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Manitoba Library Association Posts

Value Statement and Code of Conduct approved by the MLA Board of Directors

Posted in Board, and Membership

At the February 15, 2024 meeting of the Manitoba Library Association board of directors, there was a motion to approve a value statement and code of conduct for membership. The motion was approved unanimously.

When applying for or renewing MLA membership, members will now need to accept the value statement and agree to the code of conduct.

You can read the value statement and code of conduct here.

Manitoba Library Worker Profile: KC Bateman

Posted in Profiles

To showcase the interesting and important work being done by libraries across the province, MLA interviews one library worker every other month about the unique work they do in order to deliver library services to Manitobans.

In January we talked with KC Bateman, Library Technician and Academic Integrity & Copyright Officer at the Assiniboine Community College Library in Brandon. In addition to the many responsibilities of her position, KC and her colleagues have been tackling the ongoing challenges (and opportunities) faced by those using AI in academic research. Read on to see how KC balances her role in teaching students about AI from both her perspective as a Library Technician and the College’s Academic Integrity Officer.

KC Bateman Profile Photo

Can you tell us a bit about your library system or branch? Is there anything unique or unusual about it?

I work at the Assiniboine Community College Library and we are located in the Victoria east campus in Brandon. What might be unique about us is that we service not only this campus but a dozen or so ‘off campus’ or revolving sites.

What is one thing you wish more people knew about your work?

My job is unique in the way that I spend more time in the classroom with students than most other academic library technicians. The beginning of each term at the college is the busiest time for me and I spend a lot of it not only in classrooms here at the Brandon campuses, but all across Manitoba. I give presentations to the students that help them become familiar with post-secondary research, library services, citing, and academic integrity and artificial intelligence. These sessions not only give students a good head start on their post-secondary journey, but also introduce them to at least one person in the library which opens they door for them to be a little more comfortable in seeking out our assistance. I feel like these sessions are vital for our off-campus sites as students there can feel isolated and like they don’t have the same access as our Victoria Ave E. campus students. I like to deliver as many of those sessions in person as possible to better convey the message that we are always ready and willing to help out in remote areas as much as we can.

What is something happening at your library that you’re excited about?

Our library has been navigating the challenges of Artificial Intelligence. Our Library Manger and I spent this past summer learning about introducing students to AI that can help with their research, and how to detect the use of it in instances of academic misconduct. We’ve coordinated sessions for both students and staff on all things AI and brought in a lot of material on the subject. We were even featured in our local newspaper for our work on and with AI. Also, and this is mostly a brag on the work of our Library Manager, Josh Seeland, we’ve been able to keep up or be one step ahead of most other institutions when it comes to creating policy and guidance on academic misconduct where AI is involved.

What is a challenge you’re currently facing?

As much as I’m excited by what our library is doing with Artificial Intelligence, it has also presented a challenge with how students approach research and assignment completion. This past term especially, we’ve seen questions about how to find information go way down and academic misconduct shoot up. Being the college’s Academic Integrity Officer as well as a library technician, I sometimes end up being involved in both sides of the issue. My sessions are set up to help students understand the line between positive and helpful use of AI in hopes of misconduct prevention but when misconduct does happen, either the Library Manager or I are often involved. Trying to find a balance between these roles can be a challenge.

What are you reading/watching/playing right now?

I’m a sucker for a good fantasy novel. I’m currently reading House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig. It’s the second book in a series and both have been fantastic.

We’re always looking for more library workers to feature each month! Are you doing something interesting at your library that you want to share, or you know someone in the province that is? Reach out to us at communications@mla.mb.ca.

Still looking! Prairie Rep for the CFLA-FCAB Board of Directors

Posted in CFLA-FCAB, and Membership

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations/Fédération canadienne des associations de bibliothèques (CFLA-FCAB)  still needs Manitoba Library Association’s nomination for our Prairie Representative for the  2024 CFLA-FCAB Board of Directors.

Please consider putting your name forward or encouraging a colleague to stand for the nomination!

WHO MAY BE NOMINATED
Article 32 of The Federation’s By-laws specify the Board composition. In order to be nominated, a candidate must be a member in good standing of a member organization of the Corporation. Because the Federation represents associations it is important that nominees effectively represent and are connected with the association(s) they represent.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE BOARD
The CFLA-FCAB Board is responsible for the strategic and professional direction of the Federation. It establishes strategic priorities and maintains oversight over the activities, finances and governance of the organization.

Board members are expected to make themselves available for regular teleconference meetings (currently held monthly). Business will be conducted in between meetings by email and teleconference.

