Sessions & Speakers

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11:15am - 12:15pm

Beyond Book Displays and Diversity Training: What Can Libraries Do To Truly Be For Everyone?

Libraries have taken a renewed interest in diversity and inclusion work following violent incidents and protests highlighting how pervasive systemic racism remains. Some of these responses have included showcasing and reading books that address racism with these titles seeing increases in sales and borrowing. Some libraries have implemented external diversity training workshops.

Unfortunately, while well-intentioned, there is scant evidence that these initiatives are effective at changing prejudice. This session will provide an overview of various forms of implicit and explicit prejudice from a social cognition perspective. Participants will gain ideas for anti-racism initiatives for libraries that are supported by research.

Photo of Raj Sritharan

Raj Sritharan is the Library Systems Consultant for Edmonton Public Schools with previous roles in public libraries and software. Prior to joining library land, he conducted research in the social cognition lab at Western University in the areas of implicit attitudes and prejudice.

Communications Strategies for COVID-19 and Beyond

Libraries are operating during an especially challenging time right now. Due to the impacts of COVID-19, libraries have had to close, reopen, and close again, and pivot to offering “virtual” and remote services and programs. Throughout these changes, libraries have had to communicate with audiences in new and different ways.

In this session, we will discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on how we communicate, what we have learned, and how we can apply that going forward. We will also discuss how to create a crisis communications plan, including real-life examples; how to engage with customers when in-person services are disrupted; and how we can become nimbler and more prepared for future potential disruptions.

Photo headshot of Cordelia Anderson

Cordelia Anderson is the author of the new book, Library Marketing and Communications: Strategies to Increase Relevance and Results, from ALA Editions.

She is a seasoned marketing and communications executive with 20+ years of experience. She is based in Charlotte, NC but has clients around the US and is nationally recognized for her innovative, strategic and results-driven marketing and communications programs. Clients have included public and academic libraries, library associations, local government agencies, and nonprofits.

Psychological Health and Safety: Why Should I Care?

In today’s organizations, it is the law to provide a safe and healthy workplace and recently, a greater emphasis has been placed on employees’ mental health and psychological safety. For library administrators, this means more than letting an employee know they have access to an employee assistance program as part of their health benefits to deal with “any issues.” Rather, management must integrate human resource best practices, Occupational Health and Safety [OHS] legislation, and management techniques to create and maintain a psychologically safe and healthy workplace.

Wendy will review why organizations need to be concerned with psychological health and safety with regards to current legislation, productivity, and staff engagement. She will also review ways in which organizations of any size can implement good health and safety practices to help individuals with their mental health.

Photo of Wendy Sears Ilnicki

Wendy Sears Ilnicki has worked for over 20 years as a manager in the Alberta public library world. From being a small town library manager to working at a regional library system, she has been involved in managing day to day operations of a library staff in many capacities. This experience has left her with an appreciation for sound policy and best practices. Wendy currently works at Yellowhead Regional Library as the Deputy Director. She enjoys spending time at the lake with her husband, walking with her dog, reading extensively, and being a karate practitioner.

Tabletop Games: Benefitting Your Communities

***Session amended from Bringing Role-Playing, Improv, and Boardgames to the Virtual Table***

Tabletop games cover more ground than your classic Clue, Risk, Monopoly, and Mouse Trap.  And they deliver more than just an evening of fun.  Tabletop games bring people together, foster creativity, and encourage collaboration.  They play an educational role in developing literacy and vocabulary.  But they also explore modern themes and can be used to discuss colonization and issues of representation.

In this session, David Plamondon, of Pe Metawe Consulting in Edmonton, AB, will go over the many benefits of playing tabletop games.  Drawing on his extensive knowledge of the category, he will give recommendations for establishing or growing a games collection in a library setting.  David will also suggest several tabletop games as a starting point for developing programming around discussions of decolonization and inclusion.   

David Plamondon is the owner and Team Guide for Pe Metawe Consulting. David founded Pe Metawe with the mission to work towards the betterment of Indigenous people living in Alberta. Pe Metawe Consulting blends the traditional values of Indigenous culture with the modern needs of our clients. With over 25 years of gaming experience and more than 10 years of supporting Indigenous people in career planning and education, David began Pe Metawe Consulting to share his love of games and his drive to help Indigenous people succeed. David is a proud member of Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta.

