2019 Annual Conference

50 years of Celebrating Libraries


Hampton Hall, Marine Institute
155 Ridge Road, St. John’s NL.

Libraries and library workers in Newfoundland and Labrador have long played a significant role in the history and culture of our province.  From our very beginnings, we have strived to preserve, serve, and educate; we have supported and empowered users by providing rich learning and social spaces, and sometimes just by providing a safe and welcoming place to go.  We work continuously to ensure that our communities have access to information, technology, and resources for learning, and to build and share collections that support and preserve the culture and history of our province.

The value of libraries in Newfoundland & Labrador can be seen in the number of people who pass through our doors, both physical and virtual.  It can be seen in the grass-roots protest that emerged in 2016 when the people of our province learned that their public libraries were under threat.  Libraries are valued in our province, across communities and library sectors, because we retain our core values even as we continue to evolve; learning, transforming, and making new discoveries alongside the communities and people we serve.

For five decades the Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association has witnessed and supported both our ongoing values and our continuing transformations.  Our association brings together library workers from all sectors, building and enriching our own community, while advocating for our libraries and the people who use them.

Now is the time for us to celebrate all that we have accomplished.  In honor of the NLLA’s 50th year, we want to hear from you, our members and supporters.  What does 50 Years of Celebrating Libraries mean to you?  How does your library practice our core values?  What new discoveries have you made? What have you learned from the past?  What do you look forward to, as we move into the next 50 years?


DAY 1: Monday, April 29th, 8:30 am-4:45 pmHampton Hall, Marine Institute, 155 Ridge Road, St. John’s NL

Parking available in M1 (West end)


8:30-9:00 Registration

9:00-9:10 Opening remarks

9:10-10:00 Keynote: Beth Maddigan

Beth Maddigan is the Head of the Education Library & Commons at Memorial University. She has worked in libraries since 1982 in seven different positions, three different types of libraries, and two provinces. Beth is an advocate for community literacy and free library programming. She was the lead author for three books on these subjects and continues to research community-led library initiatives in public and academic libraries.

10:00-10:45 The Legislative Library of Newfoundland and Labrador

Kimberley Hammond, Director, Information Management & Legislative Librarian, Legislative Library, NL House of Assembly

This session will focus on the services and collection of the Legislative Library of the House of Assembly, Newfoundland and Labrador. Established in 1836, the Legislative Library mainly serves the Members and staff of the House of Assembly and the civil service, supporting the research, development and oversight of government policy and legislation.  Researchers of political and legal history and policy development are also welcomed clients. The session will discuss the common types of reference services provided and how they have evolved over the last 20 years; the tools used and developed by the Library; and will showcase some of the unique items in the collection. Also discussed will be the responsibility of public bodies to deposit their publications with the Legislative Library under The Rooms Act s.21(6), as well as the Government and Legislative Library Online Publication Portal (GALLOPP) initiative of the Association of Legislative Libraries in Canada (APLIC).

Kimberley Hammond was appointed Director of Information Management and Legislative Librarian with the House of Assembly in 2000. Previously, she held various special library and records management positions within the civil service. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from MUN (PoliSci) and a Master of Library and Information Studies from McGill.

10:45-11:15 Break

11:15-12:00 Who was Robert Saunders? Tales of a Library Benefactor

Janet Goosney, Information Literacy Coordinator, QEII Library, Memorial University, & Colleen Field, Acting Head, Centre for Newfoundland Studies

In summer of 2018, Janet Goosney received an unusual reference question about a book held in the QEII Library collection. As she assisted the patron, she noticed some curious things about the book: for example, how did it travel to our collection, from its original home in a Wisconsin public library? And who was Robert Saunders, whose bookplate was in this and many other older books in our collection? She called CNS librarian Colleen Field to find out, and that is where our exploration began. Come to our presentation to learn more about this unique library benefactor, who donated thousands of books to Newfoundland libraries between 1946 and 1966.

Janet Goosney is a Public Services Librarian at Memorial’s QEII Library.  As a reference librarian and library educator, she greatly enjoys the discoveries and synergies that often characterize the practice of librarianship.

Colleen Field is the Acting Head of the Centre for Newfoundland Studies at Memorial University’s QEII Library. Connecting researchers to resources, especially  unique materials relating to Newfoundland and Labrador, has been her primary focus as a librarian for many years.

