Vol. 59, No. 1 February 2013

Table of Contents

Theme: Digital Rights Management

Guest Editor: Mark Swartz
Liaison: Gerry Burger-Martindale

Guest Editorial

Shifting Tides: How the Re-emergence of DRM Impacts Libraries
by Mark Swartz

Theme Features

Digital Locks and Canadian Research Library Collections: Implications for Scholarship, Accessibility, and Preservation
by CARL Digital Locks Working Group: Chabriol Colebatch, Josh Dickison, Mark Swartz, Diego Argáez, Mathieu Jacques, and Kathleen Shearer

Pick Your Digital Lock Battle: Is It the Law or Licenses We Should Be Worried About?
by Chabriol Colebatch

Canada’s E-book Withdrawal: Digital Rights Management and the Canadian Electronic Library
by Ann Ludbrook

Public Libraries and E-books: After a Tumultuous Honeymoon, Seeking a Stable Marriage
by Devin Crawley

Copyright and Digital Rights Management: Dealing with Artificial Access Barriers for Students with Print Disabilities
by Diane Michaud

Feature Articles

Into Every Professional Life, a Little Moon Will Shine: Dealing with Sub-problem Patrons
by Guy Robertson

Diversity in Libraries: The Case for the Visible Minority Librarians of Canada (ViMLoC) Network
by Norda Majekodunmi

New Media and New Collaborations: Librarians and Academics Together
by Amanda Peters


President’s Message
New Beginnings
by Pilar Martinez

From the Director’s Chair
Short-term pain. Long-term gain.
by Kelly Moore

Editor’s Column
And the Award goes to...
by Judy Green

Community-Led Stories
Introducing Community-Led Work
by Amanda Bird & Anne Olsen

Book Reviews


Index to Advertisers
Charitable Donors 2012
CLA Executive Council & Staff Contacts

Front Cover
This month’s cover image: Freedom to Read Week 2013 Poster from the Book and Periodical Council
This poster was designed by: David Wyman of Wyman Design
Cover Image: Jaume Plensa,
Nomade, 2007. Promised gift of John and Mary Pappajohn to the Des Moines Art Centre.
Photo © Rich Sanders 2012.
Cover Design: Beverly Bard


Kelly Moore


Judy Green

Copy Editor

Rachel Hertz Cobb

Copy Editor - Book Reviews

Jennifer Jarvis

Layout & Design/Review Coordinator

Beverly A. Bard

Member Communications Standing Committee 2013

Elaine M. De Bonis, Convenor; Gerry Burger-Martindale, Todd Gnissios, Patrick R. Labelle

Published since 1956 by the Canadian Library Association 6 times per year as a membership service to CLA members in good standing.
Volume 1, No. 1 to the present issue is available on microfilm from CLA.

Indexed in the Canadian Index and Library Literature and available online in the Canadian Business & Current Affairs Database.

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Index to Advertisers

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Guest Editorial

by Mark Swartz

Shifting Tides: How the Re-emergence of DRM Impacts Libraries

DRM is back.
SwartzIn a January 2012 post on the technology blog The Verge, Nilay Patel describes a shift in the way content is consumed that has resulted in the re-emergence and reinvigoration of Digital Rights Management (DRM), defined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation as a system that attempts “to control what you can and can’t do with the media and hardware you’ve purchased.”1 Patel’s article, “DRM Comes Back with a Vengeance as Digital Media Moves to the Cloud,” is telling because it reflects a trend that is not commonly acknowledged by either consumers or people working in libraries.

Patel paints a picture of a drastically different landscape than that of the late 1990s. In the 90s, it seemed as if DRM were declining, punctuated by the fact that, in 1997, music sold through Apple’s iTunes became completely DRM-free. As Patel writes, “the success of DRM-free music sales would seemingly prove that a thriving digital economy does not require technological limitations on consumer behavior.”2 But this was not to be, partially due to the fact that there has been a significant shift in the way people consume digital content. The days when users purchase individual digital files and download them the way they buy physical items in a store are quickly disappearing. Digital formats like e-books, music, and video are now frequently stored in the “cloud” and purchased on a monthly basis. In addition, services like Netflix, Rdio, and Spotify are replacing the traditional video and audio libraries that we once owned. According to Patel, DRM has also changed, becoming more flexible, easy to use, and invisible to consumers.

