Student Assistant employees at the University Library

Fifty-one Student Assistant employees at the University Library play a vital role in service delivery, particularly outside the hours of a regular working day. As employees of the library, our Student Assistants also have many experiential learning opportunities available to them, and some have even been known to continue their education in library and information science.

Thanks to the ongoing generosity of our former library faculty colleague and donor Linda Fritz, annually we award the Linda Fritz Scholarship. Established in 2002, the Linda Fritz Scholarship for Library Assistants was developed to recognize academic excellence of students who are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree at the University of Saskatchewan who have worked for the University Library. Librarian Emerita Linda Fritz retired in 2008, and we celebrate and appreciate her continued association with the University Library as one of our active donors.

This year, I am pleased to announce that Sarah Grummett is the recipient of this scholarship. Congratulations Sarah! For more information on the Linda Fritz Scholarship, click here.

What’s happening in Chicago this week?

Coming to you this week from the American Library Association (ALA) headquarters in Chicago, IL, and just around the corner from one of the biggest Apple stores I have ever visited!

I am attending to responsibilities as the Canadian representative on the ALA Committee on Accreditation (COA).  COA is responsible for the execution of ALA’s accreditation program, and it develops and formulates standards of education for library and information studies.  You can learn more about COA by visiting their website at:

While here at the ALA headquarters, I will also have a chance to catch up on the latest ALA happenings and campaigns, including two that I think are especially interesting and ground breaking.

The Centre for the Future of Libraries works to: identify emerging trends relevant to libraries and the communities they serve; promote futuring and innovative techniques to help librarians and library professional shape their future; and, build connections with experts and innovative thinkers to help libraries address emerging issues.

While, the Libraries Transform campaign is designed to increase public awareness of the value, impact, and services provided by libraries and library professionals.  The campaign seeks to showcase the transformative nature of today’s libraries and to emulate the crucial role libraries play in the digital age.

For more information about both of these significant ALA initiatives visit:; and here:

The Great War Exhibition

I always enjoy visiting the Link Gallery exhibition space on my way to and from my office each day. It seems that with each visit, I learn and see something new. This is certainly the case with our latest display, The Great War Exhibition. This week, seeing that tomorrow is Remembrance Day, I have taken time out of my schedule to spend time with the exhibition, in reflection and appreciation for the sacrifices of all men and women who have served their countries.

The Great War opened in August 1914 and ended on November 11th 1918 and a great many nations from across the world became involved. The exhibit features many interesting items like diaries, sheet music, and other World War I ephemera. This exhibit, curated by Patrick Hayes, will be featured in the Link Gallery until January 2016.

Celebrating Women of Influence

It has been a very busy week, which this morning began early as I attended the 13th annual Women of Influence Breakfast. The breakfast featured three accomplished women leaders, who spoke about their personal leadership style and experiences.  All three were inspiring, candid, and clearly very successful in their respective fields. One of the three speakers was my colleague, and the university’s own, Daphne Taras, Dean – Edwards School of Business.  I very much enjoyed listening to Daphne’s story.  The experiences of Kimberley Johnathan, Interim Chief, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, and, Stephanie Lawton, Skip, Saskatchewan Women’s Curling Team were equally inspiring, humorous, and personally very touching.

Overall what a great way to start my day in what has been a very busy week.


Truth and Reconciliation

Coming to you today from Winnipeg, where I am honoured to be witnessing first-hand a major milestone in the history of Canada.  Over the last few weeks I have added significantly to my personal Canadian citizenship listing of landmark Canadian occasions that I have experienced.

Today at the University of Manitoba, the opening ceremonies for the National Centre on Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) kick-off, and together with Patti MacDougall (Vice Provost, Teaching and Learning), and Candace Wasacase-Lafferty, Director, Aboriginal Initiatives, I am here to deliver greetings from President Stoicheff and our campus community, and to acknowledge the U of M’s commitment to truth and reconciliation.

NCTR was created to preserve the memory of Canada’s Residential School system and legacy and is located at the University of Manitoba.  The Centre’s archive holds, “a vast collection of documents, oral history and other records that detail the systematic and intentional attempt to assimilate the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.” The NCTR was created to ensure that:

  • Survivors and their families have access to their own history
  • Educators can share the Residential School history with new generations of students
  • Researchers can delve more deeply into Residential School experience
  • The public can access historical records and other materials to help foster reconciliation and healing
  • The history and legacy of the Residential School system are never forgotten.

For more information visit the following links: and


SPARC and Open Access

Regular readers of my blog know that the topic of Open Access (OA) is a reoccurring blog theme.  Maybe this is because it’s a continuing ‘hot topic’ in the library world and matters related to this topic come across my desk frequently.  Things like this week’s achievement record for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) – the international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communications.  For more information, and for OA resources, click here.

SPARC and SPARC-sponsored programs have been featured this year in both the national and trade press, in outlets ranging from the Washington Post to the Economist to the Times Higher Education.  Their listing presents an impressive array of outcomes over the last year, including:

