Ain’t on the Globe and Mail Bestseller List @ BCLA

Thanks Heather De Forest and Janis McKenzie for convening this session. Thanks also to Heather for this writeup of this session that has become a BCLA conference favourite!

The Ainà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢”ž ¢t on the Globe and Mail Bestseller List session runs as a non-stop series of lightning-fast book (and other format) reviews, presented by a panel of volunteers. Sponsored by the Intellectual Freedom Committee, the sessionà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢”ž ¢s aim is to promote enthusiasm for diversity in library collections and to encourage one another to walk the talk in facilitating access to a wide range of intellectual and creative output.

This was the fourth consecutive edition of Ainà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢”ž ¢t on the G+M and new reviewers joined veterans on the panel. Presenters were: Randy Gatley, Shirin Eshghi, Chris Kevlahan, Faith Jones, Colleen Alstad, David Conn, Tara Stephens, Valerie Patrick, Wendy Jang, and co-convenors Janis Mckenzie and Heather De Forest. Collectively, we reviewed 44 items in just over an hour.

I always enjoy this session as a chance to meet up with colleagues from other kinds of libraries and gain exposure to items that would otherwise escape my notice. The kinds of materials reviewed are on controversial topics, are from small or independent publishers, or are otherwise obscure and underrepresented in the mainstream . Among the items this year are graphic novels; murder ballads and other recordings; analyses of class strife, the prison system and modern communities; DVDs about sustainability issues; and books by and about local characters.

Thereà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢”ž ¢s so much more! Please check out the list thatà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢”ž ¢s posted on the Intellectual Freedom Committeeà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢”ž ¢s portion of the BCLA website at A big thank you to Shirley Lew, who not only wrangled the list of items into web form but also masterfully presided over the session itself with the 90 second countdown clock.

Celebrating One Year of Open Medicine @ BCLA

Devon Greyson just posted a summary of this session at the BCLA conference that was cosponsored by the BCLA Intellectual Freedom Committee, BCLA Information Policy Committee, and the Health Library Association of BC.

She writes:

The presentation touched on the issues of editorial independence in medical journals that led up to the creation of Open Medicine as an editorially independent, à ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã…”goldà ¢Ã¢”š ¬  open access, general medical journal, built and published with open source software. Palepu and Giustini tag-teamed their way through a brief history of open access in Canada as well as the steps in establishing an OA journal. A unique feature of the presentation was a highlight on the value a librarian can add to an editorial board, enhancing the journalà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢”ž ¢s impact.

Kim Bolan at BCLA

The BCLA conference is over for another year. There were lots of fantastic sessions. Really. Over the next week or two we’ll be posting summaries of the sessions that the IFC sponsored or cosponsored.

Jon Scop has written the first in this series.

Vancouver Sun reporter Kim Bolan, as well as Perviz Madon, who was widowed in the Air India Flight 182 tragedy, addressed an audience of approximately forty people at the IFC-sponsored session à ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã…”Telling Their Storiesà ¢Ã¢”š ¬  on the final day of the BCLA Conference. Bolanà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢”ž ¢s passionate outline of her continuing effort to report on the attack and its aftermath examined some of the difficult issues arising where freedom of expression and violent fundamentalism collide.

Continue reading Kim Bolan at BCLA

BCLA conference–Intellectual Freedom Saturday


5 weeks until the BCLA conference! The IFC is organizing or co-sponsoring four really different sessions. From serious to funny, government censorship to a new model of scholarly publishing that supports academic freedom, to freedom of expression in Canada, this year’s conference is going to be especially rich in a variety of intellectual freedom issues.

