Library workers cement bonds at meet-and-greet

Matt
Matt Gardner
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The Saskatchewan Library Association (SLA) held a special meet-and-greet on Wednesday evening at the Travelodge for its members in Prince Albert and the surrounding area.

Saskatchewan Library Association president Robert Thomas and vice-president of advocacy and development Deborah McConkey receive guests during Wednesday evening’s meet-and-greet for local members, which took place at the Travelodge.

“The purpose of this meeting is basically as a networking event that individuals within the Prince Albert area, including the Wapiti Region Library, can come and visit, meet the president, talk to their colleagues, eat some food, drink some wine, possibly, and have a good time,” SLA president Robert Thomas said.

The SLA is a professional association for librarians and library workers across the province. Far from being limited to public libraries, the SLA is open to staff from universities, colleges, special libraries and school libraries.

Accordingly, guests who attended the event at the Travelodge went beyond the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library to encompass members from SIAST, the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region and the Wapiti Regional Library.

“Basically, membership is open to anyone,” Thomas said. “Professional librarians (are) a particular category, but we also have a number of library technicians and people who work in libraries who are not librarians per se, but work in a librarian role … running a small rural library, for example, (which) may only be open two or three days a week.

“These individuals often come to our conference and will get professional development, go to conference sessions, learn about how to be an effective library worker and to deal effectively with our patrons.”

Described as a “presidential reception,” the meet-and-greet was promoted as a casual event where guests could come and go as they pleased. In his role as president, Thomas was expected to make a brief speech thanking those who attended for their ongoing support of the SLA.

Members are valuable and important. Deborah McConkey

Also on hand to welcome guests was the SLA’s vice-president of advocacy and development, Deborah McConkey, currently a librarian at Horizon College and Seminary in Saskatoon.

McConkey said her main intention that evening was “to associate with all these wonderful people up here,” many of whom she had encountered for the first time earlier that day.

“They’re a great group of people,” McConkey said. “The first couple I met were from La Ronge, actually … Members are valuable and important.”

The Prince Albert meet-and-greet was the first of three SLA events held across the province to improve connections between Saskatchewan library workers. A similar event will be held next week in Saskatoon, and another the following week in Regina.

Wednesday’s turnout at the Travelodge more than satisfied event organizers, who at the time of writing anticipated more than two dozen guests.

“I was expecting really bad, actually, because nobody had RSVP’d,” Thomas said shortly after the meet-and-greet began at 5 p.m. “But we actually have a pretty good turnout already and I can only imagine that it’ll get better.

“I may have shrunk the room to the smallest room and that may have been a mistake, (but) maybe it’s a good thing for it to be a mistake rather than to be a good idea, because I think we seem to have a good number already.”

Organizations: Horizon College, SLA, Prince Albert Travelodge Wapiti Region Library John M. Cuelenaere Public Library Wapiti Regional Library

Geographic location: Saskatoon, La Ronge, Saskatchewan Regina

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  • Deborah McConkey
    November 22, 2012 - 07:21

    Nice article Matt! Pleasure to meet you tonight.