Congrats to Heather Berringer (MLIS ’03), who was recently named Associate Provost, Learning Services at the University of British Columbia! Read the full article here.
A native of Cape Breton, I have been in my current role of Associate Vice President, University of New Brunswick (Saint John campus) since 2012, arriving via several career moves, universities and cities that took me from Halifax to Toronto and back to Halifax before landing in Saint John. I wear many hats in my work and have oversight for a number of areas including student affairs, athletics, enrolment management, IT and experiential education. I came to Dalhousie’s MLIS program while I concurrently filled the temporary role of Acting Director, Information Services and Systems (ISS) at UNB (encompassing library services and IT) between 2015-2017. Suddenly finding myself a library director while not a librarian was daunting but deeply gratifying as I worked closely with professional librarians and library staff to understand how I could support them in their mission to assist our faculty, students and staff. It didn’t take long for me to become hooked on learning more, and soon I had started researching MLIS programs in Canada and beyond. Deciding to pursue yet another degree at this stage in my career (I completed my PhD in Medieval Studies at University of Toronto in 1999, and had done two Masters degrees previous to that) was a daunting prospect, not only academically but also logistically. I decided to apply to Dalhousie and the rest is history. I found myself on the journey from lifelong library user and bibliophile to something quite different.
During the winter 2017 semester, while taking INFO 6750, Health Sciences Literature and Information Sources I had the opportunity to explore how my MLIS studies connected with my “day job” in a real and relevant way, as the timeframe aligned with pending legalization of adult-use cannabis in Canada (initially scheduled for July 1). I was chairing a committee at UNB to determine how we would respond to the legislation and how we could educate and inform our students, faculty and staff on the new reality. As we explored how to develop policy for the use of a substance that was not yet legal, we realized there was little public health material available to guide our work, and few other Canadian universities had materials available to consult. This problem, the lack of accessible and reliable information at other universities lead me to the topic for my final research paper for the course, and ultimately to its publication in the Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association (JCHLA/JABSC), appropriately entitled “Cannabis on campus: gateway to student health literacy for academic health science librarians.” I am deeply grateful to the course instructors, Robin Parker and Melissa Helwig (both Dalhousie librarians) for their guidance and support. They exemplify for me what my experience of the MLIS has been thus far – superb instruction, meaningful and relevant content and a genuine desire to see students succeed and prepare us for the future as information professionals.
I also presented on this UNB policy work at a national policy conference on cannabis on campus, and even chaired the conference. The opportunity to explore the challenges of cannabis education in post-secondary environments within the MLIS course helped immensely both in the policy work, and in framing many of the discussions that the conference sparked. It has also opened up new opportunities on our campus to connect non-academic units such as student health services, student affairs and residence life with academic librarians who can work with them to identify resources that supports their work and our students alike.
I find that the MLIS program has provided me with knowledge that not only fulfills my own personal interests (cataloguing!) but has also been directly relevant to my work at UNB. I have greatly enjoyed the variety in curriculum of the MLIS courses I’ve taken thus far, and have benefitted greatly from opportune moments to apply my studies to my day job, in particular the application of Dr. Spiteri’s Records Management course to a complete revisioning of my own professional files. I was also recently appointed to UNB’s Records Management Steering Committee, and I know that I will be applying what I learned to helping UNB develop and implement an effective and sound records management process.
I continue to juggle part time studies (commuting at least one semester per year each week for classes) with my work at UNB, and am looking forward to eventually earning my MLIS degree and continuing to promote the importance of “all things library” to colleagues and friends alike!
The SIM Alumni Association (SIMAA) hosted their annual Welcome Reception & Outstanding Alumni Award Presentation on Monday, September 24th in Room 3089, Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building. Attendees mingled, snacked on delicious hors d’oeuvres, and listened to remarks from SIMAA Chair David McDonald (MLIS ’99), SIM Associate Professor Vivian Howard (MLIS ’95), and SIM Director Sandra Toze. Sandra distributed gifts to alumni celebrating anniversaries (from 5 to 38 years!) on behalf of Marianne Hagen (Alumni Officer, Faculty of Management).
