All posts by AAAL

Access 2019 Conference Registration Deadline Approaching

On behalf of the Access 2019 Conference organizing committee this is a reminder that the registration deadline is fast approaching on Monday September 16th. Please take the time to look at the excellent program available here:  and consider attending.

The Access 2019 workshops are already full, but those interested can add their name to the waiting list by emailing:

For those who cannot join us, there will be a live YouTube stream. You can also follow along with the conference on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #AccessYEG.

Hope to see you there!
Doris Wagner
Access 2019 Registration Chair


7 Questions with The Alberta Library

Our September 7 Questions with AAAL Institutions blog post features The Alberta Library.

1. What is the most interesting/unique item or collection in your library?
The great thing about the Alberta Library is that we facilitate resource sharing for library users across Alberta and allow users to request items from across the province. So unfortunately, we don’t really have any unique items, but we help users find them. That being said, I was really happy to find Dungeons and Dragons: Dungeon of the Mad Mage in TAL Online recently 🙂

2. What is the most interesting/unique program offered at your institution?
TAL Online, which is a federated search tool that allows users to discover and request items from across Alberta. Based on feedback from staff and users we have customized to include language filters, reading lists, journal articles and more. It’s been a lot of fun working on it.

3. What event are you most proud of hosting at your institution or library?
TAL is working on a symposium this fall with the U of A called Alberta Library Staff to connect library students with library staff to find more about the realities of working in libraries what the current job market is like and how they can better prepare themselves for professional library work.

4. What is one surprising fact about your institution or library?
We are a small shop with 6 staff. We have a lot of heart, though, and we care deeply about reducing barriers to library services and resource sharing. Also some of us (not all) think that Deep Space Nine was the best Star Trek.

5. What is something that users are often confused about in your library?
That we are a library consortia and not a physical library. No one is confused that we are based in Alberta though.

6. What was the last major project your library or institution undertook?
We recently became members of Project ReShare. ReShare is a community developed resource sharing platform for interlibrary loan being developed by former programmers who worked on Relais and VDX as well as input from library consortia such PALCI, Greater Western Library Alliance, Duke and the University of Chicago. Testing for this new platform is expected to begin this November, we are very excited.

7. What is the newest database/product your library has subscribed to?
One of our newer offerings for our members is Cyprus Resumes. This a resource designed to guide through the process of building resumes and cover letters. This resource is particularly useful for users who are unfamiliar with word processors and building resumes for the first time.

7 Questions with The Kings University

We’re happy to feature The King’s University for our 7 Questions with AAAL Institutions blog this month.

1. What is the most interesting/unique item or collection in your library?
We have a harpsichord in our curriculum collection!

2. What is one surprising fact about your institution or library?
We have a cart of bibles that is used for Theology, and a few years ago the entire cart disappeared into thin air. The library staff searched high and low for it, but it was gone. Almost exactly a year later our security footage caught the cart being pushed in through a set a doors and left in the atrium to be found. The library was grateful to get it back. Oh the stories that cart could tell us!

3. What is the busiest time of year for your institution or library?
September. It’s the happiest time of the year when everyone comes back!

4. What has been a recent change for your institution or library?
We are undergoing renovations for our new Academic Enrichment Centre, so we are excited to welcome them in the fall of 2019.

5. Where/what is the best spot in your library or institution?
Our students seem to love the single carrels against the windows. The last carrel against the books always seems to be the first place to fill up.

6. What is the oldest item in your collection?
We have a 1602 John Calvin Institutes of the Christian Religion.

7. What aspect our your library website are you most proud of?
We work really hard on our LibGuides, and I don’t think they get the attention they deserve, but we will continue to work on promoting them.

Don’t Forget – 2019/20 AAAL Mentorship Program applications are due soon!

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or a mentee, please check out the detailed information available at AAAL Mentorship. The goal of the AAAL Mentorship Program is to support career development, share professional advice and insights, promote networking, and provide leadership to the profession. The program is open to all library professionals at member institutions and does not facilitate job placements or internships.  The application forms for both roles are accessible through the site.

The deadline to apply is Friday, August 16th and matches will be communicated in late August.

If you have any questions, please contact the committee:

Spring Meeting Feedback

Hello AAAL members,

Better late than never we’re asking for your thoughts on the Spring 2019 meeting that was held at Olds College. Some changes were made to the format of the day and we’re interested in hearing 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 August 3rd.

Thank you in advance for your time. We hope everyone is having a great summer!


The AAAL Executive + Committee Members

Call for host institution, AAAL Fall 2019 meeting

Are you and your colleagues interested in showcasing your library and campus? Would you like to host academic librarians from around Alberta for a learning and networking event? The Alberta Association of Academic Libraries (AAAL) is currently seeking a host institution for our Fall meeting scheduled for November 2019 (date tbd with host). Interested institutions should complete this google form by Friday, Aug 2.

What’s involved in hosting a AAAL meeting? Here are the basic requirements:

  • Meeting space for 60 attendees for a keynote presentation and other workshop/learning activities
  • Standard technology for presentations/meetings — overhead projector, microphones, computer with Internet connectivity
  • Guest wifi
  • Space for participants to eat lunch — this can be in the same space and/or a nearby space; catering (lunch/coffee breaks) is sponsored by AAAL

As the Workshop Committee develops themes and programming, we invite potential hosts to share their ideas with us.

