Canadian library community planning Summit on human resources

(December 17, 2007) Canada’s leading library stakeholders are addressing one of the key issues in the field by planning a major national summit on human resources.

The 2008 Library Human Resources Summit will bring together an invited group of participants, who represent key associations, employers, government officials, and other stakeholders in the Canadian library community. The Summit will develop a national strategy and action plans to ensure that Canadian libraries will have the great leadership we will need in our librarians and information professionals, in order to meet Canada’s knowledge and information management needs in the first three decades of the 21st century.

Participants will hear current research findings and discuss this research in the context of several proposed initiatives meant to address some of the human resources challenges in the library sector. The Summit Steering Committee hopes to see associations and organizations champion these initiatives as pilot projects after the Summit and assess their ability to help build a stronger profession in Canada. Invitations will be sent to participants by the end of February 2008.

The Summit builds upon the landmark 8Rs research released in 2005, The Future of Human Resources in Canadian Libraries. This research has provided a comprehensive view of the current state of library employers and employees resulting from many changes within the field.

Following the report’s publication, then-CLA-President Stephen Abram established the President’s Council on the 8Rs. This working group investigated implications from specific findings of the report, including recruitment to the profession, the accessibility of MLIS education, professional development experience for students and new professionals, mentoring, leadership and management for mid-career professionals, and foreign credential assessment. One significant Council outcome was the establishment of the Info*Nation website (www.infonation.ca), a resource for professional recruitment that received praise for its fresh approach to professional image.

While pleased with its initial results, the Council felt the next step was the development of a broad-based, national strategy and action plans that will lead to better recruitment, retention and development of tomorrow’s librarians and information professionals.

The Summit is being created by a Steering Committee with representatives from most of the major stakeholders in Canadian librarianship, with support from the University of Alberta and the Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques. It is scheduled to take place in Ottawa in June 2008.

More details on the Summit will be made public shortly.

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Background Information

National Summit on Library Human Resources Steering Committee:
The Summit Steering Committee is composed of:
  • Hélène Carrier, Association pour l’avancement des sciences et des techniques de la documentation
  • Linda Cook, Past-President, Canadian Library Association
  • Kathleen De Long, 8Rs Research Team, University of Alberta
  • Fay Hjartarson, Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
  • Alison Hopkins, Provincial and Territorial Library Directors’ Council
  • Ernie Ingles, 8Rs Research Team, University of Alberta
  • Inba Kehoe, The Partnership
  • Adele Kostiak, Canadian Urban Libraries’ Council
  • Wendy Newman, President’s Council on the 8Rs, Canadian Library Association
  • Ken Roberts, Vice-President / President-Elect, Canadian Library Association
  • Alvin Schrader, President, Canadian Library Association
  • Allison Sivak, 8Rs Research Team, University of Alberta
  • Vicki Williamson, Canadian Association of Research Libraries
  • Don Butcher, CLA staff
  • Brenda Shields, CLA staff
Canada’s libraries form one of the nation’s broadest-based intellectual, economic, social and cultural communities, with a presence in virtually every community. Libraries have an economic impact estimated at $3.5 billion per year, and the sector employs an estimated 57,000 people. The 8Rs Research projects a shortfall in professional and para-professional library staff by the end of this decade.

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