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9:00 A.M.

Learning Modules for Everyone: More Than Just Kits

Willow Schnell, New Sarepta Public Library

Audience: Managers, public library staff, school library staff


This session addresses the continual issue of needing to instruct patrons one-on-one when offering new technology, materials, programs, and services.


How does a library with limited staff time and budget meet the needs of their patrons in this time of ever-changing technology and information access? One solution is to offer a familiar, repetitive framework through passive programming.

Willow will talk about how the 40-plus New Sarepta library learning modules were conceptualized, how the framework was developed, and how student and public-led module design has promoted innovation, discovery and a drive for self-directed learning, while celebrating local experts in the community.


Learning modules will be available to access physically and virtually with time to explore them and brainstorm ideas for your own libraries!

Library Board/Director Relations: Trials and Tribulations

Lori Arnott, Town of Whitecourt Library Board
Richard Bangma, Whitecourt & District Public Library

Audience: Board members/trustees, managers


Operating an efficient and effective library requires a great relationship between the Library Board of Trustees and their Library Director. When "stuff" happens, the relationship between the Board and Director can be tested – and this is when they must work even closer together to overcome these obstacles, “right the ship,” and continue to move forward in a positive manner.


The Board and Director at the Whitecourt library faced several trials and tribulations this past year and wish to share what they learned. Topics that will be covered include:

  • Performance evaluation of the Director.

  • Personnel issues.

  • Updating and enhancing the personnel manual.

  • Establishing board bylaws.

  • Budget process.

  • Updating and enhancing the operational policies.

First Nations People in Picture Books

Gail de Vos, SLIS, University of Alberta

Audience: Managers, public library staff, school library staff


Gail will discuss the common pitfalls in selecting First Nations books for children. With an emphasis on Canadian material, she will also discuss the use of First Nations' folklore in picture books by First Nations/non-First Nations authors and illustrators.

The Little Things…

Twyla Lesko, Learning Commons, Onoway Elementary School

Audience: Public library staff, school library staff

Try not to judge a book by its cover or walk past a retail display without acknowledging its beauty or clever design. We are visual creatures and so are our patrons. It is not enough to have a relevant, high quality collection and myriad makerspace itemsyou’ve got to sell it! Creative display, storage, and promotion of your merchandise is key.

In this session, Twyla will explore tips and tricks she’s learned along the way that engage students and adults alike. The goal is to create an inviting and stimulating patron centered environment in the learning commons/library landscape.

10:45 A.M.

Ready, Set, Code: Unplugged and Beyond!

Wendy Hodgson-Sadgrove, Westlock Municipal Library

Audience: Public library staff, school library staff


Coding is a fundamental part of digital literacy. Libraries can play an integral role in this new literacy skill by offering fun, interactive activities that introduce, create and explore coding with children as young as three . Learn how to start/integrate coding at your library with “un-tech” programming (passive and interactive) and transition to free online resources. This session will:

  • Introduce concepts behind computer coding.

  • Explore practical ways to address coding in programming for all ages.

  • Sample Westlock Library’s makerspace activities that incorporate coding.

Facing a Difficult Conversation?

Maurice Fritze, Consultant

Audience: Everyone

A difficult conversation is any conversation that we are anxious about having.

Raising sensitive issues with a colleague or supervisee, giving critical feedback to an administrator, hearing negative comments about your work, asking for help; we find these conversations difficult because painful feelings can be at play. Frustration, hurt, anger, anxiety, and fear can affect our interest in resolving it.

Navigating with skill through a difficult conversation first requires – for most of us – a basic shift in our mindset. In this session, we will explore five simple things you can do to boost your confidence, learn to identify a difficult conversation, and create a plan to manage it.

Our goal is long-lasting, durable conflict resolution, which can only happen if facts and feelings are reconciled.

Comics: More Than Meets the Eye

Jay Bardyla, Happy Harbor Comics

Audience: Everyone


Comics are everywhere today: film, TV, video games, and even paper. The medium of comics is influencing most facets of the entertainment industry and capturing the interest of thousands of new and lapsed readers. Comics help add a spark to your already awesome library!

Jay will ramble about a bunch of stuff while focusing on the basic terminology to help you talk about and understand comics. He will also give tips on how to use comics to engage more readers and creators than ever before.


He'll probably give you free comics too because he's not above bribery to get people to attend his session.

1:30 p.M.

Library Legislation Survival Guide

Jen Anderson, Public Library Services Branch

Audience: Board members/trustees, managers, public library staff


Do you dread the thought of a session on library legislation? Fear not: like quality dentistry, Jen will be as painless as possible! She’ll drill right into the Libraries Act and Regulations, but good humour will be her anaesthetic.


Copies of the legislation and pens will be provided, but please be sure to bring along your questions!

