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Program & Keynote Speakers

CAPAL19 Conference Program and Keynote Speakers



The Politics of Conversation: Identity, Community, and Communication

Printable program - PDF (31 p)

Held in conjunction with

Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2019

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia

June 2-4, 2019

CAPAL19-ACBES19 provides an opportunity for the academic library community to critically examine and discuss the ways in which our profession is influenced by its social, political, and economic environments. By considering academic librarianship within its historical contexts, its presents, and its possible futures, and by situating it within evolving cultural frameworks and structures of power, we can better understand the ways in which academic librarianship may reflect, reinforce, or challenge these contexts both positively and negatively.

In what kinds of conversation are we or are we not engaging within the profession, academia, and civil society? How are the various identities that constitute our communities reflected (or not) within academic librarianship, and how do we engage in conversations within our own communities and with communities that we may see as external.

CAPAL Session Locations:

IBLC-261: Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, Room 261.

HENN-201: Hennings, Room 201.

HENN-202: Hennings, Room 202.

Calendar of open events at Congress:

Join the conversation on Twitter: #CAPAL19

Day 1 – Sunday, june 2, 2019

8:00 am-9:00 am: Registration (HENN-201)

Please note that you will first need to register with the Congress to receive your Congress badge, name-tag, and program. After doing so, please proceed to the CAPAL Registration table in Henning’s Building to register with us and join the conference.

8:45 AM – 9:05 AM: Welcome, Territorial Acknowledgement, and Opening Remarks (HENN-201)

9:05 AM – 10:05 AM: Opening Keynote Address (HENN-201)

Convenor: Sam Popowich, Program Chair

Tara Robertson

Tara Robertson will talk about the diversity and inclusion work she does at Mozilla. She's going to present some data that shows that academic libraries are shockingly white and discuss some of the uncomfortable ways this plays out. She will present some strategies for libraries to combat whiteness and foster diversity.

10:05 AM – 10:30AM: Morning Break - Coffee/Tea & Light Snacks (Henn-201)


Concurrent Session 1A: The Politics of decolonization and indigenization

Location: iblc-261


 The Politics of Decolonization and Indigenization: Grappling with the colonial roots of our academic support services (Panel).

Ashley Edwards, Library Assistant, Learning & Instructional Services Division, Simon Fraser University.

Julia Lane, Writing Services Associate, Student Learning Commons, Simon Fraser University.

The terms Decolonization and Indigenization are commonplace in this era of reconciliation, but how can they be translated into practice in academic supports, such as Writing Centres and Libraries? Academic institutions are steeped in Western traditions and have colonial foundations. Indigenous enrollment is on the rise, and, in order to provide appropriate and meaningful academic supports, our institutions need to both acknowledge these roots and create space for different ways of knowing. Bringing Indigenous ways of knowing into our work, however, can be a daunting task, requiring new ways of thinking about academic authority. What’s more, acknowledging the colonial foundations of our work is personally challenging, particularly as it demands that we recognize our complicity in ongoing inequities.

In this workshop Ashley, an academic library technician, and Julia, a writing services associate, examine the colonial history and impacts within university libraries and their support services. They begin with a brief presentation to share what they have learned as part of a decolonizing task group, and through research undertaken to best support their students. Using Liberating Structures techniques, Ashley and Julia then invite participants to engage with the questions: “what does decolonizing mean to you, and how can it be achieved?” and “what/where is your sphere of influence?”

We recognize that asking and attempting to answer these questions may be accompanied by anxiety and even fear. Given this reality, we use Liberating Structures to support engagement in our session. Liberating Structures are powerful and engaging techniques that make workshops more productive, purposeful, and inclusive. In our session, these techniques create a structured and purposeful dialogue, opening space to turn toward, rather than disengage from, the anxieties that can stop us from even beginning the conversation.

The intention of this workshop is to support a meaningful discussion about why academic services need to engage with Decolonization and Indigenization. In an effort to counteract the paralysis that can accompany such challenging work, the session is intentionally set up to leave participants with ideas for next steps: actions that can be done without any additional resources or authority. We have also created a resource guide, which will be shared with session participants. In these ways we seek to empower participants not to wait for “the perfect” moment or approach to Decolonization and Indigenization, but instead to recognize that the work is happening and they need to be part of it.

For more about Liberating Structures:

Concurrent Session 1B: Critical and Contemplative Librarianship

Location: Henn-201


Toward a Critical Evidence-Based Library and Information Practice

Jessica Critten, Pedagogy and Assessment Program Lead, Auraria Library, University of Colorado.

Evidence-based library and information practice (EBLIP) ostensibly aims to be the result of the best available “evidence” and recent work has aimed to better, and more inclusively, define what counts as this kind of evidence. This is a welcome change, and, I would offer in this paper, a useful starting point to continue to explore the rhetorical and practical implications of the term Evidence-Based Library and Information Practice. I argue that EBLIP should consciously interrogate the rhetorical situation around its reproduction, and purposefully advocate for the inclusion of kinds of evidence that are often de-emphasized in a neoliberal higher education landscape. This understanding of EBLIP is decidedly critical. As much as I hesitate to amend every term relating to information studies and librarianship with the signifier ‘critical’, it feels necessary in a research and educational industry that has a vested interest in the continued obfuscation of terminology and the ideologies it reifies by language.

The Critical Evidence-Based Library and Information Practice(CEBLIP) I propose in this paper departs from the current understanding of EBLIP in using the theoretical framework of Standpoint Epistemology to insist that the best evidence to inform our practice is found in the work of women, women of color and other POC. This paper will pull from the work of critical theorists Sandra Harding and Patricia Hill Collins especially to explore how the concepts of strong objectivity and Black Feminist Epistemology can shape our discussions about evidence in LIS practice and research. I will also apply Sara Ahmed’s work to discuss how CEBLIP may bring into relief the rhetorical and phenomenological relationship between whiteness and ‘evidence.’

Working within critical evidence-based paradigm, our teaching and research focuses on examining researcher positionality and pushes us to ask different questions about the design of research projects, including critiquing research questions and chosen methods. Instead of asking, “What might this research tell us about the population or issue being studied?” we might ask, “What does this research tell us about the researcher?” Instead of asking “What did the researcher conclude based off their data?” we might ask “Is this the best way to learn about this particular population or issue?”; “If we start thought from marginalized lives, how might this project be different?”

Contemplative Librarians: A Brief Introduction

Sandra Cowan, Religious Studies, Modern Languages, English and Fine Arts Librarian, University of Lethbridge.

Romany Craig, Information Instruction Coordinator, History and Philosophy Librarian, University of Lethbridge.

As librarians, universities, and our society itself continue to work within a neoliberal value system, it can be difficult to see that there are other perspectives available to us. Evaluating, or finding value in, our work as librarians does not come about exclusively from the metrics and “measures of excellence” that we are often expected to use to communicate our worth. Informed by other systems of thought, we can frame our work in different ways in order to create and communicate meaning in it.  We will briefly introduce ancient contemplative teachings – mindfulness, equanimity, and compassion – and look at their application in the academic library, as well as in our own practice of librarianship. In recent years, there has been a revival of interest in contemplative teachings. There is a growing contemplative pedagogy movement, ACRL is offering a “Mindfulness in Libraries” course, Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction has grown into a well-respected, evidence-based program, and even Google offers intensive meditation courses to it employees. Is this a genuine shift that can benefit librarians and others in their work and lives? Are these tools that we can use to communicate more kindly and build a more authentic community in our workplaces? As a different set of values, do they offer an alternative to the way that we do our work within our educational institutions?

Concurrent Session 1c: POWer/knowledge

Location: henn-202


The Kynical Academic Librarian and Institutional Declericalization

Stephen Bales, Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian and Associate Professor, Texas A&M.

This research is a critical and cultural analysis of the modern academic library and the profession of modern academic librarianship as cultural/ideological institutions that serve the role of defining and reproducing sociocultural structures in modern capitalist society. Specifically, it explores the role of the religious symbolisms and implicit rituals of the modern secular academic library as a powerful state institution and “sacred space,” using the work of Ludwig Feuerbach and others to understand these symbolisms and rituals’ part in generating and maintaining oppressive hegemonic structures in society. Methods employed include historiographical explorations and a critical/dialectical analysis of the pertinent relationships found between the library as an institution and other cultural and political institutions. In light of this analysis, I suggest strategies for subverting dominant, oppressive structures that relate directly to issues important to diversity, inclusion, and social and economic justice. These strategies are both post-professional and kynical (i.e., employing subversive rhetoric and lived truth), drawing upon the work of theorists such as Ivan Illich and Peter Sloterdijk.

