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

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
Alberta.

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

Sincerely,


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 journal@aalt.org 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!

Monday, 14 November 2016

Faces of AALT #3: AALT Administrative Services Director Lynda Shurko

Hello AALT!

Today we are pleased to announce the third 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 journal@aalt.org 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: Lynda Shurko, Administrative Services Director


AALT Technician: What is your professional background?
Lynda Shurko: My education includes going to Victoria Composite High School where I graduated from Grade 12. I then attended Grant MacEwan were I received my Library Technician diploma. After receiving my diploma I accepted a job at the Edmonton Public School Board after two years there I accepted a position as Serials Library Technician at the Legislature Library.

AT: Where do you work and what are your responsibilities?
LS: I presently work at the Legislature Library and am presently working on providing metadata to the photograph collection we have.

AT: What made you want to work in the library and information field?
LS: I have always loved to read so I thought working in a library would be great.  When I was in High School I volunteered to work in one of the libraries we had.  Once I graduated I thought I would like to be a librarian so started attending University.  Discovered that was not my calling so went to Grant MacEwan. I felt comfortable doing this type of job. I am a more hands on type of person; administrative work really did not work.

AT: What is the most awesome part of your job?
LS: Right now doing metadata entry is exciting as I try to identify people in the photographs.  Being employed at the Legislature Library for so long, my historical knowledge comes in handy.

AT: What advice would you give to someone looking to becoming a library technician?
LS: For someone looking to becoming a library technician, the advice I would give is you will be assisting the librarian in whatever library you get employed at. You will be part of a team, and each member of the team is working to make the library a great place for people who come to 
your library.

AT: What is the last book(s) you read?
LS: The last book I read was Betty Broderick: Telling on myself

AT: But libraries aren’t just books! What is your current favourite movie/show/music?
LS: I like watching Romance/Comedies so I like moves like Bridget Jones and I am looking forward to watching Bridget Jones’ Baby. I am a Colin Firth fan. I also like movies with Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks, and Sandra Bullock in them.

AT: What do you like to do outside of work?
LS: What I like to do outside of work is to knit, crochet, cross-stitch, work on genealogy and read in my nice library chair that is in my library.

AT: What is your favourite place to travel/a memorable trip?
LS: I recently came back from visiting the Maritimes, which I fell in love with.  I have an affinity for water so it was nice to be close to the ocean.  Hope to go to the other provinces Labrador and Newfoundland next just to say I have been to the Maritimes.

Thank you, Lynda!







Saturday, 5 November 2016

Faces of AALT #2: AALT President Elect Theresa Remtulla

Hello AALT!

Today we are pleased to announce the second 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 journal@aalt.org 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: Theresa Remtulla, AALT President Elect


AALT Technician: What is your professional background?
Theresa Remtulla: I started working in the North Kamloops Public Library shelving materials and working at the circulation desk in 1992. I really enjoyed working in libraries so I decided to go to library school in 1998 and graduated from the University of the Fraser Valley with a diploma in Library and Information Technology. After graduating, I gained experience as a library technician by working at the Department of Education and Training Library (Manitoba), Red River College and working for the District Resource Centre (Vernon) library which was school library that served teachers throughout the Vernon school district. In 2002, I moved to Calgary for a position at Mount Royal University Library. I have worked in Access Services, Technical Services and I am currently working as an Information Assistant, Archives and Special Collections.

AT: Where do you work and what are your responsibilities?
TR: I work for Mount Royal University Library. I currently hold an acting appointment as Information Assistant, Archives and Special Collections. I am responsible for providing information and research support services to students, staff and faculty at MRU as well as in the library Archives. My position involves providing public services to the students, staff and faculty at MRU but I also work within the library archives, providing information services, creating finding aids and helping to organize and get the Archives ready for the move to our new library building next year!

AT: What made you want to work in the library and information field?
TR: I really enjoyed reading as a young child and frequently visited our local public library. I started working in libraries because a public library employee noticed my love for books and she encouraged me to apply for a job as a page shelving books.

