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CLA Announces the Winner of the New CLA / Alan MacDonald Mentorship Award

(April 26, 2012, Ottawa) - The Canadian Library Association / Association canadienne des bibliothèques is pleased to announce that the first recipient of the new CLA / Alan MacDonald Mentorship Award is Kae Elgie, Manager of Information Services, Region of Waterloo Library.  This new award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to mentoring activities either within their workplace or in an association.  Alan was a natural mentor. Always positive, always receptive to new ideas, always ready to see potential, he inspired those around him to strive for and realize their dreams. He was also a fierce champion of Canadian enterprise.  As beneficiaries of Alan’s spirit, the founders of the Canadian Electronic Library are proud to sponsor this award.

Elgie has worked tirelessly to create co-op and contract positions for her mentees.  Many of these positions were financially supported through grants which Elgie wrote, administered and reported on, in addition to creating work plans, hiring, supervising and mentoring the students and graduates.  Much of the funding came from the Community Access Program (CAP) for public libraries, of which Elgie is a consistent advocate.  She continues to engage staff and the library committee to advocate for funding for the CAP program; she knows its significance in connecting Canadians, especially through their public library.  Kae has encouraged young CAP staff to capture statistics as well as wonderful anecdotal evidence for CAP reports of how computer access at public libraries has changed lives.  Mentored by Kae, some CAP staff have also advocated for CAP funding directly to local MPs, an opportunity that few young people rarely experience.

Elgie has furthered excellence in serving the needs of rural communities in Waterloo Region through the projects that her mentees have undertaken.  Hundreds of community members received computer training; staff learned tips on using new online research tools; an analysis of community demographics helped with understanding the changing Waterloo Region community; links were made with the small business community; and computer training has increased confidence and skills in many users, particularly seniors. 

In addition to hiring and mentoring at RWL, Elgie has shared her enthusiasm for librarianship in other ways.  She taught the Public Libraries course at Faculty of Information & Media Studies at University of Western Ontario, presented sessions at library conferences, and has also been a mentor of young librarians through library associations’ mentoring programs.

Elgie is a strong advocate for the profession of librarianship.  She sincerely enjoys working with and mentoring young people, particularly library school students and graduates, and gives them valuable work experience and support to further their careers.  She acts as references for them and keeps in touch with them.  She infuses them with an enthusiasm for librarianship and its many possibilities: Kae is a firm believer that public libraries make a difference.  She encourages and mentors library staff and students through her example and dedication to the profession. 

Elgie’s passionate commitment to mentoring has provided countless numbers of university students and recent MLIS graduates with valuable experience and support to further their careers.

The CLA / Alan MacDonald Mentorship Award will be presented at the CLA Closing Ceremonies, to be held Saturday, 2 June during the CLA 2012 National Conference and Trade Show at the Ottawa Convention Centre in Ottawa, Ontario.
The Canadian Library Association / Association canadienne des bibliothèques is Canada’s largest national and broad-based library association, representing the interests of public, academic, school and special libraries, professional librarians and library workers, and all those concerned about enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy.

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Media Contact: Vera Keown, Chair, CLA/Alan MacDonald Mentorship Award Jury




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