Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Beautiful British Columbia

Alane here, reporting in from sunny, fabulous Victoria, British Columbia. Victoria, for those unfamiliar with this part of Canada, is the provincial capital, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. It's about a 3 hour ferry ride or an 40 minute plane ride from Vancouver or Seattle. The main part of the city is located on a big curved bay and I can see the ocean from my hotel window and the sea planes taking off and landing. If I go out on the balcony and crane my head a bit I can see the mountains, still snow-capped. The Parliament buildings are very close, and at night are outlined with 3,330 white lights. It's a very beautiful place.

Like George I have two scan presentations this week. As he mentioned, one was yesterday, to the CARL (Canadian Association of Research Libraries) directors, who are having their annual general meeting before CLA starts. In addition to the directors, Kjell Nilsson, the Deputy National Librarian of the Royal National Library of Sweden was attending, as was Jan Cellucci, the wife of the U.S. ambassador to Canada, former Massachusetts governor Paul Cellucci (actually his title is Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to Canada!), and my old classmate and friend, Deb Debruijn, the Executive Director of the Canadian National Site Licensing Program.

Jan Cellucci was working as a librarian at Boston College until her husband's appointment. When she moved to Ottawa she wanted to remain active in the profession. She visits libraries and archives around the country, and then, when the opportunity arises, she meets with provincial and federal politicians to talk about these institutions with them. What a great thing to be doing! This sort of advocacy is much needed. Thanks on behalf of Canadian librarians, Jan.

For me, coming to Canadian library events is always an opportunity to see many ex-colleagues and friends. Among the CARL directors are quite a few people I've worked with, and hung out with at conferences. The director I have known the longest is Carolynne Presser, University of Manitoba.

When I began as an undergraduate at the University of Waterloo, 29 years ago, I began working in the library to supplement my puny student loan. It was then that I discovered that there were some pretty cool things happening in the library as I was part of the big crew working on switching from a punch card local system to a GEAC system that used bar codes! (Yes, I have been working in libraries long enough that I remember when bar codes on books were new technology.) Carolynne was then the head of the Engineering, Math and Science Library and I worked there for two summers. At that time, I had no idea I'd go to library school and end up standing in front of a bunch of research library directors that included Carolynne and others I've known for many years, being billed as a guru of the OCLC environmental scan! I am not sure if there's a collective noun for a group of research library directors but it should be something like, "a pride of directors" as being in a room full of them is akin, I fancy, to being in a room full of tigers. Nice pussycats most of the time but dangerous is provoked. They're just used to being in charge.

I'll be just outside Detroit on Friday, talking to the directors in TLN (The Library Network) at a meeting called Congruency: TLN Setting Goals and Creating a New Plan of Service. We've heard many libraries and some organizations are using the OCLC scan as a planning document, and Cathy De Rosa and I have both made presentations on the scan as part of a planning effort--which is always interesting and enlightening.

Happy Bloomsday!

"We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing." - R. D. Laing







2 comments:

ruhan said...

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