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North Dakota-Manitoba Chapter of ACRL

2021 Symposium

May 17 & 18 - Online

"A New Decade: Challenges and Solutions"


Register Here!

Monday, May 17

12:50 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.      Welcome & Opening Remarks


1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m         Leading Remotely: Perspectives from a New Library Division Head

Afra Bolefski, Head, Social Sciences, University of Manitoba


After a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Manitoba (UM) continues to deliver courses primarily online and as a result, most of the libraries have remained closed with librarians working from home. Additionally, into the fall of 2020, the UM Libraries adopted a new organizational structure to align librarians and their liaison areas into larger subject area divisions, such as the Social Sciences, to increase the Libraries ability to support the UM’s strategic priorities. Two new division head positions were created to lead in this area, one of which I occupy. When initially taking on this leadership role, I naturally wondered how I would navigate this ‘new’ normal. One particular question that arose was how I might connect with my team, some of which were ‘embedded’ librarians who previously worked in their own unit libraries, to create meaningful engagement in a newly formed department while also doing so remotely? This 25-minute presentation will discuss some of the challenges and opportunities faced when leading a new team of librarians from afar.

1:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.        Staff Training in Times of Change

Caralie Heinrichs, Access Services Librarian, University of Manitoba

In the midst of a library-wide reorganization and the covid-19 pandemic, an opportunity emerged to address training for staff in the newly formed User Services & Fulfillment Department at the University of Manitoba Libraries. This lightning talk presents the early steps taken to increase support staff's engagement with training and lay the foundations for a future training program. Beyond ensuring that staff are equipped with the knowledge and skills to effectively perform their work, training is an opportunity to invest in people, build departmental cohesion, and foster a culture of learning needed to adapt to the continually changing library environment and evolving user needs.

1:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.       Break

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.       Round Table Discussion (Topics TBD)


3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.       Indigenous Cultural Competency Training

Lyle Ford, Humanities Librarian, University of Manitoba

Camille Callison, Indigenous Strategies Librarian, University of Manitoba


Over the last decade, we have seen substantive movement relating to Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) people, knowledge and information held in cultural memory institutions such as libraries, archives and museums. As a partial response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls to Action, the University of Manitoba Libraries developed an Indigenous Cultural Competency Training -- a 13-week blended learning program. Now, we have completed five in-person cohorts, and we’re halfway through one last, virtual cohort. All library and archives staff will have done the training as of June 2021. These sessions exposed library faculty and staff to Indigenous worldviews and Canadian history from an Indigenous perspective while forming relationships with the Indigenous community at the U of M. Without that community, none of this would have been possible.


Tuesday, May 18

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.       Evaluating the Success of a Librarian-taught Science Information Skills Course

Grace Romund, Science Librarian, University of Manitoba 

Vickie Albrecht, Science Librarian, University of Manitoba

Justin Fuhr, Humanities Librarian, University of Manitoba

Marie Speare, Science Librarian, University of Manitoba


The University of Manitoba science librarians developed a three-credit, second-year course designed to introduce students to science information literacy that was delivered for the first time in the fall of 2020. The assignments were constructed to give students experience with researching and writing.   

The instructors developed a research project aimed at assessing the course according to its specific objectives. The research study design was to survey students at the beginning, end, and three months after the course. The same questions were asked in each phase to determine how students' information literacy skills changed over time in relation to their progress in the course. Study results demonstrated that students consistently felt that the course improved their science information literacy skills, particularly in the areas of writing, evaluating and citing information sources.

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.       Early Career Researcher Day: Collaboration Across the University and Beyond

Jaime Orr, Research Data Management Librarian, University of Winnipeg

Brianne Selman, Scholarly Communications & Copyright Librarian, University of Winnipeg

Lara Arnason, Research Officer, University of Winnipeg

The speakers will present a case study of a collaborative inter-university event initiated by our small university and intended to develop research and collaboration with other universities and funding bodies in our province. The event focused on developing competence among early career researchers in Manitoba. It was spearheaded by the University of Winnipeg and demonstrates how research administrators at a small university can work across institutional units to create new resources and opportunities for collaboration – both for early career researchers and their support staff. We will report on the successes and challenges of both the inaugural in-person event in 2020 and our 2021 virtual event that adapted to the unique challenges of the global pandemic.  

The speakers will also highlight the format of the event as an essential part of its success. The combination of information sessions, panels and practical workshops addressed an overwhelming need among early career researchers for support in developing key skillsets. Attendees had the opportunity to engage directly with regional experts and to identify resources in local institutions to support future funding applications. The interactive forum of the workshops provided opportunities for collaborative work that could be expanded to support the development of Industry-Academic partnerships. We will discuss the implementation of this approach and its potential wider application for networking, for regional knowledge-sharing, and for nurturing future collaboration.

2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.       Break

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.       Round Table Discussion (Topics TBD)

3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.       Adapting to Async: Developing Flexible New Models for Library Instruction

Beth Twomey, Head, Research and Instruction, North Dakota State University

Maddison Melquist, Humanities Librarian, North Dakota State University

During the final months of the 2019-2020 and throughout the 2020-2021 academic years, NDSU employed Hy-Flex instruction for safety during the pandemic. This presentation focuses on adapting library instruction for the First Year Writing Program to accommodate both distanced synchronous and asynchronous session needs. We will discuss scaffolding content, alternative presentation formats, means of providing students feedback and opportunities for review, and implications going forward, particularly programmatic assessment of asynchronous instruction. 


4:45 p.m. – 4:50 p.m.       Closing Remarks

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