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!).

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