Membership Update

CAPAL Listserv Launched

The CAPAL steering committee has established a membership listserv for CAPAL members to share information, ask questions and help in the formation of CAPAL.

Website and Bilingualism

In the coming months, the CAPAL website will be transferred to a hosting service. A bilingual website is currently being designed to ensure that CAPAL speaks to all our members across Canada.

Summary of Inaugural Membership Meeting held January 31, 2013

Due to technical difficulties with the auditory equipment and the subway under the OISE building no recording of the meeting is available. Instead, a summary (see below) about the main topics and questions has been prepared.

CAPAL Membership Meeting

January 31, 2013, OISE Auditorium, 3 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

The meeting began with an Open Forum which was open to all. A welcome and an introduction were provided by members of the Steering Committee.  Those in attendance were informed that CAPAL is an organic evolving entity at the moment; it is responding to a perceived need and developed out of the “Academic Librarianship: A Crisis or an Opportunity? Symposium” held at the University of Toronto in November 2011; and that the membership will develop a constitution and by-laws.

Questions and concerns raised by attendees included:

  • CLA is reviewing its structure at the moment and trying to be more responsive. CLA has “networks” (replacing the “interest groups”) and was this framework considered as a forum to address the concerns of CAPAL?
  • What issues aren’t being addressed elsewhere? Concern was expressed that CAPAL has not articulated these.
  • It was asked whether CAUT is not doing what we need and are they not taking a leadership role? How are professional issues articulated as compared to labour issues?
  • It was acknowledged that CAUT is not easily infiltrated and that there exists the appeal of mentorship for newer librarians that CAPAL has articulated.
  • Is there not a danger in dividing our energies?
  • What about the CARL Librarians Research Institute? Is there a place for us there?

Members of the Steering Committee responded to these questions and concerns as follows:

  • There is a perceived need for scholarship and education issues as relates to academic librarians. There is no conference or forum for research and the rigor of real scholarship which CAPAL aspires to this. The mandate of CLA is too broad and institutional in focus.
  • With respect to the iSchools, there is an opportunity to influence and challenge the curricula.
  • While CAUT has filled a vacuum for activism relating to LAC, there is currently no effective forum to discuss and address other issues relating to academic librarianship, such as diversity. CAUT also has its limitations as all academic librarians are not members of CAUT. CAPAL will be open to all academic librarians, regardless of status or institutional affiliation.
  • CAPAL can play a role in the development of core principles and ethics for academic librarians in Canada.
  • The next steps are to incorporate as a non-profit, to develop a constitution, and set up a communication network so that members can contribute to the development of key processes, groups and documents.
  • The possibility of regional chapters has been raised.

The Open Forum was followed by the Membership Meeting which ran from 3:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. Issues raised during the Membership Meeting included:

  • The Steering Committee has been meeting regularly and will meet bi-weekly on Skype for the near future.
  • The Steering Committee is seeking members with skills in specific areas such as finance and IT.
  • The CAPAL website has been developed; Eventbrite is being used as the temporary platform for membership; and CAPAL is on Twitter and Facebook.
  • The membership is at 113 as of today. More representation from Eastern Canada is being sought.
  • There are sufficient funds to incorporate as a non-profit organization
  • Members were asked if they would like blogs/updates relating to issues affecting the academic librarian community. It was suggested that CAPAL articulate its vision in a positive way and leave labour issues to CAUT. With regards to the blog/updates, it was asked that CAPAL refrain from censorship and judgment.
  • It was requested that the CAPAL mission statement be positive and pro-active.
  • With respect to declared areas of interest, Scholarship and Education, Mentoring, and Professional Development are currently the most popular. It was suggested by a member of the Steering Committee that CAPAL needed to provide leadership in areas such as Diversity. The goal is to look for efficiencies in the declared areas of interest and collapse them into fewer categories. A number of people did not indicate areas of interest.  It was suggested that perhaps it was too early for people to declare, or alternatively that members were concerned about their individual time commitments.  The possibility of a poll of members to delve more deeply into areas of interest was raised.
  • With respect to scholarship, the development of a journal is a key goal. The possibility of CAPAL becoming a counterpart to ACRL was raised. Members indicated support for scholarship as an area of focus for CAPAL. Concern was expressed that library conferences tend to be professional and practical in focus, and a conference devoted to serious scholarship is desirable.
  • There was discussion about the use of the term “professional” in the name CAPAL. A member of the Steering Committee reported that investigation into the history of librarianship, associations in Canada, and the use of the term within collective agreement language, supported its inclusion in the name of the association. It was reaffirmed that CAPAL is interested in addressing professional issues as well as national issues.
  • Questions were raised about advocacy.  Is this where labour issues reside?  Members of the Steering Committee responded that labour issues fall within several interest areas.  It was also stressed that CAPAL would work collaboratively with other organizations like OCUFA and CAUT with respect to labour issues. CAUT and CACUL worked together on behalf of academic librarian issues in the past. CAPAL could serve as an effective voice in terms of support for difficulties going forward in light of recent events.
  • Bilingual website and communications are a priority and a member volunteered to assist with translation.

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