You, where Web 2.0 technologies are promoted as promotional tools to strengthen the users’ experience with their library.

I did enjoy the talk by Pam MacKellar, the Accidental Librarian, who emphasized the importance of perspective when facing difficult situations. I felt that her talk was extremely relevant to me as a soon-to-be library director. She spoke about the damage caused when people only focus on obstacles instead of seeing potential opportunities. Although a lot of what she said was common sense (negativity breeds negativity), it was nonetheless important to hear this reiterated especially since I will soon be responsible for tough situations that will require that I maintain my most positive attitude.

The last keynote speaker and without a doubt the most entertaining of the conference was Paul Huschilt. Anyone who has not seen Paul Huschilt at a conference does not know what it is like to laugh non-stop for an hour. Tying in perfectly with Pam’s presentation on the importance of positive thinking, Paul Huschilt demonstrated the “Seven Humour Habits for Workplace Wellness” and had everyone laughing out loud. Yours truly even got to participate as a volunteer during his talk which was a lot of fun. Although Paul Huschilt really had nothing to do with libraries, I applaud the conference organizers for inviting such an entertaining speaker who reminded us all how therapeutic laughter can be.

The most interesting regular session that I attended was by Tanya Abramovitch, the Library Director of the Cote-St-Luc Public Library, who discussed “Library University” an initiative that offers courses on a variety of topics including Readers’ Advisory 101, Delivering Sweetheart Service, Searching for Movies workshop, etc. These courses mostly taught by staff are offered during work hours for other staff to develop their expertise in various subject areas. Allowing staff to take classes on subjects outside of their departmental responsibilities encourages the understanding of the library’s “big picture” which helps to better motivate them in their work. It was extremely obvious by Tanya Abramovitch’s enthusiasm the positive impact of this staff development initiative on the Cote-St-Luc library. Her enthusiasm was extremely contagious and everyone left this session motivated to better develop their own knowledge and skill sets in order to provide the best possible service to users.

My absolute favourite moment of the conference was during lunch on the Saturday when the convenor was attempting to get the attention of the crowd. In order to quiet down the half of the conference-goers who were still chatting away, the other half of the group spontaneously shushed them. It was the most delightfully hilarious sight to see such a large group of librarians shushing in unison. I could not help laughing out loud and this was even before Paul Huschilt took the stage!

This was a truly a wonderful conference. Thank you again to all the organizers and the speakers.

New ABQLA Bulletin featuring Web 2.You report

29 Mar

The new ABQLA Bulletin is now available to download for free from the ABQLA website’s Bulletin page. As Lora Baiocco, one of the editors of the Bulletin, a librarian at Westmount Public Library, and the blogger behind Infinite Digressions affectionately teased me, this edition of the ABQLA Bulletin could be dubbed the “Graham and Amanda” edition. It is true that not only did I write up a summary of the Web 2.You conference (p.12-13)but between the two of us, Graham (Inspired Library School Student) and I appear in five pictures! These pictures are mostly from Web 2.You and the CODE Holiday fundraiser but I think is a testimony to our commitment to being involved in the library community that the editors would grant us so much face space in the Bulletin. The ABQLA offers a great mix of traditional library values and fun innovative events, they are also extremely supportive and encouraging of new librarians and library school students. I am grateful to have been able to get involved in this great association and I can’t wait to attend the 78th Annual ABQLA conference in May on “Libraries as Learning Places”!

Published in ABQLA December Bulletin!

4 Jan

ABQLA logo I was extremely excited today to receive in the mail my new ABQLA Bulletin. As I’ve mentioned, I am the president of the McGill Student Chapter of the ABQLA (Association des Bibliothèques du Québec/Quebec Library Association) and, in September, I was asked to write a contribution to the next bulletin. My article is entitled “Why Get Involved?” and it focuses on the importance of students and informational professionals getting involved in extra-curricular activities such as the organization of social events and professional development opportunities. I wrote this text months ago and I’m so excited to see it published! You can access the PDF version of the Bulletin from the ABQLA’s website.

Thoughts on “Back to School” for MLIS students

12 Sep

Back in School

Another school year has started and this time as a MLIS II, I feel myself sharing a lot of advice with the incoming first-year students.  Their biggest concern seems to stem from the fact that they are feeling overwhelmed and that they do not know what level of time commitment will be expected of them for their classes and assignments. If I learned anything over the past year it is that “you get what you give”.  In other words, you get out of your library school experience whatever you put into it. I would argue that it’s fairly easy to float through Library school without too much effort, but really, how boring does that sound?  Many professors have told me that grades will not be important once I am looking for a full-time librarian position. What will be important will be that I can demonstrate how I spent my time in the MLIS program developing skills that are vital to working in the library field.

This year, I am the president of the McGill student chapter of the ABQLA, I have two part-time jobs in two different types of libraries (public and academic), I am planning on doing a practicum and I have submitted a proposal to conduct a 6-credit research project.  I’m also planning on posting regularly on the BiblioBlond blog! There is no doubt that I will be a very busy person this year and so I might not have time to get through all of the books that I want to read or catch up to my friends who are on the third season of Mad Men.  But I will be learning the whole time and hopefully getting the most possible out of my experience as a student so that I will be a well-rounded, skilled librarian once I get out into the real world.

Being a MLIS student can be whatever you make of it, so I encourage all the new MLIS students to decide early on how you want to live your experience at library school. Good luck with this new stage in your life!

Top 5 tips for incoming students:

1)      Make friends with your fellow classmates!

– You will have more fun, trust me!

2)      Learn how to work in groups!

– There is a lot of group work which can be challenging so brush up on your team management skills! Check out books like Group Genius by Keith Sawyer or Time management for teams by Merrill E. Douglass.

3)      Remember why you wanted to be a librarian in the first place!

– It is easy to become disenchanted with classes and assignments. In order to not lose your passion, stay focused on the reason that first motivated to become a librarian.

4)      Attend visits by guest speakers!

-Throughout the year there will be many opportunities to hear information professionals speak about their experiences in the field. Attend these mini-conferences, ask questions and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself afterwards- These guest speakers could become valuable contacts!

5)      Get a part-time job in the field!

–  If you manage your time properly, the MLIS course load allows you the option of working part-time during your studies. Use your new contacts or subscribe to a  library job ListServ to find opportunities for part-time work. You will gain valuable experience and contacts in the library field and it might end up being more beneficial than what you learn in class!