Skip to content

Manitoba Library Association Posts

MLA congratulates our scholarship winners!

Posted in Membership, and Scholarships & Awards

The John Edwin Bissett Scholarship is awarded to to eligible undergraduates of the University of Manitoba who are pursuing a graduate program in library and information science. Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Manitoba.
Congratulations Jenna Coutts!

The Jean Thorunn Law Scholarship is awarded to eligible applicants who have worked in a Manitoba library and who choose to further their career by pursuing a graduate program in library and information science. Applicants must have been engaged in recent library work in Manitoba for twelve months.
Congratulations Euncho Ko and Karissa Posthumus!

New this year! The Marilyn J. Hernandez Scholarship is awarded to eligible applicants who are residents of Manitoba and who are pursuing a master’s or PhD in an accredited library and information program.
Congratulations Shirley Delorme-Russel!

Watch our website and newsletter for next year’s call for applications.

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

De véritables outils démocratiques – un article dans La Liberté

Posted in Advocacy, en français, Intellectual Freedom, and Media

“Dans le sud du Manitoba, des résidents avaient fait circuler plusieurs pétitions dont une au mois de juillet afin de retirer des livres d’éducation sexuelle de la bibliothèque publique South Central Regional Library. Après plusieurs mois de réflexion, le Conseil municipal a décidé de faire passer une résolution afin que deux membres du Conseil et administrateurs du CA de la bibliothèque exercent une influence pour élaborer une politique au sujet des critères de classement des livres.”

De véritables outils démocratiques

 

Letter of concern sent to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network

Posted in Advocacy, and Intellectual Freedom

September 4, 2023

Good day,                                                                                              

Manitoba Library Association has been following calls for censorship across a number of Manitoba public and school libraries for several months. South Central Regional Library, Louis Riel School Division, Prairie Rose School Division, and Brandon School Division seem to be especially targeted by groups espousing hatred of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

On August 28, 2023, with respect to continuing book challenges in school libraries, Trustees of the Brandon School Division were served Action4Canada “Notices of Personal Liability”, as reported by the Brandon Sun: Trustees served ‘notices of liability’ – Brandon Sun.  Kathy Smitzniuk, Brandon Resident, noted “With assistance of Action4Canada, we presented a stack of notices of liabilities signed by Brandon residents to the Brandon School Division officer for distribution to six of the trustees”.

Manitoba Library Association has since observed Action4Canada’s broader “call to action” on their social media pages calling on men to serve such notices to teachers and principals during return to fall classes. Hyperlinks are available and a screenshot of the Twitter page is also attached. https://action4canada.com/back-to-school-call-to-action-1/ https://x.com/action4canada/status/1697788691777802434?s=46&t=d_IipjSsH9XWm5lvzAGVsg

Canadian Federation of Library Associations (of which Manitoba Library Association is a member) has recognized that such notices appear to be an intimidation tactic. CFLA Issues Guidance on Responding to “Notices of Personal Liability” – news (librarianship.ca)

In the context of such notices being so recently being delivered to School Board Trustees in Brandon, Manitoba Library Association is concerned that this “call to action” incites a broader campaign of overt bigotry towards the LGBTQIA+ community and targeted harassment towards those working in school environments in the Brandon School Division, elsewhere in Manitoba, and indeed throughout Canada.

Recognizing the Canadian Anti-Hate Network as a leader in monitoring hate groups in Canada, and a resource our organization has looked to for reliable information, we wanted to share these concerns with you.

Yours sincerely, 

Melanie Sucha, MLIS (she/her)

Past-President, Manitoba Library Association

Download the Election Toolkit 2023 – today!

Posted in Advocacy

It’s time to get loud with your advocacy for Manitoba libraries!

The writ has dropped and the Manitoba Library Association has launched it’s Election Toolkit 2023 to help engage candidates and the public on the topic of support for public libraries.

It’s more important than ever to ensure our elected government officials truly understand the value and importance of Manitoba Libraries!

This toolkit provides the following pieces needed to communicate with candidates:

  1. MLA’s top priorities for the 2023 provincial election;
  2. an email/letter template for contacting candidates;
  3. suggested questions to pose to candidates;
  4. social media posts to share with your social networks;
  5. a list of helpful resources related to the value of public libraries.

Download our latest Election Toolkit 2023 today!

Article in THIS magazine features MLA-Prison Libraries Committee

Posted in Advocacy, Intellectual Freedom, and Prison Libraries

“Despite the obvious benefits of access to information behind bars, that freedom is routinely limited or not extended to incarcerated people in Canada.”

The Prison Libraries Committee was interviewed for an article in THIS magazine entitled: Books behind bars: Incarcerated people in Canada are often without access to information. Prison librarians are working to change that (https://this.org/2023/08/17/books-behind-bars/) by Leslie Sinclair.

