ASSOCIATES (2018, November, v. 25, no. 2)


News from Canada

Andrew Plait

Greetings, everyone. My name is Andrew Plait and, as previously mentioned, I’ve been given the opportunity to continue this brief column in place of our recently retired Karen Hildebrandt. We met at a conference for library technicians several years back and were both board members of the Alberta Association of Library Technicians at one time, though not concurrently.

I’d like to thank Kevin Dudeney and the other editorial members of Associates for the chance to promote library activity in Canada. Mr. Cabot Yu of is entirely responsible for compiling the library links in this current submission, so if you find you absolutely love one or more of the articles linked below, please feel free to blame him.

It’s my father’s fault. Recounting the many influences of why we library employees opted to train in the field of library science in the first place, there may be many contributing factors for having made that decision. For example, perhaps you were influenced by library staff such as children’s programmers as a young child. An accidental lack of pre-planning may have left you with a degree and limited fields to apply it in. If you’re religious, perhaps you’ve always chalked it up to predestination (try looking around 234.9). For myself, it was my father — it’s his fault I’m in libraries.

A former heavy-duty mechanic, my father suddenly found himself in the situation of being an early retiree, so, in addition to pursuing more outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking, he began volunteering regularly at the library — a small two-storey building that served a community of 7,000. He soon found himself paging, assisting seniors with computer training and occasionally processing checkouts.

As a father, he strove to educate my home schooled brother and I in all the aspects of culture the world had to offer… namely BBC productions of Red Dwarf and Doctor Who. He obtained copies of the popular children’s magazines Chickadee and Ranger Rick. He forced us to constantly listen to operatic recordings of Luciano Pavarotti, to the guitar-stylings of Eric Clapton and to audio recordings of Dean Koontz’s latest bestseller. Indeed, the libraries near our home received a lot of attention throughout our childhood (and very little in the way of fines, I might add) and now, as a middle-aged fellow with 10 years in the biz, it turns out it’s not that bad a gig as far as jobs go. Segue.

Among the links that Mr. Yu has graciously provided us with, three I’d like to highlight are the ones referring to no fines on children’s items (Brampton), free feminine hygiene products in every branch (Guelph) and gauging library use on public holidays (Regina). We know that libraries are about community and supporting our local citizens through our materials and programming and, although many of us would rather not work on a public holiday, it’s always a focal point to adapt and stay relevant amid of the constant threat of stagnation and funding clawbacks. Thank you.

Public Libraries:

The Brampton Library announced that most children’s materials will no longer incur overdue fines

The Guelph Public Library is making free pads and tampons available in the women’s washrooms in every branch

The Halifax Public Libraries has set-up two kiosks at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport

The Regina Public Library is opening on public holidays as part of new pilot project

The Toronto Public Library has become the first library in the world to lend more than 20 million ebooks

Yellowknife Public Library introduced a compliments jar for library patrons to take and read

School Libraries / Learning Commons:

Saunders Secondary School in London, Ontario invested $1.6-million to transform its school library into a Library Learning Commons

Other Library-Related News: launched a mailing list – CdnLibTech-l – for the Canadian library and information technician community

Library and Archives Canada completed the digitization of the 622,290 personnel files of the Canadian Expeditionary Force from World War One

Marlena Books is creating ‘dementia-friendly’ picture books

National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) is funding 21 digitization projects thank $1 million donation