HOW DO I NOMINATE A CANDIDATE?
An authorized signatory or designate of the Member organization will nominate in writing the candidate to the CFLA-FCAB Nominations Committee. Please complete the form on page 5 found in the full document found here: Nomination Form (page 5)

Send your nomination to Michael/Michelle Rogowski, Executive Director (mrogowski@cfla-fcab.ca) for CFLA-FCAB.

Download and read the full Call for Nominations document here: MB-SK-2024-FederationNominationCalls.docx (1) (1)

Manitoba Libraries: Supporting Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Training Workshop Series

Posted in Board, Library Technicians, Membership, Professional Development, and Trustees

Attention members! Another great training opportunity for you!

These workshop sessions will be presented by Laurelle Harris, Equitable Solutions

March 4, 2024 (10 am – 12 pm via Zoom) Introduction to +Anti-racism and Equity

March 18, 2024 (10 am – 12 pm via Zoom) The Library as a Site for Social Justice – Putting It All Together: Supporting Equity

Training is FREE for MLA members – there is an option to sign up for membership to get the training for free – otherwise it is $20 per person/per session.

Attendance at both sessions is *strongly* encouraged.
Register here: https://forms.gle/Z9tGaetXKVo5QnH78

*Financially Supported by:

Library Spotlight: John E. Robbins Library

Posted in Library Spotlights

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

– Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail

Libraries play a critical role in our democracy – particularly when it comes to intellectual freedom. In a free and democratic society, censoring information simply because it doesn’t align with any one group’s cultural, religious, sexual, or political beliefs is an affront to our shared equality as citizens. Such attempts at censorship are not only undemocratic but can also foster hate and inflict real harm on real people because of the implied messaging that some are less worthy of full participation and representation in our society.

In a defining moment, the John E. Robbins Library at Brandon University became a center for upholding this freedom when a motion to censor LGBTQ+ materials was being deliberated within the Brandon School Division Board of Trustees.

As part of a meaningful response to this challenge, the University’s Gender and Women’s Studies department launched a three-part speaker series on the topic of LGBTQ+ inclusion, in collaboration with the Library, and with funding from the Margaret Laurence Endowment. The Library’s Gathering Space served as a modern-day agora for keynote speakers such as Professor Melissa Adler, from the University of Western Ontario, Dr. Robert Mizzi, Canada Research Chair in Queer, Community and Diversity Education, and poet Michael V. Smith to express the importance of queer literature and representation in our society. With hateful acts such as the École Polytechnique massacre and, more recently, the multiple stabbing incident that took place at the University of Waterloo in mind, extra measures were taken to ensure the physical safety of speakers and attendees. The Library, in essence, became an active site for defending not only intellectual freedom, but freedom of speech, equity, diversity and inclusion as well.

In addition to the speaker series, the commitment to intellectual freedom and solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community was further inscribed in the Library’s physical and virtual space as a sustained response. A display of juvenile challenged books, general information about challenges to books and magazines, and news clippings outlining the events leading up to the speaker series and ultimate triumph of the LGBTQ+ community was created by Stacey Lee, Metadata and Collection Management Librarian and Natasha Ofwono, Library Assistant. A “Challenging Books” Libguide mirroring the display was also launched.

The Gender and Women Studies Speaker Series these past couple of months came at a time when many were looking for a space to breathe and be around safe company. Having queer and gender diverse topics openly and passionately discussed at the library brought a lot of positive energy and the community together. The speakers brought in were all enthusiastic and inspired but were also not opposed to opening up the conversation to those in the room to share similar stories and ideas. Hearing that Melissa Adler had taken the time to watch the entire BSD Meeting from May 23rd before she came to Brandon… or Robert Mizzi breaking down common tropes in children’s books and holding them up to banned LGBTQ+ books of similar themes.  Each speaker brought something that the Brandon audience was familiar with and then expanded on, provided additional resources, and their own experiences — either personal or professional. These curated presentations are essential to have available in smaller communities such as Brandon. They let us learn and come together in a healthy way.

– Aly Wowchuk, Chair, Brandon Pride

Dr. Kelly Saunders, Associate Professor Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies (Left) and Melanie Sucha, CIO (Right)
Display of juvenile challenged books created by Stacey Lee, Metadata and Collection Management Librarian and Natasha Ofwono, Library Assistant.
“Challenging Books” Libguide

One thing I really appreciate about the library people at BU is the dedication to supporting the *social* missions of the university alongside the scholarly ones. This is not just a “shush space” it is very much a library where inquiry and discovery is supported in all its forms for all people, even and sometimes especially when it requires events and speakers and food and debate. In a world where silent, solo study space with all the information you could ever want is just a click away online, our library embraces the physical reality of its place, its people, and the relationships and perspectives we (sometimes messily) bring to the table.