Jayde Gravel is a Workshop Coordinator with Pe Metawe, an Indigenous-owned and operated Consulting agency in Edmonton, Alberta. Jayde focuses her efforts on creating professional development programming related to educating clients on Indigenous history, culture, and ways of being. She strives to raise awareness of the effects of colonialism and other systems of oppression that continue to impact Indigenous peoples to this day. Her hopes are to promote healthier, stronger working relationships between non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples.

Jayde is a proud member of the Métis Nation of Alberta and grew up on a farm in the countryside surrounding Edmonton. This upbringing shaped Jayde’s understandings of naturalism, environmentalism, and conservationism. Jayde has Bachelor of Arts in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism from the University of Alberta.

1:15pm - 2:15pm

Indigenous Allyship

Where do you lie on the Allyship continuum? 

This workshop will assist participants in understanding Indigenous Allyship principles within a modern and Albertan lens. We will centre this workshop around allyship as it relates to Indigenous communities near Alberta. Participants will gain a greater understanding of Allyship Principles and where each person lands on the continuum of Allyship in relation to advocacy, bias, and accountability.

To contextualize these learnings, the participants will be guided through a timeline of Indigenous oppression in Canada. These historical understandings will be underlined by disseminating information related to intergenerational trauma in Indigenous communities today.

Participants will be provided with ways to support and advocate for Indigenous peoples in their daily interactions, at home, at work, and online. These methods will be related to advocacy, leadership, workplace policy and representation, and many other concrete actions that can be commonly implemented across workspaces. 

Photo headshot of Jayde Gravel

Jayde Gravel is a Workshop Coordinator with Pe Metawe, an Indigenous-owned and operated Consulting agency in Edmonton, Alberta. Jayde focuses her efforts on creating professional development programming related to educating clients on Indigenous history, culture, and ways of being. She strives to raise awareness of the effects of colonialism and other systems of oppression that continue to impact Indigenous peoples to this day. Her hopes are to promote healthier, stronger working relationships between non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples.

Jayde is a proud member of the Métis Nation of Alberta and grew up on a farm in the countryside surrounding Edmonton. This upbringing shaped Jayde’s understandings of naturalism, environmentalism, and conservationism. Jayde has Bachelor of Arts in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism from the University of Alberta.

Photo headshot of David Plamondon

David Plamondon is the owner and Team Guide for Pe Metawe Consulting. David founded Pe Metawe with the mission to work towards the betterment of Indigenous people living in Alberta. Pe Metawe Consulting blends the traditional values of Indigenous culture with the modern needs of our clients. With over 25 years of gaming experience and more than 10 years of supporting Indigenous people in career planning and education, David began Pe Metawe Consulting to share his love of games and his drive to help Indigenous people succeed. David is a proud member of Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta.

Make It Matter. Make It Happen. Mental Health

Does mental health matter? Why does mental health matter? Does it matter for everyone?

Do mental health changes happen gradually, spontaneously, intentionally? Can you prescribe how it happens? What prevents it from happening? Are there practical steps? What is the cost to making it happen? 

This workshop will be a conversation between Tiffeny (a professional) and Lorraine (explorer of mental health) and you (the fellow explorer). Together we will discuss mental health – the definition, the myths, the unknown, the growth, the benefit – for everyone. A discussion about the process of making it happen – the boundaries, the questions, the resistance, the energy required, the wonder of individual growth – and realizing the journey’s uniqueness. And we will explore the tools people use for good mental health – physical, mental, emotional, visual, functional – they are as unique as you!

Photo headshot of Lorraine Betts

Lorraine Betts has a Theology Degree and a Records and Information Management Certificate and is currently a student at Mount Royal studying Women & Gender Studies (a.k.a. social justice).

Lorraine has over 25 years experience in administration and finance, primarily in the not-for-profit arena. She worked at Marigold Library System for 2 years and recently as the CFO at a not-for-profit religious organization in Calgary. 

She understands the stigmatism of mental health, the cost of poor mental health, and the benefits of maintaining good mental health. 

During COVID times, Lorraine has spent many hours reading, enjoying yoga and meditation, and discovered the joy of sketching. Her passion is to “be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown, without telling the world it was crooked.

Photo headshot of Tiffeny Wandler

Tiffeny Wandler has an advanced degree in Psychology and Counselling and is a certified Equine Assisted Personal Development Coach. She has numerous certifications ranging from addictions to self-harm, and suicide awareness to anger management, emotional wellness, and intelligence.

