All posts by AAAL

Call for presenters: AAAL Nov. 15 Fall meeting

The Alberta Association of Academic Libraries (AAAL) Fall 2018 meeting will take place on Thursday, November 15, 2018 in Edmonton at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

We invite you to submit a proposal for a lightning strike session (20 minute talk including time for questions) on how your staff, your libraries and/or your communities engage with information.  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?

Please encourage your colleagues to consider this opportunity. We look forward to hearing from you!

Kind regards,

Angie, on behalf of the AAAL Workshop Committee


7 Questions with James Murphy

This month’s issue of 7 Questions with AAAL Members features James Murphy, Research and Learning Librarian at the University of Calgary.

murphy_james1. What is something interesting you learned in the last month?
I recently went to an amazing exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery about cabins. I find the popularity of the cabin aesthetic interesting at the moment and I think at least part of the appeal comes from the desire to escape the busy, hyper-connected, urban lifestyle. I never thought I could learn so much about cabins in one exhibit but I’ve also learned that I would like one.

2. When was the last time you were nervous?
Yesterday. I was presenting for the first class of a new inquiry-based learning course. Librarians are embedded through the full course and as this was the first opportunity to engage with the students I wanted to really try to give them a big-picture of the issues they will face in their research practices through their degrees. I always get nervous before teaching but I had good responses and they seemed moderately alert and interested so I’d consider that a win.

3. Have you ever had something happen to you that you thought was bad, but it turned out to be for the best?
Before I became a librarian I had an interesting career as a snowboarding coach and instructor. I travelled internationally and spent a lot of time on mountains. It was challenging to slowly realize it was unsustainable in the long term, and a long process to find out what career could come next. One of the things I found frustrating about that industry was a lack of using evidence to inform practice and methodology. Librarianship’s focus on the evidence struck a chord and I’m so grateful to have stumbled on that path. It has been one of the single best decisions to pursue this career and I’m very thankful to all the people who helped point me in this direction.

4. What would you name the autobiography of your life?
SPF 60+

5. What do you do when you’re not working?
One of my favourite things about living near the mountains is all the outdoor possibilities. I love to get out hiking, camping, snowboarding, biking, and generally soaking in all the beautiful natural settings we’re so lucky to have at our doorsteps in Alberta.

6. What is your favourite quote?
“To be hopeful in bad times is not foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.” – Howard Zinn

7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I seem to visit a lot of islands, primarily mountainous but not exclusively (e.g. Iceland, New Zealand, Japan). I’m also intrigued by what living in Scandinavia would be like. Alberta is home though so all those exotic mountainous places will have to be for holidays.

If you would like to be featured on our 7 Questions with AAAL Members blog, please sign up here!

Alberta Library Conference, 2019 – Call for Proposals

The Alberta Library Conference (ALC) 2019 Planning Committee, with support from the Library Association of Alberta (LAA) and the Alberta Library Trustees Association (ALTA), is accepting proposals for the 2019 Alberta Library Conference. ALC 2019 takes place in Jasper, Alberta from April 25 to 28, 2019. 

Our Conference theme for 2019 is Find A Way.

Never give up, never stop trying. Just because it didn’t work before doesn’t mean it won’t work this time. Be persistent despite barriers. Learn from failure; build on success. Ask for help. Continue to grow. Embrace enthusiasm. Say “yes” to new opportunities, new challenges, new ways of thinking. Find a way to make it happen!

The Committee strives to provide a range of sessions that are of interest to the broader library community in Alberta. The work being done in libraries across Alberta, from small rural libraries to large academic institutions demonstrates the complexity of library service as well as the adaptability and diversity of those who work in libraries. We encourage proposals from academic, public, school, and special libraries of all sizes, and organizations that are creatively broadening library services. Additionally, proposals from trustees for sessions that provide education and training for Library Board members are welcome. If you are a public librarian, please share this call for submissions with your Board. If you are a trustee and have suggestions for speakers or topics of interest to trustees, you are invited to send them to Dr. Tanya Pollard for potential session development. We are also interested in proposals from OUTSIDE the library world that discuss topics like business plans, organizational change, succession planning, staff retention, generational change, marketing, fund development, understanding our communities, service models, etc.

This year we are accepting proposals for 60 minute sessions, double sessions or workshops, 10 minute lightning strike sessions, and poster sessions. We are also accepting proposals for half day preconference sessions or workshops.

Submission deadline is October 1, 2018. Proposal form

ALC Chair (2019): Deb Cryderman

Program Co-Chairs:

Questions may be addressed to ALC Chair, Deb Cryderman.

Thank you for your interest in the Alberta Library Conference.

Call for AAAL Workshop Committee volunteer

The  Alberta Association of Academic Libraries (AAAL) Workshop Committee seeks a new volunteer member for a two-year term. This committee organizes the AAAL professional development and learning program. We strive to develop relevant programming that not only serves as learning opportunities but also highlights the range of excellent work happening at AAAL member libraries. Duties involve: issuing calls for, selecting, and coordinating lightning-strike sessions, presentations and panel discussions for the Fall (November 15 at NAIT) and Spring AAAL meetings.
If this piques your interest and you are a library staff member from a AAAL member institutionsplease email Angie Mandeville at by end of day Tuesday, September 18th. Join us!
– Angie Mandeville, University of Alberta Libraries and AAAL Workshop Committee member

AAAL Mentorship Program 

The Alberta Association of Academic Libraries (AAAL) is excited to continue its mentorship program for members in 2018-19! Building on last year’s successful pilot, the AAAL Executive has approved the Mentorship Committee as a permanent Standing Committee.

