Professional Development Award – Member Report

In 2015, AAAL launched a Professional Development Award for member libraries. Valarie Westers, Medicine Hat College, received funding to attend and present a lightning strike session at the AAAL AGM in April. Here is Valarie’s report on her experience.

I was most appreciative to receive Alberta Association of Academic Libraries (AAAL) professional development funding which allowed me to attend the AAAL Spring AGM 2016 meeting in Calgary. As a first-time attendee of this meeting it was a great opportunity to experience “in person” the cooperative and supportive nature of this association.

The event began with the AGM which included elections for the Director-At-Large and the Secretary/Treasurer positions as well as reports from each of the committees. After the business meeting there was a round-table discussion which consisted of brief reports and updates from local associations and the represented libraries. I really enjoyed hearing about the new initiatives taking place in different academic libraries across the province.

It was great to meet new people during the lunch table talks. The topic for discussion at the table I joined was mentorship in libraries. As a group I believe that we came up with some very useful ideas that the association can build upon. It was a really good ice-breaker!

During the lunch break we also had the opportunity to tour either the Nickle Gallery or the University of Calgary Taylor Library. I toured the Nickle Gallery where a video and media show by Dan Hudson was featured – it was pretty amazing. If you are interested in finding out more here is a link to the show information:

Nancy Chick and Caitlin McClurg were the afternoon keynote speakers and they presented “Embedding Librarians in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning” It was an informative presentation highlighting the importance of the “shared” rather than “supporting” role of librarians during faculty research projects.

Next were lightning strike (15 minutes) presentations. The presentations were enjoyable and offered some unique ideas.  Leigh Cunningham and I (Medicine Hat College Library) were selected to present “Blurred Lines: Redefining Technical Services in an Academic Library”. I was pleased to have had the opportunity to share our experience with others.

I would like to thank the AAAL Professional Development Committee for generously donating the funds so that I was able to attend and participate in this AAAL meeting.

For more information about the Professional Development Award, please contact committee members Suzanne Rackover (Banff Centre) or Janet Sainsbury (Bow Valley College).


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