-Grant Hamilton, Director, Marketing and Communications, Brandon University

In addition to being a pillar of democracy, the John E. Robbins Library is an ever-evolving space for nurturing academic excellence and supporting intellectual curiosity. Students, scholars, and the public have access to a wide-ranging collection of expertly curated resources. Reference services, multimedia tools, information technology support and writing workshops are also accessible to patrons through the Library. The “Long Night Against Procrastination” is an event put on by the Library to encourage students to leverage these resources towards the end of term as preparation for final exams and assignments. For the event, the Library and its many services are made accessible from 7PM until 2 in the morning. Events such as this, fused with the high art, human-centered architecture, and modularity of the space make the John E. Robbins Library experience undisguisable from any of the top tier Canadian universities or “U15”.

The Curve Gallery space hosts artistic and historic exhibitions such as 100 Years of Psychiatric Nursing in Canada, curated by Dr. Beverley Hicks and Marlene Fitzsimmons, installation by Natasha Ofwono.

Laura Jacyna, Music Librarian (Left) with Melanie Sucha, CIO (Right)

The university’s Music Library offers students a cosmopolitan musical experience through its comprehensive collection of books, journals, and audio media. Musical video performances, curated by Music Librarian Laura Jacyna, are routinely screened at the Music Library. These events contribute to creating vibrant, inclusive, and social experiences for the student community. In addition to its cultural richness, at the physical level it is one filled with natural sunlight and plants – described by students as wellness enhancing space.

Supporting Indigenous pedagogy and cultural awareness are also a key element of the Library. As part of Brandon University’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, undergraduate degrees require a minimum of three credit hours of approved Indigenous content and the Library plays a critical role in preserving, acquiring, and making materials in support of this curriculum accessible to students. The Indigenous Curriculum Collection, which is geared towards K-12 teachers, also provides a range of thoughtfully curated, multi-format resources intended to support and advance culturally appropriate teaching practices. Resources on Indigenous musical traditions are also housed in the Music Library.

The John E. Robbins Library can be likened to a crossroad where democratic action, advances in pedagogy and research, and the preservation and diffusion of culture intersect. Providing a U15 experience on a fraction of the budget is another way of describing the essence of the John E. Robbins Library. Funding for the Library, when it remains static in the face of inflation as it has in recent years, spurs difficult decisions that make providing such an experience ever more challenging. When we consider all the above and the context of being situated in a small prairie city, as a library community and as citizens of Manitoba and Canada, we cannot undervalue the vital role that this library plays as an intellectual hub in the region.

The Manitoba Library Association would like to extend its gratitude to Melanie Sucha, CIO; Natasha Ofwono, Library Assistant; Laura Jacyna, Music Librarian; and Dr. Kelly Saunders, Associate Professor Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies, for their leadership and for sharing their experiences in shaping the John E. Robbins Library landscape.

Article and Photographs by Rustam Dow, MLA Communications Committee Member

Happy holidays!

Posted in Uncategorized

Manitoba library workers from our academic, public, school, law, and special libraries have worked tirelessly and passionately for their patrons this past year, as they do every year.

From families to older folks, newcomers to young adults, students to our more distressed community members…everyone is welcome!

Thank you to our library workers, trustees, and board members from around the province who make our communities better places and spaces. Happy holidays!

———————-
Our Communication team will be back in the New Year and will continue to post regularly on our social media channels – stay tuned!

Accessible Information & Communication Legislation Information Workshop and Q&A

Posted in Library Technicians, Membership, Professional Development, and Trustees

This upcoming workshop and Q&A will be held on Wednesday, February 7, 2024 (10:30-11:30am)

The session is free of charge and will be presented/recorded on Zoom

As we get closer to the Accessible Information & Communication Deadline for Libraries, are you slowly freaking out? Need some helpful guidance and tips to let you know it’s all going to be alright? Need someone to answer your questions like, right now?

You’re in luck!
Join Monika Bonsor (Manitoba Accessibility Compliance Secretariat), Meagan Richards (Public Library Services), and Clint Curle (South Interlake Regional Library) for an informative session to help you and your library be compliant and ready come May 1, 2024.

This will be a useful session for library staff, library board members, and library trustees.

