Happy Holidays!

With the annual closedown period approaching, I take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!  It’s been a very busy year at the University Library and 2016 is set to bring us many new adventures.

The University Library External Review site visit is scheduled for late January, when we will welcome to our campus three very senior and experienced colleagues to lead the review process. Be sure to check out the winter issue of our donor newsletter, Novum in Librariis, for more information.

Associate Dean appointments

Appointments of Rachel Sarjeant-Jenkins and Charlene Sorensen as Associate Deans (University Library) were recently announced.  These appointments, which are each for a 5-year term, take effect on January 1, 2016.

In addition to library-wide responsibilities and support to the Dean, each Associate Dean has specific portfolio responsibilities, as follows:

Charlene’s portfolio is accountable for providing high-level leadership and strategic direction for the library’s physical, digital, and special collections (including the university’s archives), and library systems and information technology, including accountability for the oversight of the library acquisition budget.

Rachel’s  portfolio is accountable for providing high-level leadership and strategic direction for the delivery and enhancement of services to clients through the library’s seven branch libraries and its virtual presence; this includes teaching and student academic support, information literacy/library instruction, and services and physical spaces conducive to learning and collaboration.

I thank both Rachel and Charlene for their many contributions and service over the last year as Interim Associate Deans and congratulate them on their appointments, which for both represent a significant career milestone.  Congratulations!

For more information about Rachel and Charlene, click here.


Forward Momentum

Forward Momentum is the subtitle for the 2014-15 Annual Report from the Centre for Evidence Based Library & Information Practice (C-EBLIP).  It is an appropriate catch phrase for a report that showcases the work of the Centre, including its growing international reputation in the world-wide evidence based practice movement.  Led by Director Virginia Wilson, the Centre’s growing profile was very evident to me last July when I attended the 8th International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Conference in Brisbane, Australia.

For more background on the work of C-EBLIP, check out the latest report at: http://library.usask.ca/ceblip/about/annual-reports.php

More on library statistics

For many years and on an annual basis, the University Library has been reporting detailed library statistics to key external bodies, including the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). ARL publishes these statistics relating to collections, staffing, expenditures, and service activities for all 125 ARL member libraries.  Publication by ARL puts a wealth of data about academic libraries into the public domain and allows analysis to track library progress over time, including comparison of local dynamics with peer institutions. The U of S is also a part of a select group of 15 research-intensive Canadian universities, known as the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities with 14 of these being ARL member libraries.  This gives a further dimension for statistical analysis.

For the first time last year and again this year, Carisa Polischuk (the library’s assessment analyst and statistical guru) has analyzed and summarized those publically available statistics for the University Library and our U15 peers for all ARL indicators, percentages and ratios, and the library investment index. This will become an annual process moving forward.

Summary reports are now posted on the University Library Assessment Web Page highlighting the University Library’s analysis of ARL Statistics for 2012-13 (released 2014) and 2013-14 (released 2015). These reports correspond to the broad purposes in the University Library Assessment Program of quality improvement (as many of the statistics are measures which are tied to the core strategies in the University Library Strategic Plan) and accountability (a means of communicating results to the University community and general public demonstrating openness and transparency). These reports also demonstrate our commitment to move beyond simply submitting annual library statistics to analyzing and using published results in order to determine trends and benchmark to our U15 peers and to inform evidence based decision making in the library.

Both of these reports were recently shared with Martha Kyrillidou, Senior Director, ARL Statistics and Service Quality Programs. Martha commended our discussion to post these reports to our website, congratulated our efforts and wanted a copy of the link in order to feature the innovative assessment work of the University Library.  Special acknowledgment goes to Carisa Polischuk for her leadership on this work.

Student Assistant employees at the University Library

Fifty-one Student Assistant employees at the University Library play a vital role in service delivery, particularly outside the hours of a regular working day. As employees of the library, our Student Assistants also have many experiential learning opportunities available to them, and some have even been known to continue their education in library and information science.