12:00-1:00 NLLA Elections & Spring General Meeting

1:00-2:00  Lunch

2:00-2:45 Wikidata: What It Is, Why It Matters

Jordan Patterson, Cataloguing and Metadata Librarian, QEII Library, Memorial University

On one hand, Wikidata is a niche service for a particular sort of user, but on the other, it plays a supporting role in our lives every single day. What is it? Most of us are familiar with the various projects of the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia chief among them, but the newer, lesser-known Wikidata has yet to break out into the spotlight. Wikidata is a vast store of structured data freely available to the public and it is governed by the same open philosophy that underlies all other Wikimedia projects. This session will explain how Wikidata works with linked data and why it is already an important feature in the information landscape, despite its limited uptake and visibility relative to Wikipedia. In addition to the what and how of Wikidata, this session will explore some current issues and potential opportunities in the use of this amazing database.

Jordan Patterson is a Cataloguing and Metadata Librarian at Memorial University of Newfoundland. His professional interests include linked data, subject analysis and classification, and rare books. His favourite book is Brideshead Revisited.

2:45-3:30 Libraries as Conduits for Public Engagement in Health and Healthcare Decisions

Sheila Tucker, Liaison Officer for Newfoundland and Labrador, CADTH

The goal of this presentation is to discuss the critical role of health information resources in decisions related to individual health and healthcare, and the valuable role of libraries and information specialists in supporting understanding of and access to credible health information.  The problem of misinformation and lack of access to quality information results in poor decision-making at many levels. The anti-vaccine movement, controversies over what constitutes “appropriate” management in chronic diseases such as diabetes, and debates over public investments in healthcare all provide interesting case studies in sources of health information and how these can influence decisions at individual and population levels.  Unfortunately, public engagement in such issues is often characterized by misinformation and controversy which is often played out in the media. As well, personal health decisions which are clouded by lack of information or misinformation can result in poor choices which adversely affect individual health and well-being. It is proposed that the public would benefit from skills training in how to access and critically appraise health information. Libraries are hubs of information for the public and are therefore key receptors for such information and training. This presentation will profile critical appraisal tools which may be useful resources for libraries in support of services to the public and will engage participants in a dialogue of the barriers and enablers to the use of these tools.Sheila Tucker holds a Bachelor of Arts (Conj.); Bachelor of Arts (Hons.); Bachelor of Education (Memorial University); Master of Library and Information Science (University of Western Ontario); and a Certificate in Public Administration (Memorial University). She has completed courses in health technology assessment, community health, and research methods in health.

3:30-3:50 Break

3:50-4:30 Lightning Round

  • Sign! Sign! Signing at Storytime
    Julia Mayo, Branch Supervisor Marjorie Mews Public Library

Some research suggests that baby sign language might give a typically developing child a way to communicate several months earlier than those who only use vocal communication. I have introduced sign language elements as a fine motor activity within my traditional story time. The parents and children have responded very positively. I will hopefully in 7 minutes be able to share some simple signs you can take away with you.

  • Invisible Structures: Deconstructing the Library Space
    Marnie James, Collections Analysis Intern, QEII Library, Memorial University

This brief talk will cover a graduate student research project that’s in its early stages at Western University. The project itself involves looking at the way Library of Congress (LoC) shelf classifications could potentially affect users’ access to monographs in the physical library space. For example, finding works on alcohol or drug abuse shelved next to ones on disability and therefore positing that these subjects are intellectually related.  While many scholars have critically examined library classifications, few have studied people’s experiences and perceptions of the classifications in this way. Ultimately, the aim of this project is to understand how the spatial arrangement of books in the stacks might affect a user’s experience of the library and potentially impart a problematic worldview.

  • Tales from the 49th Past President
    Kate Shore, Access Services Librarian, QEII Library, Memorial University

My 3 year term as Vice-President/President/Past-President, has likely been one of the more eventful and demanding over the past 50 years of NLLA’s history.  Much of the excitement arose from the fateful budget of 2016, the one that slashed the NLPL budget and threatened to shutter half the libraries in the province.   This short talk will discuss what it was like for me, with a fun sprinkling of mistakes, lessons and why fighting for libraries in the province is such an NLLA thing to do!

  • Connecting Users to Articles: Correlations Between Article Level Linking and Journal Use Statistics
    Michelle Swab, Public Services Librarian, Health Sciences Library, Memorial University

This project analyzes and compares COUNTER usage statistics for electronic journal titles with and without article level linking, controlling for subject area and relative journal importance. Although electronic holdings clean-up is currently underway, the results of this project may be able to inform collections assessment for journal titles from publishers that may not have the capacity to provide article level linking.

Julia Mayo has worked with the public libraries for 12 years, and believes that any time is a good time for storytime! Storytime is one of Julia’s favourite aspects of her job at the public library.  It is a very effective tool for early literacy and the library is a wonderful resource for families.