Identity, capitalism, and critical librarianship
Dominique Taylor, Philosophy, Peace & Conflict Studies, and Religion Librarian, University
of Manitoba.

Attempts to clearly demarcate the locus and nature of ascriptive identity-based critiques (AIC), what is often pejoratively referred to both in the left and the right as ‘identity politics’, has embroiled socialist theory and practice since at least the 60s, but has recently resurfaced in the face of neoliberal attempts to hijack AIC for its own inegalitarian ends. Recently, Marie Moran and Assad Haider have attempted to critique the concept of AIC, not to reject it, but rather to bolster it in order to fend off potential neoliberal conceptual expropriation. By and large, this discussion of AIC as a potential neoliberal tool has been largely neglected within critical librarianship theory (CL). This not to insinuate that CL ignores this matter in practice nor that its focus on ascriptive identity categories is problematic in and of itself. Rather, I see the project of further articulating the identity within AIC as having the potential to reinvigorate the political power of CL within a revolutionary, and not merely reformist, framework that spills beyond institutional borders.

This presentation will first outline the rise of the concept of identity in relation to capitalism, drawing from both Moran and Haider’s exploration of the relation between capitalism, consumer identity, and social identity. I will focus primarily on Moran’s “cultural materialist approach,” inspired by Raymond Williams, the marxist cultural theorist. From here, I will relate this analysis to how identity is deployed within CL literature and briefly provide a minor course correction, making a case for the formation of a revolutionary meta-theory for CL. Specifically, I will suggest that AIC with CL must explicitly orient itself in a manner that stymies the possibility of such critiques being commandeered by neoliberal interests. Following this, I will suggest some possible strategies for a revolutionary politics of CL, such as promoting the decommodification of education and a move to a political movement that is more clearly structured. Such a move would also be designed to avoid class reductionist approaches by leveraging AIC to highlight specific injustices. For example, within the context of MLIS programs a call for the decommodification of education could be made to, among other things, address the lack of marginalized peoples in the library profession.

Classification and Power: Filipiniana and the Shape of Library Space

Emily Drabinski. Critical Pedagogy Librarian, The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Library classification structures are both abstract and material ordering machines. As texts, they can be read as ideological statements. For example, the decision to shelve materials about transgender lives in HQ or RC in the Library of Congress Classification scheme reflects dominant beliefs about whether gender is a socially negotiated characteristic or a psychological illness. As blueprints, these documents determine where books sit on shelves and what they are close to and far from. In this way, knowledge organization schemes include a spatial dimension, determining the literal flow of intellectual traffic through the spaces they determine.

This paper addresses the spatial dimension of ordering systems through an analysis of Filipiniana collections in academic libraries in the Philippines. The use of LCC is widespread in Philippine libraries. As a former U.S. colony, the islands trace much of their library practice to U.S. colonial intervention, including the implementation of LCC to order collections. At the same time, Philippine libraries have developed and deployed Filipiniana as a category to collate materials by Filipino writers or about the Philippines as a special collection.  These collections are not only marked in the cataloging system, but organize the space of libraries. In the case of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Filipiniana is both marked as different and spatially positioned as central: it is the first collection a patron encounters when entering the library.

When libraries designate materials as “special,” they mark those materials as both the same (as each other) and as collectively different from the materials gathered under the dominant organizing scheme. Filipininia collections can thus be understood in two ways: as collective formations that oppose the hegemony of U.S. knowledge organization structures and as expressions of the excess that cannot be contained by the colonial extension of U.S. global power. Through an analysis of the Filipiniana designation, this paper seeks to open up conversations around critical classification studies to include broader understandings of the ways that U.S. global power continues to shape the ways that physical space is rendered and experienced across the globe in the ostensibly postcolonial era.

12:00 PM-1:00 pm: LUNCH (on your own)

A list of food services on campus can be found here:

12:20 PM-12:50 pm: Canadian journal of academic librarianship (IBLC-261)

CJAL Editors

The Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship / Revue canadienne de bibliothéconomie universitaire is published by CAPAL / Acbes. Join us for this lunch-time session to hear the journal’s co-editors give an update of the journal’s first four years and share some tips for authors based on their collective experience of working with CJAL submissions. If you want to publish scholarly articles--especially if you are considering writing a paper based on your CAPAL 2019 presentation--this session is for you. Please bring your own lunch.


Concurrent Session 2A: critical assessment

Location: henn-201


Critical conversations: A dialogue on assumptions, biases, and power in library assessment (Panel).

Ebony Magnus, Interim Library Manager, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Maggie Faber, Assessment & Data Visualization Librarian, University of Washington.

Jackie Belanger, Director of Assessment & Planning, University of Washington.

Assessment is not neutral. Evidence is not infallible. Data are not immune to oppressive structures of power. In the proposed session, we will take up these principles as a starting point to frame a dialogue about how librarians might meaningfully engage critical perspectives to interrogate the structures of power and methodologies that both motivate and facilitate assessment work in academic libraries.

Work on critical assessment has largely taken place in the context of library instruction or in critiques of library assessment that highlight the dominance of quantitative approaches and neoliberal trends in higher education. Over the last two years, we have conducted research on critical methodologies employed in social sciences, data studies, and educational research, culminating in the publication of the article “Towards a Critical Assessment Practice” in In the Library with the Lead Pipe ( In this work, we shared professional and personal experiences that led us to explore structures of power inherent in our assessment work and we posed a number of questions to readers with which we have grappled, including:

●      How do our own identities, institutional positions, and perspectives shape our work?

●      What is the purpose of the assessment, who decides what to assess, and who benefits from the work?

●      What are the histories and contexts of the methods we choose, and how do these shape our work? Do these methods risk alienating or silencing other voices?

●      What is considered “evidence” and who decides?

●      Are we working in ways that enable power sharing and engagement with user communities at all stages of the process, from question formulation and data analysis, to decision-making?

We will begin by sharing the framework for critical assessment that we continue to explore and interrogate, and then we will draw on the tensions we have uncovered in our own work in order to facilitate a dialogue with attendees. We look forward to posing the above questions to participants and engaging with them in an open dialogue about critical library assessment.

Concurrent Session 2B: Values and emotional labour

Location: henn-202


The Emotional Labour of Canadian Liaison Librarians in an Age of Austerity

Laura Koltutsky, Social Work, Sociology, and Psychology Librarian, University of Calgary.

Academic libraries have frequently had to adapt as technology and staffing models have changed. These changes have been occurring more frequently as a result of a rise in the corporate model of academia. Canadian universities have adjusted to decreasing budgets by being more focused on external funding, helping to create this shift. There has been research done on the emotional labour of instructional, reference, and American liaison librarians but there has been little focus on the Canadian context. As part of a growing body of literature, I believe that looking at specifically Canadian liaison librarians within research intensive universities will enrich this literature.

The shifting needs of Canadian research universities have required librarians to be flexible but also resulted in a smaller workforce while there are ever increasing numbers of students and faculty. This has occurred while liaisons are also asked to take on new and evolving areas such as data management, scholarly communications, and knowledge synthesis which require new skill sets. Increasingly, tenured librarian positions are disappearing alone with those of tenured faculty. Within this less stable environment, administrators are asking liaison librarians to carry heavier workloads that require more of their emotional labour. For purposes of my research I am using Arlie Russel Hochschild’s definition of emotional labor.

“This labor requires one to induce or suppress feeling in order to sustain the outward countenance that produces the proper state of mind in others … This kind of labor calls for a coordination of mind and feeling, and it sometimes draws on a source of self that we honor as deep and integral to our individuality.”

How do Canadian liaison librarians deal with the emotional labour required of them by their roles not only to an area, discipline, or subject but also to colleagues and administrators? How is the emotional labour of liaison librarians acknowledged by the administration, colleagues, students, and teaching faculty? What assumptions are made about the sustainability of the liaison model and do liaisons themselves value their own emotional labour? How do they manage expectations from multiple audiences while maintaining their own personal and professional goals? These are questions that I will try to answer in this paper.

The Politics of ‘Women’s Work’: The Gendering of Librarianship in Popular Culture

Christina Neigel, Associate Professor, University of the Fraser Valley.

Studying the gendering of librarian representations in popular culture as part of the social relations that organize meaning, my doctoral work reveals how little scholarship in librarianship has moved towards more feminist perspectives. Library education programs also suggest little movement in incorporating critical theory to expose the ways the field is gendered. This works at making the history of librarianship as a “women’s profession” invisible and, more troubling, fails to prepare new librarians with an honest discussion of how they may be treated as professionals. Service work remains a key component to library work and yet it is not highlighted in library education programs. While other aspects of librarianship, like collection development and information management are important, they function within the gendered realm of librarianship and its ties to service work.

