In Support of Orange Shirt Day and No More Stolen Sisters

At the Education & Music Library, we are giving out free buttons to wear in support of Orange Shirt Day on September 30th and also to honour Stolen Sisters on October 4th.

Orange Shirt Day: September 30th is a designated day to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.

No More Stolen Sisters: On October 4th, hundreds of Sisters in Spirit vigils will be held in communities across Canada to honour Indigenous women who have gone missing or been murdered. Wearing a button shows support for finding solutions to end the Canadian human rights crisis of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit persons.

Controversy Strikes at the 6th Annual Murray Library Mini Golf Tournament of Champions

The end of summer is often a painful time. Not only does it signal the arrival of cold weather and thousands of new students asking where Room 299 is, but it is also the beginning of Pumpkin Spice Latte season at Starbucks (yuck). Fortunately, at the Murray Library, there is one nice end-of-summer tradition that makes it all worthwhile. I am speaking of course, of the Annual Murray Library Mini Golf Tournament of Champions, now in its 6th year.

If you’re new and you’ve never heard of the Annual Murray Library Mini Golf Tournament of Champions, feel free to catch up by reading Branching Out posts from years past: 2018, 2017, 2016 (no post) 2015, and 2014. The essential facts to be aware of are that there’s a Best Golfer award (often won by Duane, but last year Cathy was the champ) and there’s a Worst Golpher award (often won by Amy, but last year Kelly and Laura H took that prize in a tie). The competition to win these awards is often quite fierce. Another thing to be aware of is that in all the years past, no guest has ever won a prize. It’s always been library employees who’ve won. (Remember this – it will become relevant later on in the story.)

This year, to make things even more exciting, we decided to add a team element to the mix. The names of library staff members and their guests were all put into a hat, and foursomes were picked randomly. Teams were asked to choose names, and were encouraged to dress thematically. With the addition of teams, we added two new awards to the contest: Best Team and Werst Teem.

The official rules of the tournament, which were written out in a very official Murray Social Committee email, are as follow:

Due to a rule invented by Laura Harris last year, anyone who worked in Murray 122/134/G6 in 2019 or who still has a permanent line in Murray is eligible to play. Guests can play, but are not eligible to win the Best Golfer and Worst Golpher trophies. [Probably? It’s never come up before.] Guest scores will however count for the new team trophies.

(Remember these rules. They will become relevant later on in the story.)

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Harry Potter Food Day at Murray

As all good wizards know, Harry Potter’s birthday is in July. Therefore, July’s monthly Murray Food Day was the perfect excuse to celebrate our favorite boy wizard. And what better way to celebrate the Boy Who Lived than with a wizarding world feast?

Murray employees really outdid themselves with the variety of treats available. Along with our regular Food Day fare, we dined on snacks of a more magical variety. Fortunately, everything was delicious – no puking pastilles or nosebleed nougats in sight.

Golden snitch crisps and troll bogeys.

Flying broomsticks

Butter beer and pumpkin juice

Witch hat cupcakes with sorting hat surprise filling

We Gryffin-ADORED our food day. We Raven-CLAWED the food into our mouths until we were Huffle-STUFFED and then we Slytherin-ED our way back to our desks for a nap.

To make Harry Potter day extra super duper special, we also took a quiz which sorted us into Hogwarts Houses. We encourage other library employees to take the quiz and see which House they belong in!

The library is apparently mostly populated with Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs. No one wanted to fess up to being a Slytherin (*cough* Candice *cough*)

The Harry Potter Food Day was such a success, it’s sure to become an annual tradition.

Wizards at work

And now for something completely different…

Introducing the staff of LS&IT in a way you’ve never seen them before…

Name: Tom Belliveau
Favorite Books:  East of Eden by John Steinbeck,  The Stand by Stephen King,  Contact by Carl Sagan, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Favorite Movies: Schindler’s List, Goodfellas, The Silence of the Lambs, Saving Private Ryan, The Big Lebowski
Favorite Game of Thrones Character: The Hound
Favorite Music/Band:  Rush, Metallica, Blue Oyster Cult, Simon and Garfunkel
Interests:  NHL (Oilers), Reading, Movies, Fishing, PC Games, Philosophy
Guilty Pleasures:  All of them…all of the pleasures
Pet Peeves:  No capacity to change an opinion,  the easily offended, not using turn signals