Thanks to the ongoing generosity of our former library faculty colleague and donor Linda Fritz, annually we award the Linda Fritz Scholarship. Established in 2002, the Linda Fritz Scholarship for Library Assistants was developed to recognize academic excellence of students who are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree at the University of Saskatchewan who have worked for the University Library. Librarian Emerita Linda Fritz retired in 2008, and we celebrate and appreciate her continued association with the University Library as one of our active donors.

This year, I am pleased to announce that Sarah Grummett is the recipient of this scholarship. Congratulations Sarah! For more information on the Linda Fritz Scholarship, click here.

What’s happening in Chicago this week?

Coming to you this week from the American Library Association (ALA) headquarters in Chicago, IL, and just around the corner from one of the biggest Apple stores I have ever visited!

I am attending to responsibilities as the Canadian representative on the ALA Committee on Accreditation (COA).  COA is responsible for the execution of ALA’s accreditation program, and it develops and formulates standards of education for library and information studies.  You can learn more about COA by visiting their website at: http://www.ala.org/groups/committees/ala/ala-coa

While here at the ALA headquarters, I will also have a chance to catch up on the latest ALA happenings and campaigns, including two that I think are especially interesting and ground breaking.

The Centre for the Future of Libraries works to: identify emerging trends relevant to libraries and the communities they serve; promote futuring and innovative techniques to help librarians and library professional shape their future; and, build connections with experts and innovative thinkers to help libraries address emerging issues.

While, the Libraries Transform campaign is designed to increase public awareness of the value, impact, and services provided by libraries and library professionals.  The campaign seeks to showcase the transformative nature of today’s libraries and to emulate the crucial role libraries play in the digital age.

For more information about both of these significant ALA initiatives visit: http://www.ala.org/transforminglibraries/future; and here: http://www.librariestransform.org/#because

The Great War Exhibition

I always enjoy visiting the Link Gallery exhibition space on my way to and from my office each day. It seems that with each visit, I learn and see something new. This is certainly the case with our latest display, The Great War Exhibition. This week, seeing that tomorrow is Remembrance Day, I have taken time out of my schedule to spend time with the exhibition, in reflection and appreciation for the sacrifices of all men and women who have served their countries.

The Great War opened in August 1914 and ended on November 11th 1918 and a great many nations from across the world became involved. The exhibit features many interesting items like diaries, sheet music, and other World War I ephemera. This exhibit, curated by Patrick Hayes, will be featured in the Link Gallery until January 2016.

Celebrating Women of Influence

It has been a very busy week, which this morning began early as I attended the 13th annual Women of Influence Breakfast. The breakfast featured three accomplished women leaders, who spoke about their personal leadership style and experiences.  All three were inspiring, candid, and clearly very successful in their respective fields. One of the three speakers was my colleague, and the university’s own, Daphne Taras, Dean – Edwards School of Business.  I very much enjoyed listening to Daphne’s story.  The experiences of Kimberley Johnathan, Interim Chief, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, and, Stephanie Lawton, Skip, Saskatchewan Women’s Curling Team were equally inspiring, humorous, and personally very touching.

Overall what a great way to start my day in what has been a very busy week.


Truth and Reconciliation

Coming to you today from Winnipeg, where I am honoured to be witnessing first-hand a major milestone in the history of Canada.  Over the last few weeks I have added significantly to my personal Canadian citizenship listing of landmark Canadian occasions that I have experienced.

Today at the University of Manitoba, the opening ceremonies for the National Centre on Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) kick-off, and together with Patti MacDougall (Vice Provost, Teaching and Learning), and Candace Wasacase-Lafferty, Director, Aboriginal Initiatives, I am here to deliver greetings from President Stoicheff and our campus community, and to acknowledge the U of M’s commitment to truth and reconciliation.

NCTR was created to preserve the memory of Canada’s Residential School system and legacy and is located at the University of Manitoba.  The Centre’s archive holds, “a vast collection of documents, oral history and other records that detail the systematic and intentional attempt to assimilate the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.” The NCTR was created to ensure that:

  • Survivors and their families have access to their own history
  • Educators can share the Residential School history with new generations of students
  • Researchers can delve more deeply into Residential School experience
  • The public can access historical records and other materials to help foster reconciliation and healing
  • The history and legacy of the Residential School system are never forgotten.

