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Letters to the editor


Liked the article? See the movie!

Thanks to writer Diane Peters and University Affairs for the wonderful and thorough article on Anne (“Pioneering biologist Anne Innis Dagg gets her due,” July-August issue). I am the filmmaker who made the documentary about her that you mentioned in the article. If you’ll permit me to make a small plug, for people interested in seeing The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, it is available on iTunes in Canada.

Alison Reid
Ms. Reid is a Toronto-based director and president of Free Spirit Films production company.


The skills agenda

There is lots going on in this space right now (“Future Skills Centre looks at scaling up best practices for Canada’s workforce,” University Affairs online, July 8). Coordination between new and longstanding organizations and initiatives will be critical to ensure long-term benefits and impacts when the spotlight eventually dims and the large infusions of money sunset. Also, linking what Canada is doing to the global skills development agenda (e.g. the WACE Global Charter for Co-op and Work-Integrated Education) just makes good sense, so I hope that too will be in play.

Nancy Johnston
is currently president of the World Association for Cooperative and Work-Integrated Education (WACE).

More on university librarians

We would like to contribute important, additional information to your article entitled, “What exactly is a university librarian? Glad you asked” ( July-August issue). Both the article and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries’ recent statement regarding the role of the university librarian are welcomed discussions as they shed light on a subject unfamiliar to many outside of academic institutions.

We believe it is critical to consider the wider environment in which a university librarian functions. In November 2018, the Canadian Association of University Teachers adopted a policy statement, “Guidelines for the Appointment and Review of University Librarians and Other Library Administrators Outside the Bargaining Unit,” which is helpful in having a more complete understanding of the role of the university librarian, who does not act alone but is part of a group of librarians equally engaged in the development of the research community at the university. From the CAUT policy statement: “The university librarian functions as a member of, and also presides over, a group of academic staff with a unique set of concerns within the institutional community.”

We also believe it is imperative that the university librarian is formally trained as a librarian. CAUT’s view is that the qualifications of candidates being considered for university librarian positions “must include recognized credentials in library science, appropriate experience in librarianship and demonstrated competence in library administration.” And further: “Administrative experience alone, whether associated with a library, academic institution or any other employment, does not qualify a candidate for consideration or appointment to a university librarian position.”

Finally, the CAUT policy statement notes that, as with any senior administrator role, the method of selecting and appointing a university librarian should be transparent and the result of a broad consultative process with members of the institution.

Tim Ribaric and Brenda Austin-Smith
Mr. Ribaric is chair of CAUT’s librarians and archivists committee. Dr. Austin-Smith is president of CAUT.