The time to take on a leadership role with SLA@UBC is now

Serving on our
executive committee
has many rewards:

  • Additionally, bonds of camaraderie and friendship can form over time not just with other club executives but with external information professionals as well, such as those we partner with to host events.
  • It’s also a fun way to volunteer and give back — all while producing a new line item to add to your resume.

If this sounds like a pitch, that’s because it is! With the majority of current SLA@UBC executives graduating, now is the perfect time to step up and lay claim to an executive position for yourself and help lead the club into its next iteration.

For more information on various executive positions, keep reading below and/or check out our constitution and then email us at to declare your interest to stand for election in 2021.


The most prominent member of the executive committee, the President is the club’s representative to the AMS, the principal promoter of the club at events like iSchool orientation, the chair of our meetings and the shepherd of our club’s agenda. The President role is perfect for visionaries who also sweat the details and crush deadlines.


The Treasurer oversees our cheques and balances while acting as our second point person for all AMS-related business. They also contribute to strategic planning with a killer mix of moxie and practicality. If you’re a type who is devout to the concept of most bang for your buck, then serving as Treasurer may be ideal.


Setting the record straight is the purview of our Secretary. With a particularly creative, ambitious or rambunctious executive committee, wild ideas constantly take flight and the Secretary ensures there is a detailed record of them so they are there when we need them. Serving as Secretary is like getting in on the ground floor of real-time records creation and management.

Communications and Web Coordinator

There was some fluidity with this role the past year as a lot of internal communication with club membership was taken over by the President so our Communications and Web slinger could expand our external communication, primarily in support of our event-planning, which pivoted from in-person visits to virtual tours. This position is ideal for creatives who enjoy writing, publishing, design and/or promotion.

Events Coordinator

Don’t let the “Coordinator” title fool you — this is a role for aspiring Project Managers! Working in lockstep with the other executives (and delegating duties to them as required), this dynamic leader ensures we serve up for our membership that which differentiates us from nearly every other student association at school: tours of special libraries that broaden horizons and reveal prospective new career paths. Sign up for this critical role if you want to take on big challenges and collect equally big rewards.

Events Coordinator (potential new position no. 1)

This job might actually be too big for one person. If there is sufficient interest shown, we will introduce a bylaw to add a second events person.

SLA Canada liaison (potential new position no. 2)

We’ve identified a need to jumpstart our relationship with the mothership: SLA. We see the person in this role monitoring SLA Canada’s listserv and curating relevant news and opportunities to share with our members while also ushering our needs and desires the other way. Outcomes of such relationship-building are limitless, making this a truly exciting role brimming with possibilities for a networking connector type.

Think you want in? Then email us at to declare your interest to stand for election in 2021.

Upcoming virtual tour: Archives of African American Music and Culture

Our next virtual talk and tour will feature information professionals from the Archives of African American Music and Culture (AAAMC). Join us on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 1 p.m. PST for an exciting introduction to an organization that features unique collections and prioritizes media preservation.

The session will take place over Zoom. Click here to sign up — a meeting link will be emailed to the address you provide prior to the event. We also encourage you to ask questions of AAAMC’s representatives, which we will collect beforehand and present on your behalf during the event’s Q&A. Please submit any questions when you sign up. See you online!

Archival work, librarianship and digital asset management bloom at Longwood Gardens

How does archival work and librarianship at a public garden bloom? That question was answered during our latest virtual talk and tour when we were treated to presentations from three Longwood Gardens information professionals: David Sleasman, Director of Library and Information Services; Gillian Hayward, Library Manager; and Maureen McCadden, Digital Resources Manager.

Located outside of Philadelphia, PA, Longwood Gardens aims to inspire through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education, and the arts. To support this mandate, a robust information management department includes six full-time staff members, three part-timers, two to three interns and 275 volunteers.

Off the bat, David shared, “I don’t want you to think we sit around and talk about botany all day.” Collection management is more the centre of their work, with items to organize ranging from plant records (uncommon for a public garden) to photographs. The team archivist also manages all organizational records.

David stressed that departments like theirs have to show value to the parent organization by engaging in the organizational mission. An example of this is sourcing from the records those plants that are in bloom (or will be soon) and pushing this valuable information to the “front of the house.” Data, photography and learning resources are all shared in order to increase engagement, access and education for stakeholders both internal and external.

A screenshot shows photographs of the archives at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania.

Gillian works as the sole librarian and is supported by two interns. The collection follows Library of Congress classification and includes 20,000 print volumes with 3,500 in rare and special collections. An e-book consortium is also enlisted. Primary activities that keep Gillian busy include acquisitions, reference and cataloguing — but also interesting to hear was that during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the garden was closed, Gillian helped out with weeding and watering on the grounds!

Maureen, meanwhile, manages a digital asset bank of 450,000 images and is excited to be on track towards 1 million images soon. Digitization and preservation are priorities, with enriched metadata being vital. “If I can’t find it in five minutes, it doesn’t exist,” said Maureen of the searchability of the database. The customized system is on an intranet, which provides offsite remote access.

