OCLC Canada Advisory Council

Minutes — March 20th 2018

Meeting in Dublin, Ohio


Brenda Mathenia, University Librarian, Thompson Rivers University
Debbie Schachter, Director, Learning Resources, Douglas College
Pilar Martinez, CEO, Edmonton Public Library
Suzanne Payette, Directrice, Bibliothèque publique de Brossard
Madeleine Lefebvre, Former Chief Librarian, Ryerson University, OCLC Board of Trustees
Monica Fuijkschot, Director General, Published Heritage Branch, Library and Archives Canada
Joyce Garnett, University Librarian Emeritus, Lecturer, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, Western University
Daniel Boivin, Executive Director, OCLC Canada, Latin America & the Caribbean


Danielle Chagnon, Directrice générale de la Grande Bibliothèque, BAnQ
Alexandra Freeland, Director, Information Management Services Directorate, Knowledge Management, National Research Council
Marie DeYoung, University Librarian, Saint Mary's University
Bruce Crocco, Vice-President, Library Services for the Americas, OCLC

Submitted Agenda:

  1. Opening of the meeting and agenda approval
  2. Review the minutes of the November 1st 2017 Meeting
  3. Discussion on the upcoming Global Council (GC) Meeting
  4. Key topics/areas needing to be discussed and reported at GC and/or affecting Canadian Libraries
  5. Vote on the proposed changes to the OCAC Charter terms
  6. Other business
  7. Next meeting -- With the Americas Regional Council October 24th, 2018, in Chicago
  8. End of Conference Call

1. Opening of the meeting and agenda approval

  • Ms. Schachter started the meeting and a small point was added in the "other business" section to take the time to thank departing delegates.
  • The agenda is approved with this addition.

2. Review the minutes of the November 1st 2017

  • No changes were reported and the minutes were approved.

3. Discussion on the upcoming Global Council (GC) Meeting

  • Mr. Boivin started by saying that two other Canadian delegates will be joining GC as alternate attendees: Renee Reaume from the University of Calgary to replace Suzanne Payette and Diane Beattie, Library & Archives Canada to replace another missing individual from the US.
  • Ms. Lefebvre indicated that she would stay after her Board meeting to join most of the GC meeting. She also indicated that she attended EMEA regional meeting last February and confirmed that it went very well and was also well attended.
  • Ms. Schachter pointed to the group that there is an ARC regional caucus meeting on Monday morning and that is possibly the time to raise questions and concerns as this then gets fed to the larger group at the GC.
  • Ms. Schachter indicated that during the meeting, additional adjustments to the by-laws will be made to assure they are consistent for all the three regions.

