Journey to the Leslie and Irene Dubé Health Sciences Library

Who said you can’t see the wood for the trees? At the Leslie and Irene Dubé Health Sciences Library, you can!

New to the library are eight sculptures by artist Doris Wall Larson. Together, the eight sculptures form an installation titled 3

In 2002, Journey was part of an exhibition titled The Claustrophobic Forest. Helen Marzolf, the curator of that exhibition, reveals this about Wall Larson’s work:

“In her installation Journey, Wall Larson reassembles a woods that compresses elements of a path and a metaphoric maze.  Created to mark her father’s decline and passing, Journey is intended to be touched as one meanders through it.  Wall Larson’s eloquent wood carving traces the inevitable grief most of us must confront, and opens portals where it is possible to see through what first appeared to be impenetrable.”  P.12, The Claustrophobic Forest, Helen Marzolf, published by Kenderdine Art Gallery, University of Saskatchewan, 2002.

This work is the newest addition to the library’s second floor art collection, which includes many pieces that have tree or forest themes.

If your summer schedule permits, why not check out the new interactive learning spaces and building features at the Leslie and Irene Dubé Health Sciences Library? Don’t be afraid to ask any of the library employees if you have any specific questions about the facilities and services.

Printed Matters

As part of the University Library’s exhibition program, our current exhibition Printed Matters is on display in our exhibition space on the first floor of the Murray Library. This exhibition examines the technique and tools of printmaking, and features historical and contemporary examples of the print as both information artefact and artwork, including etching, woodblock, and lithography examples.

I am excited to share with you that in connection to this exhibit, the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery currently has on display an exhibition entitled Imprints. Imprints features new work by 14 contemporary printmakers, as well as works from the Mac Hone, Marie Elyse St. George, and Nik Semenoff fonds.

To celebrate Printed Matters and Imprints, a reception is being held on Thursday, July 24 from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. at the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery. I hope you will attend and enjoy the work of contemporary Saskatchewan printmakers, as well as some materials in University Archives & Special Collections’ holdings.

For more information about both exhibits, and University Archives & Special Collections, please visit their website:

2014 Dean’s Research Lecture – Save the Date

The Centre for Evidence  Based Library and Information Practice (C-EBLIP) in association with the University Library will host the 2014 Dean’s Research Lecture on September 16 at 2:30 p.m. The venue for the lecture will be announced shortly – for now, please save this date!

I am pleased to announce that our 2014 Dean’s Research Lecturer will be Dr. Bruce Kingma, a professor at Syracuse University. Dr. Kingma will give a lecture on understanding the value proposition of the academic library.

We know our academic library provides value to the campus, but sometimes we find it difficult to articulate and measure this value.

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.

I hope you will plan to join us on September 16 for what is sure to be a timely and interesting lecture.

Digital Infrastructure

Currently one of the top “hot topics” occupying the thoughts of many information professionals (IT Specialists, Librarians, Chief Information Officers (CIOs), etc.) in various parts of the world, including Deans/Directors of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), is that of digital infrastructure (DI).  Also referred to as cyber-infrastructure, e-infrastructure, or e-science, the case for a national approach to the development of Canada’s DI is gathering pace.  Research in all fields has changed greatly as new and emerging information communication technologies fundamentally change the way researchers communicate and collaborate, and many believe a new nationally coordinated approach is critically needed.

A recent significant contribution to the Canadian conversation on DI is a very well-written and plain language discussion of the issues by former U of S CIO, Associate Vice-President for Information and Communications Technology, and Professor of Computer Science, Dr. Rick Bunt.  As Dr. Bunt begins his retirement, I pay tribute to Rick for his latest insightful contribution to strategy formulation and for his leadership and advocacy for the development of Canadian DI.

If you want to know why DI is important and what the options might be for the future, then time invested in reading Dr. Bunt’s paper is the way to go. Dr. Bunt’s paper is available at:

Happy retirement Rick!

