Weyburn librarian takes in national library conference

Weyburn’s head librarian, Matthew Rankin, attended a variety of sessions and speakers at a national library conference held recently in Toronto, he told the Weyburn Rotary Club on Thursday.

Originally from Penetanguishene, Ont., Rankin was happy to have the opportunity to attend this conference, not only for professional development purposes, but also to network with other librarians and to get information on developments in library technology.

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“To me, technology is very big, so this was a golden opportunity for us at the library,” said Rankin.

Over a span of three days, he said the conference had between 45 and 60 sessions going on that he could pick and choose from to attend.

“The focus of the sessions I attended was to get as much information as I could from fellow librarians,” said Rankin. “Some sessions were more about brainstorming, such as how our library system could deal with problems that come up.”

He one issue that came up was a library that was getting a new facility built, but were given a zero-increase in funding for programs.

One program that intrigued him was presented by the London Public Library from London, Ont., where Rankin actually had his first job in a library. They have set up a musical instrument lending library, and are promoting the lending of instruments and promoting local musicians through their programs.

A feature of this program were concerts put on in a city park located near their library’s main branch, said Rankin.

Other sessions talked about the partnerships that libraries could make in their communities with businesses, organizations and schools.

“They highlighted the importance of partnerships and not just staying in your lane,” said Rankin, who added he also attended a session on Maker Space kits, which the Weyburn library and Southeast Regional Library use and promote in this region.

“They’re basically programs in a box, and we’ve started developing some Weyburn-specific kits,” he said.

Rankin attended a number of keynote speakers during the conference, where one of the topics he heard spoken about was the importance of collaboration.

“Seeing what problems other people have dealt with and what services they have was very valuable. No one operates in a vacuum,” said Rankin, commenting this conference was valuable to him for many of these reasons.

Asked who attended this national conference, Rankin said there were representatives of corporate libraries, law libraries, university libraries as well as from community public libraries like himself.

When he was asked how many people borrow books on-line as opposed to the physical paper copies, he said he doesn’t have the numbers for e-books, other than in a month-end report he gets from the regional library, but he did note that borrowing of physical books is on the increase.

“They’re not going away anytime soon,” added Rankin.