Name: Darryl Friesen
Favorite Authors: J.R.R. Tolkien; Raymond E. Feist; P.D. Eastman
Favorite Books: The Hobbit; The Lord of the Rings
Favorite Movies: Highlander (1986); Star Wars (1977); Every James Bond film
Favorite 80’s Canadian Rock Bands: Honeymoon Suite; Glass Tiger; Platinum Blonde; Payolas
Favorite TV Shows as a kid: Magnum PI; Miami Vice; Battlestar Galactica
Favorite Video Games: Crackdown; GTA V; Rock Band 1,2 & 3; Halo 1-4 (5 sucked)
Pet Peeves: People who don’t like Tolkien; Greg Harkleman; Mac computers
Motto: “Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.”
Guilty Pleasures: Memes; Blueberry scones; Drummin’ at my desk
Fun Facts: Voted Senior Stick in High School; Won the Grade 12 Computer Science award; Started working at the UofS in my 2nd year of university

Name: Craig Harkema

I was born in a crippled canoe on the Babine. My mother was a cook and my dad a lumberjack.  My hair, black as oil from a skidder, confused and frightened the locals. They were forced to sacrifice me to the god of sound and stone under the dead spruce by the Kal Tire. Reborn as Crag Howleema, I began a journey across time and its irreconcilable spaces. There were crack climbs and slabby descents, swims in tailings ponds, reproduction and post production, sounds of hiphop and flip flops. The journey began with mining and manuscripts, rock skipping and scanning; it ends when I dam the river and outline its contours on Slack. I will retire with an eggel and espresso, cycling through the possibilities of stone carving and pecans.

Name: Jason Hlady
Fun Fact:  I am the highest rated competitive Scrabble player in Saskatchewan.  This is the eleventh nerdiest thing about me.
Career goal: to work remotely 7 months a year from on-hill ski resort lodging.  See ski-goggle tan in picture at end of season from last year.
Pet Peeve:  Spoilers of any sort.
Thing I have done in the last 7 days that I am most ashamed of:  Ordered and consumed fish and chips. From McDonald’s.  While not at gunpoint.


Name: Ripley Shannon Lucky
Favourite (& most formative) movie as a kid: Labyrinth
Favourite Game of Thrones character: Breanne (Except for the end of S8E4 – absurdly out of character!)
Best concert experience: Annie Lennox at SaskPlace (she might have been opening for Sting, but we all know who the real headliner was).
Favourite junk food: Dad’s Cookies Goodies Rings or those multi-coloured mini-marshmallow and peanut butter squares that are at all Saskatchewan social events.
Pet peeves: Special characters in file names and spaces in URLs. Co-workers who insist the original Battlestar Galactica was better than the 2000’s remake.
Fun Facts: Also the valedictorian of her grade 8 class (but no shoulder pads), won a Teamsters “James R Hoffa Memorial Scholarship” in 2001, was in school continuously from 1989 until 2014 and has 4 degrees (but no PhD). Totally unrelated, is about to make her very last student loan payment this month! Parents are still baffled she didn’t just finish that 4-year commerce program and get a ‘real’ job.


Name: Mike Moore
Favorite TV Show: Breaking Bad
Favorite Movie: Goodfellas
Favorite Game: Fallout
Pete Peeves: Writing blurbs about myself.



Name: Jennifer Murray
Favorite book(s): The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander, Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings, Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot: And Other Observations by Al Franken, Bossypants by Tina Fey
Favorite movie(s): Willow (1988), Steel Magnolias (1989), Jurassic Park (1993), Shawshank Redemption (1994), Deep Blue Sea (for the Samuel L. Jackson + shark scene alone), any Star Wars movie released before 1984
Favorite TV show(s) as a kid: Family Ties, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Cheers
Best remake(s): Battlestar Galactica (2004), Star Trek (2009)
Favorite junk food: Rock Salt & Vinegar chips by Hardbite
Guilty pleasure: A & W
Pet Peeve: people who get upset by armpit hair on women
Fun facts: Valedictorian of Grade 8 class (including shoulder pads), worked with RCMP and VPD on the Robert Pickton case, won two bronze medals at the 1989 Jeux Canada Games for rowing

Name: Chris Pockett
Favorite Fantasy Characters: Balthier & Fran, Haseo & Ovan, Caith & Zojja, Ichigo, Kirito & Sinon, Neku & Shiki, Drizzt Do’Urden & Guenhwyvar…
Favorite Games (or series): Pokemon, Guild Wars, .hack, Kingdom Hearts, Dungeons & Dragons, The World Ends With You, Magic: The Gathering…
Favorite Recipe to Bake: Pies (mostly apple or pumpkin though varies), crisps (predominately apple though mixes with rhubarb, strawberry, raspberry, pear are fun), and sweet bread loaves (lemon poppy seed, red velvet [with beet], cinnamon swirl, chocolate zucchini)
Pet Peeves: Bad code or design in computer programs.
Fun Facts: I’ve got a pair of ferrets named Ashera & Nyx along with my cats Zoe (grey) and Maya (orange) {both in the picture} and Rytlock. I also prefer tea to coffee and usually drink tea from Timmies or loose tea from home.