4. Key topics/areas needing to be discussed and reported at GC and/or affecting Canadian Libraries

  • Ms. Mathenia mentioned that the only thing jumping to mind for her was the 2017 purchase of Relais by OCLC. She indicated having no issues with this but that her staff was following the evolution and development of the applications. Her library uses Relais and she had one of her colleagues at the OCLC ILL conference this past week. From this person's report, Ms. Mathenia will judge if any concerns could be brought up next time.
  • To Ms. Mathenia's question regarding what the other delegates were using, Mr. Boivin indicated that in eastern Canada, many were using VDX and Ms. Lefebvre said that the Atlantic provinces use Relais as well.
  • Ms. Payette asked for an update on the LAC project with OCLC. Ms. Fuijkschot reported that the project has 2 phases: one for the public view of the union catalog (Voilà -- http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/news/Pages/2018/voila-nuc.aspx) and this was rolled out at OLA in February and the other one is LAC's own implementation of WMS. Since the release of Voilà, most comments have been very positive. For the second part, which is the implementation of WMS, LAC is looking at starting to use the acquisition functions by June 2018. The cataloguing and other functions are planned to be used in October / November 2018.
  • Additionally, Ms. Fuijkschot mentioned that LAC is supporting libraries in this transition and finding ways to let libraries share their concerns or difficulties with the new model and from these, define what can come out in terms of solution to these expressed concerns. They so far have realized at LAC that libraries are coming into this change with different level of readiness and openness to the new model and some clearly want other ideas as to how they can participate more fully in the project. LAC has decided to work with "strategic advisors" to help them find solutions. They are starting soon a one-year pilot project in that regards and they are seeking additional funding to set this up.
  • Ms. Payette asked if there were links with BAnQ, ie. technical connections, between their respective instances and projects. Ms. Fuijkschot said that there are, and she gave the example of the relationship regarding the development of the Canadian Subject Authorities where one library works on the English version of it (LAC) and the other creates the French equivalents (BAnQ). They are currently discussing how this extended partnership would look like once this is ready to be released in the new shared cataloguing environment.
  • Ms. Schachter asked for further details regarding the one-year project working with strategic advisors. Ms. Fuijkschot added that they desire to build capacity to have conversations and bring similar libraries together across the country to express their concerns. The goal is to find ways of adapting and to find ways to help, to adapt and to develop solutions for Canadian libraries together.
  • Ms. Schachter then changed topic to report that Brandon University recently announced that due to severe cuts, they were removing the university librarian position to be replaced by the CIO (this newspaper article). She also reported that Assiniboine Community College had similar cuts. Both are in Brandon, Manitoba, and she was asking the Council if this could be some sort of trend across the country.
  • Ms Lefebvre reported that something similar almost happened at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. She in fact knows the incoming President and plans to have a discussion with him in the near future to stress the value and importance of the role of the University Librarian position.
  • Ms. Fuijkschot followed this by saying that it is hard for librarians to put a price and a value on knowledge. It is hard to show this real value and it is a real challenge in libraries.
  • Ms Lefebvre thinks that OCUL has the strength to protect such drastic action within the Ontario universities. However, she feels that not many today do actively show what they do and keep on informing their constituents on the benefits they bring on campus. "Valuing a library cannot just be an emotional exercise" she said.
  • Ms. Schachter asked about how things were in public libraries and Ms. Martinez shared that funding is not or does not currently seem to be an issue. Ms. Payette mentioned that Library & Archives Quebec, BAnQ, on the other hand still does not have a CEO one year after the departure of the previous director. Ms. Fuijkschot reported then that BAnQ had appointed someone but the BAnQ board had to go back to the drawing board as the minister did not accept the proposed candidate. Ms. Payette concluded in saying that taking such a long time to hire makes the community feels like such a position is not really needed then! She also indicated that many cities in Quebec have new councils, ie. new people looking after libraries, and many of these cities had 0% tax increase which means that libraries had in the end some budget cuts.
  • Mr. Boivin then asked if the elimination of the university librarian's position might help academic librarians realize that they need to improve, that they are in a competing world and that for some, they need to stop being complacent?
  • Ms. Lefebvre felt that because many of them are in a unionized environment, many unfortunately are not looking beyond that as they have ironclad contract, with agreements that are very long and difficult to modify. She does believe that such actions may bring home the idea that senior administrators in universities have not a good understanding of what libraries do bring to the table and that librarians need to do a better job at connecting with them and explaining further in terms they can relate to. "For sure, one cannot say they have a position for good and for life anymore if a CIO can just come in and run a library". She feels that one needs to continuously make a case that the work is unique and does bring benefits and, that the market needs to be shaken up and such announcements might do it.
  • Ms. Mathenia added that all librarians need to realize this because the next boss that comes in might not be as sensitive to the library field and the employees in place.
  • Ms. Fuijkschot asked then as to what extent the director's philosophy permeates down to the rest of the local structure as too often, we still see reference librarians hidden in offices or behind a remote desk which does not give much if any visibility to the service. "There is a story to be told in terms of "culture", not freeing them up to be on the floor to help customers -- libraries need to think this further."
  • Ms. Schachter shared that librarians at Capilano University do two to three hours per week teaching and this is a great way to be seen and to become a familiar face on campus. They have one combined service desk at Capilano and this has allowed them to often see patrons walking from computers to the desk for help because it was right there.
  • Ms. Fuijkschot told OCAC that she manages technical services and that is not an easy service to make visible and still, this is a critical service to help structuring information for proper discoverability. The challenges for the technical services feel greater but there are definite opportunities to share benefits knowing that most people do understand the value of data.
  • Ms. Mathenia felt that we need to be honest with ourselves and openly see what is not valuable to our users even though these might be to librarians. We need to find ways to replace these not so valuable services so that we do meet our patrons' needs. We as librarians need to recognize all of these and this is part of our challenges. As managers, we need to help staff move along with these concepts.
  • Ms. Lefebvre then reported to the group that she visited the new Birmingham public library last month and that despite the increase in traffic, the library's operating budget was cut that same year it opened by 180 million pounds. They now have to open less hours per day and staff morale is not at its best despite the lovely looking building. "We as librarians can't afford to be complacent." Ms. Schachter added that UK is a bad model for libraries these days. That this sort of situation has gone on for 10 years and their model is not one to follow. Ms. Lefebvre will share information on this with the delegates.
  • Ms. Payette said that too often Councils do not hear from happy users and they assume the service is not as necessary, or not use much, and they can offer then less services to the population. "This speaks again about going out to the community to promote ones' services and values."
  • On the brighter side of things, Ms. Fuijkschot shared that Ottawa public library has money to combine and build a new branch with LAC.

5. Vote on the proposed changes to the OCAC Charter terms

  • The first point was accepted with one small change, i.e. change the word "assign" to "elect". This is what the charter currently says:

"The term of the OCAC Chair will be established by OCAC upon selection but should ideally be for three years."

This is what it will say after the proposed change is voted on:

"The term of the OCAC Chair is a three year term. At the end of the term, OCAC will decide to re-assign the chair for another three year term, or shorter if preferable, or will assign a new chair for a three year term. This should be done at the fall in person meeting."

All delegates present were in favor of the change.

  • The second point was voted as proposed and discussed at the fall meeting. Here is what the charter currently says:

"A member to the OCAC will be designated for a three-year term which may be renewed."

This is what it will say after the proposed change is voted on:

"A member to the OCAC will serve for a term of three (3) years. OCAC delegates may serve multiple terms, but no more than two consecutive full terms."

All delegates present were in favor of the change.

6. Other business

  • OCAC took the time to thank two departing delegates:
    • Marie De Young. Marie even though is on administrative leave from the university is on a path to retirement. She had been on OCAC since 2014 and with her retirement coming is leaving OCAC.
    • Joyce Garnett. Joyce has been on OCAC since 2010 and had been also part of the first "cohort" of OCAC delegates when it was form early in the 2000.
  • Both have been significantly contributing to OCLC and the Canadian division. OCLC and the OCAC delegates are extremely thankful for all their time and involvement with the cooperative. A thank you note and departing gift will be mailed to both.

7. Next meeting -- With the Americas Regional Council October 24th, 2018, in Chicago

  • OCAC meeting is before the ARC meeting and the usual dinner will also be on the evening of the 24th.
  • Delegates are being asked to plan to arrive for the 23rd.

8. End of Conference Call

  • At 14h.
Actions required before the next meeting Responsibility
  1. No specific action required.