Please submit questions ahead of time when you sign up using this Google Form.

Contact Kirsten Wurmann, Program Coordinator, Manitoba Library Association (kirsten.w@mla.mb.ca) for more information.

Library Spotlight: Shilo Community Library

Posted in Library Spotlights

Located 25 minutes east of Brandon on Canadian Forces Base Shilo, the Shilo Community Library serves a unique mix of military members and families, youth who attend the local elementary school, preschoolers from the Military Family Resource Centre, as well as civilians from the surrounding area.

Shilo Library

First time visitors are usually surprised by the size of the library’s collection as well as its wide range of subjects. If what patrons are after isn’t available at the Shilo Community Library, it is connected to a robust inter-library loan network that is regularly used to source materials from across the province in only a few days; given the remote location of the Shilo community, this is an invaluable service to its members. As part of this network, the Shilo library also lends its materials to other libraries on behalf of patrons across Manitoba. With this in mind, one can say that the Shilo Community Library provides its services both locally and provincially.

Shilo Library

Another core service provided by the Shilo Community Library is working closely with a variety of programs on the base to promote literacy among young readers. Grade 7/8 students from O’Kelly School, for example, attend the library on a regular basis to source materials for their book reports as well as pleasure reading. Groups from the local daycare also attend the library to hear stories read by the librarians. The library also lends their space to a program where parents read to their children as a way of encouraging the practice, which is critical in building foundational literacy skills.

Shilo Library

Those who browse the library will likely notice featured items that foster a sense of inclusivity and which bring attention to the social issues of our times; highlighting works that shed light on Indigenous culture as a path to Reconciliation, materials that include LGBTQ+ themes, or ones that highlight the achievements of racialized groups are just some examples. The library has also implemented accessible labelling for patrons to easily identify books that touch on such social themes. Local interest is also a staple theme of the library and ranges from local municipal topics to province-wide ones. More creative themes include “dead authors whose work lives on,” which showcases posthumously published works.

Shilo Library

Shilo LibraryShilo Library

Shilo Library

As a space, the library is used for a variety of purposes beyond reading and borrowing books. Some examples include working professionals conducting meetings, student tutoring sessions, or simply a place to seek refuge from the heat and socialize during the summer months. Patrons are also invited to work on communal puzzles that are on display and have the opportunity to borrow one to work on at home if they so desire.

Shilo Library

Shilo Library

Shilo Library

Whether it’s a new genre or a more advanced read, patrons of all ages are encouraged to seek out new literary experiences at the Shilo Community Library. If serving the needs of adult readers both locally and provincially is the mind of this library, then promoting literacy amongst youth would be its heart, which is reflected in the wall art of the library. There is also a section dedicated to books written by some of the library’s youth patrons, which serves as both encouragement for the author and inspiration for future ones.

Shilo Library

Shilo Library

The MLA would like to extend a special thank you to Patricia Wells (Head Librarian) and Emilee DeSommer-Dennis (Assistant Librarian) for providing a glimpse into the Shilo Community Library’s world and the positive impact they’re making on the Shilo and surrounding community.

Article and Photographs by Rustam Dow, MLA Communications Committee Member

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS – CFLA-FCAB Board of Directors

Posted in CFLA-FCAB, and Membership

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations/Fédération canadienne des associations de bibliothèques Nomination Committee (NC) is currently seeking Manitoba Library Association’s nomination for the 2024 CFLA-FCAB Board of Directors elections.

The deadline for nominations to be included in the NC’s slate is December 15, 2023.

WHO MAY BE NOMINATED
Article 32 of The Federation’s By-laws specify the Board composition. In order to be nominated, a candidate must be a member in good standing of a member organization of the Corporation. Because the Federation represents associations it is important that nominees effectively represent and are connected with the association(s) they represent.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE BOARD
The CFLA-FCAB Board is responsible for the strategic and professional direction of the Federation. It establishes strategic priorities and maintains oversight over the activities, finances and governance of the organization.

Board members are expected to make themselves available for regular teleconference meetings (currently held monthly). Business will be conducted in between meetings by email and teleconference.

HOW DO I NOMINATE A CANDIDATE?
An authorized signatory or designate of the Member organization will nominate in writing the candidate to the CFLA-FCAB Nominations Committee. Please complete the form on page 5 found in the full document found here: Nomination Form (page 5)

Send your nomination to Michael/Michelle Rogowski, Executive Director (mrogowski@cfla-fcab.ca) for CFLA-FCAB by December 15, 2023.