Cloud-based distribution models are nothing new for libraries. The difference in the library world is that many of our cloud-based services, like our research databases, are not protected by DRM, making us living proof that these services can exist without widespread technological limitations. However, as libraries move into acquiring and circulating more materials like e-books and streaming video, we will be—and are—faced with a situation where we can provide access only to content that is protected by these types of controls.

The danger for libraries is that DRM represents a significant loss of control over our materials. If publishers control how our users access materials, they may wind up leaving out large sections of our demographic, standing in the way of the central library mission of providing broad and unrestricted access to information. Another danger is that libraries can be cut out of the picture altogether. One example of this is Apple’s iBookstore, which only allows for the “personal, noncommercial use” of books purchased through their store.3 If big technology companies like Apple and Amazon come to dominate the publishing industry, it is hard to imagine a world in which they allow libraries unrestricted access to their collections.

This does not mean that all is lost, as reflected in the articles chosen for this issue. These five articles examine many of the questions that DRM poses for libraries and suggest a number of strategies and initiatives that libraries may be able to use to either manage or eliminate these problems. DRM may present obstacles, but libraries are staffed by some of the most resourceful and intelligent individuals in the world. It is up to us to find solutions to work with these types of materials and to advocate for content free of DRM restrictions.

Mark Swartz ( is the Copyright Specialist for Queen’s University. Mark works with librarians, staff, faculty, and instructors to develop web-based information and educational programs on copyright.


  1. DRM,” Electronic Frontier Foundation, accessed December 17, 2012,
  2. Nilay Patel, “DRM Comes Back with a Vengeance as Digital Media Moves to the Cloud,” The Verge (blog), January 24, 2012,
  3. “iTunes Store Terms and Conditions,” Apple, Inc., last modified December 3, 2012,

President’s Message

by Pilar Martinez

New Beginnings

MartinezAs I embark on this daunting yet marvelous opportunity as President of CLA in 2013, I want to express my utmost gratitude to Karen Adams, Past President, who assumed the CLA President role for nineteen months – going above and beyond to develop the renewed CLA and continue efforts to strengthen our national association. Karen’s personal effort to raise funds to replace CLA’s aging IT infrastructure to support improved communications is very much appreciated. Karen led the transition to the network structure, the transfer from the print to online Feliciter, the implementation of a reduced yet very effective Executive Council, and the initiation of the “National Statistical and Values Profile of Canadian Libraries” project – all of which have resulted in significant association cost savings and stronger value-added service. Truly, Karen has made a remarkable difference during her tenure, and we owe her considerable appreciation.

Also, thanks to outgoing Councillor-at-Large John Tooth who served for one year during the transition of CLA Executive Council. John’s commitment to universal access and fair copyright legislation has been invaluable in supporting CLA advocacy efforts.

What has your Executive Council been up to?
October was a month of many teleconferences and phone calls for your Executive Council. We had extensive discussions about the new institutional membership fee structure, interspersed with telephone conversations with directors at various libraries across Canada to ascertain why they have not committed to the new fee structure. Our phone calls revealed two themes: members were surprised to learn of the new fee structure, and the increase was perceived as too much, too quickly. After much deliberation, Executive Council decided to: delay fully implementing the banded institutional membership fee structure; thank the institutional members who can commit to the new fee structure and ask them to do so; and institute a temporary minimum fee of $400 for 2013 for institutions whose budget situation does not allow them to renew at one of the higher levels. In early 2013, Executive Council will undertake extensive consultation with members to draft revisions to the institutional member fee structure.

In late November, the Finance Standing Committee met to prepare the 2013 budget. Mary-Jo Romaniuk, Karen Adams, Mike Ridley, Kelly Moore and I spent the day reviewing and debating options to create a balanced budget, while continuing to ensure CLA moves forward and has capacity to provide meaningful services to CLA members. Many thanks to the Mary-Jo, Karen, Kelly and Mike!