Saturday 10:45am à ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ 12:00pm (page 27 in the program)

Little Sisterà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢”ž ¢s Bookstore: Fighting censorship in Canada for over 20 years

This session will discuss the battle between the Little Sisterà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢”ž ¢s bookstore and the Canadian Border Services Agency (formerly Canada Customs) to show why this conflict is important to understanding and sustaining core values in librarinship. Janine Fuller will explore the censorship, freedom of expression, and intellectual freedom issues that underlie the Little Sisterà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢”ž ¢s battle. Little Sisterà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢”ž ¢s bookstore primarily serves the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities and has battled with Canada Customs for 20 years over their illegal seizure of lawful materials.
Saturday 2:00pm à ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ 3:15pm

Telling Their Stories: a conversation with Kim Bolan on journalism and freedom of expression in Canada (page 31 of the program)

Vancouver Sun reporter, Kim Bolan as been honoured many times for the
quality of her writing, and for her courage and integrity in the interest of freedom of expression. In 2006, Bolan won the PEN Canada/Paul Kidd Courage Prize for her continuing work on the Air India bombing, and the subsequent search for truth and justice. She has also written on many other local issues, including critical investigative work about the many women missing from Vancouverà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢”ž ¢s Eastside. Bolan will talk about why she continues to do the work she does, sometimes in the face of difficult obstacles and even threats to her life. Librarians care deeply about freedom of expression, but we seldom experience the same kind of situations. The BCLA Intellectual Freedom Committee invites you to join them in welcoming Bolan to speak about her work and her thoughts on freedom of expression in Canada.

Saturday 3:45pm à ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ 5:00pm

Open Medicine: One year of independent, open access scholarly publishing (page 34 of the program)

Dr. Anita Palepu will present her experiences founding a new independent open access medical journal. Open Medicine was founded in the wake of a controversial instance of editorial interference and suspension of academic freedom that resulted in the firing of the Canadian Medical Association Journals editors, followed by the resignation of the remaining editors and board. She will also report on the lessons learned during the first year of operation of this journal. Sponsored by the BCLA Intellectual Freedom Committee, the BCLA Information Policy Committee, and the Health Libraries Association of BC.

Anita Palepu, MD MPH FRCPC Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Senior Scholar/Associate Professor of Medicine University of British Columbia
Saturday 3:45pm à ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ 5:00pm

Ainà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢”ž ¢t on the Globe and Mail Bestseller List (page 35 of the program)

Members of the BCLA Intellectual Freedom Committee and other librarians interested in building good collections present fun-filled, rapid-fire reviews of books, magazines, and DVDs. These are items from independent publishers or distributors that have not had large promotion budgets, nor have they made it onto a bestseller list or Oprah. The presenters will have 90 seconds to review each item. They will try to convince you that it is worth reading, viewing, and including in the diverse collection on your libraryà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢”ž ¢s shelves. Information about sourcing the materials will be available.

Here’s an annotated list of items presented from last year.

Convenors: Heather De Forest and Janis McKenzie

ain`t on the globe and mail bestseller list

I first got involved with the intellectual freedom committee (IFC) by presenting on the Ain`t on the G&M panel at the BCLA conference.

Here`s the rationale behind presenting lesser known materials, often from small independent publishers (from the IFC page):

For the past three years, members of the BCLA Intellectual Freedom Committee and other librarians committed to building diverse collections in public libraries gave an introduction to the value of seeking quirky, less-mainstream and less-hyped materials for patrons. In this session, books, DVDs and videos are introduced at breakneck speed! None of the materials will ever appear on a bestseller list or as an Oprah pick, but we believe the public library has a much more important function than just providing commercially-driven materials.

Here are the lists from 2007, 2006 and 2005–does your library have many of these books?

no-bake sale



At the BCLA conference this April we ran a no-bake sale with the Information Policy Committee to raise awareness and money for the Little Sister’s Defense Fund. We asked conference participants to make a donation for a brochure that explained the history of the Canadian Boarder Services Agency’s ongoing seizures of books bound for Vancouver’s famous queer book store. This has been going on for over 20 years.

Not only did we have a great time, dressing up in pink wigs and vintage aprons, but we raised $420 in just 2 hours.

We were also successful in passing a motion at the AGM for the BCLA Executive to send letters to the Minister of Justice and opposition party critics to affirm that people need access to legal resources to be able to challenge government policy. Letters will also be sent to the Minister of Public Safety and opposition party critics to request the Minister to instruct Canadian Boarder Services Agency to stop censoring.