The Permacultural Library

Janeen Keelan, Jasper Municipal Library

Audience: Managers, public library staff, school library staff


How do we create a culture of social, economic and ecological sustainability in the library? Permaculture! In this session, Janeen will explore how the ethics and principles of permaculture can be applied to the work we do to save time and money, and to better serve our communities.

This session is for managers, programmers and all library staff who unabashedly believe that libraries can and do make the world a better place.

It's Not What We Have, It's What We Do

Robert McClure, Yellowhead County Library Board

Audience: Board members/trustees, managers


The modern library is a place where a community can congregate, recreate and share ideas. It is no longer a place measured by the books on the shelves, but by the people who work there, the services they provide, and the connections they make. Having inherited a library space with too many books and not enough space for programs and community events, Robert set about redesigning the physical space of the Edmonton Garrison Community Library to better meet the needs of the clientele.


In doing so, Robert needed to overcome the view that physical books are the most integral part of a library and inadvertently changed the culture of his library. Through sharing what he learned in redesigning this space, Robert hopes to inspire his fellow librarians to venture beyond the confines of books, consider if their library space is conducive to the needs of their clientele, and show how the revitalization of a library may begin with an act some librarians may be uncomfortable with: the removal of books.

STEAM-Powered Programming: What Actually Works

Emily Paulsen, Fort Saskatchewan Public Library

Samantha Sutherland, Fort Saskatchewan Public Library

Audience: Public library staff, school library staff


STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) focused learning is becoming more and more popular in schools and libraries. But how can you make it work for your community? In February 2016, the Fort Saskatchewan library opened a dedicated makerspace area. However, they strongly believe STEAM does not have to be confined to a makerspace. Creativity has been known to crop up in many different formats including robots by the paperbacks and cardboard clubhouses in the stacks.


From high tech to low tech, Emily and Samantha will share program ideas and goals that will shed some light on this emerging trend.

3:00 p.M.

Repair, Recycle, Reorder

NOTE: Limit of 18 attendees.
Wendy Hodgson-Sadgrove, Westlock Municipal Library

Audience: Everyone

​Libraries are repositories for the past, present and future so it’s integral that libraries keep their materials in the best shape possible. Some books come to the repair table being “too well loved,” others are prey to modern “cheap and cheerful” binding, and some have suffered the trials and tribulations of their journeys throughout the province. The ability to do basic repairs and practice preventative care is essential to keep our library collections in good shape.


Wendy will speak about basic book repair, preventative care practices, and take some time to answer your questions. She’ll also discuss ways to keep library collections in good shape without taxing your limited funds or personnel.

Make Without the Space: Maker-Kits That Bring the Makerspace to You!

Jennifer Schell, Yellowhead Regional Library

Jordan DeSousa, Yellowhead Regional Library

Audience: Public library staff, school library staff


Get a sneak peak at the amazing technologies in YRL’s brand-new, innovative Makerspace Kits! Learn about the makerspace philosophy, how materials were chosen, and especially how you can use these awesome resources at your library. The makerspace kits offer a variety of programming opportunities for a wide range of ages, and come with resources to ensure that you and your staff will be able to use them quickly and creatively. Why makerspace kits? Because everyone should get the chance to create, tinker, invent, and discover.

Young Children, iPads, and Emergent Literacy: An Overview of Current Research

Deborah Schamuhn Kirk, MLIS Candidate, University of Alberta

Audience: Public library staff, school library staff


Before a child learns to read, they have already had many experiences with language and print. These prior experiences help to shape children’s understanding of the contexts in which print-based language is useful, what it can do, and how it works. However, omnipresent technologies have changed the landscape. Children’s observations and experiences with language and literacy have shifted, and current conceptualizations of emergent literacy are continually adapting to reflect that shift. Research into how children interact with digital technologies is an essential step in the development of those conceptualizations.


This session will provide an overview of current research into children’s interactions with digital technologies, focusing specifically on children’s use of tablets. Participants will add to their understanding of what emergent literacy means in today’s context of widespread technology use. By better understanding current research, library practitioners can make more informed decisions about how to support families in their use of digital technology.

Finding Your Voice: Ideas and Strategy for an Engaging Social Media Presence

Dr. Tanya Pollard, Alberta Library Trustees’ Association

Audience: Board members/trustees, managers, public library staff


Worried about the amount of time required to create social media content? Lack of content can hold libraries back from using social media to its full potential. How do you develop a natural, authentic, appealing voice to connect with your followers? And once they’ve found you, how do you keep them engaged?

Based on the development of the Redcliff Public Library’s social media presence, this session will examine:

  • How the library uses the strengths of its board members and staff to create content using their interests, abilities and available time.

  • Partnering with your community to distribute external content is a natural extension of what libraries do. How can you find the best partners to work with and convince them to send you content in digital form?

  • Your programs, events and advocacy is what we REALLY want people to pay attention to and become engaged with.

  • We know our audience loves words and books. Tanya will introduce some of the library-themed content that ALTA is making available for all Alberta libraries.

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