Former CLA President Alvin Schrader and Michael Brundin just completed a first draft of their “National Statistical and Values Profile of Canadian Libraries” which is now available on the CLA website. This is an excellent example of the kind of research CLA expects to undertake on a more routine basis. I hope you will make use of the valuable information provided in this study. Additionally, CLA will be working on packaging this information in an appealing and user-friendly way.

The Conference Review Task Force has been established to investigate and make recommendations regarding the CLA National Conference and Trade Show to ensure CLA is meeting members’ needs and interests. As Chair, I will have the privilege to work with Melody Burton, Christina Hwang, Mary-Jo Romaniuk, Pam Ryan, Cabot Yu and Kelly Moore as we review and clarify the purpose of the CLA conference and determine its resource needs, taking into account trends and practices in conference planning.

When I began this journey, I stated that: I would be proud to contribute to the next rendition of the Canadian Library Association and am eager to facilitate increased member involvement and ownership in the newly envisioned CLA. Margaret Wheatley’s phrase, “People support that which they create”, certainly resonates with me and is particularly applicable in re-building a successful national library association. It is critical that members are involved in decision-making and in creating the priorities for CLA, and that CLA represent its members. At a time of significant challenges and great opportunities for libraries, the need for an association which advocates on behalf of libraries and the difference they make in our communities is essential. CLA is this association and I am committed to making CLA our association and one that is a strong advocate for libraries across Canada.

And my efforts in 2013, working with amazing council colleagues, Jennifer Evans, Karen Hildebrandt, Marie DeYoung, Mary-Jo Romaniuk and Jane Schmidt along with our very capable CLA staff, will be to increase opportunities for member engagement and continue strengthening our advocacy efforts. I am eager to hear from CLA members about what you think is important, so please contact me at

Director’s Chair

by Kelly Moore

Short-term pain. Long-term gain.

MooreOver the past several years, CLA has been consciously making significant changes: to our professional and governance structures, to our budget structure, and to our overall mission. These changes can be considered as investments in the long-term stability and viability of our Association. And this year we will start to realize the result of these investments.

Last year, Executive Council took the decision to commission much-needed research on the state of libraries in Canada. No such comprehensive study has been done in a decade. This investment has resulted in the release of theNational Statistical and Values Profile of Canadian Libraries. The profile, prepared by Dr Alvin Schrader and Michael Brundin, provides both statistical data on libraries’ collections, usage and activities, and a compilation of statements and testimonials on libraries and their impact on society. This information is being made freely available on the CLA website for the whole community to access and use. The research was essential to help CLA fulfill its mission as the national voice for Canada’s library communities, and will be used to support a wide variety of our advocacy initiatives.

Over the term of her presidency, Karen Adams actively solicited donations and contributions towards an investment in CLA’s information technology infrastructure. Executive Council also proposed a levy, approved by members at the 2012 AGM, to be directed to this project. Our membership database and website, which include services such as our online shop and event registration systems, was in desperate need of an upgrade. Work is well underway on our systems renewal. The first stage was implemented with the new online elections system used by members last autumn. The next phase will be the launch of the 2013 conference site and registration system; the full database, online bookstore and website will be ready this spring. This investment will provide the ability for easier membership registration and renewal; for assigned volunteers from Networks and Committees to access parts of the site to update content; for improved navigation of the bookstore and event registration; and for better tools to assist members to engage with each other and undertake projects and activities.

Changes to our professional structure have provided new opportunities for investments in services to members. We’re offering a variety of webinars for professional development. Networks and Committees are engaged in projects such as the development and publication of new national standards for school libraries, through the Voices for School Libraries Network and the School Library Issues Advisory Committee; research into accreditation for library technicians through the Library Technicians and Assistants Network; preparation of a model copyright policy by the Copyright Advisory Committee; and organization of an information management learning fair by the Government Library and Information Management Professionals Network. Look for details on these and other activities in the CLA Digest, on our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, and our LinkedIn profile.

While the process of investment can be challenging, especially when it is done with a long-term view, it is exciting when the dividends begin to show. 2013 will be a year when we see the results of some significant investments for CLA, and we’ll be looking to build on that momentum. Keep watching for developments!