The 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award was presented to Dr. Fiona Black. Dr. Black shared some special career memories and gave incoming students some tips for “a joyous life as an information professional”. Those tips are: 1. Aim for excellence, and help others to join you, 2. Be inclusive, walk the walk, and make the right things happen, and 3. turn a potential whine on its head, think constructively about a resolution – all important tips for everyone to keep in mind! Dr. Black also gave special thanks to her colleagues in SIM, Dr. Bertrum MacDonald (who kickstarted her life as an academic) and to her MLIS and MIM students throughout the years.
SIM is proud of the legacy of our programs, and the connection we continue to have with our alumni. This event is always a wonderful opportunity for SIM alumni, students, faculty and staff to catch up and network.
Cheers to all alumni and friends who joined us on September 24th – we hope to see you again soon!
(Perhaps during our 50th anniversary celebrations?!)
The School of Information Management is pleased to announce that Master of Library and Information Studies student, Rachel Fry, has been selected as the sixth recipient of the Dalhousie-Horrocks National Leadership Fund.
This Fund was established in 2007 to honour Dr. Norman Horrocks, OC, PhD, FCLIP (1927-2010) for his outstanding leadership in the field of librarianship in North America, Australia, and Europe. Over several decades Dr. Horrocks, former Director of the School of Information Management and Dean of the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie University, pursued a distinguished career of very active involvement in professional associations in the United Kingdom, Cyprus, Australia, the United States, and Canada. His many contributions, for which he received local, national and international recognition, have advanced the field and the careers of countless individuals. The fund supports a scholarship and an associated lecture series through an endowment donated by the many former students, colleagues, friends and admirers of Norman Horrocks.
Rachel Fry is a second year Master of Library and Information Studies student originally from Janetville, Ontario. Rachel grew up on her family’s cattle farm, and her interest in libraries was sparked at the age of fourteen when she began her first job at her local public library.
Rachel attended Trent University and graduated on the President’s Honour Roll as a joint major in Sociology and Gender and Women’s Studies. After graduating, she relocated to Halifax to pursue her Master of Arts in Women and Gender Studies at Saint Mary’s University. Her thesis, called “Craftivism: The role of feminism in craft activism,” focused on how themes of activism are represented in modern craft. While at SMU, she received a Social Science and Humanities Research Council Scholarship, a Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Fellowship, as well as a Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Award.
In 2014, Rachel began working for Halifax Public Libraries where she has filled a variety of roles. Currently, Rachel works as a Circulation Lead Hand at Halifax Central Library, and holds a position as a Library Assistant 3 at Alderney Gate Library from which she is currently on educational leave. She also acts as a Student Assistant for the School of Information Management.
Rachel has a passion for learning and a wide variety of interests including public and academic librarianship, special librarianship and records management. Outside of work and academics, Rachel has a passion for music, animals, and loves living close to the ocean.
Many of our MLIS students complete internships with Dalhousie Libraries during their studies. Internships are just one of the work-integrated learning opportunities available to students in our MLIS program.
Courtney Vienneau, Kristy Hancock, Emily Hines, Brian Jenkins, Scarlett Kelly, Laura Little, and Becky Shaw all completed internships at Dalhousie Libraries this year. Click on each name to read their profile, and learn more about why they came to the MLIS program, and what projects they worked on at their respective libraries. Their stories illustrate the breadth of experiences available in our program and the field.
Special thanks to Dalhousie Libraries for their continued support of our students!
Dr. Sandra Toze (SIM Director and Assistant Professor) was recently interviewed by Librarianship.ca about her career path, research and the ever-evolving nature of the information professions. A great read to kick off a new academic year!
I am originally from Ancaster, Ontario. I graduated from Queen’s University with a BAH in History and Politics. My first real job was in a special library in a brokerage firm. My love of this profession grew from there. I complete my MLIS at the University of Toronto and worked in the Financial Services industry as a Director of Information Services for many years. I joined the School of Information Management at Dalhousie in 2003 and completed by PhD while working as a Lecturer. I became Director of the school in 2015.
What are your research and teaching interests?
My entire career has involved examining the evolving relationship between information and information services, people, technology and work. I am motivated to understand the possibilities and risks inherent in the increased impact of technology, and the need for reflection on unintended consequences.
