Overview

The Public Library Services Branch (PLSB) hosts a series of symposia on emerging and/or identified library service topics.

The symposia are designed to provide a mix of context and theory with practical tips and tools to help public library staff and trustees meet the needs of their communities.

Symposium 2019

Shifting Services for Inclusivity

PLSB's fifth symposium, held on February 21 and 22, 2019, focused on how libraries can serve the entire community and recognize the diversity of those who reside within.

The objective of this symposium was to recognize the importance of striving for inclusive and equitable public library service and to support the board members and staff who carry it out by:

  • introducing the fundamental concepts that serve as the foundation for the work of libraries and highlight public libraries’ core mission of ensuring access to information and equitable service for all
  • sharing personal stories and experiences that build context and inspire action
  • exploring how public library space can be made more welcoming
  • learning from each other and celebrating the successes of libraries across the province
  • building a network of support where library board members and staff feel encouraged and empowered to bring about positive change in their communities

The opening keynote address was delivered by Jesse Lipscombe, founder of the #makeitawkward movement, and Dr. Toni Samek, Professor and Chair at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta, delivered the closing keynote address.

Additional resources from the symposium are available from PLSB.

Symposium 2018

Public Libraries: We're Only Human

PLSB hosted the symposium in partnership with the Alberta Library Trustees' Association (ALTA) on February 23 and 24, 2018.

The symposium focused on the people who are key to public library service – board members and library staff.

The objective of the symposium was to recognize the importance of the people who work in our public library and provide support to them in the following ways:

  • encouraging and equipping library boards to understand and fulfil their responsibilities as employers
  • sharing expertise in matters of human resource development and management
  • engaging knowledge experts in the areas of applicable legislation
  • sharing knowledge, tools and best practices from across the province
  • exploring the relationship between library boards, library managers and library staff and the roles each play in effective delivery of public library service

The symposium included a series of conversation cafes and a closing address by parliamentarian and board expert, Eli Mina.

Additional resources from the symposium are available from PLSB.

Symposium 2017

Public Library Services for Indigenous Communities

PLSB hosted its third symposium on February 23 and 24, 2017. The objective of the symposium was to discuss the important role public libraries can play in the lives of Indigenous people, and also in the process of reconciliation.

Participants learned how they could support Indigenous communities in the following ways by:

  • exploring issues currently affecting Indigenous people in Alberta and Canada
  • demonstrating traditional and innovative library services for Indigenous communities
  • encouraging and equipping Alberta public library staff to deliver services for Indigenous communities
  • sharing knowledge and best practices from across the province
  • exploring how all partners in the provincial library environment can work with Indigenous communities to deliver excellent public library service

Aaron Paquette, author of the best-selling, award-winning novel ‘Lightfinder’, illustrator, goldsmith and cathedral stained-glass artist, delivered the opening keynote address.

Symposium 2016

Little Ones in Libraries: Symposium on Early Childhood Library Services

PLSB hosted Little Ones in Libraries: Symposium on Early Childhood Library Services on February 25 and 26, 2016.

Seventy-seven participants from across Alberta attended and spent 2 days immersed in discussion about programs, services and best practices. Guests included librarians and early childhood development (ECD) experts.

The content and structure of the symposium was largely based on the results of a survey conducted by PLSB on Alberta Pre-K Library Services.

An outcome of the symposium was a relationship with Policywise for Children and Families. PLSB approached PolicyWise to help define the intended impact for ECD in public libraries.

This was to explore and understand what the overall impact could be if public libraries worked in the area of ECD, what would be in scope for libraries, and what that would like for Alberta specifically.

The result of this work is a document – Public Libraries as a Hub for Early Childhood Development (PDF, 833 KB) – outlining a framework to provide (strategic) clarity around how public libraries in Alberta influence ECD.

It can help identify where this influence is happening (that is, what libraries are already doing) and also where potential gaps might exist in this service area.

This framework contains 5 key concepts for how public libraries in Alberta play an important role in support pre-K development and school readiness.

Additional resources from the symposium are available from PLSB.

Symposium 2015

Public Library Service for People with Print Disabilities

On February 26 and 27, 2015, PLSB hosted a provincewide symposium on Public Library Service for People with Print Disabilities.

Fifty participants from across Alberta attended and spent the 2 days immersed in discussion about these services. Guests included librarians, service providers and people with print disabilities.