Name: Joel Salt
Favourite Song(s): A Day in the Life by The Beatles, Light of the Moon by Joel Plaskett
Favourite Television Show(s): Frasier, classic Heritage Minutes
Favourite Movie(s): Chimes at Midnight, The Princess Bride, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Half-Nelson
Favourite Grammatical Construction(s): the Oxford Comma
Favourite Book(s): Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephen Leacock, 1 Henry IV by William Shakespeare, A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews, Sarah Binks by Paul Heibert
(Not so) Fun Fact: Won award for best attendance in primary school.
Fun Fact: Recently found a 7-year old Magic Gift Card while packing up house to move. Went to throw it out, but nostalgia wouldn’t allow it. Good thing, as it is worth $850!

Name: Laura Stewart
Favorite authors: Elizabeth George, Louise Penny, Jussi Adler-Olsen, Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)
Favorite movies: Music Man (1962), Singing in the Rain (1952), Casablanca (1942), Laura (1944 – no, that’s not the year I was born!)
Favorite TV shows: currently Love it or List it Vancouver, Masters of Flip (what’s up with shelving books backwards?)
Favorite places: British Columbia, Michigan, Mackinac Island,  San Francisco, Hawaii, McNally Robinson (or any bookstore), HOME
Favorite junk food: popcorn and more popcorn
Guilty pleasure: Purdy’s Coconut Fudgie bars (yum)
Most thrilling fun fact (or most unlikely person to): catch a foul ball at a major league baseball game. Yes, it’s true! August 10, 2010, Comerica Park, Detroit Tigers vs Tampa Bay Rays. To quote my astonished daughter “You caught the ball!”

Name: Karim Tharani

Fun Fact: LS&IT’s (quite possibly the University’s) only employee who has not watched a single episode of Game of Thrones.

Pet Peeve: Unnamed LS&IT team members going on and on and on… about Game of Thrones right outside my office!

Guilty Pleasure: Waiting for those rare days when Craig is not in his office and stealing from his self-branded jar of unsalted mixed nuts.

Please note that conversation outside of Karim’s office door no longer happens. We heard his message loud and clear. We now make sure to stand inside Karim’s office for these conversations so he isn’t left out 🙂

Name: John Yobb
Favorite Books: “Why Do We Sleep” by Matthew Walker, Science fiction from the 40’s and 50’s
Favorite Movies: Matrix, THX1138
Video games that have taken over my life at some point: GTA5, Skate 3, Quake II
Favorite Food: Dates with chocolate and an ice coffee
Activities: Biking, Building stuff, Horticulture, Walking dogs while listening to podcasts
Dependents: Luke and Anna (human), Victor, Rosie, Scooter (Canine)
Fun Facts: Spent a few decades skateboarding and snowboarding. My first wife Liv Marken also works in the library.

Name: Michael Laurie Zinkowski (My dad’s dad was named Michael and my mom’s dad was Laurie)
Favourite junk food: Zesty Cheese Doritos, Diet Pepsi (tried for the first time at our block party in ’92, have never looked back)
Favourite food: Chicken Wings and/or Pizza
Favourite TV Shows: I love lots of TV series, but top 3 are .. The Shield, Deadwood, Game of Thrones (fell to 3rd spot after S8…Shame)
Guilty Pleasure (TV): Big Brother (only the American (summer) Edition though)
Guilty Pleasure (Food): Eating Honey Nut Cheerios out of a Salad Serving Bowl (don’t judge me! It saves me from having to go refill a regular bowl 4 or 5 times!)
Pet peeve: people that walk into my office with drum sticks and start drumming on things 🙂
Favourite possession: our 9ft tall Christmas Tree!
Fun facts: I love swimming and am happy my daughters love swimming also and will join me in the water, no matter how cold it is! As a kid I loved ALL karate movies. I’ve been playing baseball since I was 4 and still play

A Library Intern’s Experience

Shelby Kirilenko was a student in INTS 380: Internship in Library and Information Studies, which is offered in the winter term by the University Library for students in the College of Arts & Science. Shelby completed a three-month internship with Maha Kumaran, Head, Education & Music Library. Staff at the Education & Music Library branch collaborated on creating the interview questions below. The interview questions and Shelby’s responses provide us with an understanding of the intern’s perspective of the program, librarianship, and our library.

