Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Exploring Climate Change in the West

Alice Swabey,  Mount Royal University

Next month, academics, activists and artists from around the world will convene in Calgary to share ideas on climate change in the North American West. As the world microscope sharpens its focus on activities in Alberta’s oil sands, the conference at Mount Royal University is timely indeed. “Under Western Skies: Climate, Culture, and Change in Western North America” will examine environmental issues from a multitude of perspectives, and with an impressive roster of speakers.

Photo Credit: Barbara Macleod
The conference program sets itself apart from typical academic gatherings by its truly cross-disciplinary scope. Speakers will address climate change through the lenses of literature, aboriginal knowledge, business, peer reviewed science, religion, gender, government policy, linguistics, film, tourism and radical activism – to name just a few.  

The matter of climate change in our neck of the woods has drawn interest and investigation from around the globe, and speakers from India, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the United States, Taiwan and Canada are expected. Internationally renowned Indian environmental activist and feminist Vandana Shiva will deliver a keynote address, “Soil Not Oil: Food Security in Times of Climate Change.” She will be joined by a number of prominent Canadians. Former Senior Advisor to the UN on Water and current chair of the Council of Canadians Maude Barlow will discuss the global water crisis, in conjunction with a screening of the film Blue Gold: World Water Wars. Also in attendance will be Andrew Nikiforuk, the Governor General’s award winning author of Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig's War Against Big Oil, and most recently, The Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of the Continent.

The highlight of the four-day conference will be the public roundtable on October 16. It will bring Shiva, Barlow and Nikiforuk together with Stanford’s acclaimed environmental historian Richard White; Bron Taylor, professor of Religious and Environmental Ethics from Florida; and Leo Jacobs, Associate Vice President of Aboriginal and Government Relations at Keyano College in Fort McMurray.
The conference runs October 13-16 in MRU’s Roderick Mah Centre. Information on registration, and tickets for keynote addresses, is available at www.skies.mtroyal.ca

Friday, September 17, 2010

Volunteer Calgary Library: The Oak Tree

Kathryn Ranjit

Yes, it’s a real library. The Volunteer Calgary Library is a special library that serves Volunteer Calgary, an organization that helps people get involved in the Calgary community through volunteering. Have you ever used the comprehensive Volunteer Calgary online database to look up volunteer opportunities? These opportunities are provided by the 450 Volunteer Calgary members - non-profit organizations that need volunteers to support their work.

I sat down for an interesting conversation with Valerie White, Library Coordinator with Volunteer Calgary. Valerie has had a long and varied career as a librarian within Calgary: as a library assistant in the Calgary school system, a cataloguer with the Calgary Board of Education, and a youth services librarian at the Calgary Public Library. She has now found a home at the Volunteer Calgary Library.

The Volunteer Calgary Library is beautiful and welcoming, occupying a corner space with windows overlooking Centre St. S on the second floor of the Kahanoff Centre. The library houses over 3600 books, CDs and DVDs which cover all aspects of volunteerism - including theory and philosophy of volunteerism, volunteer management, and fundraising. How do you recruit and retain Gen Y volunteers? How do you manage a health non-profit organization? How do you put together a press conference and who should you contact in Calgary? You’ll find the answers to these and many more questions in this unique collection.

Valerie is responsible for all aspects of running the library: acquisitions, cataloging, shelving, and working with the end user. She does have regular volunteers, who offer invaluable support to the library. They assist with many tasks including circulation, reference, development of operational procedures and suggestions for this unique collection. The volunteers contribute more than their time, they provide a wealth of knowledge and experience that keeps this library vibrant.

This library and librarian strive to make a difference. The Volunteer Calgary Library helps its members to create the policies that govern their organizations, as well as provide information to their leaders and volunteers. Valerie recalls her best moments at the library as those working with new staff and helping them tackle unfamiliar and difficult tasks, becoming confident and competent in a role that just a short time before they knew very little about. Valerie takes opportunities to create advocates, and counts members of the board of Volunteer Calgary among the set of avid library users.

