Leader in Residence


UBC Okanagan Library has hosted a one-day conference, Leader in Residence, since 2013. Each year a library leader is invited to speak on topics of interest to a wide variety of librarians. These leaders have come from academic libraries, public libraries and governmental libraries. Recently, the keynote speeches have been recorded and are available through the UBC Open Library portal by searching “Librarian in Residence”. Attendees come from across the Okanagan to spend the day learning and sharing their experiences.

Please stay tuned for this year’s conference details and speaker lineup.

Previous Leader in Residence Speakers:

  • 2018: Gillian Byrne, Manager, Toronto Reference Library
  • 2017: Terri Tomchyshyn, Department of National Defence, Government of Canada
  • 2016: Pilar Martinez, Chief Executive Officer, Edmonton Public Library
  • 2015: Margaret Haines, University Librarian, Carleton University
  • 2014: Ernie Ingles, former Director, School of Library and Information Studies, and Chief Librarian and Vice-Provost, University of Alberta

Highlights from 2018


Gillian Byrne, Manager, Toronto Reference Library

This is a talk: a talk about workplace communication

Abstract: Almost universally, studies have shown that those in leadership positions feel as though they spend an inordinate amount of time communicating down, while those in operational positions consistently report there isn’t sufficient communication. Assuming no bad actors (that leaders are trying as hard as they say they are and that the rest of the organization is receptive to communication), why the dichotomy? Focusing on libraries and using my experiences as a framing device, I’ll examine some of the structural issues that I believe reinforce the gaps and shortfalls in organizational communication, including the limitations of existing channels and formats and the lack of shared understanding and vocabularies. I’ll then suggest some strategies for improving information flow, such as being explicit about intent and the importance of embedding appropriate context into communication. And for my final trick, I’ll do all this while tackling the role organizational politics plays in communication with the laser focus and ferocity of an all-star NFL defensive end.

Lighting Talks:

The Ups and Downs of Unmediated Consultation Booking

Amy McLay Paterson, E-Resources and Assessment Librarian, Thompson Rivers University

In July 2017, the TRU Library switched from a very complicated, centralized form for research consultations to a direct booking system, where students choose their librarian, day, and time, and receive instant confirmation. Consultation numbers immediately shot up, with some librarians booking triple the consultations over last year. Most agree the new system has been a success, but it has also raised questions about librarian roles at TRU & balancing liaison responsibilities with other duties.

UBC Innovation Library: Bringing the Campus Downtown

Rob Makinson, Librarian, Communications and Engagement, UBC Okanagan Library & Omar Shariff, UBC iSchool student, UBC Okanagan Library

UBC’s Innovation Library aims to build sustainable partnerships with public libraries in the Okanagan and bring UBC’s research and collections to communities that need them. This session will highlight some of the lessons learned as we work to bring an academic library and its resources to a new public.

What’s in a Library Catalogue?

Ruth Rochlin, Manager Library Services, Interior Health

How did Library Services become involved with clinical document management? The surprising story of the library catalogue that could.

Starting Big Conversations on Twitter

Allison Jones, Graduate Project Assistant, Okanagan Region Historical Digitization Project

This spring, the Indigitization team took to Twitter to join the conversation about “decolonization” initiatives at organizations like Library and Archives Canada, the Association of Canadian Archivists, and the Society of American Archivists. We found a community of information professionals eager to amplify our work and learn from our expertise. In this talk, I’ll share some reflections and tips for other information organizations and professionals looking to try a new approach to Twitter.

The 1st Page: A Different Kind of Book Club

Mark Reinelt, System Circulation Coordinator, Okanagan Regional Library

How facilitating a book club for adults with diversabilities has taught me what people would save in a house fire, different names for flatulence and eventually you wish Brian Robeson would have died in his plane crash.

Afternoon Sessions:

Session 1
Gillian Byrne, Manager, Toronto Reference Library

Title: Navigating the political landscape of libraries

Description: As public institutions, libraries are inherently political. Yet organizational politics remains a murky area for many, ill-defined and well despised. These breakout groups will provide a safe environment to have frank discussions about what organizational politics are, how they relate to institutional power structures, and strategies for effective navigation. Chatham House rules will apply.

Session 2
Chris Stephenson, Kelowna Branch Head Librarian, ORL

Description: Chris Stephenson will share case studies of the trials and triumphs of library outreach and the move to performance measures for programming & services. Learn about using outcome-based evaluation as a powerful leadership tool to help tailor your programs, report the difference you make, and improve library service. We’ll explore how to ensure that true costs are reflected in your library’s assessment and employ effective metrics in future planning. Learn to measure real outcomes, not just the number of participants, and enhance your leadership skill set by practicing ‘evidence-based librarianship.’

Bio: Prior to accepting the Branch Manager position at Kelowna’s Central library, Chris Stephenson was the former CEO and Head Librarian at Bancroft Public Library in Ontario. Trained in law and legislative librarianship with research experience at the provincial and federal level, Chris has also cultivated his teaching and mentorship skills at home and abroad. Chris is interested in programming, community development and social justice issues. He is a past recipient of the Edythe Webster Scholarship in Library & Information Studies, and the Alice Bacon Continuing Education Scholarship.