The AALT Technician is the official journal of the Alberta Association of Library Technicians.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Caught the Service Bug? Volunteer with AALT!

The count down to the 43rd AALT conference, Bringing It All Together, is on! The AALT board of directors is looking forward to seeing all 150 delegates soon in Banff!

The Nominations Committee is currently soliciting the following position nominations for the upcoming board of directors:

President Elect: One-year term, followed by a one-year term as President. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: Chairs the Communications Group, Awards Committee and Nominations Committee and is a member of the Executive Committee.

Member at Large: One-year term, responsibilities include, but are not limited to: chairs the Professional Development Group, administers the AALT Mentoring Program, chairs the Mentoring Committee and Conference Committee.

We are also looking for a couple of rockstars to be Conference Co-chairs! Not only do you get to decide where and when next year's conference will be, choose an amazing line up of speakers and play host to awesome library techs from across the province. But, you will also receive the respect and adoration of your many delegates! Think you can plan the best conference ever? Send your names and ideas in! 

If you are interested in one of these positions please contact President Elect, Theresa Remtulla,

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Faces of AALT #5: AALT Communication Services Director Amy Southgate

Hello AALT!

This is the fifth post in the post in the Faces of AALT interview series, in which I interview myself, and manage to retain most of my sanity. I hope you have been enjoying this series, it is a great way to learn about different kinds of library technician work and about your co-members across the province. We are starting by featuring our 2016-17 board members, but soon we will be turning it over to regular members. If you would like to be featured please email for more information.
I look forward to seeing all of you on Faces of AALT soon!
Amy Southgate AALT Communication Services Director 2016-17

Faces of AALT: Amy Southgate, AALT Communication Services Director

AALT Technician: What is your professional background? 
Amy Southgate: I completed the Library Information Technology program at SAIT, and I also have a Bachelors degree from the University of Calgary. I have spent all of my career so far working in academic libraries. I started with practicum placements at Mount Royal University and the University of Calgary. After graduation I did a contract at the University of Lethbridge as a Library Operations Specialist, where I catalogued audio visual materials, worked on the public service desk as well as student engagement and social media. After that I moved to the University of Alberta in the Interlibrary Loans department.

AT: Where do you work and what are your responsibilities? 
AS: This past summer I transferred into a new position at the UofA as a Public Services Assistant. I spend lots of time doing reference in person at the service desk as well as chat. Off the desk I work on: subject liaison support, social media, displays, reading lists, institutional repository support, and other projects.

AT: What made you want to work in the library and information field?
AS: I love learning. So for me being able to work with interesting passionate people, and learn something new every day, is a real dream job!

AT: What is the most awesome part of your job?
AS: Public service is the most awesome part of my job. Being able to answer someone's question or teach them something new is so satisfying. Working in public service you get to build relationships with your patrons, it's so nice to have students and faculty stop by to chat with you on the desk.

AT: What advice would you give to someone looking to becoming a library technician?
AS: What you learn in school is very important, but the best resource you will ever have is other people. Your coworkers and colleagues at other organizations are invaluable, so take the time to get to know people in your organization and throughout library land. Also take time to get involved in organizations, not only will you gain connections but you will also be making libraries and the library technician profession stronger. Remember that relationships are give and take, you never know what skill or knowledge you have that might be valuable to someone else. Especially if you are new! a fresh perspective is more valuable than you think. Finally, remember that because so much of library land is build on relationships, your reputation is very important and you never know who knows who and where information will spread.

AT: What is the last book(s) you read?
AS: I split my time between reading non-fiction and fantasy or science fiction. A couple of my favourites from this past year were The Aeronaut's Windless and Walkable City

AT: What do you like to do outside of work?
AS: I love going to local events and believe in supporting local business, so living in Edmonton great, there is so much to do here! I can often be found at street festivals, craft fairs, farmers market or seeing live music, theatre and recently ballet.

Friday, 20 January 2017

AALT Conference Registration Now Open!

The Alberta Association of Library Technicians is pleased to announce that registration for the 43rd AALT conference is now open!

Please Join us in Banff, Alberta April 20-23rd for 4 great days of professional development and networking. 

For more information please see the Conference Website or email the Conference Committee 

Thursday, 8 December 2016

President's Message to AALT Members

The AALT Board has been hard at work this Fall. We are learning to adjust to the reduced size of our Board and the combined roles that were voted in at our AGM. If you recall we combined the Secretary and Treasurer positions into Administrative Services, Membership and Web into Online Services, and Journal and Marketing into Communication Services.
With the Member-at-Large position vacant, I have been working closely with our Conference Co-Chairs and that seems to be working out quite well.

