AAAL Meeting Online in Response to COVID-19

AAAL is postponing the professional development section of our AGM until the Fall. The call for proposals will be revised and extended until September 4, 2020, and Red Deer College has graciously agreed to host in Fall 2020. The date for this Fall 2020 meeting will be determined by the host institution and the committee and communicated in early fall.

We will still have a Spring AGM, but online and asynchronously. This will include:

  • Voting on bylaw changes, which will be emailed and posted on May 1 with an explainer. Voting will remain open until May 22, 2020.
  • Member institutions adding roundtable updates to a shared Google doc
  • Reports from committees and Executive

Committee members that are nearing the end of their terms will be extended until Fall 2020, and a new call for nominations will go out in early fall.

Thanks to everyone for helping coordinate this change; we’re happy to do what we can to keep our communities safe. If you have any questions, please send them our way.

AAAL COVID-19 Response

We’ve heard your concerns about our AGM on May 1, 2020 at Red Deer College. The AAAL Executive is taking COVID-19 seriously; we’re listening to guidance from Alberta Health Services and our host institution.

Our team is exploring options for moving the meeting online by considering open source software like Jitsi and learning from those who have held online conferences, as well as postponing or cancelling the meeting.

We’ll let you know if the meeting will be cancelled, postponed, or moved online by April 1. Until then, wash your hands and stay safe!

AAAL Spring 2020 Meeting – Save the Date & Call for Proposals

Please mark your calendars! The Alberta Association of Academic Libraries (AAAL) Spring 2020 meeting and AGM will be held on May 1, 2020 at Red Deer College in Red Deer, Alberta.

AAAL, in its latest incarnation, is 10 years old! We know our AAAL member libraries have been changing right along with us and we want to hear about your work along the theme of Transitions: A Decade of Development. What transitions have you seen in your library over the last decade? What great accomplishments, transitions or developments would you like to share that will inspire your colleagues?

We invite staff from AAAL member libraries to submit a proposal to share your experiences, research, and lessons learned along the conference theme. For this meeting we would also like to invite members to highlight any other work you would like to showcase at this professional learning and sharing event. What new program, service, or space are you/your library providing to your users? What technologies or tools are you using to improve how you, your library, or your users get things done?

Presentations can be either:

  • 5 minute lightning talk that is a quick overview of your ideas, experience, and programs/services OR
  • 30 minute session that can include ideas, experiences, original research, engaging discussion questions or activities

Submit your proposal by Monday, March 23rd. Successful presenters will be contacted between March 30th and April 6th.

Seeking financial support to attend and present at the meeting? We encourage you to apply for an AAAL Professional Development Award.

Wondering how we’ll select sessions? Take a look at our rubric and use it as a guide for your proposal.

We look forward to hearing from you!


Parental Leave Announcement: Dan Mirau, Concordia University of Edmonton Library

Please take note that Dan Mirau, Library Director at Concordia University of Edmonton, is currently on parental leave.

We are pleased to announce that Lynette Toews-Neufeldt, in addition to her role as Assistant Library Director and Campus Copyright Officer, will be taking on the duties of Acting Director until Dan returns.  You can contact her at

Call for AAAL Workshop Committee Member

The Alberta Association of Academic Libraries (AAAL) is seeking a new volunteer from a member institution to fill a two year term on the Workshop Sub-Committee. As a member of this committee you will work with a team of 2-3 people to coordinate and plan workshops or series of presentations as part of the AAAL Annual General Meeting (Spring) and the Fall meeting. Duties include issuing calls for, selecting and coordinating presenters, coordinate payment of any necessary expenses, providing support on the day of the meetings, collaborate with the Communications Committee to ensure presentation materials are posted on the AAAL website and coordinate with the Membership Coordinator to contribute to the assessment of workshops.

If you are interested, or have any questions about this, please contact Madelaine Vanderwerff (AAAL Chair Elect) ( by January 15th 2020.  Join us!


Fall 2019 Post-Meeting Survey

Hello AAAL members,

We’d like to ask for your thoughts on the Fall 2019 meeting that was held at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus. Similar to the Spring 2019 meeting some changes were made to the format of the day and we’re interested in hearing about what you thought of those modifications. If you weren’t able to attend the meeting, we’re still interested in gathering your ideas for future meetings. Please find the survey here. It will remain open until December 5.

Also, please consider if your institution is interested in hosting the Spring 2020 Meeting. A quick application that includes details on what is needed from a host can be found here. We look forward to your submissions!

Thank you in advance for your time.



The AAAL Executive + Committee Members

7 Questions with Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

We’re happy to feature the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity as part of the 7 Questions with AAAL Institutions this month.

1. What is the most interesting/unique item or collection in your library?
Our Artists’ Books collection is the most interesting collection with the most unique item being a cheetos broach made by Sebastian Butt. Described as a “fraudulent cheeto mounted on a silver plated stick pin.” Now your favourite cardigan can experience the joy of cheeto dust.

2. What is something that users are often confused about in your library?
Borrowing permissions can trip up some of the visitors through our doors. While most of our users are either Banff Centre staff members or participants in our residencies, we do get some hotel, conference, and festival guests, and a number of community members wandering through as well. Guests are often disappointed to find out that they cannot borrow items (unless they have a membership to another TAL library), and community members can be surprised to learn that their borrowing privileges are somewhat limited (for example, they can’t borrow items in our Object Library). On a more positive note, Banff Centre staff and artists are happily surprised to learn that they DO have access to our Creative Tool and Object Library, with items like hiking poles, record players, board games, and even tarot cards!

3. What has been a recent change for your institution or library?
The Banff Centre Library is making a huge change from the current circulation system to a brand new one. We’ve been operating on Horizon for the better part of 20 years, but we’re moving onto a cloud based solution provided by OCLC later this year. It’s a huge move, but the server the Horizon database is locally hosted on is no longer supported by Microsoft as of January 1st, 2020, so the change couldn’t have been better timed. With the new system, our records will let us add photos so our Artist Book collection can finally be seen outside of its locked away boxes.

4. Where/what is the best spot in your library or institution?
The best spot is on the 2nd floor of the library, the chair in the corner. This spot gets some sun and love. It’s a spot to sit and read a book, slouch down in the chair to take in the views or even have a brief little catnap.

favourite spot

5. What is the newest database/product your library has subscribed to?
In an effort to support small-press, Canadian content, Banff Centre Library has most recently subscribed to a quarterly, risographed zine based out of Toronto; FeelsZine. Dedicated to deconstructing taboos around discussing feelings, each issue of FeelsZine takes a different emotion and highlights its many facets through visual art, poetry, graphic design, short articles, and interviews. FeelsZine addresses shame language head-on and encourages readers to connect in a community of openness in true Thoreauvian fashion; by identifying and revealing the most intimate essences of human experience in order to bond with others who share them. Intersectional, relevant, and raw, FeelsZine exemplifies the forward movement of our library’s collection as becoming fully inclusive and diversely representative of Canadian artistic content. Banff Centre is one of three libraries worldwide that carry this periodical.

6. What is the oldest item in your collection?
The institution was only founded in 1933, so the oldest items in the library and archives aren’t all that old! The oldest items we have are scores. Specifically, some of the scores in the collection of the musician/broadcaster Ina Dennekamp are from the 1880s and 1890s.

7. What’s a recent team-building activity/event you’ve done for library staff?
We hosted a springtime awards ceremony based on the Office’s Dundie Awards called the Pauly Ds. Awards were given out in the areas of periodical management, throwing shade, and best cosplay among others. Naturally this event was hosted at the local Chili’s (surprisingly not that bad!).