Library Update – December 2, 2016

Post Date:
Dec 2, 2016

Diversity and inclusion. Consider those two words closely, and the mind expands with possibilities. What do we do in the library — in our collections, services and spaces — to contribute to an intellectual climate of inclusivity? That question continually guides our thinking and needs further consideration in this tumultuous period.

Senate this week began with a focus on “fostering a climate of inclusivity in which all members of the university community feel valued and supported” and “achieving educational equity and enhancing diversity in racial, ethnic, religious and cultural domains.” (I’m quoting from the Diversity and Equity Task Force Action Plan, 2010-11). I encourage you to review past reports and action plans on the webpage for the Diversity and Equity Task Force, which completed its work in the Fall of 2011.

As well, I suggest this inspiring article by a former Senate Library Committee member, Erin Clow, The politics of my classroom: everyday compassionErin says:

“In my syllabi and classroom I will practice the politics of hope and compassion. I will empower my students to face challenges, eyes and minds fully open. I will demonstrate that diversity is a gift and that our differences should intrigue rather than polarize. My classroom must be a space where students from all racial, socio-economic, gender identities and political affiliations feel able and encouraged to engage in constructive and challenging dialogue. More than words of division, I fear silence.”

Please talk about diversity and inclusivity in your units, and share your action ideas.

The Senate meeting agenda also included several academic program approvals and reports for information:

  • Graduate Diploma in Biomedical Informatics and a Professional Master’s in Biomedical Informatics in the Faculty of Arts and Science and the Faculty of Health Sciences, effective May 1, 2018
  • Major modifications to the Advanced Design and Manufacturing Institute (ADMI) Master of Engineering program, effective May 1, 2017
  • Strategic Framework Report
  • Equity Office Annual Report
  • Enrolment Report

As well, it was good to see mention of the Indigenous-named study rooms in Stauffer Library in both the Principal’s Report – November 2016 and the Provost’s Report – November 2016.

At the upcoming Senate Library Committee meeting on Monday, our Chair Alexander Braun (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering) will be facilitating a topic at his suggestion: student awareness of the library’s resources and services. This comes from his own experience of the value of such student engagement in his own courses, through his work with our liaison librarians. The meeting will have a focus group feel, engaging the students and faculty of the Senate Library Committee in talking about their personal experiences with the library. Our communications coordinator Jen Amos will be involved and we’ll share a summary.

On the research front, I’d like to point out an important report, for your information: the External Review of Research – Summary Report. We’ll come back to this in various ways over the coming months.

On November 17 and 18, I attended the OCUL Directors Fall 2016 meeting in Toronto. See the Digest of OCUL Directors 2016 Fall Meeting and also the recently released OCUL Annual Report 2015-16.

One of the key topics on the OCUL Directors agenda was Collaborative Futures. Directors expressed strong interest in moving on to Phase 3 as quickly as possible. We discussed next step priorities including determining which institutions will participate in procurement, preparing and issuing an RFP for the shared LSP, revising costing models, conducting a legal review of the draft memorandum of understanding and determining the staffing needed for implementation and coordination. Here at Queen’s, we are planning a Collaborative Futures update session for all staff in January.

Another OCUL topic was the Government Information Community’s digitization initiative, which you can read about in the latest edition of the Inside OCULA Newsletter. See our own Graeme Campbell’s editor’s message, and the article he co-authored, Preserving Ontario’s Documentary Heritage – One Annual Report at a Time. As well, you can learn more about discussions at the digital humanities hosted at Queen’s in October, in my article Matariki Digital Humanities Colloquium: Research and the Curriculum.

A more recent event at Queen’s was the wonderful launch of our Schulich-Woolf Rare Books Collection last week. There was extensive coverage of the event, which honoured our two donors and introduced the fabulous current exhibition. In addition to our sincere thanks to Mr. Schulich and Principal Woolf for their outstanding generosity and commitment to learning and research, I would like to thank Alvan Bregman, everyone in Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections, and many others who contributed to the successful launch of the use of this important collection.

Last but not least, I’m pleased to report that Heather McMullen and I have now met with a dozen academic groups this fall to discuss strategies for modifying our “big deal” acquisitions practices. The journals usage survey is in progress and was further promoted in a Queen’s Gazette article today.

Have a good weekend, and see you at festivities next week.

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