Drawing on over 25 years of training and experience, she provides transformational life coaching in a wide range of areas of personal growth. She helps individuals develop and cultivate the skills and abilities necessary to create more enriching, fulfilling lives, increasing their ability to successfully navigate life's challenges, and significantly enhancing the quality of their relationships with themselves and others.

Tiffeny guides individual through deep self-discovery and exploration, identifying and focusing on strengths and areas of potential growth with the focus on healing, and building core beliefs and patterns.

When Tiffeny is not learning, studying, or working with people she enjoys time in nature with her dog and horses in the beautiful Priddis foothills.

Pandemic Year 1: Creating the Template for Engaging Your Community

Making things matter and making things happen was a lot harder last year, mentally, physically, and emotionally. To say our lives and libraries experienced many ups and downs is truly the understatement of the year. Somehow we went from a six week lead time (from the March 2020 lockdown to opening at the end of July), to hitting the ground running just five days before Alberta libraries were ordered closed again in mid-December.

The second time we were prepared and resumed limited services immediately including curbside pickup, take-home adult activity kits, live online author talks, children’s programming for all ages, readers' advisory, and so much more. But it wasn’t always like this. Without a template for how to serve our community while we were closed, we tried — and were less than successful in some cases — but all that experience culminated into eventual achievements that we’re still proudly implementing today.

Every step of the way, our library staff pulled together as a team, supported one another, and lifted each other up when it seemed like no one else appreciated our efforts. As our library reopened, connecting with our community and having their engagement renewed our motivation to keep going.

In this session, we will discuss:

  • What our staff’s impressions were of the lockdown, the confusion and the uncertainty
  • Early failures and successes of community engagement
  • Effects of pandemic “fatigue” on our mental and emotional health as a staff and community and how it contributed to lack of engagement
  • Finding the strength and motivation to keep going
  • Redefining outreach with our patrons and network libraries
  • Challenges of reopening — what we expected and what we didn’t
  • Looking forward to the next fifty years of the Canmore Public Library

If you or your library is having trouble or lacking the motivation to keep moving forward, we get it, we’ve been there at least twice as a group, and so many more times on an individual basis. Truly, when your library and its patrons find their new groove, the rewards for your mental and community fitness will be worth it.

Photo headshot of Fortune Whelan

Fortune Whelan has been making the weird and wonderful happen for as long as she can remember, even penning a murder mystery as a fourth-grade project at her very Catholic elementary school called Murder at the Muriel Hotel. After a hiatus travelling the world on a cruise ship, road tripping to Burning Man in the early 2000s, finance managing a territory for the world’s largest soda shop, and owning both a yoga studio and school, she rediscovered her love of writing and signed a publishing contract last year during the pandemic which shall not be named.

A Bow Valley convert, Fortune began working at the Canmore Public Library eight days after arriving. Since then, her contributions to library programming have included organizing the Mom 2 Mom Sale, and the Children's Holiday Market Library Fundraiser; facilitating the Books N Banter Book Club (with an introvert’s section!), and teaching a monthly yoga class (on hold right now, of course).

Strong Library Boards are Built of Firm Ethics

Community members trust the boards of their libraries to act in their long-term best interests. That trust is built on an historical foundation of ethics and communication.

Trustees often wear several hats - library representative, regional partner, community leader - sometimes more than one at a time. How can they be most effective? How are ethical good governance practices illustrated by what they say and – more importantly - do?

Ethics are based on principles and are sometimes laid out formally in documents like codes of conduct or codes of ethics. More often than not though, ethics end up being personal and there can be disagreement on what is 'ethical' and what is not.

Relying on insight and examples, this session will speak to wise practice, and sometimes what not to do.

Photo headshot of Ian McCormack

Ian McCormack, as the President of Strategic Steps, has had the opportunity to work with dozens of municipalities, libraries, associations, societies, and voluntary sector organizations on how to best provide good governance to those served by the organization. He is a nationally certified management consultant, and most recently, the author of 'Who's Driving the Grader and Other Governance Questions' that was published nationally in 2020.

TD Summer Reading Club

TD Summer Reading Club is Canada’s biggest, bilingual summer reading program for kids of all ages, all interests, and all abilities. This free Club celebrates Canadian authors, illustrators, and stories, and inspires kids to explore the fun of reading their way. This is key to building a lifelong love of reading.

