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Category: Profiles

Manitoba Library Worker Profile: Joan Ransom

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.

Earlier this year we interviewed Joan Ransom, Branch Librarian at the Stonewall Branch of the South Interlake Regional Library. Through her responses we learned everything from the importance of strategic planning, to how she finds delicious taco recipes! Read on to find out more about SIRL’s upcoming projects, including their four StoryWalk routes and the training session, “Accessible Audiobooks Made Easy”, happening on April 29th at the Stonewall Library. This free workshop is open to interested public library staff  – call 204-467-5767 or email admin@sirlibrary.com to register!

South Interlake Regional Library Staff (L to R): Kelsey Dingwall, Joan Ransom, Stella McAuley, Tara Glaspey
South Interlake Regional Library Staff (L to R): Kelsey Dingwall, Joan Ransom, Stella McAuley, Tara Glaspey

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

Our regional system consists of 2 branches and a bookmobile. My branch – the Stonewall Library – is the larger branch in the system and has a staff of myself, plus 1 full time and 6 part time staff. We are a fun bunch of people who truly enjoy working with each other and we love to do activities together away from work – like flower picking and aerial yoga!

Our Branch takes great pride in our I Love to Read month celebrations and our Summer Reading programming. We enjoy planning activities that go with our theme. This summer’s TDSRC “To the stars” theme is going to be epic as we have been planning our space programs and decorations.

Another big project we are doing this year is StoryWalk routes. We will manage 4 routes in various communities throughout our catchment area and are excited about combining literacy and outdoor walks. This is our 3rd year doing StoryWalks and we will rotate the stories every 2 weeks through the 4 routes. Project management software is very helpful as we keep the titles flowing through the routes.

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

The 2022 strategic planning session that our Director Clint Curle, our Board of Directors and our Branch Managers participated in was such a significant event in the lives of our libraries. It brought us together and really helped us focus on our goals, values and mission. Because of that we have a clear plan forward for the next few years. It was the first time I had been involved in a strategic plan and I found it to be an amazing experience.

Our work now is focused on meeting the goals outlined in the plan and it has given us a real sense of purpose as we use that filter to prepare and prioritize the work we do at the Branch. I find that our staff has a better sense of the big picture and take pride in the professional work we do in our communities.

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

At the end of April we are launching a new program called “Accessible Audiobooks Made Easy” and I am so very excited about it. We were awarded a large grant through the Province of Manitoba Accessibility Fund and were able to purchase 11 Victor Reader4M Stratus machines. We have pre- loaded them with titles from CELA in various genres. Not only will we be able to lend them to our patrons, but we are making them available through ILL for any rural public library to borrow for their patrons.

The folks with lived experience that are testing the program have given us such great feedback and have cemented our commitment to this program. When they tell us it is ‘life changing’ and the ‘best thing that has happened to them’ – we know we are making a difference in their lives. We hope that this project increases accessibility to library material for patrons who have print disabilities and are so happy to be sharing these devices and titles with all Manitobans.

We are hosting a free library workshop on April 29 for rural library staff to come and learn about the project and try the machines out. We are excited to host Jessica Desormeaux from CELA who will be speaking about their services. We are taking registrations and hope to welcome many of our peers to the Stonewall Branch.

What is a challenge you’re currently facing?

A challenge I think many of us face is keeping all the balls in the air. We are making a difference for our patrons and bringing quality programs to our communities, but managing staff time is one thing I continually work on. I also feel that staff care is a priority for me. I took an excellent course called Cultivating Civility, Resilience, and Reflection in the Library Workplace through ALAeLearning last year that resonated with me. I strive to ensure that my staff feel heard, respected and valued.

What are you reading/watching/playing right now?

I usually like to have a fiction title and a non-fiction title on the go at the same time. The novel on my nightstand right now is The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson. I enjoyed her book The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and this novel is a sequel that continues the themes of sisterhood, justice and the power of books.

I am an avid knitter and the non-fiction title I am reading is Patty Lyons’ Knitting Bag of Tricks by Patty Lyons. It is chock full of helpful hints and I am getting a lot out of it. YouTube has recently taught me how to knit in the continental style and I am getting faster with less errors as time goes on!

We are glued to CBC on Thursday nights to cheer on our hometown potter Jen Sonnenberg as she competes in the Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down. It is old school tv watching as you cannot binge all the episodes and anticipation is part of the fun as we wait to see what happens each week. My husband and I recently binged the Netflix documentary series “Taco Chronicles” and have since been cooking many different varieties of tacos. Not only was this an interesting series – it has proven to be delicious!