There is a discussion taking place within our Alberta library associations that the Board felt you needed to be aware of. At the ALC 2016, a session on the Library Landscape was held. This session was facilitated by Jason Openo, then President of LAA, and had representation from Laura Ross-Giroux (ALTA President), Sarah Stephens (then AALT President), and myself (representing AAAL). The session was to discover and open up dialogue about what the various associations do, what is the overlap and where can we collaborate more. With the demise of CLA the conversation also opened up to the early stages of discussion of whether LAA could become the umbrella association for all the other library associations in

The AALT Board talked about what the pros and cons could be for AALT if they were to go under the umbrella of LAA and we had many concerns and questions.

At the end of September I had a Skype meeting with Jason Openo as a follow-up to the Library Landscape session. I shared the concerns the AALT Board had and what we thought could happen and areas of concerns we felt should be addressed before we even considered bringing this concept to our members. To sum up the discussion I had with Jason I told him the following:
  • AALT members need to feel valued and an important part of the library landscape. We are not “just” library technicians.
  • The LAA structure would need to accommodate a library technician interest group or section and that we needed an elected LIT position on the LAA Board to represent the interest group or section. This would also show that LAA is an inclusive association and not geared strictly to librarians as is often the perception.
  • AALT members would still need to have professional development that is relevant for them as well as conference opportunities. Jason indicated that LAA needs to branch out in its PD and conference offerings. It needs more than just ALC. ALC is very successful but only meets the needs of a certain number of members.  
  • I also talked about membership fees and how those increases could impact our members. However I do not think money is the main concern, our identities and contributions and recognition within the library community is.

The conversations that are taking place with APLAC, ATAL, AAAL have not been about the immediate “take over” but is really about collaboration, building bridges and coming to a better understanding. There have been several comments about the need to form a working group to represent the associations and I think it is very important that AALT be at that table and a big part of the discussion. Do I think that one day AALT could be under the LAA umbrella and still thrive? Very possible, but before we even get there we need to collaborate even more to demonstrate our value and contributions, and most importantly we need have our voices and concerns heard.

At this point I haven’t heard back from LAA about any of the concerns and questions I had brought forward but I will make sure that you are kept apprised and I can see this becoming a discussion for an AGM at some point in the future.
My promise to you is that I will keep AALT’s members best interests at the forefront and will keep you informed as things progress.

Do you have any comments or feedback on this discussion? Fill in our comment form


Karen Hildebrandt, AALT President 2016-17

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Faces of AALT #4: AALT Conference Co-Chair Marcia Holmes

Hello AALT!

Today we are pleased to announce the fourth post in a new series here on the AALT Technician, Faces of AALT! Faces of AALT is a great way to learn about different kinds of library technician work and about your co-members across the province. We are starting by featuring our 2016-17 board members, but soon we will be turning it over to regular members. If you would like to be featured please email for more information.
I look forward to seeing all of you on Faces of AALT soon!
Amy Southgate AALT Communications Services Director 2016-17

Faces of AALT: Marcia Holmes, AALT Conference Co-Chair

AALT Technician: What is your professional background?
Marcia Holmes: I graduated from MacEwan in 1991 with my LIT diploma.

AT: Where do you work and what are your responsibilities?
MH: I have worked at the Portage College Library for almost 25 years. I started as a cataloguing technician in 1992, became the coordinator of the Technical Services Unit about 10 years later, and am now Supervisor, Library Services. My duties include: Coordination and management of library services, staff, resources and budget for both branches; system administrator of the library management system; collection development and cataloguing/metadata functions.

AT: What made you want to work in the library and information field?
MH: I’ve always loved books and reading, and from an early age I spent a lot of time in my local public library. When I was deciding on becoming a library technician, I went to MacEwan and talked to Tony Fell, who was the program head at the time. His passion and enthusiasm was contagious and I was even more convinced that this was the right program for me. It’s almost 26 years later, and I believe becoming a library technician was one of the best decisions I have ever made!

AT:What is the most awesome part of your job?
MH: I feel very fortunate, as my job is both interesting and challenging. I feel like I learn something new everyday. The fact that I still get to do some cataloguing (which were my favourite courses in library school) makes me happy!

AT: What advice would you give to someone looking to becoming a library technician?
MH: If you are still undecided, spend some time meeting with the program staff, talking to other library technicians and students, to see if it’s right for you.

AT: What are the last books you read?
MH: Right now, I’m reading the Outlander series. I am currently reading Voyager and I just finished reading Dragonfly in Amber.

AT: But libraries aren’t just books! What is your current favourite movie/show/music?
I love time travel stories. Currently, my favourite time travel tv show is 12 monkeys

AT: What do you like to do outside of work?
MH: I love to read, watch TV, and do jigsaw puzzles.

AT: What is your favourite place to travel/a memorable trip?
MH: My most memorable trip was the two barefoot cruises I did a few years ago. These were on large sailboats and I got to go to places that you can only get to by boat and can’t accommodate the big cruise ships, so I got to see some amazing places. One of them was Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands. This island is believed to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write Treasure Island, and there is documented history that pirate treasure was buried somewhere on the island!

Thank you, Marcia!