Charitable Donors 2012

Thank You to CLA’s Charitable Donors of 2012!

Thomas Alburger
Margaret Andrews
Lynn Barber
Elizabeth A. Barlow
Anne Cameron
Mary Cameron
Myra Clowes
Barbara Clubb
Barbara Cook
Yvonne Earle
Kathleen (Kae) Elgie
William A. Elgie
Hazel Fry
Mary Ghikas
Evelyn Giangregorio
Peter Glenister
Heather Graham
Ken Haycock
Diane Henderson
Katharine Heney
Ernie Ingles
Punch Jackson
Hermina Joldersma
Carole Joling
Lillian Kirby
Rebecca Knapp
Apollonia Lang Steele
Margaret Law
Helen Lee
Patrick Leech
Martin Levene
Eleanor MacLean
Jill Marks
Marilyn McCulloch
Lisa Miettinen
Marjorie Mitchell
Ingrid Moisil
Veronika Reiser
Pat Riva
Elizabeth Rodger
Frances Rose
Elizabeth Ross
Katherine Seredynska
Erik Spicer
Alison Stirling
Leslie Straus
Beverly Sweezie
University of Alberta
Beverly Whitelaw
Ian Wilson
Ting Yau
Cabot Yu
Gwen Zilm

University of Toronto Press

Editor’s Column

by Judy Green

And the Award goes to..

GreenAward nominations and ceremonies abound this time of year. Whether you are a fan of the Oscars, the Pulitzer or the Nobel Peace Prize it has become part of the human experience to single out that which is extraordinary and honour excellence and outstanding achievement.

CLA is no different. Annually the Canadian Library Association promotes its call for nominations, inviting the library community to engage in a very similar activity. CLA appeals to its members to identify those individuals or organizations which have excelled or impacted, and whose contribution to the library community must be recognized.

Behind the Scenes
CLA’s awards are supported by the generosity of both sponsors and volunteers. Sponsors provide the financial capacity for the award prizes, including conference registrations, travel, hotel, per diem or gifts. CLA members volunteer their time to adjudicate on the various award juries.

The Process

The call for nominations is the initial step to ensure that a worthy recipient is selected for an award. Nominations are sent to the CLA office where they are compiled and forwarded to the appropriate jury. Each jury reviews the submissions, deliberates the merits of each submission by teleconference, and arrives at a consensus to choose the winner in each award category. Winners are then notified and press releases are written and issued. If conference registration, travel and hotel are included as part of the prize, arrangements are made and sponsors are prepared for the award presentation.

CLA Awards
There are nine CLA awards available for nominations, with all but one having a deadline of 28 February. The awards reflect the core principles of the association and recognize the importance of leadership, mentorship, research, innovation and outstanding achievement.

But nothing happens if members don’t take the time to nominate their colleagues.
Please consider a colleague whose contribution to the library community is exemplary and needs to be shared.

Are there “unsung heroes and heroines” CLA must know about?

The guidelines and eligibility for each award is outlined on the CLA website and the call for nominations may accessed here: Scholarships_Grants&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=13483

Meet Rachel Hertz Cobb, Our New Copy Editor!

Hello Feliciter readers! I’m extremely proud to be the magazine’s new copy editor. I bring about a dozen years’ experience spotting typos, tinkering with punctuation, and assuring conformity with style guides of all kinds, as well as writing and editing everything from advertising copy to grammar tutorials to academic manuscripts. My background is in English Literature, in which I hold a BA from Columbia University and an MA and PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, in addition to my MLIS from the University of Alberta. My studies were driven by a fondness for the written word that seeps into everything I do, so I’m happy to be applying my experience and, yes, my truly geeky affinity for all things grammar- and text-related to the articles that grace Feliciter’s pages.

Currently, I work as Information Literacy Librarian at Yellowhead Tribal College, a small and close-knit First Nations college in Edmonton. There, I’m developing a Moodle-based IL module and a slate of classroom workshops to help incorporate IL into the college curriculum. Now that it’s time to put theory into practice, I’m finding that my greatest teachers are the librarians doing this work and making it freely available as guides, tutorials, videos, and one-sheets on the web. Because I have already benefitted so much from you, it makes me even happier to help your articles in this magazine put on their best face for the world.