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

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.

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.

Manitoba Library Worker Profile: Laranda Bailey

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’re interviewing Laranda Bailey, the new Head Librarian & Administrator at Border Regional Library. Laranda has been in her new position since July, and before that was a Senior Librarian at Border Regional since May 2020. She is also a part of a few community organizations as part of her position, and recently joined the MLA’s Communications Committee to help spread the rural library love. Laranda is also a grain, cattle and chicken farmer, and has some other animals running around including their dog (Fela), cat (Artemis), goose (Celeste), duck (Harley), turkey (Eunice), and goat (Ferguson).

Can you tell us a bit about your library system or branch?

Border Regional Library is a three branch library in southwestern Manitoba with branches in the communities of Virden, Elkhorn and McAuley. Our library system officially started in 1959 and is still going strong. I remember coming to the library a lot as a kid to take out books and take part in programs they offered and I’m glad to be a part of helping it to continue and grow as a valuable community space.

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

We are planning to do a major renovation at our main branch in Virden in 2024 and that’s very exciting to have coming up as our building hasn’t been updated since I was a kid. It will be nice for the kids to have a space where they aren’t disturbing other patrons since our library is currently one open space. We’re hoping that a renovation will also create a curiosity in the community, and become a more welcoming space that people want to come to and be in.

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

I wish more people just knew about our library! We’ve heard from lots of people in our community that they didn’t know there was a library, that they haven’t been to the library since they were a kid, or that they didn’t know that we have so many fun kids programs. And the library is about more than just books, there’s computers, programs, author readings, and all sorts of fun activities, so come in and find out what we’ve got going on.

What are you reading/watching/playing right now?

Right now I’ve just finished reading some books for our library book club, Book Lovers by Emily Henry and my staff read along, The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix. Between the library and farming, there’s never much down time but I’ve found enough time to read 65 books so far this year even though I’m currently in a lull. Audiobooks and podcasts have become such a helpful way for me to continue to read or learn new info while I’m doing other tasks and I’ve been really enjoying The Happiness Lab podcast from Dr. Laurie Santos.

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.

Manitoba Library Worker Profile: Sarah Lee

Posted in Board, and Profiles

To showcase the interesting and important work being done by libraries across the province, each month the Manitoba Library Association will be interviewing one library worker about the unique ways that they deliver library services to Manitobans. To start, this month we have current MLA President Sarah Lee!
In addition to being our board’s president, Sarah Lee is an Electronic Resources Librarian at the University of Manitoba and has been working in libraries for 7 years. Check out the Q&A with this born and raised Manitoban and avid Tolkien fan below!
 

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

I work in Elizabeth Dafoe of the University of Manitoba Libraries. So, as you can guess, this system is for University of Manitoba students, faculty, and staff. Something interesting about Elizabeth Dafoe library is that it is the largest academic library in the province.

I did my undergrad at the University of Manitoba and have a nostalgic connection to Elizabeth Dafoe. I spent many hours reading and working here as a student. I suppose I’ve come full circle from student life to librarian life, since I now spend many hours reading and working here again.

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

One thing I wish more people understood about my work in Electronic Resources, is that the process of acquiring, licensing, providing access, maintaining, troubleshooting, analyzing, and evaluating (hey it’s a life cycle!) requires an entire team of folks to keep those eBooks, journals, streaming videos, and articles running. Perhaps some people think that everything you need is “on the internet” but the availability of desirable content and reliable information shouldn’t be taken for granted. What most people never see is the many folks working behind the scenes that keep those resources at your fingertips.

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

Something I’m excited about at UM Libraries is the Indigenous librarian internship. As a proud Métis librarian and someone who’s worked in libraries before earning their MLIS, I can attest to the benefits that working experience has on your learning experience. Peer and financial support sure help too! And so, I love this opportunity for up-and-coming Indigenous graduates!

For information, the Indigenous Internship is an opportunity for two Indigenous graduates to work in UM Libraries while pursuing a Master of Information and Library Studies degree through the University of Alberta’s online program.

By chance, if you know of anyone who may be interested, please visit the UM website for more details!

What are you reading/watching/playing right now?

When I find some quiet time between work, MLA, gardening, and home renovations, I find myself hooked on Stardew Valley. It’s one of those “cozy games” based on farming. I’m slightly obsessed with my virtual farm; it makes up for the limitations of my real-life homestead.

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