Vancouver Meetup – March 2014

Ashley Van Dijk and Tamarack Hockin co-hosted LTAS Vancouver’s first meetup of 2014 at the Kingston Grille’s Wine Library (yes, seriously). 11 of our colleagues made it out to share a bit about what’s new in their professional worlds.

Ashley — SFU Bennett Library is just finishing up renovations on their integrated service point. Ashley will be co-presenting a session on the impacts of the renovations at the BCLA Conference. Check out “Collocation and Collaboration: Perspectives From Front Line Service Staff” on Tuesday, April 1. Ashley is also working on a capstone project in the Adult Education at UFV regarding English language learners and student services at post-secondary libraries.

Alison — Is studying at Athabasca and working on a history project regarding the 800 block of Granville Street.

Heather W. — Is working at the VCC Library, and discussed how the institution is being affected by recently announced cuts to ESL funding for post-secondary.

Mary — Currently working on a job manual for the Learning Commons at Langara. Discussed some of the impacts of VPL’s new reference strategy.

Sandra — Working on eBooks training and computer help classes at Surrey Libraries. Recently finalised a report on a workplace health & safety discomfort survey she helped initiate. Studying at SFU Surrey, and recommended some interesting youtube videos on cognitive science: SciShow, Vsauce, CrashCourse, and PBS Idea Channel

Candie — Working at RPL marketing and communications. Prompted discussion of maker spaces. Suggested links: Maker Faire Vancouver (June 7-8 at PNE), Maker Mobile (a mobile teaching workspace), Vancouver Hack Space, “Inside Vancouver’s Digital Strategy” (article on VPL’s maker plans), 3D scanner for (3D printing group), “Makers” (a novel by Cory Doctorow), WebMaker Party at BCLA Conference, and check recent discussion on BCLA Listserv.

Doris – Volunteering with the City of Vancouver Archives, and has been featured in their volunteer spotlight. Doris talked about a slide show she curated for the Archives in 2012 which was shown on the public video walls at the Archives’ Gallery and City Hall. Doris is actively searching for a new position after recently finishing a barcoding/cataloguing project for a local engineering firm.

Tamarack — Working on spring break programming for teens, including a mini hackathon and WebMaker sessions. Presenting on a panel at BCLA Conference, “New Century, New Acronym: Technology Advisory for Youth“, and for “Oh, Glorious Failures! Lightning talks on how to succeed through failure” (both on April 2).

Stephen — Cataloguing at Library Bound. Encouraged job seekers to visit the trade show at BCLA Conference – Stephen found his job partly by networking with vendor.

Diane — Currently job seeking for library position. Prompted discussion regarding libraries who post job descriptions for technicians as “non professional work”. Suggestions for employment seeking included networking with vendors at BC Library Conference, keeping resume current with relevant volunteer positions, re-applying to institutions so resume is on file, and tapping into your local network (like LTAS meetups!).

Heather D. — In the midst of a massive project adding barcodes to the collection. Will be attending the Special Libraries Association Conference in Vancouver this June. Is curating LTAS job posting emails (huge kudos from group to Heather!), and planning to move the weekly post to Fridays or Saturdays.

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Miscellany Returns

Fighting the perception that school libraries aren’t necessary, by The Adventures of Library Girl (via Stephen’s Lighthouse). Has the library fallen out of step with the school, or do people not know about the library’s good work?

Attention my jobhunting brothers and sisters: The Five Basic Questions Interviewers Really Want You to Answer. - Lifehacker

Author Lemony Snicket is setting up a prize for librarians who have faced book-banning adversity.

Together with the American Library Association, he is therefore setting up a new $3,000 award, The Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced With Adversity. “The Snicket prize will remind readers everywhere of the joyous importance of librarians and the trouble that is all too frequently unleashed upon them,” said Snicket, who is funding the prize from his own “disreputable gains”. “This seems like a better way to channel money to librarians than my previous strategy, which was incurring exorbitant late fees,” said the author.

The Guardian, Jan. 31, 2014 (via Stephen’s Lighthouse)

Ever wonder why Google returns results that don’t actually contain your search term?  Here’s one reason why: “Google has patented going beyond individual words to consider the entire query and then substitute words.”   – Web Search Guide and Internet News post.

Pictures of futuristic-looking libraries all over the world - Open Education Database (via Stephen’s Lighthouse).

Google searching tips from Lifehacker, with a couple of updates. – Web Search Guide and Internet News

Presentation slides full of marketing resources for libraries,  by Kathy Dempsey of Libraries are Essential (via Stephen’s Lighthouse).

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Employment Sites Beyond BC

As you may have read in my recent email to the listserv, LTAS has shut down its ProBoards online bulletin board.  Since communication options and preferences have changed over the years it was not being used much.  Thanks to Stephen Karr for setting up and managing the board!

Going forward I plan to publicize job postings in a weekly-ish email to the LTAS listserv.  I monitor postings for BC lib. tech. & asst. jobs in various library systems (public, academic, school, health board, provincial & national government) as well as CLA, AALT, SLA, and ARMA. You can also send job postings to ltascareers at Big thanks again to Mandy Schwarz for setting everything up!

One of the great things Mandy set up was a list of employment sites with postings from other provinces.  It will live on here in this blog post. Continue reading

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Proof of public libraries’ importance from a new study quantifying value of the Toronto Public Library (found on Stephen’s Lighthouse).