Marnie James is an MLIS candidate at Western University and the Collections Analysis Intern at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her research interests involve knowledge organization systems and structures as they intersect with institutional discourses and the role of the user. When her nose isn’t buried in a book, you might find her out hiking, working on a craft project, or planning her latest travel venture.

Kate Shore is the Access Services Librarian and Anthropology/Archaeology Liaison Librarian at the QEII Library.  Kate completed her BA degree in History/Anthropology (Hons.) at Memorial University and then worked as a library assistant in an array of St. John’s libraries before pursuing her MLIS at Western University. Prior to coming to the QEII, Kate started her librarian career as the sole librarian at the Janeway Resource Centre.

Michelle Swab has been a Public Services Librarian at Memorial University’s Health Sciences Library since 2013. Previously, she worked as Clinical Outreach Librarian at Bracken Health Sciences Library, Queen’s University. She holds an MA (Ethnomusicology) from Memorial University and an MLIS from Western University.

4:30-4:45 Day 1 Closing remarks

DAY 2: Tuesday, April 30th, 8:30 am-4:45 pmHampton Hall, Marine Institute, 155 Ridge Road, St. John’s NL

Parking available in M1 (West end)

8:30-9:00 Registration

9:00-9:10 Opening remarks

9:10-10:00 Keynote: Catharyn Andersen

Catharyn is Inuit from Nunatsiavut, Labrador and is the Special Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Affairs at Memorial University. Prior to working with the university, Catharyn worked for 10 plus years with the Nunatsiavut Government, and formerly the Labrador Inuit Association, serving in the roles of director and Inuttitut Language Program Coordinator with the Torngâsok Cultural Centre in Nain, Labrador.  She holds a bachelor and master of arts in linguistics, and a master of business administration from Memorial University, as well as an international baccalaureate diploma from Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific.

10:00-10:45 The Power of a Smile: Customer Service and Community Building

Julia Mayo, Branch Supervisor Marjorie Mews Public Library

Never underestimate the power of a smile and the impact of a positive attitude.  Working with the public can be challenging to say the least, but you may have more in your professional “tool box” than you might think.

Julia Mayo has been working with the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries since 2007, and feels extremely lucky to work with other positive minded individuals who make coming to work a fun and motivating experience.

10:45-11:15 Break

11:15-11:45 Geek Out at the Library

Leigha Chiasson-Locke, Children’s Services Librarian, Newfoundland & Labrador Public Libraries

The AC Hunter Public Library hosted its inaugural Geek Out at the Library Day in May, 2018 to tremendous success! Learn how hosting a free mini sci-fi con enticed in new patrons and old patrons into the branch and how geekery brings staff closer together!

Leigha Chiasson-Locke is the new provincial Children’s Services Librarian for NLPL. Prior to this, she was an NLPL Regional Librarian for St. John’s where she enjoyed collaborating on programs and projects that would increase the library’s visibility around the city. Leigha is also a total geek who is delighted that there is final a Captain Marvel movie. She is thrilled to nerd out with you today.

11:45-12:30 Round Table Conversations

MISU Student Lounge, Marine Institute

12:30-1:30  Lunch

Industry Seminar Room, Marine Institute

1:30-2:15 Growing Kids Who Can Change the Game: The School Library Learning Commons Movement in Newfoundland and Labrador

Leigh Borden, Teacher Librarian, Holy Trinity Elementary School, Torbay

In Newfoundland and Labrador, a recent government task force acknowledged in its report that school libraries and teacher librarians are integral to student achievement. However, for many years, school library programs and teacher librarian positions were diminished throughout the province, with some schools having excellent collections and nearly full-time teacher librarians, and other schools having little to no access to either.

Excitingly, as a result of the implementation of the task force recommendations, the school library learning commons movement in Newfoundland and Labrador has been ignited! This presentation will focus on the way the school library learning commons movement in Newfoundland and Labrador can inspire our young people to be innovators, experimenters, learners, and leaders who are empowered, not disenfranchised, by the unique nature of our many rural, remote, and tiny schools.

This presentation will interest anyone working in school library learning commons, those committed to the traditional library to learning commons shift, and those who work in rural and remote communities. The presenter, Leigh Borden, has had the opportunity to work as a mentor teacher-librarian through this process and will share her experiences in helping lead this transformative process for school libraries in NL.