If you’re interested in hosting but cannot accommodate the Fall 2019 meeting, consider getting a jump on the Spring 2020 call for hosts by completing the Spring call for hosts form here.

Thank you for considering this request. Questions or comments about hosting can be directed to Angie Mandeville ( or Jessie Loyer (

Kind regards,

Angie Mandeville, AAAL Workshop Committee Chair

Jessie Loyer & Ebony Magnus, AAAL Co-Chairs

7 Questions with SAIT

This month, our 7 Questions with AAAL Institutions features SAIT. Team photo

1. What is the most interesting/unique item or collection in your library?
Technically this isn’t a collection *yet* but we’re working on it for the coming year… We’ll be applying for an internal grant focused on mental health to fund a collection of “focus tools” – equipment that supports low sensory or sensory friendly environments. Think: noise cancelling headphones and weighted lap blankets. We got the idea after hearing about a similar collection at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, and it aligns well with current institutional initiatives. Plus, it’ll enable students to create a quiet, focused environment almost anywhere in the Library!

2. What event are you most proud of hosting at your institution or library?
I’m going to tweak this one a bit too (this might be a theme…) but the answer to this one is more about a few library staff members who’s accomplishments were recently featured at an annual SAIT event. Every year, the institution hosts the Star Awards to recognize excellent work done by SAIT employees. The Library had a banner year with Kevin Tanner, Coordinator for Instruction, winning the Oracle Award for Excellence for his work promoting understanding and adoption of information literacy across campus; and Corrinna Meidinger and Alison Hart, Library Technicians, won the Innovation Award for Technical Implementation for developing an automated data distribution workflow that fulfilled almost 2000 requests for geospatial data (this was an unanticipated 274% increase in requests from the previous year!). Another of our Library Technicians, Kristian McInnis, was nominated for the Alumni Employee Award of Excellence for his professional success since graduating from SAIT and for all that he’s done to support LIT students in their academic and professional pursuits.

So it wasn’t exactly *our* event, but the Library had a strong showing and we’re very proud of our colleagues.

3. What has been a recent change for your institution or library?
In May 2018, SAIT adopted an institutional Open Educational Resources (OER) policy. Jessica Norman, eLearning Librarian, was instrumental in the creation and adoption of the policy. Since then, she’s created a workflow for OER creation; assisted in the adoption of OERs across math, statistics, chemistry, physics, transportation, and communications courses; consulted on a successful grant application for creating OER; developed OER training material for SAIT faculty and staff; worked closely with SAIT Student Association to establish an Open Educator award for faculty; and worked with partners in Alberta and throughout Canada. Jessica’s dedication to this work has inspired the kind of institutional change that often takes much longer and her work is, quite literally, paying off – adoption of OER textbooks has already saved students over $330,000.

4. What was the last major project your library or institution undertook?
By our standards, the recent redesign of our Information Desk was pretty major! We used almost entirely existing material to shrink the footprint of our single service point to about one-third what it used to be. With the consolidated workspace, staff don’t have to move as far to access mediated (and high demand) collections like course textbooks and laptops, and it is much less confusing to our patrons where they should line up and approach for assistance. By freeing up so much floor space, we will be able to bring in some new display shelving near the entrance of the Library and create a seating area for Writing Centre staff to take appointments directly adjacent to the Info Desk. The project itself was relatively small in terms of budget and timeline, but the changes to our workflows and how we think about service definitely qualify as major! Our User Services team was instrumental in the design and implementation of this project.

Ribbon cutting

5. What is the newest database/product your library has subscribed to?
It’s not exactly the newest (I told you I’d be tweaking things), but in January 2019 SAIT’s School of Business purchased four Bloomberg terminals and opted to put two of them in the Library. We excitedly agreed and set them up as dual monitor workstations and they quickly saw such a volume of use that we added them to our LibCal booking system so students can reserve them. In order to provide basic support, Luke Malone, Collections Librarian, worked with School of Business faculty to get basic training and ensure that Library staff can answer questions and troubleshoot for students.

6. What is the oldest item in your collection?
Technically, this photograph is from our SAIT Archives, but the Archives is a beloved and much used department within the Library so we wanted to highlight it. Formerly known as the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (PITA), SAIT opened its doors October 16, 1916 to 11 students enrolled in three programs – mechanics, metals and woodwork.The school was temporarily located in the Colonel Walker building, until 1922 when it relocated to its permanent home on the hill overlooking downtown Calgary. This photograph was taken in 1918 in front of the Colonel Walker School of the second class of tractor and automotive students.

10-05-2007. What’s a recent team-building activity/event you’ve done for library staff?
Every year in June, we close the Library for one day for our annual Professional Development Day. This year, we all completed DiSC assessments ( and spent the morning learning about our individual DiSC styles, associated strengths and areas for growth, and strategies for communicating with others based on their profiles. Interestingly, we have a high proportion of Cs in our library – these are Conscientious individuals who place emphasis on quality, accuracy, expertise, and competency. After our DiSC workshop, we took the train down to SAIT’s Taste Market campus for lunch and a tour. We then continued on for a special tour of the new Central Library in downtown Calgary. All in all, it was a great day!