2:30PM – 3:00PM: Afternoon Break

3:00 pm-4:30 pm: CONCURRENT SESSIONS #3

Concurrent Session 3A: pedagogy and post-truth

Location: henn-201


Critical Perspectives on the Pedagogy of “Post-Truth”

Carrie Wade, Health Sciences Librarian, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee; Backpacking Subject Specialist, REI Co-op.

Kevin Seeber, Education and Outreach Services Department Head, Auraria Library, University of Colorado.

Since the hard-right shift intensified by the U.S. presidential election in late 2016, the narrative of “post-truth” has gained prominence in discourses and practices of academic librarianship. We are living, the story goes, in an era characterized chiefly by misinformation—an age of “factual recession,” in the words of Project Information Literacy (Head and Wihbey, 2017). Marked centrally by the rise of so-called “fake news,” the media landscape has allegedly become increasingly murky, posing specific challenges for practices of source evaluation and analysis. Our relationship to the truth, it is said, is becoming increasingly tenuous.

In response, the library world has conspicuously positioned itself as the solution to this perceived crisis. Library workers (including those in academic institutions), as well as our professional organizations, have turned to the narrative of “post-truth” as a means of positioning themselves as engaged members of civil society––as agents “on the front lines” in the “fight” for the truth. Instruction librarians, in particular, develop lesson plans, LibGuides, and learning objects focused on “fake news” and fact-checking. Faculty partners and other external interest groups advocate that library instruction sessions prioritize such content. “Post-truth” has proliferated in discourses of the profession more broadly, appearing as a subject across association reports and toolkits, scholarly publications, presentations, and entire conferences.

This panel will raise critical questions about the limits of the post-truth narrative (and its attendant tropes), as well as the ramifications of its dominance in our profession. Drawing on analytical framings from both scholarly and literary communities, and from inside and outside the library world, we focus our critique on the characterization of the present moment (in our profession and beyond) as one of “post-truth;” the centering of factual accuracy and bias as the focus of news media analysis; and the conspicuous use of such tropes as a means of communicating library value. What might an interrogation of the assumptions underpinning such “post-truth” explanations reveal about the broader structures of social, political, and economic power that shape—and are shaped by—our profession and that materially (if differentially) regulate our lives as members of intersecting communities? And what, indeed, might such critique reveal about the ways in which “post-truth” narratives work to obscure such structures’ operations and historical continuities?

Concurrent Session 3B: communities

Location: henn-202


Research Data Management: Conversations from an Indigenous Perspective

Deborah Lee, Indigenous Studies and Northern Studies Librarian, University of Saskatchewan.

This proposed presentation will discuss various aspects of how research data management from an Indigenous perspective is different from that of other researchers and scholars, and how this is not being talked about in academic libraries. As a result, academic libraries, in their eager and well-intentioned efforts to provide research data management services may cause harm to Indigenous scholars, researchers and communities. This situation should be avoided at all costs and care should be taken when considering establishing research data management services by academic libraries.

The purpose of this presentation will be to highlight why and how Indigenous scholars take different positions from non-Indigenous scholars regarding making research data available in open access format. Much of the information that will be provided in this presentation will be based on interviews conducted with Indigenous scholars in 2018. Some of these highlights will include:

  • conversations around Indigenous research protocols, such as the value of reciprocity when conducting research and relational research practices

  • conversations concerning the OCAP (Ownership, Control, Access and Possession) Principles related to the governance and use of all of First Nations’ information, including that shared during the research process, as developed by the First Nations Information Governance Centre

  • conversations about the preservation of materials in Indigenous languages

  • conversations regarding protocols for the sharing (or not) of archival documents with Indigenous content online

  • conversations about Indigenous conceptions of copyright, particularly for stories belonging to communities.

This presentation will be timely in view of the revisions the Tri-Council funding agencies in Canada have proposed in 2018 regarding the mandatory provision of open access of research data for all Tri-Council funded research. One goal of this presentation is to generate a conversation about how universities and their libraries have responded to these proposed revisions, given that academic libraries have a responsibility to manage research data through institutional repositories and beyond. Have academic libraries consulted with their Indigenous faculty in the process? What will be the repercussions if these conversations have not transpired?

This presentation’s provocative content will help engage a long-needed understanding of Indigenous peoples’ needs for privacy surrounding their knowledges and respect for their values and protocols related to research involving Indigenous peoples. The end goal will be to provide insight as to how academic libraries can practice the motto of “do no more harm” when making decisions related to research data management and Indigenous peoples.

Multidimensional Cultural Safety: Working with Campus Micro-Communities

Michael Dudley, Community Outreach Librarian, University of Winnipeg.

Diversity and inclusion efforts in libraries are aimed at identifying and addressing service barriers that might be overcome by skilled practitioners and a particular suite of institutional policies (e.g., Caidi & Allard, 2005). However, some critical LIS scholars have noted that these skill-based and policy-related discourses generally avoid critiquing the forces of structural racism, discrimination and colonialism in society that are at the root of many of these barriers (Homma 2005; Hudson 2017). This depoliticized and deracialized discourse – framed as cultural competence -- focuses instead on the power dynamics between the practitioner and client within a context of cultural neutrality (Overall 2009). Yet, as Patrick Wolfe (2016), observes, we need to understand that processes of racialization are historically- situated and place-specific. This requires a more complex and holistic understanding of how these oppressions manifest and affect individuals and groups differently, depending on the historical and contemporary human geographies and institutions involved (Wolfe 2016).

To address the shortcomings in conventional approaches to cultural competence, this presentation proposes applying to the academic library context a framework adapted from other professions: Multidimensional Cultural Competence (MDCC) from clinical psychology (Sue, 2001) and cultural safety (CS) from Indigenous nursing (Hart-Wasekeesikaw 2009). The former views cultural competence in terms of diversity factors, components and multiple levels of foci (from the individual to societal), while the second is premised in postcolonial understandings and respect for Indigenous knowledges. The proposed synthesis, Multidimensional Cultural Safety (MDCS) focuses on the need for institutional critiques as well as a recognition of the impacts on students of racialization and power structures (Dudley, forthcoming).

In this session, practice-based examples demonstrate how this framework has been developed in and applied to a particular academic library context. Since 2012, University of Winnipeg librarian Michael Dudley has been offering regular reference outreach and orientations to the University’s recognized “micro-communities”, including Indigenous students, International students, students experiencing a disability and English language learners, each of which is supported by staff, dedicated spaces and specific programming. By working with micro-communities in a theoretically-informed and culturally safe manner, community outreach efforts are able to operate at multiple dimensions and in their efforts to address – to the extent possible – structural factors which may present barriers to successful library use.   

6:30/7:00pm - SOCIAL Events

Social events will take place around the city – sign up is required for some events. For more information about planned social events, see the conference website ( or visit the CAPAL registration desk.

Day 2 – monday, june 3, 2019

8:00 am-9:00 am: Registration (henn-201)

Please note that you will first need to register with the Congress to receive your Congress badge, name-tag, and program. After doing so, please proceed to the CAPAL Registration table in Henning’s Building to register with us and join the conference.

8:30 AM – 10:00 am: CONCURRENT SESSIONS #4

Concurrent Session 4A: Indigenous Knowledge and Academic Libraries

Location: IBLC-261


Indigenous Knowledge, Intellectual Freedom, Copyright Issues and Academic Libraries (Panel)

Dr Gregory Younging, Coordinator, Indigenous Studies Program, University of British Columbia Okanagan; Chair of the Indigenous Peoples Caucus of Creator’s Rights Alliance.

Camille Callison, Learning & Organizational Development Librarian, University of Manitoba.

Ann Ludbrook, Copyright and Scholarly Engagement Librarian, Ryerson University.

Kim Nayyer, Associate University Librarian, Law and Copyright, University of Victoria.

