Library Collaboration in Western Provinces

Coming to you this week from MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB…

This week I am attending the deans’/directors’ meeting of the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL). I am also presenting on the topic of the University Library Aboriginal Internship at the COPPUL workshop to highlight Indigenous initiatives underway in COPPUL member libraries in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Deborah Lee, our Aboriginal Engagement Librarian is also speaking at the workshop.

COPPUL is a consortium of 23 university libraries in Canada’s four western provinces. COPPUL provides leadership in the development of collaborative solutions addressing the academic information resource needs, the staffing development needs, and the preservation needs of its member institutions.


Librarians Downunder

While library conferences across North America, especially over the summer months, are a dime a dozen in frequency and cost; not so in my country of origin – Australia. So you will understand why the excitement is mounting (there and here) as the national biennial conference of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) gets underway in Melbourne this week.

You can check out the Canadian connection on the program here.

Congratulations to Rachel and Keith on your conference presentation and I hope you get to enjoy some attractions in Australia’s top cultural tourism destination.

Dean’s Research Lecture

Virginia Wilson, Director – Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, and I are looking forward to welcoming the campus community to the 2014 Dean’s Research Lecture, being presented this year by Dr. Bruce Kingma. The Lecture is being held on Tuesday, September 16 at 2:30 p.m. in Convocation Hall.

Dr. Kingma is an economist, academic entrepreneur, and Professor in the School of Information Studies and Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.

Professor Kingma’s presentation will review the current research on, and tools for measuring, library value.   His presentation will show the importance of measuring value, an economist’s view of value, and the results of measuring the holistic value of the academic library.

We know our academic library provides value to the campus but we sometimes find it difficult to articulate and measure this value.  Measuring the value of the academic library was the focus of the recently concluded LIBValue research study funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services in the USA.  Faculty and staff from the University of Tennessee, University of Illinois, and Syracuse University participated in this study.

A world closely observed: The photography of Courtney Milne

If you are looking for a moment of inspiration, or just some relief from the busyness of campus life at the start of a new academic year, then I recommend a visit to our latest exhibit in the Link at the Murray Library (between the north and south wings of the library on the first floor).  Viewing the amazing images on display has a calming influence and is a strong reminder of the power and beauty of our environment.

This exhibition highlights the multifaceted life and work of Courtney Milne, fine art photographer, author and educator of regional, national and international significance. The Milne Collection, which is housed in University Archives and Special Collections at the Murray Library includes over 550,000 original images in slide and digital format, 2,000 prints, textual records, Milne’s reference library and websites created using his work, most of his photographic equipment, and audio cassettes gathered from his trip around the world.

It’s a truly amazing collection and one our expert faculty and staff are progressively working to bring to the attention of the academic community. The potential of the collection to support learning, research, and scholarship across a range of disciplines is only limited by our own imagination.  Contact University Archives and Special Collections if you would like more information.

After Retreat A New Day Dawns

Further to my post of August 25, 2014 (Retreat) I have continued to reflect on the discussions at the Senior Leadership Retreat, held last week at Waskesiu, SK in the beautiful Prince Albert National Park.

From those reflections, I can now confirm that during the retreat I experienced several of the definitions of the word ‘retreat’ from my blog post, in addition to number 2 (a place affording peace, quiet, privacy, or security).  There were retreat times when I undertook “the act or process of withdrawing, especially from something hazardous, formidable, or unpleasant” (definition 1a); at times I witnessed others in “the process of going backward or receding from a position or condition gained” (definition 1b).  Some elements of “withdrawing … from a dangerous position or an enemy attack” (definition 4a) took place; there was a clear “sign for … withdrawal” from some previously proposed actions  (definition 4b); but at no time was “a bugle call” made; nor was there a “ceremony of lowering the flag” (definition 4c and 4d).

Throughout the retreat the surroundings of Waskesui were at all times “a place affording peace, quiet, privacy or security” (definition 2) as the attached photo demonstrates.

I was pleased to be able to share some of what transpired at the Senior Leadership Retreat with library employees last Thursday when I presented my thoughts on priorities for the University Library for the year ahead in my presentation of the Dean’s Update Live!


A New Academic Year… A New Beginning

This week the University Library is thrilled to welcome new and returning students and faculty to campus. With the start of a new academic year, we at the University Library are focused on our academic and service mission to create a positive experience that leads to success in learning, scholarship, and practice.

We want all of our clients to know that we will be taking a little extra time to welcome and support those new to campus. I trust that you will appreciate getting to know about our collections, facilities, services, and our approach to quality client service. The start of a new academic year always brings an interesting mix of enthusiasm, excitement, and some frustration as new students find their way around the campus and begin to engage, enlighten, and explore at the library.

During Welcome Week be on the lookout for our Library Rovers who are visibly identifiable ‘roaming’ library employees. The Rovers will be in popular student hot spots with maps and branded highlighter pens available to help students find their classrooms and/or answer other questions. Below you will find a photo of Lara O. and Rachel H. – two of our Library Rovers looking fabulous in their Ask Me! Library Rover t-shirts.

University Library Rovers

Creative Legacy of Courtney Milne

August 29, 2014 marks the fourth anniversary of the death of Courtney Milne, one of Canada’s most recognized professional photographers renowned worldwide for his images of landscape and nature. Milne made more than 350,000 exposures, photographing in 35 countries and on all seven continents.

The creative legacy of Courtney Milne lives on in the Courtney Milne Collection, housed in University Archives & Special Collections at the University Library. This legacy provides rich resources for learners, teachers, researchers and practitioners now and in the future.

In all his work, Courtney Milne was an ambassador of the land, depicting how its beauty nourishes the human spirit and how we are responsible for respecting it, caring for it, and living upon it with integrity.

University Archives & Special Collections, Courtney Milne fonds (MG 410), image 367-219, Close-up of sunflower with bee, near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 1984.  Courtney Milne, photographer.


Coming to you from the beautiful Prince Albert National Park and Waskesiu, where senior university leaders are on their annual retreat.

Retreat, according to the Free Dictionary, has the following definitions:


    1. The act or process of withdrawing, especially from something hazardous, formidable, or unpleasant.
    2. The process of going backward or receding from a position or condition gained.

2.  A place affording peace, quiet, privacy, or security. See Synonyms at shelter.


    1. A period of seclusion, retirement, or solitude.
    2. A period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, or study: a religious retreat.


    1. Withdrawal of a military force from a dangerous position or from an enemy attack.
    2. The signal for such withdrawal.
    3. A bugle call or drumbeat signaling the lowering of the flag at sunset, as on a military base.
    4. The military ceremony of lowering the flag.

Well, I am confident the definition of “a place affording peace, quiet, privacy, or security” applies to our surrounding.  But what of the other definitions in the context of our purpose and our conversations?  I’ll report in on this next week.

Donors Connecting with Transformed Collections, Facilities and Services at the Leslie and Irene Dubé Health Sciences Library

A small but, as always, enthusiastic group of library donors and supporters attended a donor appreciation event at the Leslie and Irene Dub Health Sciences Library on August 17, 2014 between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.  It was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with library donors and supporters after my year away.  Thank you to Allyssa Anton, Kerry Evans, the library ambassadors (Lara O’Grady and Eva Wong) and branch employees (Gwen Chan, Jill Crawley-Low, Justina Datta, Shelagh McDonald, Valerie Moore) for their assistance with the event. If you have not visited the branch library since the installation of the new artwork then I recommend a visit.Donor Event1Donor Event 2Donor Event 3