  • SPARC continued to achieve significant success with their high-profile policy advocacy program. As a direct result of their work in securing the 2013 White House Directive on Public Access, this year, 13 U.S. federal agencies released plans for policies ensuring that articles and data resulting from their funded research be made freely available.
  • SPARC and their member organizations actively contributed to the ongoing consultations that resulted in the three major Canadian Research Councils’ issuing a new, harmonized Tri-Agency Open Access Policy earlier this year.
    The SPARC-supported “Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act,” a bill that would codify the White House Directive into law, successfully advanced through the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and should be considered by the full Senate later this year.
  • SPARC introduced a new campaign to educate declared 2016 U.S. Presidential candidates on the importance of Open Access, Open Data and OER, and to advocate for the inclusion of these issues in campaign events and platforms.
  • SPARC staff worked with the White House and U.S. federal agencies to raise the profile of OER as a policy issue, co-organizing a government-wide workshop on Open Licenses and OER, and leading coalition efforts to advocate for Executive Branch actions in support of OER.
  • SPARC also worked to generate support for “Open” practices within the Foundation community. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SPARC convened leading research foundations (including the Gates Foundation, the Arnold Foundation and the Soros Foundation) to explore the adoption of open access funder policies, and the establishment of an ongoing Open Access “community of practice” of research foundations in North America.
  • To generate direct input on their programming from their members, SPARC established three new members-only advisory groups to help them develop new programs and services, and to refine their efforts to best serve their members.
  • To keep their members ahead of the curve in understanding the latest developments in the scholarly communication environment, SPARC hosted regular webcasts (free to our members) on important topics ranging from the Elsevier article “sharing” policy, to complying with new Public Access mandates, to developing campus rights-retention based Open Access policies.
  • SPARC actively supported their members’ local campus efforts by providing SPARC-sponsored speakers for campus events, practical guides, talking points, templates, and expert counsel on Campus Open Access and Open Educational Resources issues.
  • With continued support from the Hewlett Foundation, SPARC expanded its OER program to provide regular campus-based opportunities for education and advocacy in support of the creation of and adoption of OER. In partnership with ACRL, SPARC co-hosted the first Scholarly Communications Institute devoted to OER.
  • In keeping with their commitment to partnering with the next generation of leaders, SPARC and the Right to Research Coalition (R2RC) launched “OpenCon,” an annual event that brings students and early career researchers together to catalyze projects to advance Open Access, OER, and Open Data. After the success of their inaugural event in 2014, more than 3,000 individuals from 125 countries applied to attend the upcoming conference.
  • Through the R2RC, SPARC partnered with Texas A&M University to secure a grant to develop programming for the first ever “SECU Academic Collaboration Award” Workshop. The high-energy program brought teams of library directors and leaders together with student government leaders with the aim of identifying and developing ongoing campus Open Access and OER collaborations.
  • SPARC proudly provided incubation support for the student-led “Open Access Button” project, a browser-based app that lets readers register when they’ve hit an article behind a paywall, maps those instances, and ultimately, will provide access to an Open version of the article where possible.
  • SPARC’s annual Global Open Access Week continues. This year’s kickoff event reflects the theme of “Open for Collaboration,” with SPARC and the Wikimedia Library co-sponsoring a global, virtual edit-a-thon for Open Access related content on Wikipedia
  • SPARC helped keep the profile of their members and their concerns high in the media. SPARC was regularly consulted and quoted as an expert source on topics relating to scholarly communication.

More on Open Access (OA)

There has been a mountain of activity and announcements this month to coincide with Open Access week, which was officially celebrated from October 19 to 25.  Catch up on all of the activities by visiting:

Perhaps the most notable announcement came yesterday from the White House, when the U.S. 2016-2017 Open Government National Action Plan was released.  It’s very significant to note that the plan incorporates the entire portfolio of issues that have long been advocated by SPARC — Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data — into efforts to make government more open.

For more information, click here.

Welcoming new graduates and a new president

I am excited to have the opportunity to put on academic dress and be part of the convocation ceremonies at TCU Place this Saturday.  The installation of our new president is an added bonus. The installation of a new president does not take place all that often, and in almost a decade of service at the U of S, I have served three presidents and an interim president.

Folks often comment to me that the University Library does not have alumni.  Quite the contrary, is my usual response, as I contend the University Library impacts all student learning and research activities.  From that perspective, all alumni are graduates of the library!

The University Library continues its association with alumni, and you can learn more about library services for alumni by visiting our website here.

What a time to be in Ottawa!

Coming to you this week from Ottawa, and what a week to be in Ottawa, especially as this was my first Canadian election as a Canadian citizen!  There is also a bit of library politics happening in the nation’s capital this week as the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) combines its annual general meeting with that of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL). Those meetings are happening close to Parliament Hill, adding more to the overall atmosphere.

So, what topics besides politics are under discussion?  Open Access, the Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem, copyright, and the proposal for a Federation of Canadian Library Associations are among the topics under discussion.  There are also opportunities for several site visits.  For example, a visit to the Library Archives Canada (LAC) Preservation Centre in Gatineau, which is dedicated to the preservation of Canada’s documentary heritage.  This centre of excellence is an impressive building and facility by anyone’s standard, with its purpose-built collection storage areas, optimum environmental conditions, and laboratories equipped for preservation activities.  Its visitor register includes notable world leaders including former President George W. Bush.

Another busy week ahead!

C-EBLIP Symposium

I am excited to help welcome 61 registered participants to this year’s Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (C-EBLIP) Fall Symposium!

Building on a highly successful program held last year, C-EBLIP is hosting the second C-EBLIP Fall Symposium: Librarians as Researchers today, October 14.  A pre-symposium workshop facilitated by our Researcher in Residence, Selinda Berg, entitled Transforming Ideas into Well-Designed Research Questions was held yesterday afternoon, October 13.

Our 61 participants include librarians from the University Library, from elsewhere in Saskatchewan (in particular, from Saskatchewan Polytechnic), and from across Canada. Thirty-four of those also attended the afternoon workshop. You can find more information about the symposium on the C-EBLIP website, including information on the program and the speakers here:

The C-EBLIP Fall Symposium helps to further the mission of the Centre, that of supporting librarians as researchers and promoting evidence based library and information practice. Please be on the lookout for symposium guests as they may take the opportunity to visit our library branches.