LTAS Member Spotlight: Anita Thompson

In the months leading up to the annual BC Library Conference (May 2016) the member spotlight will showcase several library technicians/assistants who are presenting in a panel looking at the current state of the profession and its future.

Continue reading “LTAS Member Spotlight: Anita Thompson”


Vacations and Libraries

Radiance of Sea LibraryOn my two week cruise last month to Alaska, I was quite pleased that the ship (Radiance of the Sea of Royal Caribbean) has a library. It was a small one — the pictures on their website was quite decieving. Nevertheless, I was able to find a couple of interesting reads — Continue reading “Vacations and Libraries”

A New Class System: The Need for First Nations Classification

This article by LTAIG member Ashley Van Dijk was originally published in the OALT/ABO (Ontario Association of Library Technicians) NewsLETTER, Winter 2012 issue.  Thanks to Ashley and the NewsLETTER editors for permission to post, and to Tamarack Hockin for suggesting it.

“It is useful for scholars to be able to go to one section and find all American Indian materials in one place….However, using LCC or DDC in a Native-specific collection can become a frustrating experience.” (Tomren, 2003, p. [17]). Traditionally, libraries use either the Dewey Decimal system or the Library of Congress system to serve the needs of public and university library members respectively. However, do these classification systems work for a library with a narrow, more focused collection such as a First Nations library? How accessible is the material for those library members? This paper focuses on the inadequacies of the Library of Congress with regard to a First Nations collection. Using two examples of items that get lost within the traditional classification system I present a case for the development of a First Nations classification system. Continue reading “A New Class System: The Need for First Nations Classification”

Selected SLA Future Ready Posts

The Special Libraries Organization (SLA) launched the Future Ready 365 blog almost a year ago so members could share tips and experiences of becoming Future Ready: “… a strategic shift toward being more effective at aligning with emerging and robust opportunities in the information industry and beyond.” (source)  Posts include collaboration, adaptable skills, aligning with the community to be served, and building relationships.  The blog is posting member submissions daily during 2011.  Some weeks feature posts from a particular type of library, SLA chapter, or other association with similar interests. Continue reading “Selected SLA Future Ready Posts”

Interview with Diane Walker

Diane Walker is a former LTAIG board member and winner of the CLA Library Technician Award of Merit. She works at the Corporate Information Centre (AKA Infocentre) of Central 1 Credit Union. It is the trade organization and central financial facility for BC and Ontario credit unions. The library serves Central 1’s 400 employees and 200 member credit unions. The Infocentre’s collection is mostly electronic, plus some print and A/V material. Diane and her two coworkers publish daily news alerts, biweekly newsletters for the BC region, and quarterly newsletters on Infocentre services and resources.

This kind of small special library has offered Diane more freedom to develop services and make changes to meet client needs. It can be a great situation for self-starters. Diane has found it better if one’s interests align with the library’s subject and mission. As a credit union member for decades she was especially happy to join Central 1.  Diane mentioned pros and cons to working in special libraries.  Advantages can include autonomy, predictable hours, subject focus, and higher pay rate.  However there may be disadvantages like non-library duties, challenging subject specialties, and being a “support service” under threat of downsizing.

Diane has worked in several positions at the Infocentre since 1993 and is currently Team Lead. Her responsibilities include budgeting, paying bills, collection development and cataloging, quick reference, in-depth research, writing departmental reports, and supervision of staff. One of her favourite duties is care of the archives. Diane enjoys investigating the “treasures” there and making them more accessible. She has found supervising more challenging than expected and is glad a course on supervisory skills is now offered as part of lib tech programs.

Diane grew up in Fresno, California, former raisin capital of the world. It is part of the agricultural San Joaquin Valley, which she found “a great place to be from”. As a child Diane would take refuge from the sun in the old Carnegie library, where she later became a volunteer.

After developing her people skills doing social work and dental office reception, Diane switched to the library field. She had enjoyed libraries since elementary school and recognized that some of her interests fit with library work: finding and verifying information, customer service, and organizing.

At Langara College Diane completed the library technician diploma part-time while working and parenting.  She found the online searching course especially useful since that area was changing rapidly at the time.  Also the instructor later offered her a job; proof that you never know where impressing people at school could lead.  Following graduation in 1989, Diane worked in three other special libraries before Central 1: an alternate-format centre, an engineering firm, and a scientific research firm.  Over the years she has taken courses in web design, online searching, business finance, and supervisory skills.

Diane’s involvement with library associations has included serving as a chair for BCLA’s LTAIG and board member for SLA’s Western Canada chapter. She enjoys working with others who want to be involved in the library field beyond their job. In 2006 CLA’s Library Technician Interest Group awarded Diane their first Library Technician Award of Merit for her efforts to strengthen connections between Canadian library organizations.

Diane’s advice to library staff is that “change happens!” It will happen whether you like it or not, so you must be ready to respond. There can also be a big difference between career direction you plan to take and where you actually end up. Plus each job, good or bad, can teach you things.

Diane’s non-library interests include spending time with her grandson, participating in a long-running book club (almost 40 years!), and walking. She is also involved with the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s work in Africa, especially support of grandmothers raising children orphaned by AIDS. At interview time the book club was reading Carolan’s Farewell by Charles Foran. Diane was about to read Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell and Changing my Mind by Margaret Trudeau. She also enjoys CBC Radio’s “Writers and Company” and The Economist magazine. If awarded a trip anywhere in the world Diane would choose Egypt… once things settle down.

Looking ahead, Diane sees various types of libraries improving and thinks that libraries will last a long time. She is particularly interested in public library developments like embracing new technology and becoming more broadly relevant. Noting how much the diploma program has changed since her time, Diane applauds new grads’ broader skills and thinks they can be applied to a wider range of jobs. As for her own future, she is looking forward to retirement soon but still plans to be involved with libraries as a patron or volunteer.