It has been an exceptional year of transformation – with much more to come!
Following the departure of our University Librarian, two Associate University Librarians, 7 retirements, and in the midst of vigorous recruiting and numerous projects, everyone on the Library has been affected by – and facilitated – the many changes underway.
As the acting University Librarian team, we want to acknowledge and congratulate you all on the many successes you’ve achieved for the Library. Not only did you keep the Library moving – you moved the Library forward. We could not have accomplished so much without you!
Some of the Library's significant accomplishments over the last 18 months include:
Building our future
Phase one of the Library revitalization project is just about to break ground. This multi-million dollar project will modernize student and staff spaces at both main locations, with input from many staff working on the core and sub-teams for each location. Extensive collections work, such as weeding and shifting, and contributions from Library Technology and Facilities Services (LTF) have also supported this project to prepare and make room for the new spaces.
Recruitment, recruitment, recruitment
The last two years have seen recruitment happen at record-breaking levels within the Library. We often think of this process as mainly affecting the hiring managers, when we should also acknowledge the time and dedication of all the staff who volunteer to participate on hiring committees and then in the newly-revised onboarding processes and training. Vacancies have also meant new learning opportunities and skill development for many staff throughout the Library.
We achieved Silver certification! And we did it with intense hard work done by 48 staff volunteers representing every Library department. The process mapping training to support certification efforts has also had a big impact on the staff and departments who participated.
Celebrating our history
2017 is the University of Waterloo’s 60th anniversary, and the Library has been a critical piece of that history, and throughout this year’s celebrations. Special Collections & Archives has been working with departments across campus to rediscover their history, and created a searchable photo archive to help illustrate the journey to becoming Canada’s most innovative university. They also celebrated their own milestone, with the 50th anniversary of the Lady Aberdeen Collection, establishing Waterloo as a centre for women’s studies materials. Working with the Confederation Debates project, the Library co-hosted Conflicts and resolutions, a panel discussion on the events surrounding confederation in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, and now an eBook on UWSpace.
Preserving our history
This summer the Library uploaded it’s 500th article in UWSpace; long existing as a database for our digital theses and dissertations, it’s quickly becoming a popular repository for academic publications and research from across the university. The Waterloo digital library (WDL) is a new initiative – born from the 2015 multi-annual planning and priorities process (MAP3) cycle and about to launch publicly – making a wide variety of Waterloo’s archival material available to anyone online.
The number of Library-led events has exploded, and gone far beyond the typical workshops and annual Library Day. The Library Ambassadors have led dozens of unique activities to engage students, including showcasing one successful initiative during this year’s OHD Conference. The Library student engagement committee has been highlighting our diverse collections with monthly author’s birthday displays. Grass-roots efforts by staff saw the Library show it’s support for diversity and academic freedoms during the #WeAreAllUWaterloo rally and read-in, and by hosting Wikipedia Edit-a-thons that aimed to shine a light on women in STEM and the arts. Special Collections & Archives worked with faculties to engage students through transcribing collections, which led to a showcase of feminist-inspired art on display at the President’s Office. The diversity of our own talents are currently on display in a series of staff art exhibits this summer. Of course, we also showed our commitment to intellectual curiosity and critical thinking through our collaborative participation in GIS Day, the Long Night Against Procrastination and the incredibly popular monthly Open Access and author’s rights workshops.
A sustainable work environment
The Library takes social and environmental responsibility seriously, as evident in the work done by our GreenOffice Committee. This group has been championing university-wide initiatives, giving us the tips and tools to make individual changes, and achieved Green Office Silver certification for the Library. Learn more about their impact over at the GreenOffice blog.
Health and wellness
The Library’s Health, safety and wellness committee is always thinking of ways to support staff wellness, including acquiring a bicycle workstation and working with the renovation teams. Staff have also shown an obvious concern for the wellness of the students we serve. Partnerships with UW Mates for peer counseling and participating in mental health training demonstrate the deep commitment our staff have to user service. Over 20 staff are also competing with the Writing & Communications Centre in a Wellness walk challenge to get people moving.
Giving back to our community
Library staff continue to demonstrate their passion for giving back to our community through the many activities our dedicated United Way team organizes each year, including the annual silent auction, dress-down/dress-up days, last year's colour bombing event and the United Way Day of Caring, which saw a team of 10 people get their hands dirty to help grow fresh produce for local food banks.
These initiatives are the tip of the iceburg on top of the work you do each day, including serving the over 3 million people who came though our doors last year, answering over 25,000 research help questions and cataloguing the resources that were accessed 5 million times.
We’re on the brink of a new era as we welcome Beth Sandore Namachchivaya to the Library leadership on August 1. Heading into an exciting time of new possibilities, we appreciate all your efforts over the past 18 months that will ensure we enter this period of transition on a stable footing.
Thank you so much!
- Your Acting University Librarian team