Conducted by the Martin Prosperity Institute, this is the first study of its kind in Canada … Key findings include:

  • The total economic impact of the Toronto Public Library on the city of Toronto is $1 billion.
  • For every dollar invested in Toronto Public Library, Torontonians receive $5.63 of value.
  • For those who use the library, the average value of services accessed is as much as $500.
  • On average, one open hour at any one of the library’s 98 branches generates $2,515 in benefits for the city of Toronto. The average cost of one open hour is $653, so the average benefit is almost 4 times the average cost.
  • Beyond tangible benefits outlined in the report, the library delivers value to Toronto’s communities and residents in ways that are not easily quantifiable but nonetheless support Toronto’s economy, increase its competitiveness and prosperity and contribute to the city’s livability and quality of life.

The Martin Prosperity Institute is part of the University of Toronto’s Rotman Business School.  Read the full report here.
From “Current Cites October 2013“, check out this article recommended by Nancy Nyland:

Simonite, Tom. “The Decline of Wikipedia”  MIT Technology Review  116(6)(November/December 2013)(
- The title could have been “The Rise And Fall,” since the article summarizes the history of Wikipedia’s successes and problems, allowing readers who only check in occasionally on Wikipedia’s status to catch up quickly.

The British Library has uploaded one million images from 17th-19th century books to their Flickr account for public use and remixing, as reported by CBC.
Want another tool for searching newspapers?  Read this earlier Web Search Guide and Internet News post about the Google News archive.
Interested in digitizing and archiving?  Here’s another article blurb from Current Cites (December 2013, by Roy Tennant).

Miller, Larisa K. “All Text Considered: A Perspective on Mass Digitizing and Archival Processing” The American Archivist 76(2)(Fall/Winter 2013): 521-541.  (
- Archival processing has long been a procedure where holdings are described at a collection level with a “finding aid” of varying depth and detail, depending on the collection and the time available for processing. “This article,” Miller states in the abstract, “explores the idea of coupling robust collection-level descriptions to mass digitization and optical character recognition to provide full-text search of unprocessed and backlogged modern collections, bypassing archival processing and the creation of finding aids.” This is no small claim, as following this path would stand present archival practice on its head. Rather than describing the collection in summary form and perhaps digitizing some representative samples, Miller suggests allowing the digitized collection to reveal itself. Not being an archivist myself, I won’t presume to predict how the archival community will react to such an idea, but the reaction of the users of such collections would almost certainly be “Right on!”.

Personally, I like how it sounds simpler to add materials but have seen lots of imperfect OCR in my time. What do you think?
Transferable skills job alert: using your info management skills to create book indexes.  Library Juice Academy interviewed  Joanne Sprott, freelance indexer and instructor of their indexing class.
As a new semester begins, you may like these Chrome browser extensions for students from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, as well as Web Search Guide and Internet News.  Please comment if you’ve tried any of them; are they helpful?
Reports of libraries’ death have been exaggerated… at least according to this infographic based on ALA data (found on Stephen’s Lighthouse):

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Big Question No. 13: BCLA Conference Topics

BCLA is now accepting session proposals for the 2014 BC Library Conference.  What kind of topics would you like to attend?  If you’ve presented before, what was your experience?

Session proposals are due November 15, 2013.  Click here for more info.  Hmmm, bet presenting at the conference would look good on a resume…

** Later edit: oops, this is actually Big Question no. 14! **

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Job Searching

It seems like library positions are being more difficult to find, and competition is high. Often it can feel like job searching is a full time job in itself. Having recently been a part of a hiring committee, I thought I would share some advice with you regarding job hunting and applications.

Continue reading

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LTAS Needs You

Dear students, alumni, and colleagues,

LTAS is heading into our second AGM as a section, and fourth AGM since the group was reconvened in 2009. We have been booking meeting spaces, delegating tasks, writing blog posts, hosting workshops, visiting our alma maters, and talking shop for some time now.

What is LTAS exactly? LTAS is your home base in the BC Library Association, and your jumping off point. It is the section within the larger BCLA specifically dedicated to library technicians and assistants. Yes, we mean you.

LTAS needs you. And if this sounds desperate, let me assure you that you also need LTAS.

LTAS Recruitment Poster

You may need LTAS because it provides a contact point for other technicians and assistants, because it is like a real-life LinkedIn that works, because it is the only organised meet-up that offers you a place to talk about the work we do outside of work. You may need it because you have a bee in your bonnet to organise and get involved, or because you really don’t have a bee in your bonnet but you would like to meet and support those who do. You need it to connect you with professional development opportunities, represent you to the BCLA Board, or provide online space for you to ask library questions to the hive mind.

LTAS needs new executive members. The wonderful, dedicated folks who have been involved in the executive for up to four years are ready to move on to new roles. These folk are also really, really keen to mentor new faces and bring new life into the profession. Please join us.

Contributing as an LTAS Executive member can take many forms. While there are a ton of useful skills and experience you could bring, there is only one really crucial qualifier: You need to sign up for one year. Just stay with us and see it through until next year’s AGM.

Want to know more? Sure you do. Check out this year’s list of executive positions [PDF] to get an idea of where you might contribute.

And don’t foget to RSVP to the AGM.

See you on October 18, 2013.

Tamarack Hockin, currently LTAS Chair.

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