For more information visit the following links: http://umanitoba.ca/centres/nctr and http://umanitoba.ca/centres/nctr/2015.html


SPARC and Open Access

Regular readers of my blog know that the topic of Open Access (OA) is a reoccurring blog theme.  Maybe this is because it’s a continuing ‘hot topic’ in the library world and matters related to this topic come across my desk frequently.  Things like this week’s achievement record for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) – the international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communications.  For more information, and for OA resources, click here.

SPARC and SPARC-sponsored programs have been featured this year in both the national and trade press, in outlets ranging from the Washington Post to the Economist to the Times Higher Education.  Their listing presents an impressive array of outcomes over the last year, including:

  • SPARC continued to achieve significant success with their high-profile policy advocacy program. As a direct result of their work in securing the 2013 White House Directive on Public Access, this year, 13 U.S. federal agencies released plans for policies ensuring that articles and data resulting from their funded research be made freely available.
  • SPARC and their member organizations actively contributed to the ongoing consultations that resulted in the three major Canadian Research Councils’ issuing a new, harmonized Tri-Agency Open Access Policy earlier this year.
    The SPARC-supported “Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act,” a bill that would codify the White House Directive into law, successfully advanced through the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and should be considered by the full Senate later this year.
  • SPARC introduced a new campaign to educate declared 2016 U.S. Presidential candidates on the importance of Open Access, Open Data and OER, and to advocate for the inclusion of these issues in campaign events and platforms.
  • SPARC staff worked with the White House and U.S. federal agencies to raise the profile of OER as a policy issue, co-organizing a government-wide workshop on Open Licenses and OER, and leading coalition efforts to advocate for Executive Branch actions in support of OER.
  • SPARC also worked to generate support for “Open” practices within the Foundation community. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SPARC convened leading research foundations (including the Gates Foundation, the Arnold Foundation and the Soros Foundation) to explore the adoption of open access funder policies, and the establishment of an ongoing Open Access “community of practice” of research foundations in North America.
  • To generate direct input on their programming from their members, SPARC established three new members-only advisory groups to help them develop new programs and services, and to refine their efforts to best serve their members.
  • To keep their members ahead of the curve in understanding the latest developments in the scholarly communication environment, SPARC hosted regular webcasts (free to our members) on important topics ranging from the Elsevier article “sharing” policy, to complying with new Public Access mandates, to developing campus rights-retention based Open Access policies.
  • SPARC actively supported their members’ local campus efforts by providing SPARC-sponsored speakers for campus events, practical guides, talking points, templates, and expert counsel on Campus Open Access and Open Educational Resources issues.
  • With continued support from the Hewlett Foundation, SPARC expanded its OER program to provide regular campus-based opportunities for education and advocacy in support of the creation of and adoption of OER. In partnership with ACRL, SPARC co-hosted the first Scholarly Communications Institute devoted to OER.
  • In keeping with their commitment to partnering with the next generation of leaders, SPARC and the Right to Research Coalition (R2RC) launched “OpenCon,” an annual event that brings students and early career researchers together to catalyze projects to advance Open Access, OER, and Open Data. After the success of their inaugural event in 2014, more than 3,000 individuals from 125 countries applied to attend the upcoming conference.
  • Through the R2RC, SPARC partnered with Texas A&M University to secure a grant to develop programming for the first ever “SECU Academic Collaboration Award” Workshop. The high-energy program brought teams of library directors and leaders together with student government leaders with the aim of identifying and developing ongoing campus Open Access and OER collaborations.
  • SPARC proudly provided incubation support for the student-led “Open Access Button” project, a browser-based app that lets readers register when they’ve hit an article behind a paywall, maps those instances, and ultimately, will provide access to an Open version of the article where possible.
  • SPARC’s annual Global Open Access Week continues. This year’s kickoff event reflects the theme of “Open for Collaboration,” with SPARC and the Wikimedia Library co-sponsoring a global, virtual edit-a-thon for Open Access related content on Wikipedia
  • SPARC helped keep the profile of their members and their concerns high in the media. SPARC was regularly consulted and quoted as an expert source on topics relating to scholarly communication.

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