Librarians to invade Whistler 

By Joan Richoz

This is not the name of some "B" science fiction film.

It’s a fact. The 2002 British Columbia Library Association Annual Conference will be held in Whistler from May 9 th to 11th.

The Conference has come to Whistler twice before, in 1991 and 1996. Approximately 300 people will attend the conference, whose theme is Trek to Technology.

As BCLA President Carol Elder states: "Our world is changing at a rapid pace and libraries are as well."

Elder challenges librarians to debate whether they have a clear picture of where they want to go as they rush to embrace the opportunities that technology provides.

Are librarians seduced by the image of the "cybrarian" and losing track of the "traditional" values of librarianship?

This year's keynote speaker is Michael Gorman, Dean of Library Services, California State University, Fresno.

In "Our Enduring Values — Librarianship in the 21st Century," Gorman considers the issue of values in the contemporary library environment and the questions plaguing most library professionals today – how will libraries be affected by new and changing technology?

The plenary session will feature Stephen Abram, Vice President, IHS Micromedia and the President of the Ontario Library Association. Abram's analysis of generational change and the differences in behaviour between younger and older folks is fascinating and sure to inspire considerable discussion in the profession.

Attendees will be able to attend the Trade Show to meet and discuss issues with library suppliers, automation vendors, and publishers.

In addition to the conference sessions, there will be many social events with the highlight being an evening at the GLC (Garibaldi Lift Company) where conference attendees will let down their hair and dance the night away.

Government announces library grants

Not everything is being cut back these days.

On Apr. 30, the B.C. government announced $8.6 million in provincial funding for operating costs and additions to library collections. The funding is provided under the Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services Ministry’s annual grant program, and will aid 69 public library boards in the operation of 230 public library branches.

The grants were awarded on a per capita basis, and will be maintained at the same rate for the next three years. Overall funding has increased due to population increases.

The Whistler Public Library will receive a grant of $29,632 this year, which will go towards operating costs.

"We were happy to see that the grants were continued and for the next three years," said WPL head librarian Joan Richoz.

"We really lobbied hard for that. It would have been bad politics to cut that funding because we don’t really get all that much to begin with.

"We’d actually like to see it increased, but under the circumstances we were happy the amount wasn’t cut."

The grants ranged from $3,000 for the Midway Public Library Association and Pouce Couple Public Library, to $1,201,898 for the Fraser Valley Regional Library.

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