I have centred my research around three evolving and interconnected strands:
- the collaborative information and data processes of groups;
- the shift to digital governance; and
- user specific, social, and mobile information interactions.
These areas of research are interdisciplinary and integrate research from knowledge management, collaboration, organizational learning, sociology, information seeking, and computer supported co-operative work.
Similarly, I have focused my teaching in the areas of knowledge management, human information interaction, information and research services, collaboration, and management without borders.
What advice would you give to a new faculty or staff member?
This field is interdisciplinary by nature, and very much expanding and affected by technology. Find areas that connect with your interests and your past experiences. I also love that people in our field are so collaborative. There are so many opportunities to work with our associations and other disciplines.
Coolest thing in your office?
As Director I have a corner office, so can see across to our Arts Centre, as well as to the Student Union Building, and up the street to the iconic Henry Hicks building.
I also have a beautiful table cloth from Iran, a fan from Spain, and rocks from the beach near our farmhouse in Malagash Nova Scotia.
If you didn’t teach librarianship, what would you be doing?
Probably being a librarian! I love working with people and researching.
What changes have you seen in the teaching of librarianship since you started teaching?
Especially in terms of research/reference services, the impact of Google and internet has affected our roles.
I am excited by the expansion of what our academic and public libraries do. The need to design and create user centred information and data services has also expanded. These are now becoming core skills.
What do you think is the most important aspect of being an information professional today?
Beyond knowing the core aspects of our profession, adaptability is key. You can connect our skills across all industries. With the growing impact of AI, machine learning, and issues such as fake news, the importance of the values and ethics of our profession are increasingly important.
How do you stay current in your field?
I love to attend conferences, and a wide range of conferences from academic to professional. I read as much as I can, follow experts, and have alerts on topics of interest to me.
What emerging topics do you foresee in the future of LIS research?
In many ways I see us continuing to study what we always have, but in new contexts. Information and data are really the key elements of most organizations, and the consideration of this is increasingly important.
Dalhousie University’s School of Information Management (SIM) Alumni Association is pleased to recognize Dr. Fiona Black of Dalhousie University with the 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award. This annual award honours a member who has made an outstanding contribution to Library and Information Management.
Dr. Black graduated with her MLIS from Dalhousie in 1993. Subsequently, she completed her PhD at Loughborough University in the UK, graduating in 1999. After two years as an International Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida she returned to Dalhousie as a tenure stream faculty member in SIM. She was appointed Director of the School in 2003, a position she held until 2010. During her tenure as School Director, Dr. Black led the School through a period of growth and change. Most significantly, Dr. Black championed the development of a mid-career blended learning graduate degree, the Master of Information Management (MIM), which has been a significant factor in SIM’s increased national profile.
From 2008 to 2010, Dr. Black was also Associate Dean External Programs for the Faculty of Management, and in 2012 she became Associate Dean Research for the Faculty. In 2013, her leadership and administrative talents were recognized by the President and Provost, and she was appointed Associate Vice President, Academic, and became a vital member of Dalhousie University’s senior administrative team.
Dr Black’s research has consistently involved two distinct threads: the history of print culture, for which she was awarded several team and individual research awards by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; and, professional issues for librarians and other information professionals. With both of these threads, Dr Black speaks of her joy in working with, and learning from, many superb graduate research assistants and thesis students.
In addition to her demanding role at Dalhousie, Dr. Black has been an active contributor to professional associations, including service to the accreditation arm of ALA. Prior to her career as an academic, Dr. Black was a reference librarian at Regina Public Library, specializing in business and in Prairie History. She often credits this experience with developing her service-oriented approach to collaboration, her patience, and her sense of humour when dealing with challenging circumstances.
In the words of one of her supporters, “Fiona is a gifted instructor who is able to empower students to achieve high academic standards, while at the same time imbuing them with a strong appreciation of the importance of professional competencies for the variety of career paths that the information management field offers.”
Many of her nominators and supporters spoke of Dr. Black’s “generosity with time and advice, even when busy with her administrative duties for the university,” and remembered how she inspired them with her trademark statement, “information managers are going to take over the world.”
SIMAA invites you to join us in congratulating Fiona on her award at the SIMAA Welcome Reception on September 24th, 2018 at the Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building, Rm 3087/3089. An invitation with RSVP will follow.