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Annual General Meeting – Monday December 8 at 7pm

PLG Edmonton’s Annual General Meeting is this Monday December 8th at 7pm
at the Strathcona branch of The Edmonton Public Library.

We will be electing the 2015 secretary, treasurer and communications officer.

Nominations:

Any current PLG members can nominate themselves or others to any of the positions.

The current officers will be presenting their annual reports.

The Annual General Meeting is a great opportunity for new members to get up to speed on what the group is doing and get involved!

 

International Community Responds to Ferguson Library

In the aftermath of a grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown, sociologist Michael Eric Dyson asked, ‘Where do we go after Ferguson?’ For some in Ferguson, the literal answer is the public library, helmed by a small but dedicated crew that chose to face the turmoil head-on and provide a refuge for all in need.

With a few powerful tweets, Ferguson Public Library reminded its city and elsewhere of precisely how much public libraries nurture and sustain their communities. Keeping the library open, Director Scott Bonner alongside his staff and volunteers are not only ensuring that everyday life-line services continue, but are also meeting unrest-driven needs on the fly. And inspired by those words and actions, an international community is cheering the library on, bolstering its efforts through words of support, donations, and other means.

Curious about Director Scott Bonner and Ferguson Public Library? Check out his recent IAMA (I am a/Ask Me Anything) on Reddit as well as NPR’s recent spotlight on the library. Want to support present and future programming and collections for Ferguson users? Donate money through the library’s website or head over to a wish list set up by a supporter through Powell’s Books.

Class and Library Usage in Canada

John Pateman, CEO / Chief Librarian of the Thunder Bay Public Library and member of the research team which produced “Open to All? The Public Library and Social Exclusion” (2000), recently wrote a short but interesting article on the impact that class has on library use in Canada. Published on the Ontario Library Association’s website Open Shelf, it refers to recent statistics of library users in Canada from the Canadian Urban Libraries Council which show that middle-class Canadians use libraries more than those who have a lower income. He argues that public libraries must do more to engage with all sections of the community to identify their unique needs and use this information to provide more relevant services. This will help libraries become more inclusive institutions and effective agents of social change.

Provincial Funding for Public Libraries on the Decline in Alberta

As Alberta’s new Premier Jim Prentice likes to say, the Government of Alberta is “under new management.” Hopefully, though not likely, the ‘new’ government, from the same party that has been in power for over 40 years, will reverse the recent trend of declining real investments in Alberta’s public libraries from the provincial government.

In 2006, the Province directly funded provincial library boards (removing funding to TAL, APLEN, funding for resource sharing, and SuperNet Connection Fees) to the tune of $7.49 per capita (provincial library statistics are available here http://www.municipalaffairs.alberta.ca/plsb_statistics.cfm.

In 2011, direct funding to library boards was $7.76 per capita. While this is an increase of 3%,  Consumer Price Index data from Statistics Canada for Alberta notes that between 2006 and 2011, prices rose a total of 16%. Thus in real dollar terms, provincial support for libraries is down, and down significantly. A similar trend can be seen in other jurisdictions as well. For example in Ontario between 2011 and 2012, direct provincial spending on libraries fell (not just in real dollars, but in nominal dollars).

While declines in direct provincial funding to library boards is mitigated to a degree by increasing municipal funding, more downloading of the costs of library services to municipalities, puts libraries increasingly at the whim of local politicians and municipal tax bases that already finance a broad range of services (from roads and snow removal to police and firefighters). Perhaps the large public deficit in Ontario can partially explain declining provincial expenditures there, but why has Alberta, one of the most prosperous jurisdictions in the world, continued to let its share of financial support for libraries decline, in relative terms?

Hopefully the ‘new management’ in Alberta will realize the importance of investing in public libraries and significantly increase support for library boards and provincial library initiatives such as TAL. More likely, especially with declining oil prices, the Government of Alberta will continue to reduce its share of financial support for libraries. The recent Speech from the Throne noted, “Every effort of your government is focused on the fundamental goal of ensuring Albertans have the best quality of life possible.” It will be interesting to see if that quality of life includes provincial support for libraries.

Next PLG Edmonton Meeting November 25 at 7PM

Join us at the Strathcona branch of Edmonton Public Library for our final monthly meeting before the Annual General Meeting in December.

Edit: We’ll be nominating people for officer positions for 2015, so please come if you are interested in running or let someone know if you would like to be nominated in absentia.

PLG Edmonton Meeting
7PM-8PM
8331 – 104 Street
Edmonton, Alberta

 

2014 Braverman Memorial Prize Winner Announced

A few months ago, the Progressive Librarians Guild’s Miriam Braverman Memorial Prize was awarded to Denise Scott, a recent MLIS graduate from the iSchool at the University of Toronto. The Braverman award competition recognizes outstanding written papers on some aspect of the social responsibility of libraries, librarians, or librarianship. Scott’s paper Deconstructing the ‘Books for Boys’ Discourse “provides a critical analysis of the ‘Books for Boys’ discourse and deconstructs some of the gendered assumptions that this discourse relies upon and reinforces.”

The full essay is available here: http://www.progressivelibrariansguild.org/PL_Jnl/Braverman_2014.pdf

Thanks for Making Organize and Assemble IV a Success!

This past Saturday PLG Edmonton hosted another successful Symposium. The theme for this year’s Symposium was Commodification of Information Goods and Library Services, and we had a wide range of presenters looking at several facets of the topic.

While those who were unable to make the Symposium missed a great day of engaging presentations, this year we are proud to announce that we will be compiling the articles for publication in a special issue of Progressive Librarian. More details on the special issue will be available on the PLG Edmonton site as we get closer to publication.

Finally PLG Edmonton wishes to thank attendees and presenters, some of whom travelled great distances, to make the Symposium a success. Thanks as well to the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta for hosting the event, and of course to the organizing committee as well.

Two Days Until the PLG Edmonton Symposium!

The PLG Edmonton Symposium, Organize and Assemble IV, is almost here! New information about how to find the Symposium and where to park has been posted in Directions and Parking.

Reminder that we’ll be accepting the registration fee at the door in cash and over PayPal. See the Registration page for fee information.

We’re planning on taking the conversation to Original Joe’s, 8404 109th Street, after the Symposium for an informal reception. Please join us!