Participants will learn more about the TD Summer Reading Club and what resources will be available to them for the summer of 2021! We will discuss the elements of the program that are created with a focus on accessibility and diversity. For the summer of 2021, we are moving to a fully hybrid model: the traditional notebooks, stickers, and promotional materials will be available for libraries that can accept physical items; as well, we will offer a robust online component for libraries that choose to deliver the program online.

Photo headshot of Lianne Fortin

Lianne Fortin has been the Program Manager of the TD Summer Reading Club for Library and Archives Canada since 2007. She works in partnership with Toronto Public Library and over 2000 participating libraries across Canada who offer the program and encourage kids to read all summer long!

Photo headshot of Jessica Roy

Jessica Roy is the Toronto Public Library Manager of the TD Summer Reading Club national program. She works in partnership with Library and Archives Canada, and the 2000 participating libraries, to keep kids across Canada reading all summer long.

2:30pm - 3:30pm

Conflict in the Workplace

By the end of this session, participants should be knowledgeable of:

  • What conflict is, the sources of conflict, and the impact of conflict in the workplace
  • The various conflict management styles at play
  • How to have courageous conversations
  • The importance of empathy in workplace conflict
  • The role of leaders in conflict management
  • How to communicate in times of conflict
Photo headshot of Clementine Crooks

Clementine Crooks has her Masters in Leadership Development and is a Chartered HR Professional.  For the past ten years, Clementine has worked with organizations to provide hands-on support to help maximize the efficiency and profitability of clients. This work has included interactive workshops, development of policies, and procedures, performance management processes, and employee documentation. Clementine brings to the team strong presenting skills and a depth of knowledge in leadership and professional development.

Finding the Right Rhymes for Storytimes

Story stretches are an important part of every children's program. But our youngest learners are so diverse -- how do we choose the best ones? Perhaps you find yourself preparing a toddler storytime or a grade one class visit. Are you welcoming English language learners or new parents to the library? Or do you know a child in your group with special needs?

Madiha and Ginger share favourite rhymes, songs, and fingerplays to successfully engage children of varying ages, backgrounds, and language abilities.

Photo headshot of Ginger Mullen

Ginger Mullen has a love for storytimes that was sparked more than 20 years ago at Lethbridge Public Library, Chinook Arch Regional Library System, and Vancouver Public Library. This work inspired her to earn an MA in Children’s Literature. She continues to connect with the early childhood community as a storyteller in daycares and preschools, a teacher-trainer for the Parent-Child Mother Goose Program™, and a professional development educator for The Gingerbread Way. In 2017 she published More than Words: Using Nursery Rhymes and Songs to Support Domains of Child Development.

Photo headshot of Madiha Madda

Madiha Madda is a certified child development worker who has interacted with children in recreational and professional settings for nearly twenty years. Her experiences have spanned daycare and preschool programs, camps, outdoor playgroups, language learning settings, and children's programs in mosques and community centres. She often relies upon story and song to spark interest, build relationships, and engage the whole child. Madiha documents her work in early childhood development at www.discoverydomeyyc.ca.

Planning in a Pandemic

A robust Plan of Service is your friend; following the strategic priorities identified in your library’s Plan of Service is best practice for decision-making before, during, and after a pandemic. A current Plan of Service is a requirement for receipt of provincial operating funds. How do you modify and evaluate your existing Plan of Service when a pandemic hits mid-way through your Plan of Service timeline? How do you create a new Plan of Service in the middle of a pandemic?

Photo headshot of Pamela Medland

Pamela Medland has worked in public libraries for over thirty years, serving as Director of the Airdrie Public Library since 2015. During her tenure at APL, Medland has overseen three plans of service, the latest a one-year emergency pandemic plan.

Reader's Advisory in a Virtual World

Libraries have experienced great changes over the past year, with some of our services altered in fundamental ways. But that doesn’t mean we have been cut off from our patrons! Even our most personalized services can successfully transition to a virtual model.

This session will explore how libraries can offer quality Reader’s Advisory services in a digital format, to support their patrons while libraries remain closed -- and maybe even make things easier once they reopen!

Learn about utilizing digital tools and strategies to connect patrons with books, while giving staff room to develop and perfect their Reader’s Advisory skills.

Photo headshot of Kait McClary

Kait McClary graduated with her MLIS in 2018, but she has been working in libraries since 2012. From small towns serving a few hundred to major cities serving a few hundred thousand, Kait has worked in all shapes and sizes of libraries across Canada and the UK. She currently works for the Shortgrass Library System as a Client Services Librarian, supporting member libraries across southeast Alberta.