AT: What is the most awesome part of your job?
TR: The most awesome part of my job is when I help a student to find something that they are looking for in our library. I really enjoy the customer service aspect of my current position in my library!

AT: What advice would you give to someone looking to becoming a library technician?
TR: The advice that I would give to someone who is looking to become a library technician is to volunteer, get involved in a library that you love, take an introductory library course, become an library association member, and/or continue to study and upgrade your skills. Libraries are constantly changing so it is important to continue to learn!

AT: What is the last book(s) you read?
TR: Holes by Louis Sachar 

AT: What do you like to do outside of work?
TR: Outside of work, I love spending time with my husband and two children. I enjoy exercising in my spare time. I practice yoga, spinning and lift weights.

AT: What is your favorite place to travel/a memorable trip?
TR: My favorite place to travel is to Mexico. My family love to eat, snorkel, swim and walk on the beautiful beaches!

Thank you, Theresa!






Monday, 12 September 2016

Faces of AALT #1: AALT President Karen Hildebrandt

Hello AALT, 

Today we are pleased to announce the first post in a new series here on the AALT Technician, Faces of AALT! It is a short interview series that will highlight some of our amazing members. It will be great way to learn about different kinds of library technician work and about your co-members across the province. 

We will begin 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 journal@aalt.org 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: Karen Hildebrandt, AALT President


AALT Technician: What is your professional background? 
Karen Hildebrandt: I received my LIT diploma from MacEwan in 1998 and my Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration degree from MacEwan in 2009.

AT: Where do you work and what are your responsibilities?
KH: I'm the Assistant Director,  Library Services at Concordia University of Edmonton. I oversee Circulation Services including supervising permanent and contract staff, set library hours, oversee some budget areas, maintain the room booking calendars, sit on the NEOS Access Services Committee and work on special projects related to improving services and user access.  

AT: What made you want to work in the library and information field? KH: My interest in libraries goes back to Grade 3 when I first started working in my elementary school library during recesses and lunch breaks. 

AT: What is the most awesome part of your job?
KH: Getting to make a difference in someone's life. 

AT: What advice would you give to someone looking to becoming a library technician?
KH: Learn as much as you can, be prepared to experience a lot of change, be flexible and be willing to go outside of your comfort zone. 

AT: What is your favorite book/ book that had a strong impact on you?
KH: Girl of the Limberlost. It was from my childhood but the main character showed resilience and remained caring inspite of her circumstances. 

AT: What book do you hate/ which is most overrated? 
KH: DaVinci Code. Not well written at all. 

AT: What do you like to do outside of work? 
KH: Hang out with my husband and family and keep in touch with my circle of friends. 

AT: What is your favorite place to travel/a memorable trip?  
KH: Favorite place is somewhere warm when we're in the midst of winter. Most memorable trip would be when my husband and I went to Australia,  New Zealand, and the Cook Islands in 2006. 


Thank you, Karen!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

43 Annual AALT Conference - Call for speakers

The AALT Board of Directors and Conference Co-Chairs, Marcia Holmes & Melanie Belliveau, are pleased to announce the 43rd Annual AALT Conference!






The 43rd annual Alberta Association of Library Technicians Conference will be held in beautiful Banff, Alberta from April 20-23, 2017 at the Banff Park Lodge Resort & Conference Centre.
The 2017 theme, "Bringing It All Together", expresses the idea that library technicians/ library personnel use various concepts, tools, and resources with a focus on collaboration, creativity and communication, not only to fulfill their duties as technicians but also in their daily lives.


We are interested in session proposals that address this theme and are of interest to one or more of the following types of libraries (academic, special, public, or school.) Author talks and those that cover health and wellness and other topics of interest will also be considered.

Sessions are 45 or 60 minutes in length.

Please submit proposals through the Speaker Form

If you have any questions about submitting a proposal, please contact conference@aalt.org
Submission deadline is October 30, 2016.


