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Vol 39  No 14
May 17, 2007


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Librarians from across the country get together

‘Annual check-up, wake-up and shake-up’
by Jeff Green

For the first time in nearly 40 years, the Canadian Library Association (CLA) will converge in St. John’s for its annual conference and librarians and library staff from Memorial University will be front and centre at the national event, being held May 23-26.

In fact, a dozen employees from libraries on Memorial’s St. John’s campus and the Marine Institute have spent close to a year planning and co-ordinating local venues and suppliers in support of an innovative conference program.

More than 1,200 delegates will take in this year’s conference, which is being held in conjunction with the annual meetings of the Atlantic Provinces Library Association and the Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association.

The theme of the CLA event is Retain – Recruit – Restructure: Regenerating the Library Community. The conference will include speakers from across the country and abroad with sessions encompassing all aspects of libraries and librarianship and is being held at the Delta Hotel and Conference Centre, while pre-conference sessions are being held at the Inco Innovation Centre and Science Building at Memorial, as well as the Delta.

A day before the national conference, the Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association will hold its annual meeting in Memorial’s Science Building. The theme of that event is Networking: Choices and Alternatives. Delegates will also attend a special social on May 22 celebrating the 25th anniversary of Memorial’s Queen Elizabeth II Library on the St. John’s campus.

Librarians and library staff will emerge from all events – particularly the national CLA event – with a renewed awareness of new technologies and ideas to implement in their libraries and workplaces.

“This conference brings together librarians and library staff from different sectors – academic, public, government, corporate and school libraries – from all across Canada,” said local arrangements committee member Wendy Rodgers, a collections and information services librarian with the QEII Library at Memorial. “They’ll have a rejuvenated sense of our professional practice and thanks to the hard work of our St. John’s-based local arrangements committee, great exposure to the art and culture of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

She said Memorial is integrally involved in the national conference.

“About 60 people from Memorial are contributing directly or indirectly to the success of the conference,” Ms. Rodgers noted. “Eight Memorial librarians are presenting among the 53 regular sessions and four pre-conference workshops. Memorial employees are also involved in less typical ways. For example, Joanne Costello of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Map Library has generously donated her original artwork which we are featuring on the thank-you cards we will be giving to speakers and volunteers.”

A number of timely and practical sessions have been planned for this year’s conference covering a wide range of issues such as: changes to Canadian copyright laws; the use of audiobooks in libraries; how online gaming matters to libraries in terms of entertainment, culture, learning, literacy and child development; and how the online virtual world program Second Life can be used as a teaching and learning tool.

A number of people will present at the conference including visual artist Mary Pratt, an honorary degree recipient of Memorial University, who will give one of the keynote addresses on Friday, May 25, at 9 a.m.

“The speakers and events we’ve planned will inspire conversations and connections, and lead to growth in the performance and practice of librarianship across Canada. Essentially, a conference like this should be an annual check-up, wake-up and shake-up that sends delegates home revved-up,” said Ms. Rodgers.

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