An item featured in Shelby’s Asian Heritage display.

Tell us about your experience in the Library internship program.

I joined the Library Internship Program to learn more about the ever-changing field of academic librarianship.  My experience was excellent. There’s a class portion and an internship with a librarian. The class is completed over one semester for three credits. I met with Maha Kumaran, Head Education & Music Library, almost every Monday and Friday from January 2019 to the beginning of April 2019. I learned about ethnic diversity in librarianship. I also learned about copyright issues, ordering materials and processing library materials, cataloguing, and various collections including the Aboriginal education collection, historical texts, and the young adult collections. I also visited the Murray Library and learned about other resources such as the Indigenous Studies Portal (iPortal). It was somewhat difficult to try and fit 70 hours of interning over the course of one semester, but it was very rewarding.

What did you find different or surprising about the field of librarianship?

The most surprising thing I learned about librarianship is the number of different paths to practice librarianship. From cataloguing to subject librarians, in public or academic libraries, there are many different paths and career choices with room for everyone, no matter how varied their library interests may be.

How did this program prepare you to organize information for the Asian Heritage display?

After consultations with Maha, based on my interests, and timeliness of the internship which ended in April, I chose to work on the Asian Heritage display. I was able to find resources by learning how to search and find materials through the catalogue and the various relevant research guides. The program also helped me by teaching me how to choose items based on audience levels (children and young adults were my focus). Maha also directed me towards young adult book award websites and the Young Adult Library Services website (YALSA), which were very helpful.

To determine materials for the Asian Heritage display, I thought about what would be most informative to the audience who visit this display. I chose books with a focus on: Asian characters; Asian authors; the history of Asian Canadians; or books set in an Asian country. I posted information about what Asian Heritage month is, as well as Canadian associations involved. I also wanted the display to be eye-catching, so I used pictures and added short informative paragraphs about them. For the pictures, I chose a mix of Asian Canadians that users may or may not recognize as Canadians, and therefore may not be aware of their contributions to Canada. I added a blurb about each person and their contributions under their picture.

On display in Shelby’s Asian Heritage display.



Was it easy to find materials for this display? If yes or no, why/why not? Or tell us how you think the library can make it easier.

It was fairly easy to find books through word and author searches, however, I think searching by subject headings could be improved further. It takes a lot of time to understand how to search library resources and to apply appropriate limits to find what one needs. I found materials using the subject search, but I am not confident that the subject headings are a comprehensive list. To search for specific subjects, sometimes I had to try three different variations of the subject to find what I needed. If I searched the subject “Asia – Juvenile Fiction,” I could only find one result. If I searched for “Chinese Canada — Fiction,” the juvenile fiction results would not be displayed. However, if I was more specific and searched for the subject “Chinese Canada — Juvenile Fiction,” I found what I needed. This means one has to know and search for each country in Asia in the catalogue, and try it with other key subjects, like “Juvenile fiction” or “History”, to get specific results. From here on I could apply location (Education & Music Library) and material format limits (e.g., books, journals, audio-visual) and access what I needed for the display. Since materials are catalogued in many different ways, it can be hard to find what you need unless you know the specific title or author, or have a good knowledge of subject headings.

Part of the display for Asian Heritage.


What did you learn while looking for materials to pull for this display?

I learned that how I search really matters. For example, if I am searching for Chinese New Year, I can use keywords such as “Chinese Festivals”, or “Chinese Celebrations” both of which produce different sets of results with some overlap.  One can also use “China –Festivals” as a subject heading. I learned the importance of searching several resources in multiple ways to retrieve everything I needed.

I also learned how to search Sierra, the integrated relational database, which is the behind the scenes library catalogue. By using this database, I was able to find items in a way that front-end users cannot. For example, I can look at the bibliographic and item records of a book to help locate a book that is not on the shelf. The record will show the last check-in date, so I can learn when and where the book was last checked in.  In the Sierra item records, I could edit the status of an item (from “In library” to “on Exhibit”). Notes that are not displayed in the public catalogue can be added to the item record using Sierra, to provide additional location information. (e.g. items on display).

As a library user, what is your take away from this experience?

I have two main takeaways from this experience: 1. Usearch is not is the most effective tool in finding and accessing materials I need. So, I recommend the use of catalogues and research guides! 2. Do not take library staff for granted. Everyone in the library does a lot of work in the back end, to facilitate end-user access and to help serve its users. To this I am thankful.

