By Stella Shafer, MLIS
Ivy Henderickson, Photo
MLIS iSchoolers headed north over Veterans Day weekend last November to visit colleagues at SLAIS (the University of British Columbia School of Library, Archival and Information Studies SLAIS) http://www.slais.ubc.ca. The UW's Student Chapter of SALA (Student American Library Association) organized the trip on the
During lunch in their conference room, we met a number of other students. This year’s incoming class totaled a few under 40. The school runs on a two term academic year, and applicants not admitted in Fall can be placed on a wait list for January the following calendar year. On a tour of their temporary facility, we all noted one thing—their students have lockers! Many students come from western
After lunch, we were introduced to Edie Rasmussen, director of SLAIS for the past three and a half years. She outlined the program, which is both
Teacher librarians earn library endorsements only through education programs and do not have the opportunity, like we do, to add an endorsement to a teaching certificate through the MLIS program. Canadian public schools do not hire those having only MLIS degrees. While they do not train teacher librarians at SLAIS, they do offer at least twenty courses in youth services. These courses include specific classes in both children’s and youth services and both children’s and youth materials, as well as unique classes such as “Writing, Publishing and the Book Trade for Children,” and “Family Literacy and Early Years Intervention.”
Their main degree paths are: Master of Archival Studies, Master of Library and Information Studies, a joint MAS/MLIS program, and a multi-disciplinary Master of Arts Program in Children's Literature. These are two year programs, with the joint MAS/MLIS program being three and a half years. SLAIS is also in the process of developing a joint MACL/MLIS program which, if all goes well, should be offered within two years. The MACL program is composed of courses from five different programs. Another option is for students to declare a “First Nations Curriculum Concentration,” which is intended for those who would like to serve Native Canadian communities. Some classes are offered in distance mode, but there is no distance degree program. Students in the MAS, MLIS and the joint programs are able to participate in a co-op program (similar to our DFW program), but these co-op jobs run either four or eight months, do not earn credits and pay professional-level wages. One final difference between the two programs is that SLAIS regularly offers one-credit classes, some of which only last one weekend!
Our next stop was the
The building where the ASRS is located will eventually house a library with a capacity of 500,000 volumes in open stacks and will be the new home for SLAIS once completed. Later in the afternoon, Natalie and a few of her colleagues took us to the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library http://www.vpl.ca/. We took an hour-long tour of the building, conducted by Heather Scoular, manager of the Science and Business Division. It is a beautiful, seven-story facility in the center of downtown, which looks like the Roman Coliseum from the outside and has great interior views all around and a sustainable design rooftop garden. The building is partially wireless enabled, with plans to expand coverage. According to the VPL website, the library holds over 1.3 million items and had over 2.3 million visitors in 2005. One of the most surprising statistics Scoular provided was that 50% of the library’s users speak Chinese. Scoular was encouraging when it came to discussing a subject we are all interested in--jobs! She welcomed graduates of our program to apply at VPL, especially those who speak Chinese.
The visiting group included Linda Barton, Esther Benson, Ivy Hendrickson, Bethany Klassen, Rebecca Paul, Lisa Pirlot, Stella Shafer, Naomi Smith, and Jeff Winter.