Every word of the features and columns that appear in this issue has crossed my screen at least twice, as will every article to appear in the next two years. Such exciting work being done! I hope you all enjoy reading this issue as much as I have. When it comes to matters relating to grammar and style, I welcome your comments at

San Jose State
Click to view full

Community-Led Stories

by Amanda Bird & Anne Olsen

Introducing Community-Led Work

Bird and OlsenWelcome to the first Community-Led Stories column! The Canadian Library Association’s Community-Led Library Service Network is pleased to announce a six-column series devoted to sharing community-led library stories. The column will highlight the interactions and experiences that librarians have while engaged in community-led work. With perspectives from the Edmonton Public Library, Hamilton Public Library, and Vancouver Public Library systems, the Community-Led Stories column will provide a framework for discussing tips on and insights into how to do community-led work, and address its accompanying challenges. We hope you find this new column series informative and enjoyable. And now, without further ado, we are happy to present our first column: Introducing Community-Led Work!

Working Together Project
Much of today’s community-led work in libraries has been informed by the Working Together Project. This national demonstration project, funded by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, began in 2004 and included the Vancouver Public Library, Regina Public Library, Toronto Public Library, and Halifax Public Libraries.

The Project had two main objectives. The first was to use community development approaches and relationship-building in socially excluded communities so that socially excluded people, rather than librarians and library staff, could define their own needs for library service. Community engagement included going to the places where community members gathered, meeting people where they were to develop relationships and trust and to collaborate on library programs and services. The second objective was to identify systemic barriers to library use that kept those who are socially excluded from accessing library services, and to examine library policies and procedures through a community-led lens to remove barriers to service.

The Working Together Project concluded in 2008. Have a look at the toolkit that was developed during the project.

Continuing to deliver collaborative services beyond our walls is a key component in reducing barriers to service and remaining relevant to our communities. Understanding community needs and collaborating to develop programs and services ensures that libraries continue to be relevant, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of all community members.

Community-Led at Edmonton Public Library
With seventeen community librarians and a commitment to support community-led work at all staffing levels, the Edmonton Public Library (EPL) has deeply rooted itself in this service philosophy. Being fully engaged in community-led work is a core value of EPL. Strengthening neighbourhoods and communities by creating connections and understanding needs is one of the library’s strategic goals, as outlined in its 2011-2013 business plan. By going beyond traditional boundaries and fostering collaborative relationships, EPL has had many successes in building and delivering relevant, responsive, and effective library services.

In July 2011, EPL hired the first of three outreach workers to connect with people who may not have access to existing social services, but who use the library because it is a welcoming and safe place. This population, the target of the library’s outreach project, is regarded as a user group with unique needs rather than as a problem to be solved. Clients served by the library’s outreach workers have developed strong relationships with library staff and have received assistance and support in enhancing the quality of their lives, including help in finding housing and assistance with education upgrading.

Other areas of successful community-led library service include the creation of a membership card for Edmontonians who don’t have an address ID, offering library programs outside of our branches, and initiating the development of literacy van programs to connect with even more citizens.

Community-Led at Vancouver Public Library
Integrating community-led work and engaging with socially excluded communities has been an ongoing value and a strategic priority at the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) since the conclusion of the Working Together Project. Community librarians continue to focus their work in socially excluded communities and develop collaborative programs and services with youth and adults. This includes community-led early literacy programs, our First Nations Storyteller-in-Residence program, and a number of teen-led programs such as art projects at the library and computer training for Elders at the Aboriginal Friendship Centre. We’ve also had great success with community-led shopping trips, in which community members accompany a librarian to select new materials for our collections; the shopping excursions have included teens and members of the LGBTQ community.

Our Community-Led Libraries committee at VPL, made up of a broad range of staff members who work in all areas of the library, provides leadership, advocacy, and support to all, sharing leading practices, success stories, and training opportunities across the organization to develop a strong understanding of community-led work.