Canada has committed to the implementation of UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) and the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Actions therefore the Canadian Intellectual Property Rights regime must acknowledge the rights of Indigenous people over their traditional and living knowledges and cultural expressions. Developing culturally appropriate access protocols with Indigenous peoples and commitments to respectful relationships are some avenues to facilitate this development as Canadians actively work towards reconciliation. Indigenous knowledge is often held in mainstream cultural memory institutions such as libraries, archives, and museums, as a result of research, appropriation or with the participation of Indigenous communities and authors. This panel presentation seeks to provide much needed contextual information on the issues surrounding Indigenous Knowledge and libraries by featuring an eclectic group of speakers from different backgrounds and varied expertise discussing issues pertaining to the protection of Indigenous Knowledge. Dr. Gregory Younging, with start the discussion by outlining the major issues and challenges surrounding Indigenous knowledge from a national and international perspective.  Camille Callison will discuss ongoing research on the development of Indigenous Knowledge protocols to facilitate culturally appropriate access to Indigenous knowledge located in libraries, archives and cultural memory institutions as well as the CFLA/FCAB Truth & Reconciliation Committee report recommendation that was seminal to the development of the CFLA-FCAB’s position statement on Indigenous Knowledge and the Canadian Copyright Act jointly by the Indigenous Matters and Copyright Committees. Ann Ludbrook will discuss Indigenous Knowledge in the intellectual property frameworks of Creative Commons licencing and the public domain. Kim Nayyer will give examples of Indigenous Knowledge protection projects and tools, discuss researcher access to Indigenous knowledge in collections, and best practises for building Indigenous Knowledge collections.

Concurrent Session 4B: Diversity: Visible and Invisible

Location: henn-202


How to See the Invisible: Creating and Engaging Diversity that Can't Be Seen

James Bachmann, University of Alberta.

Many organizations today, including academic libraries, are committed to diversity. While diversity is an admirable goal with a variety of benefits, many, if not the vast majority, of these organizations are unfortunately committed to appearing diverse rather than genuinely being diverse. For example, job advertisements often claim a desire for diversity in hiring, but then go on to specifically mention only visible minorities from whom they hope to receive applications. As another example, even the call for proposals for this CAPAL/ACBES Annual Meeting, in suggesting topics for proposals, says, with regard to diversity, "perhaps more importantly, it could ask these questions with respect to women, people of colour, and Indigenous librarians," again focusing solely on visible (or at least usually visible) diversity. This focus solely on visible diversity has a negative impact not only on opportunities for non-visible minorities, but also on collections and other services offered by academic and other libraries, and, thus, on their non-visible minority patrons.

In this paper I discuss ways in which representation of, collections relating to, and services for nonvisible minorities can be improved. I begin by discussing three approaches for improving collections relating to and services for non-visible minorities. I first examine these approaches on a theoretical level, arguing in favor of the approach that allows for broad input while simultaneously preserving the anonymity of non-visible minorities who do not wish to be "out." I next look at the practical aspects of implementing these approaches, considering when this preferred approach can be successfully applied and offering an alternative approach in contexts in which anonymity may not be preservable. After this discussion of how to improve collections relating to and services for non-visible minorities, I offer suggestions for hiring practices that will ideally lead to improved opportunities for non-visible minorities and that will, at a minimum, further help to improve collections relating to and services for non-visible minorities. I finish by considering how and to what extent the ideas presented in this paper regarding non-visible minorities apply to visible minorities as well.

Supporting Diversity: Employees with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Canadian Academic Libraries.

Emma Popowich, Head, Elizabeth Dafoe Library, Fr.Harold Drake Library, St.John’s College Library, University of Manitoba.

Lori Giles-Smith, Associate Librarian and Access Services Coordinator, University of Manitoba.

With many provinces adopting accessible legislation and a proposed National Accessible Canada Act, academic libraries will have a legal responsibility to engage employees of diverse ability levels, including a growing segment of the working population with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). All employers will need to review their practices in terms of supporting employees with neurodevelopmental disorders but institutions of post-secondary education and the academic libraries housed within them should be especially concerned with adhering to these new laws, as Canadian universities will have to show they have removed any accessibility barriers in order to secure some of their largest sources of funding.

ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that encompasses a wider range of conditions including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. Often people with ASD have physical and mental co-morbidities such as epilepsy, sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression. While it is difficult to determine how many adults live with autism in Canada, current statistics show that one out of 66 children are on the autism spectrum (PHAC, 2018). As these children grow up and enter the workforce they face significant challenges as a result of their condition.

Academic libraries are not well poised to support this segment of the workforce nor to adapt to new legislation on accessibility, as one recent study finds that two of the top five skills leaders in academic libraries tend to be deficient in are compliance issues and legal issues. This paper will delve into the practical steps academic libraries can take towards adopting hiring, onboarding, and retention practices that are supportive of employees with ASD, and examine the attitudinal and organizational barriers that exist in the academy that hinder employees with ASD from securing and flourishing in academic libraries.

Visible Minority Librarians: Mentoring Expectations, Benefits and Challenges

Yanli Li, Business and Economics Librarian, Wilfrid Laurier University.

Valentina Ly, Information Specialist and Research Assistant, Sinai Health Systems.

Librarianship has been a profession dominated by Caucasians. The 8Rs redux study indicates that only 11% of librarians identified as visible minorities (DeLong, Sorensen & Williamson, 2015). It is vital for libraries to recruit and retain visible minority librarians as the increasingly diverse patron population would benefit from library staff that reflect the demographics of their patrons. Many studies show that mentoring programs are helpful in attracting visible minority librarians. Mentoring not only benefits librarians individually, but also contributes to the library profession as it positively affects retention rates of minority librarians (Bonnette, 2004; Howland, 1999; Johnson, 2007; Olivas & Ma, 2009; Ross, 2013). The mentoring literature focuses mainly on the American experience, however, there is little research that explores mentoring experience of Canadian visible minority librarians (Harrington & Marshall, 2014).

Established in 2012, the Visible Minority Librarians of Canada (ViMLoC) Network is a platform for supporting visible minority librarians in Canada. This paper gives an account of the ViMLoC Mentorship Program that ran from October 1st to November 30th, 2018. There were 73 participants including 25 mentors and 48 mentees. The mentees comprised current library students (58.3%), librarians with less than 5 years of experience (27.1%), librarians with more than 5 years of experience (12.5%), and those having a master’s degree in librarianship from outside Canada (6.3%). Their expectations from this mentorship program varied. Generally speaking, immigrant librarians were seeking advice on how to pursue librarianship in Canada. Library school students needed guidance on future career directions, and newer librarians were looking to move up the career ladder. Regarding their visible minority status, 25% of the mentees were Chinese, 12.5% were Latin Americans and 10.4% were South Asians. Of all mentors, Chinese (44%), South Asians (20%), Black (8%) and Latin Americans (8%) took a larger part in this program. Mentors had between 3 to 29 years of librarianship experience and mostly work in academic libraries (40%), public libraries (36%) and special libraries (16%). A survey was conducted about their mentorship experience. Survey results will be presented in this paper including a comparison of mentors with mentees in their perspectives about mentoring expectations, benefits, interactions, activities, relationship building and more. This research will provide insights into the needs of current and future visible minority librarians, and help the greater library community to find effective ways to retain visible minority librarians in the profession.

10:00 – 10:30: Morning Break


Concurrent Session 5A spaces

Location: henn-201


Imagining the Edifice: Library Consultation & the Social Construction of the Ideal Space

Mary Greenshields, Resident Librarian, Bibliothèque Saint-Jean, University of Alberta.

Libraries as imagined communities exist in the academic sphere to respond to and reflect myriad needs, desires, whims, and dreams. This is especially true in the largest academic library systems where disparate buildings, faculties, units, systems, and students are served under one, often asymmetrical, multi-limbed creature. How this being is best served, its collective identity, and in what ways it works are the subject of frequent debate and reflection. Meanwhile, the idea of library as place has taken hold to the extent where papers on the topic are published on the regular, conferences are proposed, and an annual institution by the same name exists under the aegis of the Ontario Library Association.

How we define this place, the library, and its imagined community also varies by institution, individual, and ideal. Seductive notions of future purpose, forward thinking, and flexible spaces and programming are tossed about but how does the process take shape? How do we address a reality that may be very distant from what our community needs and wants?  Using a real life example, this paper will show how a library working group harnesses the power of both the conversational and project management approaches to arrive at a socially constructed but tangible result which addresses the tension in the needs of the individual and the desire to create community.

Beginning in the summer of 2018, the Master Space Planning group at the University of Alberta brought together a motley crew of library workers to drive a project aimed at reinventing and repurposing our spaces. With no additional money outside the libraries’ regularly forecast budget and an aging portfolio of buildings, a core group, comprised of the senior IT and facilities officer, the senior financial officer, an associate university librarian, two library unit heads, the communications manager, the serials metadata librarian, and an academic library resident, set off to capture the larger imagined university community’s ideal library. In so doing, the group used discussion to initiate the project and plan their approach to collect good data from the communities served. The results of individual surveys, a variety of face-to-face consultations, and committee subgroup efforts will be used to guide changes to library buildings in the coming three to five years. Of particular interest to this construction, which considers the ways in which the libraries may become more accessible both ideologically and physically, are the efforts at creating an Indigenous Hub, a meditation and prayer space, and an area for students who parent. Far removed from the endless, iterative conversations conjured by the word “committee,” the working group has delivered real data to achieve measurable results that disrupt the process oriented world of academic libraries.