The article describes the realities of working and volunteering in prison libraries as well as shares some valuable and important lived experiences from formerly incarcerated people. If you are interested in learning more about the Manitoba Library Association’s Prison Libraries Committee – please check out our webpage on this site or contact the chair of the committee at prison.library@mla.mb.ca

 

Letter sent from the Manitoba Library Association to the Municipal Council of the City of Winkler

Posted in Advocacy, and Intellectual Freedom

July 21, 2023
To the Mayor and Municipal Council of the City of Winkler:

The Manitoba Library Association (MLA) has significant concerns stemming from the July 11, 2023 City of Winkler Council meeting, where the Council chose to officially appoint Councillor Don Fehr to serve as the Council Representative to the South Central Regional Library (SCRL) Board. Further, Council also passed a resolution that called on both Board representatives of the City of Winkler to “exert influence as members of the SCRL Board of Directors to create policy whereby graphically sexually explicit books be moved from the children’s section to another section of the library as appropriate so that children will not stumble across them but they remain available to parents who wish to use them as an educational resource”.

On June 2, while attending the political event for CPC candidate Branden Leslie at the Meridian Exhibition Centre in Winkler, Mr. Fehr was recorded having a conversation with a local anti-government conspiracy theorist Karl Kreb.

In the audio (which can be made available upon request), Don is clearly heard to say the following:
● He identified himself as being a SCRL Board member.
● He told Karl he spoke with two other people, with the full name of one person being Rick Wall, and told them to “hang off with the protesting…to let us do our thing inside”.
● He told Karl he “does not want any media attention on me because I would like to do this in a way that is, methodically done, to, have the final end result that we can have.”

In addition to saying these things on camera during a live-streamed political event, Mr. Fehr’s name also appears on one of the petitions submitted to the City Council for the July 11 Council meeting.

Given Mr. Fehr’s personal views in favour of censoring library materials, and the fact he has articulated his willingness to abuse his authority as an elected official to force his personal views onto the SCRL Board, MLA is deeply disturbed that the City of Winkler Council felt it was appropriate to appoint Mr. Fehr to serve as their representative to the SCRL Board. We are even more disturbed that the Council saw fit to give full support to Mr. Fehr to effectively bully the SCRL Board into forcing SCRL to take action that not only violates the library system’s autonomy, but also forces the views of a few people onto the over 44,000 people SCRL serves.

MLA calls upon the City of Winkler Council to immediately revoke its appointment of Councillor Don Fehr as Council Representative to the SCRL Board, and for the Council to issue an official apology to the other funding councils of SCRL for attempting to force those communities to accept the de facto censorship practices called for in the City’s recent resolution.

Richard Bee, MLIS
Director-at-Large, Advocacy
Manitoba Library Association

MLA and MSLA issue statement in light of the recent active harassment of public school boards and public library boards in Manitoba

Posted in Advocacy

The Manitoba Library Association (MLA) and the Manitoba School Library Association (MSLA) have issued the following statement in light of the recent active harassment of public school boards and public library boards in Manitoba:

The Manitoba Library Association (MLA) and the Manitoba School Library Association (MSLA)  condemn the harassment of public library boards and public school boards as an attack on public education and intellectual freedom. We stand with school, academic and public library professionals and affirm our commitment to diversity, equity, and the safeguarding of the peaceful exchange of ideas. Recent incidents, like the disruptive protest during a Louis Riel School Division school board meeting in Winnipeg and the harassment of employees and Board members of the South Central Regional Library headquartered in Winkler, underscore the urgent need to address this issue.

Such harassment disrupts the vital work of all library professionals and hinders access to diverse educational resources. We affirm the right of library staff and professionals to maintain collections that serve the needs of all members of their communities, including members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community. 

We reject all forms of harassment and intimidation and advocate for inclusive communities where every member of the community is respected. It is crucial for community leaders to support their libraries and defend the principles of open education, intellectual freedom, inclusivity, diversity, and equal access to information. Together, we can support our diverse and democratic society that upholds these values and ensures the flourishing of knowledge, understanding, and respectful dialogue.

Scholarship application deadline extended to July 31st, 2023!

Posted in Scholarships & Awards

Are you currently enrolled in a graduate level program in library and information sciences? Have you heard about the Manitoba Library Association scholarships? Consider applying today!

The Manitoba Library Association administers THREE scholarships on an annual basis:

Jean Thorunn Law Scholarship
Available to eligible applicants who have worked in a Manitoba library and who choose to further their career by pursuing a graduate program in library and information science. Applicants must have been engaged in recent library work in Manitoba for twelve months.

John Edwin Bissett Scholarship
Available to eligible undergraduates of the University of Manitoba who are pursuing a graduate program in library and information science. Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Manitoba.

*new* Marilyn J. Hernandez Scholarship
Available to eligible applicants who are residents of Manitoba and who are pursuing a master’s or PhD in an accredited library and information program.

Scholarship FAQ and Application documents are available here.
Questions can be directed to the Scholarships committee at awards@mla.mb.ca