Join the CLA Community-Led Service Network
Community-led work can manifest in many ways, and we hope that the work coming out of Edmonton and Vancouver inspires you to think about what your library system can do to engage your communities. We encourage you to keep the conversation going by joining the CLA’s Community-Led Library Service Network. For details, please visit us here: Stay tuned for our next column, out in April!

Amanda Bird ( is the Associate Manager of the Mill Woods branch of Edmonton Public Library. Over the last four years, Amanda has worked closely with socially vulnerable populations to develop responsive and relevant library services for diverse communities throughout Edmonton. She is passionate about social justice, community-led library services, and discussing how public libraries enhance our lives.

Anne Olsen ( is Manager of Policy & Planning at the Vancouver Public Library. Over the past five years she has worked with VPL Community Librarians, supporting and guiding their work, and chaired the Community-Led Libraries Committee. Anne thoroughly enjoys any opportunity to talk about libraries, the future of libraries, and the ways libraries and communities connect.

Theme Feature

by CARL Digital Locks Working Group

Digital Locks and Canadian Research Library Collections: Implications for Scholarship, Accessibility, and Preservation

CARL Digital Locks Working Group: Chabriol Colebatch, Josh Dickison, Mark Swartz, Diego Argáez, Mathieu Jacques, and Kathleen Shearer

One controversy that swirled around the passage of the Copyright Modernization Act last year relates to Section 41 (“Technological Protection Measures and Rights Management Information”), which makes it illegal to circumvent some types of digital locks, even in those cases where this copying would be legal under another section in the Act.1

In order to address the impact that this may have on libraries, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries assembled an Ad Hoc Working Group in February 2012 to explore the impact of digital locks on the everyday work of Canadian research library staff.

While the full report is available on the CARL website (, this article provides a glimpse into both the work and the findings of our group.

What are digital locks and why are they of concern for libraries?
Publishers use a variety of tools to combat digital works’ remarkable ease of copying. These tools include “digital encryption and other ‘technical protection measures’ designed to control access and use of digital content.”2 These types of measures, such as the Content Scrambling System on DVDs and the encryption built into formats such as e-books and online videos, are often referred to as digital locks. This term is interchangeable with technological protection measure (TPM), which is used in Canadian copyright legislation.

Digital locks are an integral part of Digital Rights Management (DRM), a broader term that the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology defines as “a system of information technology components and services, along with the corresponding law, policies and business models, which strive to distribute and control intellectual property and its rights.”3 Digital locks are just one part of DRM, which can also include various automation and surveillance techniques for identifying copyright holders and enforcing license terms.

Libraries have been concerned about digital locks for years. Digital locks and DRM allow publishers to gain greater control over the use of the content “purchased” by libraries. This makes digital locks a potentially critical issue for academic libraries and their mission of providing access to information products in support of research, learning, and teaching.

What has changed in the Copyright Act?
The Copyright Act was recently amended to create new legal protections for digital locks, which it defines as any effective technology, device, or component that

  1. controls access to a work (an “access control”); or
  2. prevents a user from exercising the exclusive rights of a copyright owner or the new remuneration right (i.e., technologies that essentially control the copying of a work— a “copy control”).

The Act effectively prohibits the circumvention of access controls, but does allow for the circumvention of copy controls. Circumvention is defined fairly broadly, encompassing decrypting, descrambling, avoiding, bypassing, removing, deactivating, or impairing a digital lock. In addition, the Act prohibits selling or manufacturing software or services that can be used to circumvent a lock. This means that, even if you could legally break a lock that restricts copying, you would be stuck because the software required to do this would be illegal. In addition, any exceptions to this prohibition are narrow, meaning that many of the copyright exceptions in the Act (such as fair dealing) will not apply to digitally locked material.

The experience of library staff with digital locks
Through a series of informal conversations with library staff at several university campuses in Canada, the working group set out to get a better general understanding of the actual interactions that library staff have with digital locks.

Given that a small number of staff members were approached, definitive conclusions should not be drawn from their comments. However, this anecdotal information does provide us with a better general understanding of digital locks in the day-to-day work of the academic library.

There is uncertainty among library staff members about what constitutes a digital lock.