Positive Space Workshops at UBC Library

Mayu Ishida, Reference Librarian, Woodward Library, University of British Columbia.

Kat McGrath, Renewals & Collections Librarian, Technical Services University of British Columbia.

Tamis Cochrane, Access Services Assistant Xwi7xwa Library, University of British Columbia.

UBC Library is participating in the Equity & Inclusion Office (EIO)’s Positive Space Campaign to make the Library more welcoming to LGBT2SQIA+ students, staff, faculty, alumni and allies in all our working, learning and living environments. The initiative aims to foster a welcoming atmosphere and inclusive, respectful dialogue on campus for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities by identifying spaces where sexual and gender diversity is supported and valued.

In Fall 2017, the Library’s Diversity and Inclusion Team (DIT) formed a Positive Space Working Group with a library-wide callout for additional working group members. With the aim of building knowledge and capacity for LGBT2SQIA+ inclusion at the Library, the Working Group prepared and delivered foundational training workshops to UBC Vancouver Library employees. We developed a customized curriculum, including resource handouts and scenario exercises to practice respectful, inclusive workplace and customer service interactions. The scenarios were based on real-life interactions at the Library among library employees, patrons, and campus colleagues. The scenarios exercises prompted workshop participants to discuss how to intervene as active bystanders, and to shift from offering passive support to actively engaging.

We recruited volunteer facilitators from both the Working Group and a library-wide callout. Facilitators received training and support to deliver the workshops from EIO. We created a toolkit for the Library to continue the training as regular practice. The workshops were scheduled to avoid busy times at the Library, and were offered multiple times to give library employees options and to increase attendance.

The Library’s leadership received positive space training, and supported all library employees to attend positive space training. In April and May 2018, we delivered four Positive Space training workshops to all library employees. In total, 41% of UBC Vancouver Library employees attended positive space workshops. Workshop evaluations demonstrated increased knowledge of sexual and gender diversity, as well as support for the program and its goals. In the implementation and delivery of positive space workshops at the Library, we strive to be inclusive of different employee groups (administrators, librarians, library assistants).

This paper/presentation will discuss the logistics and challenges of offering this training

program in the first year (e.g., scope creep: receiving requests for more workshops than initially planned) as well as the strategies to sustain the program (e.g., attribution of leadership roles for future actions including a new Education Lead role on DIT, ongoing assessment of the program).

Not always a straight line: Connecting IL instruction to online students

Carol Leibiger, Associate Professor and Information Literacy Coordinator, University of South Dakota.

Online education represents a significant trend within higher education in both the United States and Canada. Courses delivered online have grown steadily in the United States from 8% of undergraduate courses in 2000 to 59% in 2016 (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2018). In Canada “90% of universities and 80% of colleges offer distance education…[and] 98% of the institutions offering distance ed offer online courses” (Usher, 2018). Higher education in both countries offers degrees obtainable entirely online.

Educational institutions incorporate online learning for a variety of reasons. Diversity initiatives are enhanced through the inclusion of geographically dispersed and socio-culturally diverse students. Additionally, online learning affords educational opportunities for students lacking the resources (e.g., money and time) to physically attend a traditional university. Institutions also enjoy financial advantages, including lower costs of delivery, increased numbers of students, and reduced infrastructure requirements.

Librarians seeking to support online students with information-literacy (IL) instruction face challenges of access and scalability. They often do not have direct access to online students, nor are librarians always able to connect with these students when and where they learn. Online tutorials might fill this gap, but they fail to support active learning. Nor do they afford the student-librarian communication exchanges that can enhance relationships with the library and promote learning. This lack of direct IL instruction can result in reduced research and critical-thinking skills, which disadvantages online students and complicates inclusivity efforts. Librarians’ attempts to “push” the same kinds of instruction received by face-to-face learners directly to all online students are unscalable and unsustainable. A new approach to providing online IL instruction is needed.

Network theories of communication can provide insights on structuring connections between librarians and online students. Applying this theoretical perspective, the authors set forth a rationale for a train-the-trainer model to reach online students via their faculty. The authors propose this model in the belief that teaching critical-thinking literacies, including IL, is everyone’s responsibility and that equal access to critical-thinking literacy instruction is everyone’s right. In this model librarians support course faculty by training them in IL pedagogies and instructional design. Faculty are empowered to provide IL instruction and research support in times and spaces when course instruction occurs, allowing them to support learners at the point of need. The paper ends with a discussion of additional advantages to instructors, students, and librarians that can be realized by implementing the train-the-trainer model.

Concurrent Session 5B: Scholarship and Communication

Location: henn-202


Scholarly Publishing isn’t Neutral: Our Quest to Opt Out of Big Deals and Invest in Fair Open Access

Brianne Selman, Scholarly Communications and Copyright Librarian, University of Winnipeg.

The current state of scholarly publishing is unsustainable. With subscriptions rising 5 – 10 times the rate of inflation, for financial reasons alone libraries are going to have to take a long hard look at our spending in the not-so-distant future, if they haven’t begun to already. However, the imperatives for change go beyond just financial need – there are strong ethical, academic, and autonomy related reasons to critique the system.  While the mainstreaming of OA via funder requirements in some ways has increased the visibility of discourse around Open Access, OA increasingly suffers from the same problems of the hegemonic  scholarly publishing industry – colonialism, patriarchy, racism, and inequality of opportunity.

At the UofW we have been actively working on what Shea Swauger called ‘information literacy’ about scholarly communications, with the larger goal of Big Deal cancellations. Looking at scholarly publishing through the lens of the ACRL Framework is useful  - academic publishing acts as the gatekeeper for constructed authority, for who gets to participate in the conversation, for what scholarship has value (and who can extract it). Initially we tried to make the case via a purely financial argument, but discovered quickly we have to talk about ethics, sustainability, autonomy, and what kinds of systems we want to support.

The framework described by Demmy Verbeke from the KU Leuven offers axes from which to assess the types of system our Library dollars are supporting. Looking at the ethical, academic, and financial goals that we have as libraries helps make it clear that not just serial subscriptions, but even certain OA initiatives, are actively working against our own interests. Fair Open Access, which is scholar (not shareholder) led, community built, and transparent in its operations isn’t neutral either – but I would argue if we want to actively challenge some of the power imbalances and forms of oppression we reflect, conscious choices about the publishing models we support is something we need to get our campus communities behind.

Are we walking the talk? Tensions between librarians’ values, academic freedom and open scholarship.

Elizabeth Yates, Liaison and Scholarly Communication Librarian, Brock University.

Open access - the practice of freely sharing scholarly outputs online -- is steadily garnering support across the research community. At academic institutions, libraries are usually the standard-bearers for this trend, advancing open scholarship by providing services, infrastructure and funding - for example, employing scholarly communication experts, operating institutional repositories, and funding open access publication costs. This investment in personnel and resources reflects a shared priority of advancing more equitable systems for creating and sharing knowledge. Our professional organizations publicly espouse these values and engage in advocacy to advance open access projects and uptake. At an institutional level, library workers often lead the development of campus open access policies which encourage or commit researchers to publicly share their work. In Canada, nine academic institutions and ten libraries/librarian councils have adopted open access policies.

Despite this wealth of activity and public professions of support for open scholarship, it is unclear whether academic librarians in Canada actually practice what we preach. Most of the open access statements/policies adopted by libraries merely encourage workers to make their scholarship freely available. Anecdotal evidence indicates a minority of us are actually archiving our work in institutional repositories or publishing in open access journals.

This paper will provide preliminary results from a survey exploring how Canadian academic librarians’ professional, personal and collective values impact our publishing practices. In particular, results from this study will indicate how academic freedom provisions -- articulated in collective agreements, institutional policies and by professional organizations including CAPAL and CAUT -- may affect whether we choose to support open access with our words and actions. Academic freedom is usually appreciated as a protective measure, guarding librarians and faculty against repercussions for work or speech which may be viewed as controversial. Independently choosing how to disseminate research is often a key tenet of academic freedom policies. Accordingly, librarians may experience tension between our personal/professional support for the principle of open access and our will to exert academic freedom and publish where we please – including closed-access venues. This discordance not only affects our own scholarly practices but should also be acknowledged within librarians’ continuing efforts to encourage faculty to embrace open access.