Sunday, 3 July 2016

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year!
I realize that seems a bit odd to say at this time of year, but with the new AALT Board year just underway it seems very appropriate.
This is a year of building on the changes the previous Board started this past year. It’s also our first year under the new governance structure so please bear with us as we adjust to the dual roles that some of our Board Members now have.
Theresa, Lynda, Amy, Christy and I had our first Board meeting on June 18 and I want to say that it was AWESOME!!!  I left the meeting excited that I get to work with this great team!
I’m happy to announce that Marcia Holmes and Melanie Belliveau are the AALT 2017 Conference Co-Chairs and they’ve hit the floor at a run negotiating a conference venue and date.
The Member-At-Large Board position is still vacant so if you’d be interested in being the Board Liaison with the Conference Committee, please contact me at president@aalt.org

Karen Hildebrandt, President AALT 2016-2017

Sunday, 15 May 2016

AATL 2016 Wrap Up

AALT 2016 came to a light-hearted conclusion with a presentation and reading by author/library technician Glenda Goertzen. She touched on the confluences between writing and library work, including cataloguing her own book. Glenda closed her talk by treating delegates to a reading from her upcoming book.

My compliments to conference co-Chairs Janis Rapchuk, Pablo Zanetta and Danica Dixon for bringing together a great conference. My thanks also to the Conference Committee (Chris Savage, Melanie Belliveau, Brenda Gee, Kathleen Johnston) and all the SAIT Library Information Technology students and faculty who volunteered to help out before and during the conference.

Over the course of the conference I heard several positive comments from delegates regarding the quality of sessions and keynotes. Also, many delegates appreciated being at SAIT during its centennial year and being in Heritage Hall, in particular.

Finally, if you attended AALT 2016, please be sure to complete the Conference Survey. As a past conference chair (twice), I can assure you that feedback to the survey really does guide planning for the next conference.

AALT 2016 Delegate's Survey


Glenda speaking at the AALT 2016 Sunday Brunch. 
Last of the door prizes being given away.

AALT 2016 Banquet

Congratulations to the Conference Committee on a great banquet. I was having such a good time that I neglected to take pictures. So, here's a photo I lifted from Sarah's Facebook page.

Friends and colleagues (and Sarah's daughter) at the AALT Banquet (courtesy Sarah Stephens).

Awards

Three awards were presented last night by outgoing President Sarah Stephens. As Sarah noted, AALT doesn't give every award every year. So, when a recipient is selected it marks a significant contribution to libraries and library techncians.

I had the honor of introducing Mo Keshavjee, recipient of the Advocacy Award. Mo, in his role as marketing and communications coordinator for SAIT's School of Information and Communications Technology, was recognized for his his work promoting the SAIT Library Information Technology program to employers, library workers and learners across Alberta.

Author and library technician Judith Graves will receive the Merle Harris Achievement Award for her work as a school librarian in Cold Lake, Alberta and contributions to the library technician community. Judith couldn't join us, but incoming President Karen Hildebrandt said a few words of thanks on her behalf.

Finally, Sarah and Karen presented the Dewey Award to Journal Editor Kristian McInnis for his contributions to the AALT Board during the 2015-16 year.*

Kristian accepting the - tiny - Dewey Award (courtesy Karen Hildebrandt).
Mo (centre) accepts the Advocacy Award (courtesy Karen Hildebrandt).

Entertainment

We closed evening with a performance by the Chinook Country Line Dancers. The dancers kicked up their heels through many energetic routines and did a fantastic job coaching delegates through several dances.

Our dance coach (on the stage) leads delegates through some steps (courtesy Marcia Holmes).

Delegates line dance mostly on the beat (courtesy Marcia Holmes).

*I had a little debate with myself about whether to discuss my award in the first or third person. Either way, it feels awkward.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

AALT 2016 Day 2 Summary

Sessions

More fantastic sessions filled the second day of AALT 2016.

