7 questions with Alison Pitcher

May’s installment of 7 Questions features Alison Pitcher, Collections Assessment Librarian at Macewan University Library. 

1. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

2. If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?
Making a library-wide plan for a variety of usage/statistics collection and implementing it in a way that allows the library to showcase how it’s being used and track changes and trends year-over-year.

3. What would you name the autobiography of your life?
Daughter of Dreamers and Doers

4. What is your best piece of life advice?
Make time for yourself. It’s simple, but I find it’s necessary.

5. What is your proudest non-work related accomplishment?
Buying a house.

6. What do you do when you’re not working?
I tend to inhale books and movies. I also have a love of food, so I bake (and destroy my kitchen) quite a bit.

7. What is your favourite colour?

Call for Communications Committee member

The Executive Committee is looking for an enthusiastic library staff member from a AAAL member institution to put their name forward to join the Communications Committee as Blog Administrator.

The responsibilities of this position are as follows:
  • Work with committee members to copyedit and schedule blog posts and newsletter communications
  • Provide backup support for website maintenance and social media postings
  • Collaborate with the webmaster and social media coordinator to conduct all other day-to-day communications tasks/initiatives
The position has a two-year term. Candidates should have strong technical writing skills. An understanding of WordPress is helpful but not necessary.
Please express your interest via email to LemayN2@macewan.ca  by Friday, May 19th.

Thank you,

AAAL Executive Team

News Flash from the Past

By Jordan Serben, MacEwan University, Library and Information Technology program

AAAL has now made its print newsletters available online! The newsletter began in 1976 as a brief one-page document, titled “News Flash or First (I Hope of Many) Newsletter”. It never wavered from good humour: “The Data Centre will not bill for services until April, 1977, so we MAY get it free (but don’t hold your breath).” Tongue-and-cheek articles like this persisted throughout the newsletter’s history.

If you wander through past issues, there are harsh tales of late fee consequences. In the fall of 1983, in Gatineau, Quebec, the town council passed a bylaw to throw its residents in jail for a maximum of 60 days as punishment for overdue library books. Other stories describe disastrous events. At Keyano College, in the spring of 1984, during a performance of “Alladin and His Wonderful Lamp”, a mishap with the lamp torched the theatre scenery and the backstage experienced smoke and water damage. But, the real excitement was in the Learning Resource Centre where the new ENVOY 100 Electronic Mail network was being “hooked up”, putting the college at the doorstep of the digital age!

Technology was embraced wholeheartedly throughout the 90s as hobbyist microcomputers became PCs and computer labs became the norm. Nineteen-ninety was a busy year for barcoding collections and the installation of 3M security systems, which had library staff cause “patrons some embarrassment by not desensitizing material.” Olds College became an Internet-capable site in 1995, and the library purchased the agricultural database Agricola. Internet classes and Internet facilitators were leading topics across Alberta, while libraries were also faced with converting catalogue records to MARC in the mid-to-late 1990s. And, in the fall of 1999, Grant MacEwan College launched its virtual Ask a Reference Question, leading the way for chat reference.

Find these stories and more in the archives!

AAAL Newsletter Archives

7 questions with Shannon D’Agnone

April’s installment of 7 Questions With… AAAL Members features Shannon D’Agnone, Instructional Librarian at The King’s University Library. 

1. When was the last time you were nervous? My family recently went on holidays and I don’t love flying. As the plane was taking off with I got very nervous and started replaying every Mayday episode (where they talk in depth about plane crashes) in my head. Thankfully the flight was uneventful and I lived to tell the tale!

2. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose? Jessica Pearson from the TV show Suits. She’s smart, savvy, tough and has the most amazing clothes and handbags of anyone on TV.

3. What is your best piece of career advice? My advice is this: trust that things have a way of working out for the best and always be open to new opportunities. You just never know who you might meet or how things could work out.

4. What is your best piece of life advice? In the end, only kindness matters.

5. What is your favourite thing to binge watch? Mr. Robot!

6. What do you do when you’re not working? I have a husband and two very busy little boys. I spend a lot of time with my kids going to different activities like hockey, skiing, soccer, swimming, etc. We also have a cabin outside the city that is our second home during the summer, so we spent a lot of time there as well.

7. What is your favourite quote?   “There is no discovery without risk and what you risk reveals what you value.” Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body

Registration is now OPEN for the AAAL Spring Meeting

Library staff from all member institutions (https://aaal.ca/membership/membership-list) are invited to join us for the Alberta Association of Academic Libraries 2017 Spring Annual General Meeting at Bow Valley College in Calgary on Thursday, April 20.

Please register at http://tinyurl.com/aaal2017agm by Wednesday, April 12! Space is limited, so register soon.

A draft agenda and meeting package are posted at https://aaal.ca/events A final agenda with additional keynote and lightning strike details will be posted to the AAAL website no later than Monday, April 10.

Please also note that the workshop committee is inviting submissions of before and after pictures of library space redesign or construction projects.  We will put together a slideshow to be shown over the lunch break of everyone’s projects. Please submit photos along with the name of your institution, the title of the project and a brief description of what you achieved to Shawna Murphy (SMurphy@mhc.ab.ca) by Monday April 10 who will coordinate the presentation.

We look forward to seeing you in Calgary!

* For any voting members who pre-registered, please note that the meeting may go to 4:30PM (at latest) rather than 4PM.

Prison Libraries Network – Right to Read statement

In September 2016 the newly formed Canadian Federation of Library Associations
(CFLA-FCAB), the national voice of Canada’s library community, unanimously
adopted and endorsed the “Prison Libraries Network: Right to Read” position
This Right to Read statement echoes recommendations set out in the most recent
report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator. In the report, the Office
recommends that Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) “update and renew inmate
libraries so that they are compliant with policy and comparable to the services,
materials, and technologies available in the communities.” This statement clearly
asserts the value of libraries and access to information resources in all correctional
The Prison Libraries Network: Right to Read statement, originally approved by the
Canadian Library Association (CLA) January 2016 is now posted on the CFLA website.

Or click the attached PDF for the full statement: Prison Libraries Network Right to Read Statement