You Won, Now What?

Kelly McElroy, Student Engagement and Community Outreach Librarian, Oregon State University.

Emily Drabinski, Critical Pedagogy Librarian, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Labour organizing in academic libraries is a site of struggle where workers come together to make demands on management about the distribution of capital through wages and benefits, the conditions of academic labor, and processes to address violations of the contract. These fights are never easy; wins are never automatic. Building collective power to push back against management requires a commitment to organizing that can be challenging--and gratifying--to sustain in the face of the losses that inevitably come in these broad fights. But sometimes, organizing gets the goods, and we find ourselves in positions of power.

This interactive panel session will address the challenges workplace organizers face when they get a win. The first panelist will describe the successful campaign to form a faculty union at Oregon State University -- and the process of building a healthy local from scratch while also bargaining a first contract. In organizing, a win leads to more work, as well as the need to draw more people in to be a part of it. A brand new union faces both opportunities and challenges in this moment of transition, from raising awareness of worker rights, growing a union culture, and keeping people engaged as contract negotiations go on and on.

The second panelist will discuss her path from rank and file union member to local president. Organizing in response to a faculty lockout in 2016 meant learning the skills of building power: defining demands, making and assessing lists, having one-on-one conversations, and developing an analysis of worker power. This work led to both exhilaration--large and public displays of solidarity--and despair at the difficulty of securing a good contract. In the wake of the controversial agreement, the panelist won election to president of the local. Winning means new access to structural power, and an intimate relationship with its limits.

While the moment of the big win can be emotionally and materially transformative, union wins also secure the right to continue the fight. Following brief presentations of their paths to academic labor victories, the panelists will lead attendees in the discussion of strategies for using power once you have built it. How is structural power best deployed to garner material wins for academic workers? How can we organize to consolidate victories? How do union activists continue to build power in the face of member apathy and anti-union employers? These and other questions will be addressed through collective conversations.

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: LUNCH

A list of food services on campus can be found here:

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: CAPAL Committees information session (IBLC-261)

The committees' information session is an opportunity for you to learn more about the important work being done in support of CAPAL's mission "to promote, advance and support the profession of academic librarianship for the advancement of research, teaching and learning at accredited post-secondary institutions and to further the professional interests of our members."

CAPAL is a member-run association and our work is done by member-volunteers. Five committees will briefly present their mandate, recent work and accomplishments, and be available to answer your questions in this panel-style session. The goal is to inform our members of the great work being done and to encourage greater membership in our committees

Committes represented:

Educational & Professional Development Committee (James Murphy)

Research & Scholarship (Jenaya Webb)

Communications (Kevin Tanner)

Advocacy (Mary Greenshields)

Diversity & Equity (Michael Dudley)

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm: CAPAL/acbes Annual General Meeting (henn-201)

** Lunch is provided for those CAPAL/ACBES Members attending the AGM. **

2:30 pm – 3:00 PM: Break

3:00 – 4:30:  CONCURRENT SESSIONS #6

Concurrent Session 6A: disrupting power structures

Location: iblc-261


Disrupting Traditional Power Structures in Academic Libraries: Saying No, How to Do it, and Why it Matters (Workshop; note: Goes until 5:00).

Melanie Cassidy, Learning and Curriculum Support Librarian, University of Guelph.

Erin Menzies, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Strategic Planning and Policy Division, Capacity Planning and Priorities Branch.

Ali Versluis, Open Educational Resources Librarian, University of Guelph.

Many academic libraries are currently facing austerity measures, personnel reductions, vacancies, or compression. At the same time, libraries seek to be viewed by their campus communities as hubs of innovation, service, and teaching. As libraries continue to expand services in the face of these changes, the weight of increased workloads on librarians results in a new set of pressures: diminished mental health, increased precarity, and an inability to engage in critical teaching and learning practices.   

These challenges sit at the intersection of resilience and job precarity, neoliberalism, and vocational awe. Within the context of the academic library, resilience is endorsed as a means of negotiating precarious employment by encouraging untenured, tenure-track, term, and other non-permanent librarians to continually prove their value to the institution or risk not being renewed or rehired. The neoliberal perspective further promotes an environment where individual culpability is assigned at the cost of challenging institutional constructs and practices, and the role of the librarian is to contribute to the preparation of students joining the workforce. Finally, the self-reflective nature of librarianship and the acceptance of our work as a calling (as opposed to a profession) contributes to the internalizing of an inability to meet professional demands as personal failings, leading to burnout.

This 90-minute workshop seeks to interrogate our position as librarians within this construct, both in terms of how we are influenced by this intersection and how we (tacitly or explicitly) support it. The aim of the facilitators is to unpack these concepts and how they intersect, creating a space where participants proceed to develop and utilize a shared vocabulary to foster discussion and develop strategies to disrupt traditional power structures in academic libraries. Our ultimate goal is to engage in meaningful discussion and to share best practices that create space for ourselves and colleagues to say “no” when they need to, and to maintain our profession’s ability to perform effectively and in good health.

The facilitators will provide a current-state analysis, including an overview of current literature, to ensure participants share a mutual understanding of key concepts. Through guided-discussions participants will share experiences, work to develop best practices, and establish a “resilience taxonomy” to provide support in resisting overwork, precarity, and other negative side-effects of neoliberal working conditions in academic libraries.

Concurrent Session 6B: interpretation and communication

Location: henn-201


“Do you want to talk about this today?” The politics and power of conversation in a librarian podcast

Lydia Zvyagintseva, Digital Scholarship Librarian, University of Alberta.

No Librarians Allowed is barely a year old, but already, it has received over a thousand listens, something a research article or book chapter would not be able to bring to two librarians with no academic freedom nor support to publish. Rather than a self-congratulating humblebrag, this talk is an opportunity to reflect on what can be learned in a sustained and purposeful organization of conversations.

The podcast emerged out of the desire to create space to engage in professional development outside of “traditional” publication venues. My co-host, Carla Iacchellli, and I were intentional about every aspect of the project - from the guests we invited, to the way we held the conversations, to the questions we asked, to the process of editing. We eschewed the podcasting “best practices” of planning out each sentence of our show in advance. We sought to strike a delicate balance between finding opportunities for honest conversation with professionals from marginalized backgrounds with not putting their livelihood at risk by capturing opinions that may be perceived as problematic or misrepresentative of their employer.

Though the form is not new, nor is No Librarians Allowed the first in the professional landscape, this podcast has taught us lessons about several themes being explored at CAPAL 2019: issues of diversity within the profession, the power of conversation and the imbalances of power that persist when those conversations are recorded, mechanisms to reach communities beyond libraries, questions of what counts as “serious thought” and “scholarly communication”, not to mention the endless labour that goes into the production of a single episode. Additionally, I reflect on the process of belonging to multiple imagined groups, such as creators and consumers of digital media, both locally and globally. Critics of the proliferation of the genre expose the anxiety that exists within academia around questions of expertise, specialization, and association with the amateur, while recent examples of podcast peer-review (Secret Feminist Agenda pilot by Wilfrid Laurier University Press) indicate the broadening of the understanding of sharing scholarship. Issues of intellectual freedom have never felt more material than being faced with a microphone and a delete function, while conversing with library workers who may or may not have academic freedom to express themselves without fear of repercussions, thinking about issues such as social justice. This talk is therefore a reflexive case study of the intersections of these threads as well as an argument for the power of conversation.

Hermeneutics and Academic Libraries: The Circle of Interpretation, Meaning, and Information

Jessica Critten, Pedagogy and Assessment Program Lead, Auraria Library, University of Colorado.

Kevin Seeber, Education and Outreach Services Department Head, Auraria Library, University of Colorado.

The academic library community often constructs the concepts of “authority,” “factuality,” and “credibility” as objective and fixed. In this context, “scholarly” information and science is reflexively portrayed as “good” and non-scholarly information is “opinion-based” and, therefore, “bad.” Likewise, library value is demonstrated through quantifiable and unquestionable means such as gate counts and number of LibGuide visits. Regarding information seeking, databases, discovery layers, and search engines are portrayed as neutral tools for retrieval. As librarians regurgitate this reductive discourse about our work we fail to account for the fundamentally subjective nature of interacting with information.