Deb Cryderman offered a really engaging session on diversifying library collections. Jim Gray had is delegates talking about challenged books and how to manage those challenges in consistent, professional and respectful way. SAIT instructor Matt Adolphe discussed strengthening workplace teams through embracing diversity. Meanwhile, Conference co-Chair Pablo Zannetta led a dozen delegates to the C-train for quick run up to the University of Calgary and the Taylor Family Digital Library.

Three SAIT library technology students presented in our Student Lightning Talks this year. First, Jessica Machacek discussed using Camtasia to support training staff and patrons. Then Kira Maros and Anna Friesen shared their project marketing and delivering a program for children at Calgary Public Library.

And, again, there was a lot more that I didn't get to see or hear about from other delegates. Thank you to everyone who contributed the professional development of library technicians by stepping up to present at the AALT Conference.
Kira (left) and Anna present their marketing project.
Small group discussion in the Challenged Books session.
Jessica shows a Camtasia tutorial on using Discovery Search.

AALT 2016 Annual General Meeting

The AGM this year saw a substantive change to the organization of AALT's Board of Directors supported by the AALT members present at the meeting. 

Several Board positions were merged to support changing business needs within AALT. So, Marketing and Journal positions have been merged into a single Communications Director role. Similarly, Secretary and Treasurer are now the Administrative Services Director and Webteam and Membership become Online Services Director. 

As a consequence of these changes several revisions to the by-laws were supported by members and a separate motion reduced the quorum needed for Board meetings from 6 to 4 to reflect the reduction in Board positions.

Later, after calling for nominations from the floor, the slate of Directors was announced. For the 2016-2017 year, the Board of Directors is:
  • President: Karen Hildebrandt - Concordia University
  • President-Elect: Theresa Remtulla - Mount Royal University
  • Administrative Services Director: Lynda Shurko - Alberta Legislature Library
  • Communications Services Director: Amy Southgate - University of Alberta
  • Online Services Director: Christy Nicols - Banff Centre Library
Member-at-Large, along with Student Representatives from SAIT and MacEwan, were unfilled at the time of this writing and will be appointed at a later date.

During the AGM outgoing President Sarah Stephens thanked the former Board for their work and welcomed the new Board. Finally, she passed the gavel to incoming President Karen Hildebrandt who adjourned the meeting.

Delegates listen as motions are presents at the AALT AGM.
Sarah calls the AGM to order.
Incoming AALT President Karen Hildebrandt takes up the gavel.

AALT 2016 Saturday Keynote

We're off to another fantastic start on the second day of the AALT Conference.

There was again lots of great conversation as delegates gathered for breakfast and settled in for this morning's keynote address.

Saturday's breakfast in historic MacDonald Hall.
Kathleen (left) and Janis give out door prizes.
Kathleen gets help drawing prize winners. 

Keynote

Saturday's keynote by Dr. Lauryn Oates was a reminder of the fundamental value of literacy and a stirring call to action in support of vulnerable women and girls.

Lauryn is Programs Director for Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. She plans, manages, monitors and evaluates programs that target improving literacy for women and girls in Afghanistan.

Early in her talk Lauryn connected her topic to libraries and literacy by quoting Dr. Seuss: "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." She emphasized the importance of literacy for women and girls in Afghanistan (and other developing/post-conflict) states, not just for them but also for their families and communities. She noted, particularly, the strong positive connection between higher levels of education improved health, economic and social outcomes.

Lauryn also stated that the best predictor of a state's peacefulness is the status of women within the state.

Dr. Oates discussed challenges of development work in authoritarian and undemocratic states. She drew a comparison between how communities in democratic states can pressure their government verses the experience of communities in less free states. She offered a scenario where water accessed by a community has become contaminated. In a free, democratic state the community can pressure the government to fix the issue through protest, activism and media engagement (I thought of Flint, Michigan when she described this scenario). In undemocratic states, communities simply can't pressure the government for relief through these means.

So, the fundamental need in her mind for sustainable development is to not simply provide these communities with resources and expertise, but also with more freedom. Because, when people are free, they are free to solve their own problems.

Dr. Lauryn Oates begins her keynote address.