Not only were David, Gillian and Maureen generous with their knowledge and time, but they on multiple occasions stressed how much they value their interns and invited those attending to apply for internships. “Our interns go on to run their own libraries,” said Gillian.

Longwood Gardens’ library and archives can be accessed here while information on their international internship program can be found here.

AIDE Canada Library aids in provision of vital autism resources

According to librarian Allison Hill, the purpose of the AIDE Canada project is to “provide access to curated, credible and useful information about autism and intellectual disabilities across the lifespan and to people across the country.” A library would seem to be a natural tool to utilize in this mission and the non-profit organization that co-administers the project, the Pacific Autism Family Network Foundation agreed; thus, the new AIDE Canada Library was launched in Fall 2020.

Allison was brought over from Autism BC earlier that year in preparation of the launch and to serve as the facility’s Manager of Library Services & Resource Discovery moving forward. A sole librarian, Allison employs one library tech at the Richmond-based library. Last month, Allison, a 2018 graduate from UBC’s iSchool, provided an overview of her work and workplace over Zoom during SLA@UBC’s fist-ever virtual tour.

The library’s small but growing patron base consists of i) parents of children, teens and adults on the spectrum ii) autistic adults, whether or not they have a formal diagnosis iii) partners and spouses of people with possible autism seeking to improve their relationships and iv) service providers such as therapists and early-childhood educators.

Meanwhile, the library’s collection of resources prioritizes those that span the lifetime, owing to users wanting to filter their information searches according to specific life stages. Books and other materials are shipped nation-wide at no cost to borrowers using Canada Post, broadening the library’s service beyond Vancouver. Allison is excited that e-books and audiobooks will soon be offered as well through OverDrive.

One of Allison’s primary activities is collection development and a major accomplishment was creating a new classification system. Key to that was to reorganize by subject rather than by audience, because previously searchers were forced to self-identity prior to browsing materials. For example, there was a section for “people on the autism spectrum” and sections for “anyone else.” “There were aspects of the classification system I was really uncomfortable with,” Allison said.

A screenshot shows librarian Allison Hill holding up one of the resources that is available at the AIDE Canada Library.

Allison also conducts reference and offers information literacy instruction, sharing that the biggest question received is “My child just received their diagnosis — where do I go from here?”

Allison also shared challenges faced, initiatives on tap and presented a slideshow of the library and the sensory-friendly new building it’s housed in. Open to sharing additional insight and simply engaging (a comfort to a sole librarian!), Allison can be reached at

A screenshot shows a photograph of the Pacific Autism Family Network Foundation building and how easy it is to navigate.

Meeting Minutes October 3, 2020

Meeting Minutes
October 3, 2020
2:00pm, via Zoom

In attendance: Manfred, Janet, Hans, Kisun, Ramona

Find a workspace where we can meet once a week to work on individual projects in a communal atmosphere
Should we reduce tours from two per term to one per term?

Should we discount in-person tours? For small tours in Vancouver, people might appreciate going somewhere in person. Maybe one virtual and one in-person tour. 

Hans—Example of recent virtual studio tour and in-person gallery tour. 
Kisun—One benefit of virtual tour is that it can be recorded for those unable to attend.
Janet—Can host small, ‘mini’ virtual tours of ½ hour, less pressure for hosts and students. Success not measured by number of attendees.

Tour venues
Manfred’s short list—Ohio Amish Library, Walt Disney Archives, Seattle Metaphysical Library

Janet—Should we look at special libraries that have SLA members on staff or involved? Examples are Atlanta Botanical Garden, Longwood, Canadian Space Agency, CDC, and others

Kisun—Drawing from class discussions, there would likely be as strong interest in non-traditional records.

Hans and Ramona—Interested in botanical or agricultural archives. 

Top choices
Archives of African American Music and Culture 
Ohio Amish Library
Botanical Library
Local (Aide, UBCIC)

Discussion of platforms, agreement that Zoom is the best choice. 

Action items
Manfred—Contact Alison Hill at Aide, look into study space
Janet—Contact other choices
Ramona—find out about in-person tours (UBCIC)
Hans—research best practices for hosting virtual tours, i.e. prep, moderating chat, time limit

Meeting Minutes August 31, 2020

Meeting Minutes
August 31, 2020
4:00 pm via Zoom. 

In attendance: Manfred, Hans, Janet, Courtney, Matt, Korrin, Ryan, Mari, Clara, Felicity, Ramona

Catching up, opening remarks
-GSS workspace/lounge open at Nest if people in Vancouver need a place to work.
-Plans for September-Clara has been emailing information about club presentations for Orientation September 8th
-Discussed pitch for club, focus on past tours
-Discussed virtual tours and potential spaces to reach out to. Manfred has put together a list of options for virtual tours, please reach out if you have any ideas. 

Vote for new Treasurer
-Welcome Courtney Miller (introduction)
-Korrin stepping down as treasurer due to moving back to Ontario for remainder of degree. 