As the initial stages of a project that will use hermeneutics to explore how interpretation shapes academic library structures, policies, practices, and the materiality of our everyday work, this paper will give librarians an introduction to a theoretical and historical framework with which to respond to a neoliberal oversimplification of information. That is, we should not present or analyze information in terms of absolutes, and instead acknowledge the deeply personal experience of interpreting information into one’s worldview. The framework of hermeneutics allows us to understand how the process of interpretation is socially, historically, and temporally situated, and evolves and changes as our framework of knowledge grows. We will also draw on Michael Buckland’s (1991) highly influential article “Information as Thing” to explore how individual interpretation of information lies at the core of understanding (that is, that something is not “information” until an individual interprets it).

In centering interpretation, we do not advocate for a relativism or pluralism that treats every interpretation with equal weight and validity; instead, this approach gives librarians a way to understand how information is encoded and shaped by political and social forces--what Stuart Hall (1980) calls a “complex structure of dominance”--and how our users process and respond to that information given their ideologies and existing frameworks of knowledge.

Informal and Anonymous Voices: The Unexpected Value of Unsolicited Feedback in the Academic Library

Deborah Hemming, Education Librarian, Simon Fraser University.

In the lobby of the Killam Library at Dalhousie University, students, faculty, and staff stop and gather around a large bulletin board decorated with vibrant yellow cards, each covered in different handwriting. Reading these cards, one patron laughs, another nods their head in agreement. One student calls over a friend, points, chuckles. The group disperses; another forms. Someone grabs a yellow card from the stack beside the bulletin board, adding their own voice to the mix.

The Comments, Compliments, and Complaints Board (also known as the “CCC Board”) is a unique source of unsolicited feedback for the Killam Library. The board creates a forum for library patrons to anonymously submit (and share) comment and criticism on anything they wish. They simply fill out a yellow card, pop it in the submission box, and wait to see their card posted to the board.

While the CCC Board is undeniably popular (feedback submissions are steady throughout the academic term and the scene described above is very much accurate), the Killam Library previously had no way to document and analyze this feedback. This paper describes a project I undertook to develop an unsolicited feedback database for the library, and the findings of my analysis of all feedback submitted from January 1, 2015 to May 1, 2016. Notable findings include that the majority of feedback was about library space (in some cases, patrons were even using the board to submit facilities maintenance requests) and most feedback was critical in nature (more complaints than compliments). Most notable, however, was the discovery that patrons would often submit fun and humorous messages to the CCC Board. In this way, I argue the board had an unexpected purpose: it created a space for patrons to informally interact with the library (whether as givers or readers of feedback), cultivating a sense of spontaneous conversation between patrons and between patron and institution.

This paper argues for the value of creating sites of unsolicited feedback in academic libraries, using the CCC board as an example, and highlighting the importance of informal and anonymous conversation forums for helping patrons form connections with their library.

Reception: Federation of the Humanities & Social Sciences PRESIDENT’S RECEPTION

Time: 5:00 pm-7:00 pm

Location: See Congress website for more details:

7:00 pm: Dinner on your own

Day 3 – tuesday, june 4, 2019

8:00 am-9:00 am: Registration (henn-201)

Please note that you will first need to register with the Congress to receive your Congress badge, name-tag, and program. After doing so, please proceed to the CAPAL Registration table in the Henning’s Building to register with us and join the conference.

8:30 am – 10:00 am:  CONCURRENT SESSIONS #7

Concurrent Session 7A: precarity

Location: henn-201


 Let’s Talk Precarity (or Not): Labour, Communities, and Conversation (Panel)

Crystal Yin, Science Librarian, Simon Fraser University.

Ean Henninger, Liaison Librarian, Simon Fraser University.

Adena Brons, Liaison Librarian, Simon Fraser University.

Chloe Riley, Research Commons Librarian, Simon Fraser University.

Precarious labour structures such as contracts and on-call work are increasingly common in both academia and librarianship. Recent reports from the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives have measured the extent and impact of contract employment in academia. They indicate that individuals working precariously experience effects such as a sense of disconnection, poor mental and physical health outcomes, financial instability, and high levels of stress and uncertainty. Institutional effects can include declining quality of service, lower workplace morale, and increasing administrative load for managers and continuing staff. While these reports provide valuable data on the working conditions of contract academic staff, both determined librarians to be out of scope despite acknowledging that librarians are often part of faculty associations or bargaining units.

Our ongoing research study on precarity in libraries aims to address this gap in knowledge and provide new information on precarious work in Canadian libraries. Since November 2017, we have been collecting and coding postings from the Partnership Job Board into a dataset that lets us explore patterns in job postings and identify the prevalence of precarious positions. We have also sought to capture the effects and perceptions of precarious work through semi-structured interviews with BC library workers, and we are planning an online survey that will build on findings from these other components.

In this session, we will discuss findings from our job postings dataset with a particular focus on postings in academic libraries, and we will situate this information within the broader contexts of our other findings and of precarity in academia. We will also explore the following questions: How can academic librarians organize and advocate for the concerns of library workers in the context of precarity in higher education? How can we challenge the silence around this topic and make space for conversations about precarity and its effects? How can those with tenure or secure employment support and advocate for precariously employed colleagues? How can we build solidarity with precarious workers, within the library, in our institutions, and with workers across institutions? In doing so, we hope to inform attendees about the negative effects of precarious work and assemble a range of strategies to mitigate them.

Concurrent Session 7B: imagination and creativity

Location: henn-202


Imagining service as relationship in the academic library.

Lydia Zvyagintseva, Digital Scholarship Librarian, University of Alberta.

If we agree with Bruno Latour and Rita Felski that critique is reaching its limit to generate profound change in the world, then what new synthetic intellectual approaches are needed for scholarship in the 21st century? Kathleen Fitzpatrick demonstrates one way forward in her upcoming book, Generous Thinking, which is the starting point for my reflection on the politics of conversation and engagement with communities beyond the campus. As such, this talk begins as an exploratory response to Fitzpatrick’s question: “What new purposes for the university might we imagine if we understand our role in it to be not inculcating state citizens, nor training corporate citizens, but instead facilitating the development of a diverse, open, community?” In other words, what might the academic library look like if the goal of postsecondary education was a broader public service?

In order to explore these ideas, I use my own Canadian context as well as practice of working in the middle of multiple communities and subject areas: that of the digital humanities and digital scholarship. I use academic makerspaces and digital scholarship centres as sites to evaluate and synthesize the ideas of relationship to the academic community and the public more broadly. Further, I rely on Adam Gaudry’s work on insurgent education and indigenous community-centered research to examine how academic makerspaces and digital scholarship centres uphold techno-managerial socioeconomic order of the contemporary academy, and where they open up space to imagine new ways of relating to the land and to each other. I also provide examples of strategies to move away from the “extraction methodology” of research that is founded on exchange toward a more relational approach. For example, what if the object of study was a response to the local challenges faced by prairie communities? What if the goal of the learning was the process of design, organization, and collaboration rather than the production of the information object? What implications on labour would exist should this type of work be conducted in the library? Taking generous thinking and “conversational disposition” as the foundation of critical thinking and the academy’s ethical relationship to the wider world, I propose an impractical but imaginative model for facilitating research in the contemporary age.

Diverse Knowledges, Diverse Methodologies: Artists Research

Sandra Cowan, Religious Studies, Modern Languages, English and Fine Arts Librarian, University of Lethbridge.

Research methodology plays a key role in the discovery and sharing of new knowledge. Along with other parts of the scholarly communication cycle, research methodology is of primary interest to librarians. The scholarly works that libraries collect, assess, maintain, share openly, navigate, and teach are normally based on research, and underlying any research is some kind of research methodology. Librarians are in a unique position in relation to research methods, as we need to understand a wide range of methods across disciplines in order to fine our place in the communication of the scholarly literature of any discipline, yet we do not have a clearly defined methodology for our own research. This liminal position regarding research methods puts librarians in an excellent position to understand methods from all disciplines, to explore their relative strengths and weaknesses, and to practice them.  Rather than claiming an absence of research methods in librarianship, we may claim them all, and legitimately practice and study the methods of any discipline that our libraries support.

Some research methods are better understood and rewarded in academia than others – these are the ones that tend to earn more grant funding and institutional acknowledgement. As a Fine Arts librarian and an instructor of graduate students in the Fine Arts, I have noticed that artists’ research methods and creative activity do not fit into the standard models of research and scholarly communication that most academic institutions use to understand and evaluate scholarly work. However, under-recognized methods, such as those in the fine arts, also lead to important new knowledge and insight. Like librarians, artists borrow and adapt from a wide and cross-disciplinary range of methods in their research. Studying research methods of artists can broaden our understanding of research and give us insight into the creative process, and at the same time question some of the cultural and institutional assumptions about more privileged methodologies. In light of this, we will discuss the results of a study about the creative research of several well-known Canadian artists.