Removing Barriers to Access

My time this month is focussed on catching up on activities, projects, and changes within the library during my full academic year away on administrative leave.  For example, library employees who work most directly with the library’s circulation function, as part of continuous review and improvement practices, have enhanced services and removed some barriers to access. The Circulation Users’ Group (or CUG), under the leadership of the Assistant Dean – Client Services (Rachel Sarjeant-Jenkins) has undertaken a range of activities over the last year, including the following highlights:

  • Coordinated two ‘No Logs’, one in October 2013 and one in March 2014. A ‘No Log’ can be described as a log where each time a client is told ‘no’ or ‘we can’t do x’ is logged. The log is then reviewed to evaluate whether the ‘nos’ can be turned into ‘yesses.’ These ‘No Logs’ are important tools for reviewing client interactions and considering ways to remove service barriers
  • Instituted system changes to allow for the ability to place holds on items currently in the library and request pick-up from any branch location
  • Implemented system changes to allow the ability to select the pick-up location for inter-library loans material
  • Investigated fines in academic libraries through reading the literature, conversations with other Canadian academic libraries, and looking at our local situation. Among the changes that resulted from the working group’s report were:
    • The loan period for regular stack items was been increased to 30 days (from 3 weeks).
    • Fines for overdue regular stack items were removed; however, there are still fines on overdue recalled, reserve, and inter library loan items.
    • The time period between when an item becomes overdue and when a bill for replacement is issued was reduced to 30 days (from 52 days).
    • Increased awareness by circulation staff to encourage clients to place requests on desired items that are currently out — thus generating a recall notice and revised due date.
  • Developed a memorandum of understanding for reciprocal borrowing between SIAST, the U of R, and the U of S libraries
  • Reduced processing times for lost and damaged books and reduced the processing fee for replacement items
  • Participated in the ‘Snacks for Students’ initiative during the December and April exam periods

Our goals of removing barriers to access and excellence in client service have certainly been advanced through this work.

Lunch with Minister Doherty

On July 2, along with several other Deans, I attended a lunch with the Honourable Kevin Doherty, Minister of Advanced Education. The lunch was an informal opportunity and occasion for us all to get to know each other a little and to understand the context in which our relationship and interactions take place.

This was a great opportunity to meet Minister Doherty, share with him a little bit about the work the University Library is doing, and to learn more about him and his priorities as minister.

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…

Well, not always… From June 26 to July 1, 2014 librarians, authors, publishers, business professionals, educators, and students – anyone who is passionate about publishing, libraries, and eager to learn and shape the future of the library and information profession was in Las Vegas, NV in very large numbers for the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference and trade show. Representatives from approximately 78 countries were in attendance.

I was there to fulfil commitments as the Canadian member of the ALA Committee on Accreditation (COA) ( COA is responsible for the execution of the ALA accreditation program and to develop and formulate standards of education for library and information studies. ALA-accredited master’s programs can be found at many colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. These programs offer degrees with names such as Master of Library Science (MLS), Master of Arts, Master of Librarianship, Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS), and Master of Science.  At the University of Saskatchewan an MLS or equivalent from a university/institution recognized by the university (such as ALA accredited programs) is the standard required for a faculty appointment.

So, conference networking and learning, new professional practices exposed and discussed, vendor products unveiled and demonstrated… a lot of what was happening in Las Vegas last week will most definitely find its way back to numerous library workplaces and other memory institutions around the world.


This week marks my official return to duties as Dean, University Library after a one-year administrative leave. A lot has transpired within the library, the university, and in my personal and professional life during that time.  My special thanks to Ken Ladd who was Acting Dean during my absence and to all library employees for their many and varied contributions during my time away.

To mark this occasion and the beginning of the third year of my second five-year term as Dean, I launch this blog.  Through this blog, I hope to share a little news about events and activities that are occupying my decanal schedule and what professional themes and issues are requiring my time and focus.

In terms of our academic and support mandate, the University Library (at least in terms of the overall number of faculty/librarians) is one of the larger non-departmentalized colleges.  In the role of Dean there is never any shortage of demands on my time and focus, and finding the balance between these often competing internal to the library and external (inter campus and beyond) demands is always a bit of a challenge.

The library and information sector in general, and research libraries in particular, are experiencing dramatic change as our professional practice evolves to find new and innovative ways of responding to new modes of scholarly communication and publishing;  information systems and technologies; and global economic circumstances, to name just a few.