CLA 2012 ViMLoC Activity Report

Maha and Heather presented a poster about our Network at the CLA 2012 in Ottawa on Friday June 1, 2012.  We had meaningful conversations with more than 27 people that stopped by our poster.  5 people signed up our attendance sheet and provided us their contact information so they could learn more about ViMLoC.  Not all those who stopped by our poster were librarians: they were IT support staff, directors, front-end staff and others working in libraries.  Invitation to join the listserv will be sent to all interested participants who gave us their contact information.

Left to right: May, Norda, Kam, Maha & Heather

We had the pleasure of meeting some of the founding members and hang out with them: Kam, Norda and May, thanks for making this a wonderful experience.  Your presence by the poster and your moral support is much appreciated.  A personal note of thanks to you guys.  Hope to see more of you all in the coming years.

At least four librarians (or poster visitors) grabbed a handful of our bookmarks to share with their colleagues who they thought might find this interesting and/or useful.  Maha had the opportunity chatted with one other librarian who is a copyright officer at Nova Scotia Community College after our poster session while waiting for my ride.  Since she was interested I have since followed up with her and this librarian is now a ViMLoC member.  One of the visitors, a librarian from Concordia University Library commented that our poster was visually beautiful.

Only two librarians who visited our poster wanted to know if such a Network was really needed in Canada.  Their question was as surprising to us as the Network presence was to them.  I mentioned to them that many of our visible minority librarians are part of different caucus groups of the ALA because they don’t feel a sense of belonging with the CLA.  We have had many librarians support ViMLoC at the beginning but couldn’t sign up as founding members because they were hesitant to renew their CLA membership.  The two librarians seemed surprised by this.  This tells us that other librarians are not familiar with some of the issues, barriers or challenges visible minority librarians might be facing, especially the newly arrived visible minorities who have to upgrade their education, learn more technological skills and communication styles and still have no assurance of a job.

So, we would think this is a much needed initiative for Canadian minority librarians – a place to belong, a forum to support all visible minority librarians, and a place for librarians interested in these issues in the library world.

Having said that, we would need to work on something to show we need this Network: why we need it and why now.  Please send us a write up on this as long or as short as you please and we will use this for our future presentations.  This information can be sent by email to either Maha (maha.kumaran@usask.ca) or Heather (heather.cai@mcgill.ca) or both.

Maha had the opportunity to attend the session on CLA Networks: How to start and manage them.  This was a great opportunity to learn how other networks started and their challenges along the way.  From the panel presentation it seemed like the three networks represented (Genealogy Services Network, Information Services for Business Network and Government Library & Information Management Professionals Network) did not start from the scratch as ViMLoC did, but existed elsewhere in different forms and have now aligned themselves with CLA as networks.

We would like to extend our thanks to Geraldine Hyland, Member Services Manager at CLA for all her help and support during the establishment of this Network and her help at CLA.  When Maha spent time with her at the CLA booth, she made it a point to introduce Maha as the ViMLoC moderator.  So Maha had the opportunity to speak to a few others at the CLA booth as well.

Sincerely,

Maha Kumaran & Heather Cai

(Moderators of ViMLoC )

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