Leigh Borden has been teacher librarian at Holy Trinity Elementary in Torbay, NL, for the past 10 years. Over the past three years she has been heavily involved as a mentor teacher librarian in a school library learning commons pilot organized by the provincial Department of Education. She began her teaching career at Pierre Laporte Middle School in the Toronto District School Board. Leigh is a graduate of the Master of Teaching program at OISE and holds an MA in English Literature from the University of Toronto and a BA (Hons) from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

2:15-3:05 Book Teasers

  • Supermarket Baby
    Susan Flanagan, Owner/Director, 48 Degrees Inc.

A switched shopping cart and geographically-challenged black bear threaten Henry Larsson’s freedom and sanity. Help arrives in a 1983 Ford LTD Country Squire.

From well-known author Susan Flanagan comes the immensely enjoyable satirical novel, Supermarket Baby about newly-retired Henry Larsson whose life goes off the rails after an innocent trip to the supermarket – a provincial court judge wants to throw him in prison, his lawyer wife is not in an understanding mood, his motorcycle trip has been kyboshed. Henry wishes himself back at work at City Hall safe from a looney station wagon woman and a misplaced black bear.

  • Cycles and Connections in The Break by Katherena Vermette
    Heather Pretty, Cataloguing Librarian, QEII Library, Memorial University

The Break by Katherena Vermette is a book of circles, cycles, and connections among the characters. I will be talking about these connections and also themes and imagery around the breaking and healing of spirit, family, friendships, and community.

  • Catching the Light by Susan Sinnott
    Erin Alcock, Science Liaison Librarian, QEII Library, Memorial University

The kids call her Lighthouse: no lights on up there. In a small town, everyone knows when you can’t read. But Cathy is just distracted by the light, lines, and artistry of everyday life. She is a talented artist growing up in tiny Mariners Cove and yearns for acceptance. She dreams of enrolling in art school, but getting there will be a struggle. Hutch Parsons is everything Cathy is not: charismatic, popular, smart. Overflowing with energy, he is confident in his plans for the future. But one icy evening his world is upended and those plans are swept away.

Dancing between points of view, Catching the Light explores the ordinary lives of two extraordinary people. With gorgeously lyrical language and a strong sense of place, this tender novel announces a bright new voice in Atlantic fiction. Winner of the 2014 Percy Janes First Novel Award for an unpublished manuscript.

  • Dare to Lead… in Libraries
    Meghan Gamsby, Head, Public Services, QEII Library, Memorial University

In Brené Brown’s new book “Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.” she answers the questions “How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture?”. The theme of courage seems especially important in libraries today as we continue to evolve and meet our users’ changing needs. Allow me to share with you some of what Brown has learned through two decades of studying leaders and organizations and see if I can inspire you to be brave and convince you to read this book.

Susan Flanagan is a freelance journalist (BJ, King’s College, NS – 1991) whose written works have appeared in Canadian Geographic, National Geographic (maps), The Hockey News, Doctors’ Review, Newfoundland Quarterly etc. Susan also contributed columns to The Newfoundland Herald (2002-04) and The Telegram (2011-15).  Supermarket Baby is her first novel.

Heather Pretty is a Cataloguing Librarian at Memorial University. She is the Chair of the Canadian BIBFRAME Readiness Task Force and an At-Large Member of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging Policy Committee.

Erin Alcock is a Liaison Librarian at the QEII Library.  She is very happy to be on the organizing committee for NLLA’s 50th anniversary conference.

Meghan Gamsby is the head of Public Services at the QEII Library. She held a variety of science librarian positions before coming to Memorial. Helping students learn and grow is her favorite part of the job.

3:05-4:30 Past Presidents’ Presentation and Reception

All NLLA members and conference-goers are invited to attend the Past President’s reception,  and to show our appreciation to our many past presidents throughout the years!

3:05-3:20 Refreshments

3:20-3:30 Welcome

3:30-4:00 Plenary speaker Suzanne Sexty

It was a dark and stormy night in December 1969 when the NLLA was inaugurated. Whether you were there or not, this conference is one of many results of that meeting. Come and share your memories of the NLLA over the last 50 years with those of us who remember (sort of) the first meeting.  A perfect segue into the reception.

Suzanne Sexty came to Newfoundland in 1968 and, after working in, or advocating for, various libraries in the province, retired from the Queen Elizabeth II Library (MUN) in 2001. She is presently enjoying researching and writing local history.

4:00-4:30 Reception

Post-Conference Dinner  5:30Tuesday April 30th, 2019 5:30pm
Merlo’s Inferno
193 Kenmount Road
(Attendees will order and pay individually at restaurant)

Thank you to our Sponsors