When asked to describe her library as a tree, Valerie easily likened the Volunteer Calgary Library to an oak tree. The library has roots in the community. It is trusted and provides a solid base for Volunteer Calgary, and a canopy for its members.

Members of Volunteer Calgary have access to library resources and services, however if you are not a member you can still use this fantastic resource. Either drop in to use materials on-site or register with the library for a small annual fee. Details can be found online.

Friday, September 10, 2010

President’s Address

Jerremie Clyde

As my first act as the new president of Foothills Library Association I would like to thank everybody who is a member of our association. It is your participation in FLA that makes our work possible. Because of your participation we are able to run valuable programs, events and initiatives, such as the Jobline, a resource used to find employment by library workers across Canada. I would also invite former members who have let their membership lapse to rejoin, as well as those library folk who have never been members of the association.

Why now? Well in addition to Jobline, FLA provides the library community with access to the Eventsline, a guide to local library events. The association also puts on three main events which include the Bubbly Brunch, Calgary Libraries in Action and the Annual General Meeting. These events are great opportunities for members of the Calgary and area library community to get together and meet each other.

This year, members of the executive and I hope to offer more opportunities for networking and professional development. We are considering everything from collections round tables to aid in cooperative collection building to topic specific lectures and social events, such as a Christmas and Copyright evening.

We would like the Foothills Library Association to grow and provide more to its members. We want to offer you more opportunities to grow as a community of library folk. Please let us know what you would like to see FLA doing. You can e-mail me directly if you wish at flapresident@fla.org, or any of the other executive (www.fla.org/executive).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Introducing the New FLA Gazette

Kristian McInnis, SAIT Library

Starting this week the Foothills Library Association (FLA) has added a new online information service to benefit library and information professionals in the Calgary area.

FLA Gazette joins Events Line and Jobline in providing timely relevant news and information to the Calgary area library community. Every week a new article will be published on Gazette. These articles will cover diverse fields of interest, such as:
  • Readers’ advisory across a range of genres and subject areas
  • Strategies for marketing and outreach
  • Technology in libraries
  • Collection development
  • Library and staff profiles
  • Innovations and successes
  • And a whole lot more

In addition to these weekly articles, Gazette is also the first place that FLA news and announcements will be posted. Gazette headlines are automatically cross posted to the FLA homepage, so whenever you visit us online you can see the latest news at a glance.

FLA also encourages you to subscribe to Gazette using one of the options on left side of this page to ensure you are up-to-date on all the news and information published by FLA.

For those of you in the community who like the quarterly FLAG Newsletter, do not fear. Gazette is a compliment to FLAG not a replacement. FLAG will still be published quarterly and will consolidate the best of the Gazette’s articles .

FLA expects that Gazette will encourage communication and contribute to a greater sense of community amongst Calgary’s library and information professionals. In support of that goal, you are welcome to comment on any of our articles or announcements. To eliminate spam and malicious posts, comments will be vetted by an editor before appearing on Gazette.

You should feel free to share or comment via social networking services. FLA hopes Gazette will become a locus of robust commentary and discussion of topics relevant to the local library community.

Your participation is necessary to make the new Gazette a success. Contributions from the community are welcome. Contact the editors at flag@fla.org or your local FLA Executive member more information.
If you have any comments or suggestions regarding Gazette or FLAG please share your thoughts below.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

2010 Bubbly Brunch

The 2010 Bubbly Brunch will be held at Memorial Park Public Library on September 26, starting at 10:30 a.m.

Visit FLA Events for details and to purchase tickets.

Memberhsip Survey Reminder

The Foothills Library Association is seeking your opinion of the services we offer to you as an information professional in Calgary and surrounding areas. We'll use this information to respond to your needs and to tailor our focus for the coming year.

Please fill out our short (5-10 minutes) survey.

The Survey will remain open until September 10. Please share this message with colleagues in the Calgary library community.