I am on the BCLA mentorship committee. The BCLA mentorship program matches mentees who are students or who are just starting out in the field, with more experienced library professionals. Library technicians as well, as librarians have participated in our sessions, which run about twice a year and are roughly two months in duration. The program “exists to connect and empower association members by fostering positive relationships in the library community. ” It “encourages sharing, and aims to promote leadership and commitment to the profession.” More information can be found on the Mentorship Program’s web page at BCLA Connect. We will have a session in the fall, with dates yet to be determined.
Here is the reason I am writing. The last few sessions, we’ve had a challenge finding enough library technicians to participate as mentors, given the number of lib tech/student mentees we have had. As the sole library technician on the BCLA Mentorship Committee (who actually wouldn’t mind some company), I would like to encourage more lib tech mentors to participate in the sessions generally. If you would like an very rewarding learning and teaching experience, and are available to at least exchange a few thoughtful emails with a mentee over a two month period, please consider BCLA Mentorship as an opportunity. If you are interested, please keep an eye out for an announcement of the fall session that will be shared on the LTAS listserv.
On April 19, the second annual speed mentoring workshop involving Library and Information Technology students and graduates was held at Langara College. The event was organized and sponsored by the Langara Library and Information Technology department.
The event this year included ten mentors who had the opportunity to share their post-graduate experiences with ten Langara students. In addition, eleven mentees eager for some guidance as they enter the field attended the event. It was an absolute pleasure for me to serve as the MC this year.
Ten tables were set up. Due to smaller numbers than last year, three minutes were allotted for each session. There would be roughly one mentor to one student at each table. When the bell rang to indicate the end of the session, each student would move on to another table of their choosing.
Mentors came from public, academic, and special libraries. They perform a variety of tasks in their work. Students asked questions of the mentors pertaining to their work, their job search leading up to employment, and how their Langara education prepared them to enter the field.
Students once again have provided positive feedback about their experience at the workshop. Though LTAS provided some of the mentors and the MC, once again a huge thank you is due to Diane Thompson and Serenia Tam of the Langara Library and Information Technology department for heading up the organizing of this event. Thank you as well to all the mentors and mentees who participated. See you next year!
On April 22, Langara College hosted its first speed mentoring workshop involving Library and Information Technology students and graduates. The event was organized and sponsored by the Langara Library and Information Technology department.
Eleven mentors were invited by department chair Diane Thompson to share their post-graduate experiences with about 30 Langara students. Jennifer Reid from Langara Co-op Education was also on hand to answer questions about resumes and interviews.
Diane Thompson opened the event, and introduced the MC for the event, Ashley Van Dijk . Several tables were set up with about four chairs around each table. Five minutes were alotted for each session. Two or three students would be at one table at a time and ask questions of the mentors stationed there. When the bell rang to indicate the end of the session, each student would move on to another table of their choosing.
The mentors represented various public, academic, and special libraries, and performed different tasks at their work. Some were more generalist in their duties, while others predominantly performed one task, such as cataloguing or reference work. Students asked questions of the mentors pertaining to their work, their job search leading up to employment, and how their Langara education prepared them to enter the field
Students have provided very positive feedback to the Lib Tech department, and indicated that they appreciated the positive attitude and helpful advice of the mentors. They would be happy to participate in a future speed-mentoring event. It was great to see students at various levels participate, from newly-accepted to almost-graduated. It was the first formal mentoring experience for several of the mentors. They enjoyed it and recommend others participate in future.
Though LTAS provided some of the mentors and the MC, as well as advice regarding room setup, a huge thank you is due to Diane Thompson and Serenia Tam of the Langara Library and Information Technology department for doing most of the organizing for this event. Hopefully, there will be many more such events in the future at Langara College.
With contributions from Heather Duff
On November 24th, Micheal Vonn, Policy Director of the BC Civil Liberties Association, came to Vancouver Community College to talk to several library workers at a BCLA sponsored event about the issue of the right to view sexually explicit material in a public library juxtaposed to the perceived need to restrict its availability.
Micheal talked about BCCLA’s approach to these kinds of issues, which she says is less about advocacy than about trying to get interested groups on the same side of the issue, and figure out how we bring together the various public goods.
She mentions section 1 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a key one to balancing competing rights and freedoms. It says the rights and freedoms in the Charter are guaranteed “subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” Micheal describes a test, known as the Oakes test, used to determine the limits of various rights when competing against other rights.
Recently, BCCLA was consulted on the question of the right to view sexual explicit materials at one of the public computer terminals at Vancouver Public Library. Micheal started off by drawing a comparison to a medical privacy issue. In this example, the RCMP want to look at a patient’s record. The medical professional wants to protect the right of the patient. The fairest solution is to use a neutral solution, in this case a warrant from a judge.
Returning to the VPL case, the important objective is to have an ethic of wanting to ensure availability for all. You don’t want to restrict access for the person viewing the images. On the other hand, the access of others is restricted if they avoid the computer area because of the visibility of the images.
Micheal says that the best hope is for a spatial fix, where users can view the images in a secluded area. At the same time there are issues the VPL faces that may complicate their ability to respond with a spatial fix. These could include budgetary constraints as well as limits of available space or the ability to organize the space in certain ways. Ultimately, we want the constraints upon access to be as minimal as possible. Such a restriction is the least desirable outcome. With a Section 1 analysis, what you want is the least restrictive thing that is reasonable. All factors, such and space, money, and the right policies are considered.
A discussion followed with members of the audience. One audience member pointed out that there are many different user groups that could have various interests with respect to library policies. Micheal responded that we are currently dealing with the issue that exists.
Another member asked why the default position is to restrict use for the user viewing images. Micheal said that not all user groups will be viewed equally where the balance of rights is concerned. One of the user groups, those that will view the images, will tend to be very young. On the other hand some folks who come to the libraries just for the computers because they don’t have one at home, and use the computers for job search, email, and so forth, will tend to be very disadvantaged.
Yet another audience member made a suggestion, not about policy, but about tact in dealing with such an issue when it’s happening. She suggested going up to the user viewing the images, and ask them to look at the image as well as the surrounding physical and social environment, and think about everyone who can see the image that user is viewing. She said that this approach usually works.
One member of the audience suggested staff training to enhance the ability to deal with individual cases as they arise.
Another attendee proposed distinguishing between images designed for pornographic entertainment, and images that serve an educational purpose, such as those that might be found on an HIV/AIDS education website. Micheal responded by saying that we don’t want to get to the point where we are interrogating the private thoughts of users, which is what we’d be doing if we were considering the source of the images.
Yet another point that was raised in the audience was the notion that those who want to view sexually explicit images might actually want to be discreet, and are being constrained by the library not making such spaces available.
The ability to view sexually graphic images in a public library is certainly an issue that will not disappear anytime soon. However, the talk and lively discussion which took place at this event provided a helpful framework through which to view the issue, as well as possible perspectives through which the issue can be filtered.
**crossposted at Literature Reviews for Library Techs**
It is beneficial to get youth involved in the library culture. In fact, if we accept that it is important to shape people when they are young, it is essential. How do we go about fostering this? What programs should be provided? How do we go about attracting youth? The purpose of this post is to explore what the library literature says about the development of youth programs at public libraries
I have already written an overview on the reference interview, and on search strategies. This blog post is about reference work specifically as it may apply to reference staff in law libraries. Of course, there are different kinds of law libraries with different demographics. Law firm libraries serve the lawyers working at the firm. Law school libraries assist law students and faculty. Courthouse libraries serve the public. With different types of clientele, various law libraries presumably will have different approaches to serving their clients. Continue reading “Reference in Law Libraries”