Vote to elect Courtney Miller for position of Treasurer for 2020/2021 (roll call)
In favour: 10
Opposed: 0
Abstained: 0

Closing remarks
-Ramona will post minutes to blog. 
-Plan to meet again in September after Orientation.

Minutes of the 2020 Annual General Meeting

March 3, 2020 at 5 p.m.

Location: UBC iSchool Grieg Research Lab

In attendance: Korrin, James, Janet, Jeremy, Hans, Abi, Karen, Victoria, Manfred, and Ramona

  1. Vote to elect the SLA@UBC executive for the 2020/2021 year


Viva VIVO Media Arts Centre and its eclectic print and audiovisual collection!

Artist-run centres are a uniquely Canadian part of our cultural heritage. And Vancouver’s VIVO Media Arts Centre has a unique collection as a result.

An artist-run centre founded in 1973 to promote the non-commercial use of video technology through an international video exchange program, artist workshops, and other initiatives, VIVO describes itself as “a steward of critical history and an agent for emergent experimental media arts practices.”

VIVO’s Archive Manager Karen Knight and Archivist Emily Guerrero treated SLA@UBC members to a tour of their space and specifically the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archive last week.

Comprising a print collection of festival catalogues, exhibition booklets and radical magazines, and audiovisual materials comprised of experimental media art and recorded performances, the library and archives is a treasure trove for researchers from film studies, gender studies, art history and anthropology among many other fields. Karen said the “joy” of the collection originates from its unusual and rare items and it feeling “random” and “spontaneous”.

With audiovisual and non-textual materials needing to be prioritized for preservation due to their impending degradation, VIVO’s diverse collection documenting the media art history of not just Vancouver but Canada should be paid special attention. The work over the years of numerous iSchool alumni, including Emily, to provide greater discovery and access to the materials is meaningful.

At McCarthy Tétrault law firm, librarians bill by the minute similarly to the lawyers they support

Jason Wong and Susan Caird, information professionals with an MLIS who serve as legal researchers in the Vancouver branch of Canadian law firm McCarthy Tétrault, provided a sweeping overview of law librarianship while taking SLA@UBC members on a tour of their workplace last week.

Although the firm bought a subscription to ProView in 2017, which moved a large collection of looseleaf holdings online and thus accessible to all stakeholders 24/7, the tour divulged how much Jason and Susan still depend on hard-copy legal texts for research.

Jason, who graduated from U of A, and Susan, an alumni of our own iSchool, also shared the challenges of doing reference work in a faced-paced, dynamic and national law office like McCarthy Tétrault.

For their work, the pair bill by the minute, which raises the value of their information management expertise in the eyes of lawyers, students and others who make use of their service.

Jason and Susan were forthcoming with their insight, generous with their time, and enthusiastic about their profession — all of which impressed our tour attendees immensely.

BC Cancer Library tour reveals critical services for both patients and staff

The library at BC Cancer “delivers timely service and evidence-informed resources to people facing cancer and those involved in oncology care or research.”

That the librarians at BC Cancer serve two such distinct client bases — patients as well as staff — is just one of the myriad aspects of their work revealed to SLA@UBC members who toured BC Cancer Library’s Vancouver branch early in 2020.

Librarians Shannon Cheng and Elena Popova began the session by introducing their library technicians, Annie and Susan, who are responsible for the library’s Circulation and Cataloguing & Acquisitions, respectively. They then took the group on a walk-through of the stacks, conducted an informative Q&A, and concluded with a visit to the “pop-up” library at BC Cancer’s clinic across the street (the main library is located within its research facility).

The collection:

There is one overarching theme to the collection, which is that items must be cancer-related. However, that means different things to the two distinct user groups. For example, patients come in looking for magazines, ie some light reading between treatments, whereas researchers seek assistance tracking down journals.

For patients, books kept on hand touch on subject areas that are more holistic, such as nutrition, exercise and counselling. But, say, for information on cutting-edge treatments, Shannon and Elena go online to find information, utilizing databases such as MEDLINE and PubMed.

Librarian work:

The majority of Shannon and Elena’s work consists of literature searches. This is followed by training, orientations, and answering queries.

They can also “triage” clients to other departments, such as connecting a patient to a physiotherapist or pharmacist. With patients, Shannon and Elena know that cancer doesn’t discriminate, so they are prepared to serve clients with a range of educational backgrounds and reading levels. When working with staff, however, efficiency is required — staff are often straight to the point with their requests and are interested in timely solutions.

BC Cancer has five branches throughout the province, with additional librarians based at some of those branches. Shannon and Elena also work with those colleagues as well as with remote clients who connect electronically.

The future:

The only head librarian that BC Cancer Library has ever had has recently retired. So, there will be a transition period that will present opportunities. For example, the librarians hope to tackle crafting a collections management policy. As well, they will oversee a migration to LibGuides, a content management system. In the end, and as always, Elena says they “have to provide justification that our service is valuable.”

Well, getting a glimpse of the work performed at BC Cancer Library was certainly valuable to us at SLA@UBC! Thank you Shannon and Elena! For more on the BC Cancer Library, check out its website