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Library Spotlight: Brandon Public Library Downtown Branch

Posted in Library Spotlights, and Uncategorized

“I don’t think I’ll be able to help you find that.”
– No librarian, ever.

Located in the heart of Manitoba’s second largest city, the Brandon Public Library (BPL) serves one of the most diverse populations in the province through its inclusive space and ever-evolving services, programming and collection. It is deeply rooted in the social and cultural fabric of the city and continuously seeks out new and innovative ways to add to its vibrancy.

Newcomers to Canada find a welcoming environment at the BPL. Local agencies such as Westman Immigrant Services, for example, regularly introduce their clients to the BPL as a resource for improving their English skills. By embracing such opportunities, the BPL also plays an important role in promoting a culture of diversity and inclusivity in the city. Other examples of the library’s celebration of culture and diversity include a prominent display of Indigenous materials, generously funded by the Brandon Neighborhood Renewal Corporation. The library also showcases works by local artists, some of which were produced in the library itself.

With many vulnerable individuals residing in Brandon’s downtown district, the BPL also provides information about local services to assist with issues ranging from housing insecurity, mental health, to more basic needs such as obtaining government identification and access to mail delivery. Branch Supervisor, Carson Rogers, likened this role to being a switchboard for the downtown hub while emphasizing the high importance placed on respect in all interactions.

Branch Supervisor, Carson Rogers

Another way that the BPL removes barriers and builds bridges in the community is through its delivery of library materials to patrons who are homebound or in care homes. The service, which is supported by the library’s passionate volunteers, is highly appreciated by patrons who face challenges in attending the library in-person. The library is also dedicated to providing alternative formats for patrons with print disabilities through collaborations with organizations like the Centre for Equitable Library Access and the National Network for Equitable Library Service. If technology itself is a barrier to accessing information or online services, the BPL has tech savvy staff are keen to help patrons navigate our increasingly digitized world.

The BPL also provides ample educational opportunities for the city’s younger readers, both independently and in conjunction with the local school division. In addition to regular programming aimed at building foundational literacy skills, the library puts on special programs during PD days and school breaks throughout the year. The library’s Stem Club, which is geared towards patrons aged 9-13, explores topics ranging from math, aviation, “hacking,” and fossils. “Meet the Author” events have provided students with opportunities to engage in dialogue with authors whose works they’ve studied in class, an exercise that not only enhances students’ literary analysis skills but is bound to inspire future generations of writers as well. Recent authors include Kenneth Oppel and his work Silverwing, and local author Katherena Vermette with her feature work The Break.

While some prefer the individual nature of diving into a book as a healthy form of escapism, others enjoy the more social aspects of reading and libraries, which the BPL fully supports.  Book Club kits, for instance, complete with several copies of a work and discussion prompts are available for loan. For those interested in learning new skills or simply being among people with similar interests, events such as “Stitching in the Stacks” have brought together community members around creative activities like embroidery.

The BPL is also part of a growing trend of loaning items other than books. Physical Activity Cards, which grant access to the local Sportsplex, are available for 5-day loan and are in high demand. Other materials available for loan include telescopes, LeapFrog kits or interactive learning systems for children, and board games. For patrons with (or hopes of having) a green thumb, there is a seed library available at the BPL which is supported by the Assiniboine Food Forest Initiative.

In addition to its extensive collection of print materials, the library also provides access to a range of quality digital resources. Interested in exploring the “world’s largest collection of international recipes”? Streaming classic cinema, documentaries and television? Learning about local history or that of your own family? Accessing over 56,000 eBook & audiobooks? These are just some of the eResources available to BPL members – available anytime, anywhere.

Believe it or not, the above are just some of the ways the BPL serves its patrons and makes Brandon a more inclusive and vibrant community. Its seemingly boundless approach to information, services, and programming would not be possible without its visionary leadership and passionate staff. The MLA would like to extend its gratitude to the BPL for being a source of inspiration, not only to its patrons, but to the community of library professionals as well.

Article and Photographs by Rustam Dow, MLA Communications Committee Member

We’re hiring!

Posted in Uncategorized

The Manitoba Library Association is looking for an Office Manager. The position description can be found below and the deadline for applications is April 8, 2024. We are excited to hear from all of those interested in joining our organization!

Office Manager – Description

The Manitoba Library Association provides leadership in the promotion, development, and support of library and information services in Manitoba for the benefit of MLA members.  MLA membership is open to the library and information community and the citizens of Manitoba. The guiding principles by which we operate are to create opportunities for collaboration & partnership, inclusivity & acceptance, active dialogue with all stakeholders and a sense of community.  We are a strong and proactive organization that effectively serves the professional interests of its diverse membership.  

Reporting to the board of directors and working collaboratively with the board, staff, and various committees, the office manager is responsible for maintaining and optimizing the administrative operations of MLA and general office management. The incumbent would also provide administrative support to committee members and the program coordinator to actualize the work of workshops and conferences. The Office manager will work in accordance with the policies of MLA and in support of the outcomes as defined in the Strategic Plan. Supporting, facilitating, training, and liaising with committee members, and partnering with other organizations is critical to a successful organization that benefits its general membership.  So too is the need to work in close collaboration with the board of directors on all operations, including program and project activities as they relate to the current strategic plan.