The Mentorship Committee is now recruiting AAAL library participants to serve as mentors and mentees for this academic year. Mentors will provide guidance, support, and encouragement as needed to mentees who may be early career library professionals or those tasked with new responsibilities.

The goal of the program is to support career development, share professional advice with those who want to achieve success, promote networking, and provide leadership to the profession. This mentorship program does not facilitate job placements or internships.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or a mentee, please check out the detailed information on the AAAL website ( under the Professional Development heading of Mentorship. Both mentor and mentee application forms on the site, and so if interested in one of these roles, please take the time to apply! The deadline for submission is September 30, 2018.

Note: Those who apply will receive an acknowledgement email after the September 30 deadline. Members of the Mentorship Committee will then review applications and proceed to match mentors and mentees according to interests.  Once matches have been made, both mentees and mentors will jointly sign the AAAL Mentoring Partnership Agreement and begin their work together.

If you have any questions or comments about the mentorship program, please contact us at

Thanks for your interest in the AAAL Mentorship Program!

Kalin, Lindsey and Isobel

7 Questions with Michael Baird

This month’s issue of 7 Questions with AAAL Members features Michael Baird Collection Management Librarian at Olds College.

17799079_10155815475795021_5416108718226168074_n1. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
In the next year, scuba dive.

2. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
Robinton, masterharper of Pern

3. What is your best piece of career advice?
Be flexible, keep learning, and remember why you are doing this job and not some other career. No matter how bad a day you may have, you chose this career for a reason, think about that core reason.

4. What is your proudest work-related accomplishment?
I had the surreal experience to create an original catalogue record for a book from the mid-1500’s when doing one of my practicums. I will always remember the feeling, the connection to history.

5. What do you do when you’re not working?
When not working I love to ride horses and explore the wilderness. I am also involved with 2 Dungeons & Dragons groups. I love theater but have not been in a production for a few years now. I design costumes and write fiction.

6. What is your favourite quote?
“I was always taught that if you’re not careful, you can lose yourself in the world. You get too busy with things, not busy enough with yourself! Spend your days and nights living someone else’s agendas, fighting someone else’s battles, and you’re doing the work you’re supposed to be doing, but every day there’s less and less of you in it all! Till one day, you come to a fork in the road, and because you’re distracted, you’re not thinking. You lose yourself. You go right, and the rest of you, the really important part of you, goes left! And you don’t even know you’ve done it till you realize, you finally realize, that you don’t have any idea who you are when you’re not doing all those things!” Dr Stephen Franklin (writer/creator J. Michael Straczynski, 1996)

7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I have not been enough places to truly answer this question. I chose it though because it sits forefront in my mind all of the time. I have been to Wales and I loved it, it felt like… home. I am also drawn to a few other areas: The pacific – Hawaii or New Zealand, Argentina almost won me away from Canada once, and Iceland has an appeal. Perhaps the best answer is I would love to live on a cruise ship and spend my life seeing the world. The Valley of the Kings to the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, then off to the fjords and the northern Baltic, skip across the arctic and down to Japan, go dive the Great Barrier Reef, watch the lava flow on the big island, an excursion to Machu Picchu, then the drama of Tierra del Fuego, up to Central America to explore Mayan ruins, and that is just a start.

If you would like to be featured on our 7 Questions with AAAL Members blog, please sign up here!

Committee Opportunities: Deadline Extended to Sept. 3rd

The Executive Committee still has volunteer opportunities for AAAL committees – four positions in all! These opportunities are available to library staff members from AAAL member institutions. Please see below for details. If you are interested, please contact Nicolle Lemay at by Monday, September 3rd and indicate for which committee(s) you would like to be considered.

1) Mentorship Committee: The Mentorship Committee is looking for one member for a two-year term. The mentorship program will run during the 2018-19 academic year, after a pilot year in 2017-18.  The member would be part of a team responsible for:

  • Recruiting and pairing mentors with mentees in September 2018
  • Offering any additional support or training needed to run the program
  • Conducting program evaluation upon completion of the 2018-19 program
  • Seeking feedback and making recommendations to the AAAL Executive

2) Workshop Committee: The Workshop Committee is looking for two members, each for a two-year term. The committee organizes the AAAL professional development and learning program. Committee members strive to develop relevant programming that serve as learning opportunities and highlights the range of excellent work happening at AAAL member libraries. The new committee member will engage in issuing calls for, selecting, and coordinating lightning-strike sessions, presentations and panel discussions for the Fall and Spring AAAL meetings.

3) Statistics and Assessment Committee: The Statistics and Assessment Committee is looking for one member. This committee compiles annual statistics from member institutions and reports to the membership on those statistics. Committee members should have an interest in data and statistics; experience with data analysis or data visualization is an asset.

AAAL is having its Fall Meeting at NAIT in Edmonton on Thursday, November 15. Please stay tuned for more information and a call for presentations.

Please contact me with any questions or to express an interest in these volunteer activities.

Nicolle Lemay
AAAL Chair