Lauryn describes the impact of literacy on women and girls in Afghanistan

AALT 2016 Day 1 Summary

Sessions

There were several great sessions through the day. For instance, some delegates learned about their communication and learning styles with Rob Chubb. Others joined Stephen Abrams to further discuss the issues raised in his keynote and, later, many headed off to the Military Museums.

In keeping with the conference's theme, Karen Hildebrandt discussed the framework they are using at Concordia University for engaging with and supporting disabled learners. And, in their session, SAIT's own Sandra Lee (Academic Chair, Library Technology and Journalism) and Shan Robertson (Manager, Learner Success) had delegates role play various limitations - including social disabilities - to provide insight on the challenges faced by people with disability.

There were, of course, many other sessions by great people giving back to the community and supporting the professional development of their colleagues. If you enjoyed any of the other sessions on Friday, share in the comments. Also, be sure to fill out those session feedback forms.They really do guide the conference committee's decisions for the coming year.

Karen talks about effectively engaging with disabled learners

Delegates learn about their learning styles with the True Color profiles.

Lunch

There was more good times at lunch as delegates gathered in MacDonald Hall again to chat and share a meal.

Shiny happy people. 

People laughing. 

Door prize winners Karen, Megan and Chloe.


Shirt Twin

Finally, in the most awesome happening of the day, Andrew and I wore the same shirt to conference.

Andrew (right) and I are shirt twins! Though I think his shirt is newer than mine.




Friday, 13 May 2016

Thank You to Our Vendors and Sponsors

Business has been hopping at our many vendor tables. The main floor of Heritage Hall is overrun with commercial and library vendors offering a wide variety of products and services.

Vendors have always been an important part of the AALT Conference, providing a forum for delegates to connect with sales representatives offering books, online resources, office supplies and more.

I took the pictures below during the first breakout sessions, so most of our delegates are off learning instead of networking and buying. But, I thought this was a good time to show you the number and variety of vendors without too many people blocking the view.

Panorama of the foyer of Heritage Hall (click for full size).

Almost the full length of Heritage Hall is take up with vendors.

Thank you to all our vendors and sponsors for contributing to a great AALT experience and supporting the professional development of library technicians.

Please take a moment to visit our vendors, sponsors and donors below.

Sponsors and Donors



Vendors















AALT 2016 Keynote Overview

Delegates gathered this morning for a great pre-keynote breakfast in historic Heritage Hall on the SAIT campus. The program began with a welcome to the conference by co-Chair Janis Rapchuk. Delegates were then welcomed to SAIT by Genevieve Luthy, manager of the Reg Erhardt Library.

Genevieve took a few moments in her address to note that this is SAIT's centennial year and the connections between AALT and SAIT's history.
Janis welcomes delegates to AALT 2016.
Lots of friends and colleagues reconnecting at the Friday keynote breakfast.
At 9:00 am ("not sure if we'll stay on time, but we'll start on time", as Janice put it) AALT President-Elect Karen Hildebrandt introduced keynote speaker Stephen Abrams with a warm recollection of their first meeting. 

Stephen opened his presentation by complimenting the quality of his suite in SAIT's residence and noting it was much fancier than he expected. He then entered into a wide ranging and enthusiastic talk about why this is an exciting time to work in libraries. 

His presentation challenged traditional library attitudes and practices by asking questions like "Do you make it easy to find resources or is it a treasure hunt?" and emphasising that library professionals provide not merely transactional services but transformational ones. He said we focus to much on what we have (nouns) and not enough on what we do (verbs). 

He highlighted some of our professional "diseases":
  • avoiding conflict
  • passive resistance
  • risk aversion
Stephen challenged delegates to work against these tendencies and to focus on our core competency of "improving the quality of the question and user experience."


Stephen Abrams asks AALT 2016 "What business are you in?"

This rousing, humorous and challenging presentation was a fantastic way to kick-start the conference. Stephen's slides are on his blog Stephen's Lighthouse. I encourage to have a look.

More to come from AALT 2016.