Duties of the Office Manager

Administrative Support

  • In collaboration with the Secretary, manages and maintains association records, meeting minutes, memberships, correspondence, official documents, and reports. 
  • In collaboration with the Communications Committee and Webmaster, manages facilities, equipment, and communication platforms. 
  • In collaboration with the Board, regularly updates the association’s handbook and website. 
  • Attends the physical office at minimum twice monthly, and ad hoc as needed, for mail collection or meetings. 
  • Provides administrative support organizing events and conferences. 
  • In collaboration with the President and Vice-President, coordinates scholarship and awards selection process, and ensures disbursement. 
  • Works in close collaboration with the MLA Executive to sustain operations of the association.
  • Builds a positive culture and member focused association in collaboration with the board. 

Financial

  • Manages and reports on the association’s financial resources and prepares for an annual audit. 
  • Supports banking, insurance, and financial management processes to ensure efficiency. 
  • In collaboration with the Board Executive, administers grants, sponsorships and funding from a variety of sources. 
  • Develops, with the treasurer, an annual budget.
  • Assists the Treasurer in pursuing new funding opportunities. 

Membership

  • Serves as primary contact point for MLA members, relaying messages to the Membership Director and other members of the Board as required. 
  • In collaboration with the Board, ensures that the general membership is informed of important/relevant issues. 
  • In collaboration with the Membership Director, manages donor and member databases. 

Requirements: 

  • Proven experience as an Office Manager or in a similar role
  • Proven experience with Microsoft Office and Google Workspace
  • Experience with reporting, budgeting and bookkeeping 
  • Proficiency with QuickBooks is an asset
  • Ability to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines
  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Attention to detail and accuracy in data entry and record keeping
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills
  • Ability to work independently with minimal supervision, and the ability to work as a team
  • Interest in and/or knowledge of libraries 
  • High level of professionalism and integrity
  • Willingness and ability to join the Manitoba Library Association

This is the equivalent of a part-time position at 21 hours per week and 48 weeks of work annually (to be performed consecutively or non-consecutively), with four weeks paid vacation. The regular working hours are flexible and can be set by mutual agreement between the incumbent and the employer. Apart from necessary tasks in the Manitoba Library Association office, work can be carried out remotely. The Office Manager, members of the Board, and other agents of Manitoba Library Association (i.e. Program Coordinator) will make every effort to negotiate meeting times in a mutually agreeable manner and with reasonable notice. This is an annually funded position subject to annual funding grants and operations. 

Salary: $25.00 – $30.00 per hour; 21 hours per week.

How to Apply: 
Please email Cover letter and resume to president@mla.mb.ca by Monday, April 8, 2024.

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MLA is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to employment equity and diversity, including an inclusive barrier-free recruitment and selection processes and work environments. MLA invites applications from all qualified individuals and welcomes applications from racialized persons, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity. Feel free to self-identify on your cover letter. Preference will be given to candidates from equity-deserving groups above.

Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. Please email president@mla.mb.ca for any questions and concerns regarding application and accommodations. Any information received relating to accommodation measures will be addressed confidentially.

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!

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

Message to Members

Posted in Uncategorized

The following message was sent to MLA members on April 1, 2023.

Good day MLA Members,

The MLA Advocacy team has continued to follow matters relating to censorship and defunding challenges in Manitoba Libraries, which emerged in September 2022 and have been escalating since. While primarily these challenges pertain to efforts to censor materials, harass and discredit library professionals, and eliminate municipal funding at South Central Regional Library, we are aware that Winnipeg Public Library and other regional systems are being targeted by agitator interests.

MLA Conference – Call for Volunteers

Posted in Uncategorized

Call for Volunteers for the Manitoba Libraries Conference, May 18 & 19, 2023

Want to give back to your profession through a shorter-term opportunity? Want to gain new experience in coordinating events? Want to get to know other talented Manitoba library and information professionals? Volunteer with the MLA Conference, taking place virtually May 18 & 19, 2023. Many roles are available! Sign up now!

MLA Conference – Call for Proposals

Posted in Conference, and Uncategorized

Call for Proposals for the Manitoba Libraries Conference, May 18 & 19, 2023

We are excited to invite your submission of proposals for the 2023 Manitoba Library Association’s Virtual Conference, May 18 & 19, 2023.

This year’s conference theme is Access and Accessibility. We hope that this theme will inspire recognition, conversation, practicable tips and understanding around access and accessibility in libraries, with specific attention to the Accessibility for Manitobans Act and Accessibility Standard for Information and Communications, as well as topics addressing access and accessibility broadly – in keeping with MLA’s commitments to equity, diversity and inclusion as a key pillar in our programming.

IFLA North America Copyright Survey July 1st Deadline!

Posted in Uncategorized

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

The IFLA North America Regional Division Committee is gathering information about areas of interest related to copyright and open access to inform our future work.

The committee anticipates sharing regular updates about IFLA’s work in these areas as part of our communication activities, and look forward to hearing about ways that copyright exceptions and limitations enable your work, or where a lack of exceptions and limitations creates barriers, particularly for cross-border sharing of resources.

The following short survey is intended to help us understand what library workers and leaders are most interested in hearing about in relation to international activities.

Please use the link below to take the survey (est. time 5 minutes or less)

https://forms.gle/P4SKt5sWQKgryLdP9

Please respond by Friday July 1.