Download and read the full Call for Nominations document here: MB-SK-2024-FederationNominationCalls

Manitoba Library Worker Profile: Krista Law

Posted in Profiles

To showcase the interesting and important work being done by libraries across the province, MLA interviews one library worker each month about the unique work they do in order to deliver library services to Manitobans.

This month we’ve talked with Krista Law, Library Administrator from Lakeland Regional Library. In addition to serving Killarny and Cartwright, Krista is a volunteer with MLA’s Prison Libraries Committee, and can be seen below with her new best friend Bindi being held by Alex Froese of the Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program (Krista is sadly not the one holding the owl).

Krista Law

Can you tell us a bit about your library system or branch? Is there anything unique or unusual about it?

Our library system consists of two branches, Killarney and Cartwright. We’re in southwestern Manitoba about two and a half hours from Winnipeg and an hour from Brandon. Killarney is our main branch and administrative hub. Our municipalities border some RMs that don’t have library systems, so we do have a few non-resident members as well. We serve around 4800 people between the two branches, and we were one of the areas that saw a slight increase in population with the last census. We are fortunate to have very supportive municipalities as well as community foundations. These small communities really appreciate their libraries, and we are very grateful and humbled to serve them.

I came to the library world in a fairly roundabout way. I started my career in book selling for various bookstores and for the CD Plus music chain where I was their book buyer (remember music stores?). I then worked in social service and non-profit administration for a few years at a couple different places. When I decided to move to the Cartwright area from Winnipeg to be closer to family, I really wondered what kind of job I might do. It turns out that the library is a perfect fit combining my book industry knowledge with social services.

What is one thing you wish more people knew about your library?

I think people are coming around to understanding that libraries are more than books. We provide so much community support in the form of programming, casual IT supports, and a public space where anyone can come regardless of who they are and not spend a dime.  At our library I try really hard to make sure everything we offer is free. If I can find funding to offer a program at no cost, that is my ideal. We do have a seriously excellent used book sale in our basement, but even that is the best deal in town. We want everyone to feel welcome here and get exactly what they need out of the space.

I also volunteer with the MLA’s Prison Libraries Committee. Because I’m not in Winnipeg, I monitor the donation email address remotely. The PLC is a project I really believe in, so supporting them in the small way I can is really important to me. Access to books and information should be for all, and the Prison Libraries Committee does some really amazing work with incarcerated folks around the province. Making my library a welcoming space, plus helping out with the PLC are the best ways I can facilitate this. Small plug time, if you are interested in the PLC but don’t live near Winnipeg there are still lots of volunteer opportunities that can be done remotely.

What is something happening at your library that you’re excited about?

We partnered with the Services for Seniors group here to fund and buy some new electronics. We bought some Victor Readers, Envoy Connects and iPad minis that I’ve set up as eReaders. The new program is all about accessibility. We have a lot of older patrons who need larger print than even large print books offer, or who are transitioning to audio books. We wanted to ensure we could help folks with these transitions by having devices to lend out. We also got radon detectors last year and a new projector and screen people can borrow at no cost. Broadening what we have available to borrow is important to us. In a small town especially, I think it’s important to offer as much as we can.

We are also about to do a renovation at our Cartwright Branch. This little branch is on an older building that has not seen much love in a long time. We’re doing some cosmetic stuff, but we are also improving accessibility with a new public washroom and new doors. We’re just starting on this, but it’s pretty exciting.

What is a challenge you’re currently facing?

Our biggest challenge at this point is space. Our Killarney branch is just too small for us to offer everything we’d like to. We have increased programming in the last few years, but struggle with our space. We have had to turn down partnerships because of lack of space. We have maxed out our shelf space even though I love weeding. We have started talking about a new space in Killarney and are planning a feasibility assessment to see if there is community support for this. We feel that there is, and we’re excited to see if it’s a possibility.

What are you reading/watching/playing right now?

I have a half hour drive each way to work, something I actually love when it’s not icy. I listen to a LOT of podcasts and audio books on my drive. I have really fallen in love with the audio memoir read by the author. Right now I’m listening to Eat a Peach by David Chang which compliments my deep love of TV about food and cooking. Also, if you are not listening to the Handsome Podcast you are missing out. As for reading with my eyes, I just finished Moon of the Turning Leaves and cannot recommend it and its predecessor Moon of the Crusted Snow enough.

We’re always looking for more library workers to feature each month! Are you doing something interesting at your library that you want to share, or you know someone in the province that is? Reach out to us at communications@mla.mb.ca.