If you have any questions or comments, send an email to

Law Library Upgrade

After more than a year of planning, meetings, and voting, the new chairs at the Law Library have arrived – and we think they look pretty fantastic. It was time to replace the out-of-date, stained blue chairs that were so beloved by the Law students. Finding them a close replacement was not an easy feat. We made sure that the students had a voice throughout the entire process. So far the feedback has been quite positive. If you find yourself in our neck of the woods come check them out for yourself! 


Murray Has Been Busy

The past few weeks have been very hectic here at the Murray Library! Between exams, Take a Break, Darlene retiring, celebrating the new ground floor office, and Cathy changing roles, I think we’re all ready for the peace and quiet of summer.

To help counter the stress of exams, we had our alumni handing out box after box of snacks and a bajillion bags of popcorn, and 10 different activity stations where students could do puzzles, create origami, figure out how to play Sudoku, write obviously random words in an attempt to look like they knew how to do crossword puzzles, or wind down with some colouring (we even bought better crayons this year!).

As usual, we asked for feedback and here were some of our most inspirational and motivating comments:

  • Lego isn’t fun. There were no snacks.
  • Easier puzzles plz. These ones gave me anxiety.
  • Kittens instead of stinky dogs.
  • #verydisappointedyetstillcompletelymetmyexpectationsattheUofS

So inspirational!

We also had one of our student casuals, Josh, create a beautiful whiteboard. Thanks Josh!


On April 11, we had a small gathering in room 122 to celebrate Darlene’s retirement. The cake was absolutely amazing!

The cake was from Calories and worth every penny! I mean nickle, since we no longer have pennies…

As Darlene had been with the University for so long, it’s understandable that it was emotional. Darlene gave a beautiful speech and wanted to impress upon everyone the importance of being kind.

Sarah was very kind to give Darlene’s parrot a new loving home.

We’ll miss you Darlene!

Now that you’re retired, you can eat alllll the cake you want.

Next up, we had a party to celebrate the opening of the new office on the ground floor! Do we have a room number for it yet? Just like in high school, I was unable to attend the party because my mom said no (I was actually on vacation), but I heard the punch was great!

The party was so wild that a sign had to be put up saying that we would still help you (if we had to).

The pictures I was given don’t really show a party, but I’m sure it was a wild one. Everyone knows library people know how to have fun!

Behold the feast!

And finally today is Cathy’s last day in circulation! We’ll finally have her back in room 122!!

Cathy’s OLD department decided to send her off in style by decorating her OLD desk.

They’ll miss you Cathy!! It says so right here.

I bet they’ll keep that image of her head on the wall, even after she’s safely in Interlibrary Loans.

Oh, and there were doughnuts, which I happily partook in.

The explosive biohazard at the Murray Library

A special Branching Out guest post by Lisa S.

Protective Services visited the Murray circ desk on Tuesday morning to inform us that during their walkthrough, they had discovered that the map area on the 2nd floor smelled like barf. I decided to take one for the team as I have 3 kids and 2 dogs so always seems to be dealing in body fluids and solids of some sort. Mimi (our caretaker) came up with me and we didn’t notice a smell until we got around halfway through the room. The smell hit us like a wall. No gradual “ease” into it. We knew immediately that there was vomit somewhere. We searched the floor, chairs, tables and took the garbage can apart. Nothing. We were able to tell with our keen sense of smell which zone of the room it was in, but could not see anything.

After a few minutes, a girl approached us and asked what we were looking for, but I could tell she already knew. I said we were looking for the source of vomit smell. She said it was likely related to the travel mug on the shelf behind us that had EXPLODED an hour earlier. We turned to see the wall covered in barf from about the 5’5 mark to the floor. The shelves were covered in chunks, and the poor books that were the innocent bystanders were covered in someone’s sick. Mimi and I went closer to take a look and despite my high school chemistry teacher telling us to never sniff stuff, we sniffed stuff. We immediately looked at each other and dry heaved. Then dry heaved again. Possibly a third and fourth time. We left to get Younas, another custodian, to help Mimi with cleanup. The cleanup required the shelves being removed and sprayed down, as well as a good wiping of the wall. A library staff member took care of the books that got spattered.

I am perplexed as to why the girl did not report the fact that 1) something had exploded and 2) that it happened to be a cup of puke. It’s not every day that you come across a puke projectile (puke-jectile?) in the library so this is one for the history books.

The moral of this story is: Don’t sniff stuff, especially when it looks like barf because it probably is.