The Creative Collaboration Craze: Best (or Worst) Practices for Innovation in Academic Libraries

Richard Carter, Reference Librarian, St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto.

Librarians. Are we old-fashioned or cutting edge? Rust-bucket fossils or a rocket-fueled future? Whatever you think of academic librarians today, one thing is clear: we’re insecure. Doctors, lawyers, and teachers seldom need to justify or explain their work. People know what they do. Doctors heal, lawyers interpret law, teachers teach. Librarians, by contrast, face an identity crisis. This professional muddle, like a puddle you step in with your boot, may be hard to see clearly, and I am not sure that I do. But a key question settles at the bottom: Now that information is easy to find, where do libraries and librarians fit in? The answer, I suggest, has two parts: (1) we need creativity and innovation to reinvent, invigorate, clarify, and cement our identity and value; and (2) we need collaboration to reach out—to faculty, to other educators, to administrators, to students, to the public, and to one another—to create, promote, develop, and earn support for what we do. In short, following the business example, academic libraries nowadays pursue a joint passion for creativity and collaboration. Research in psychology, however, suggests creativity and collaboration are often poor playmates. I argue that this hearkening after creative collaboration is prompted by the same professional self-doubt it was intended to solve—a fear of irrelevance that may be clouding our awareness of what patrons truly value in libraries and tripping up genuine attempts at innovation. Using research from psychology, this lecture will reflect on the profession’s innate insecurity in the context of business workflow, creativity, innovation, and collaboration.

10:00 am-10:30 am: Morning Break

10:30 – 11:30: CLOSING Keynote Address (henn-201) 

Convenor: Michael Dudley

Baharak Yousefi

Always Already Violent: Love and Refusal in the Academic Library                 

My hope for this talk is that we can think together about the ways that the library and the university are always already violent, and to claim love, safety, choice, trust, respect, kinship, friendship, self-expertise, and joy as ways to reorient, reimagine, and refuse. Because as Fred Moten reminds us, “that’s the insidious thing, this naturalisation of misery, the belief that intellectual work requires alienation and immobility and that the ensuing pain and nausea is a kind of badge of honor, a kind of stripe you can apply to your academic robe or something. Enjoyment is suspect, untrustworthy, a mark of illegitimate privilege or of some kind of... refusal to look squarely into the fucked-up face of things which is, evidently, only something you can do in isolation.”

11:30 – 12:00: CLOSING REMARKS and Territorial Appreciation


8:00 - 9:00 am Registration
Location: Henn-201
Location: Henn-201
Location: Henn-201
8:30 – 10:05 am Welcome, Territorial Acknowledgement, and Opening Remarks
Location: Henn-201

Opening Keynote Address
Concurrent Session 4A:
Indigenous Knowledge and Academic Libraries
Location: IBLC 261

Concurrent Session 4B:
Diversity: Visible and Invisible
Location: Henn-202
Concurrent Session 7A:
Location: Henn-201

Concurrent Session 7B:
Imagination and Creativity
Location: Henn-202
10:30 am – 12:00 noon Concurrent Session 1A:
The Politics of Decolonization
Location: IBLC-261

Concurrent Session 1B:
Critical and Contemplative Librarianship
Location: Henn-201

Concurrent Session 1C:
Location: Henn-202
Concurrent Session 5A:
Location: Henn-201

Concurrent Session 5B:
Scholarship and Communication
Location: Henn-202
Closing Keynote Address
Location: Henn-201

Closing Remarks &
Territorial Appreciation
12:00 noon – 1:00 pm LUNCH (on your own)

CJAL 12:20-12:50 (IBLC-261)
LUNCH (on your own)

CAPAL Committees (IBLC-261)
1:00 – 2:30 pm Concurrent Session 2A:
Critical Assessment
Location: Henn-201

Concurrent Session 2B:
Values and Emotional Labour
Location: Henn-202
Annual General Meeting (Lunch provided for members attending.)

3:00 – 4:30 pm Concurrent Session 3A:
Pedagogy and Post-Truth
Location: Henn-201

Concurrent Session 3B:
Location: Henn-202
Concurrent Session 6A:
Disrupting Power Structures
Location: IBLC-261 (Note: goes until 5:00)

Concurrent Session 6B:
Interpretation and Communication
Location: Henn-201
4:30 – 6:30 pm CAPAL Committee Meetings FHSS President’s Reception
Location: TBD, see Congress website for more information



Tara Robertson is an intersectional feminist who uses data and research to advocate for equality and inclusion. Currently working as the Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Partner for Mozilla, she has more than 10 years experience making open source and tech communities more diverse and welcoming. Her core values are social justice, collaboration and all things open–open source, open access and open education. Her curiosity and delight in connecting people come together in person and online, where she can often be found asking good questions.


Baharak Yousefi is a refugee-turned-settler and a bookseller-turned-librarian. She is interested in libraries as sites of power, powerlessness, belonging, and exclusion. Baharak recently co-edited Feminists Among Us: Resistance and Advocacy in Library Leadership from Library Juice Press.

Call for proposals

(Closed January 7th)

CAPAL19: The Politics of Conversation: Identity, Community, and Communication

CAPAL/ACBAP Annual Meeting – June 2 -4, 2019 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2019

University of British Columbia

Vancouver, British Columbia

The Canadian Association of Professional Academic Librarians (CAPAL) invites you to participate in its annual conference, to be held as part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2019 at the University of British Columbia on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam) people. This conference offers librarians and allied professionals across all disciplines an alternative space to share research and scholarship, challenge current thinking about professional issues, and forge new relationships.


In keeping with the Congress 2019 theme, Circles of Conversation, the theme of CAPAL19 is Politics of Conversation: Identity, Community, and Communication.

 This conference provides an opportunity for the academic library community to critically examine and discuss the ways in which our profession is influenced by its social, political, and economic environments. By considering academic librarianship within its historical contexts, its presents, and its possible futures, and by situating it within evolving cultural frameworks and structures of power, we can better understand the ways in which academic librarianship may reflect, reinforce, or challenge these contexts both positively and negatively.

 In what kinds of conversation are we or are we not engaging within the profession, academia, and civil society? How are the various identities that constitute our communities reflected (or not) within academic librarianship, and how do we engage in conversations within our own communities and with communities that we may see as external.

Potential Topics:

Papers presented might relate to aspects of the following themes (though they need not be limited to them):

 ·       Diversity: how do we ensure our circles (communities, spaces) are diverse? What are the circles available to librarians, and how do we ensure that librarians are not circumscribed by their identities within these circles? This could apply both to academic vs. public librarianship, or academic librarian vs. the broader academic community, but perhaps more importantly, it could ask these questions with respect to women, people of colour, and Indigenous librarians.

·       Intellectual and academic freedom: How do we define our responsibilities and our liberties in these areas? Are these positive or negative freedoms, especially with respect to broader communities?

·         “Imagined Communities”: It is the 35th anniversary of Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities. How do librarians see themselves in various “imagined communities” (nationality, community of practice, inter- and cross-disciplinary), and what are the politics of our participation?

·       Conversations outside the circles: how do we make our research relevant outside LIS? Is this different for different kinds of research? How do we bring public values and ideas into our work and research?

·       Labour and solidarity: how to we organize ourselves within academic librarianship; how do we connect our conversations with other library workers, other academic workers, other workers as a whole.

·       Conversations within practice/praxis: how are communications and connections established and maintained with the profession and between academic librarians and administrators, faculty, students, and other researchers.

 The Program Committee invites proposals for individual papers as well as proposals for panel submissions of three papers. Proposed papers must be original and not have been published elsewhere.

·       Individual papers are typically 20 minutes in length. For individual papers, please submit an abstract of no more than 400 words and a presentation title, with a brief biographical statement and your contact information.

·         For complete panels, please submit a panel abstract of no more than 400 words as well as a list of all participants and brief biographical statements, and a separate abstract of no more than 400 words for each presenter. Please identify and provide participants’ contact information for the panel organizer.

 Please feel free to contact the Program Committee to discuss a topic for a paper, panel, or other session format. Proposals should be emailed as an attachment in your preferred format (open formats welcome!), using the following filename convention:


 Proposals and questions should be directed to the Program Chair, Sam Popowich at

Sam.Popowich [at]

Deadline for Proposals is: 07/01/2019

Further information about the conference, as well as Congress 2019 more broadly, will be available soon.