Friday, December 17, 2010

Librarians in the Media

I was watching Glee’s “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” episode. Now there’s nothing very surprising about this, however I did find something in the show that gave me a shock. Was it the leather bustiers? Was it the tiny gold shorts? No. It was Sue Sylvester’s line, “People who dress like librarians - all sex addicts.”

This was the second time in the past few weeks that got me thinking about librarians’ representation in the media. I went to the FLA’s screening of Desk Set and watched Katharine Hepburn and the “girls” in the library answering ready reference questions over the phone.

These instances made me think about people’s conceptions of librarians. I don’t know about you, but I get, “You’re a librarian? It must be nice to have all that time to read.” Or “You’re a librarian? You have to go to school for that!?!”

Now I know that not everyone thinks about libraries as much as I do. I do, however, think these types of comments are indicative of the lack of understanding around the job of librarian. I often feel a major part of my job is educating others about what I do.

So, as 2011 approaches, I’ve decided that my New Year’s resolution will be to do my part in raising the profile of libraries and librarians. I need to start writing my MP about library issues like Bill C32. I need to advocate raise awareness about current threats to our intellectual freedom. I need to inform my patrons about issues of privacy in the social media they use. And I need to stop wearing so many cardigans.

~Becky Willson, Mount Royal University

Friday, December 10, 2010

Copyright Update: Warpspeed

After years of hoping there would be some movement on the Canadian copyright landscape it now feels for many of us, that we are running to keep up with the latest changes. It has become at least a part-time job to keep up with the blog posts, respond to in-house queries, read the latest emails, participate in conference calls, review policies, draft memos, and hold education sessions – and I think that happened all just yesterday!

Suddenly providing a brief update for the newsletter is a daunting task with so many possible places to start, so I choose to start with the usual disclaimers. First the standard “I am a librarian not a lawyer” statement so this is not in any way legal advice; secondly by the time this will appear in the newsletter it will no doubt be out of date, in fact I think it may be out of date by the time I finish the next paragraph; and thirdly the highlights offered are a quick overview and don’t constitute the “whole story” by any stretch of the imagination. With those caveats in mind I encourage you to follow the links provided for more in-depth and current information and more perspectives.

The introduction of Bill C-32, The Copyright Modernization Act, in June of 2010, coincided (though surely not a coincidence) with news that the creator collective, Access Copyright, would be moving from a licensing to a tariff model for the post-secondary education system, having already had approved (though still under challenge in the courts) a tariff process for the K-12 system.

Proposed as a “balanced” Act, Bill C-32 does make significant strides to improve user rights while still protecting the rights of creators. It articulates an expanded definition of fair dealing, it is more format and technology neutral in its language, and does take into account current practices such as personal recording and use of TV shows and the personal mixing and remixing of media (the “YouTube” clause). One of the least supported and therefore most commented on, elements of the current Bill, from the perspective of user communities, is of course the overriding technical protection measures (TPM’s) which prohibit circumvention even for acts which fall under permitted uses of copyright materials. While a read of the Bill is an excellent investment of time in my view, I would also suggest one of the best overview documents is the Library of Parliament Legislative Summary on Bill-C32 (pub no: 40-3-C32-E). The summary goes through the Bill and compares it to the current Copyright Act.

Of course, as we know all too well in Canada, a lot can change between the introduction of a copyright Bill and final reading and passage into law. Bill C-32 has passed second reading and as I type it is now in committee and being debated and discussed in detail. In fact, I am listening to the audio of the first meeting of the Committee so for those who want to track the progress of the Bill and hear firsthand the work of the Committee I recommend a visit to http://www2.parl.gc.ca/CommitteeBusiness, where you can listen or watch live or take advantage of the archived audio. According to experts such as Michael Geist the committee is expected to continue their work into the new year, possibly concluding their work by February. Geist’s blog is a must read for the latest news and user-community perspective on the Bill.

Meanwhile…back at the office, those of us in universities and colleges are working through the latest news from the Copyright Board of Canada, which is currently discussing and hearing comments (aka objections) from the few remaining interveners in the proposed tariff review process. Following hot on the heels of the controversial removal of 97 of the 101 original intervener submissions, the Copyright Board is now considering Access Copyright’s request to put in place an interim tariff while the Board takes the needed time to fully review the details of the proposed tariff and the submissions from interveners. The implications of an interim tariff are significant both for current practices within post-secondary institutions, as well as for the future of a balanced review of the proposed tariff. The interim tariff in its most recent iteration is not an extension of the terms of the Access Copyright license, but rather of the terms of the proposed tariff. But again, keep in mind these details may have changed in the last few hours or in the next few hours. For the most current updates I would point you to Howard Knopf’s blog where he tracks the latest developments.

Meanwhile…on the frontlines, institutions have been busy educating faculty and staff on the use of already licensed electronic resources, as well as reviewing policies and procedures to ensure they align with copyright legislation and operation outside of an Access Copyright license. While most institutions have already confirmed they do not intend to sign onto the interim tariff as requested by Access Copyright, choosing rather to wait until the Copyright Board’s full review and decision is rendered, the impact of the Copyright Board issuing an interim tariff for January 2011 (if it goes through) will be considerable, both in the short term and the long term.

Although I have perhaps prompted more questions than provided answers in this update one thing has become very clear over the last few months: the need to work collectively. Whether it is the post-secondary community, the library community, or communities of shared interest within institutions, it is essential we have strong networks in order to develop the most informed responses to such rapidly evolving issues. So happy reading, meeting, advocating and educating.


Carol Shepstone, University Librarian, Mount Royal University

Monday, December 6, 2010

Leading in a Landscape of Transition: Calgary Public Library’s Leadership Institute

It has now become a common refrain: libraries have entered a period characterized by an unusually high number of transformational realities. To ensure that libraries pass through this period successfully, an increased emphasis on the management of change is required from library leaders. As such, on December 03, 2010, Calgary Public Library’s (CPL) managers, supervisors, librarians and special guests will be attending CPL’s biennial Leadership Institute. 

Under the banner “Leading in a Landscape of Transition”, this year’s Institute provides opportunities for CPL staff and guests to develop and refine needed leadership skills. A supervisor interested in understanding creative ways to guide their staff through change might be found sculpting clay, drumming a samba beat, or employing marshmallows to solve a problem. 

Keynote speakers include Ronnie Storey-Ewoldt, Public Services Director of Anythink Librariesrecipients of the 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service (United States) – who will be sharing Anythink Libraries’ new approaches to library service delivery. With over 100 attendees expected to participate in ten skills development and “serious play” workshops, perhaps CPL’s leaders will be further poised to turn this landscape of transition into a landscape of opportunity.

Caroline Higgins is a Community Outreach Librarian for Calgary Public Library’s Saddletowne Branch (opening in 2011) and FLA Jobline co-editor