While some librarians and other library staff had heard the term “digital locks,” many were uncertain of the difference between digital locks and DRM or between access controls and copy controls—a distinction made in the Copyright Act. In addition, many were unsure as to whether or not they had encountered digital locks in their work.

Digital locks do not currently have a major impact on the work of librarians and library staff in terms of providing access to and preserving content.

Once digital locks were defined and examples were given, most staff reported that digital locks do not have a major impact on their work. They indicated that these locks were generally encountered on e-books and DVDs. Locked PDF journal articles were also encountered occasionally. Common limits found include

Many librarians would prefer to look for other options rather than break a digital lock.

In almost all cases, circumvention of digital locks is avoided. Staff members reported taking steps such as locating an alternative source or requesting an unlocked version from the copyright holder, a colleague at another institution, or the author.

Some library staff did report receiving requests to break digital locks. For example, one accessibility services staff member had been asked to break locks on textbooks, PDFs, and DVDs in order to print or share digital copies with students with disabilities, which would be legal under the new legislation. Others reported requests for circumventing region coding on DVDs in order to make backup copies or to enable an instructor to play clips in class. (Region coding restricts the area of the world in which a DVD can be played.) One librarian also described being asked to override the copy protection on YouTube videos to enable the user to download and use videos in presentation slides without an Internet connection.

Digital lock restrictions can be a factor in licensing decisions.

One library staff member noted that digital locks influenced licensing decisions and that, in the case of e-books, the library was more likely to purchase a book on a platform with fewer limitations, even if it was more expensive. It was also noted that some vendors had removed digital locks due to customer dissatisfaction.

This brief overview seems to indicate that digital locks are more of an inconvenience than an obstacle for the work of academic library staff. However, given that the digital content industry is evolving rapidly, it is likely that digital locks will become more prevalent in the future. In addition, some types of content (such as e-books) are almost always locked down. The working group thus offers the following recommendations for Canadian academic libraries:

  1. Improve the understanding of digital locks in the research library community.

Discussions with library staff indicated that digital locks as well as changes in the Copyright Act are not well understood by many in the academic library community. Improving this understanding would be of great benefit for research libraries. With deeper understanding, research libraries themselves could offer a valuable service on their campuses by providing information to the broader academic community about their rights and legal responsibilities.

  1. When possible, avoid licensing or purchasing content containing digital locks that restrict usage.

Given the fact that some licensed content is only available with digital locks, libraries should aim to negotiate terms that explicitly allow the unlocking of works for non-infringing purposes.

It is important to engage proactively with content providers in order to successfully negotiate licenses that do not restrict use by either libraries or end users. This process of negotiation allows users to take full advantage of their user rights under the Copyright Act, while ensuring that more restrictive licenses do not become a de facto standard in libraries.

  1. Identify and share methods for working with materials that are protected with digital locks.

During our survey, library staff identified a number of methods that they are using to legally circumvent digital locks. These methods included contacting authors to get a pre-print copy of an article, asking publishers for an alternative copy without a digital lock, and negotiating with publishers to remove digital locks from licensed content.

There are instances of copy-making whose status as circumvention is in question, however, including recording the screen of a digitally protected video. This kind of distinction, across formats, warrants further investigation.

  1. Document concerns and complaints about locks.

Finally, we recommend that libraries document and share any problems they encounter with digital locks in order to build a body of evidence regarding any negative impact of the new digital locks provisions in the Copyright Act. These experiences may be used to advocate for further exceptions when parliament examines copyright again in five years.

CARL assembled an Ad Hoc Working Group in February 2012 to explore the impact of digital locks in the everyday work of Canadian research library staff. This report of the group’s findings and recommendations is intended to serve as a starting point for libraries as they begin to think about digital locks in a changing copyright environment.


  1. See the Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42) as amended by the Copyright Modernization Act (Statutes of Canada, Chapter 20, June 29, 2012, Bill C-11).
  2. Neil Netanel, Copyright’s Paradox: Property in Expression/Freedom of Expression (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 66.
  3. Carrie Russell, Complete Copyright: An Everyday Guide for Librarians (Chicago: American Library Association, 2004).

Theme Feature

by Chabriol Colebatch

Pick Your Digital Lock Battle: Is It the Law or Licenses We Should Be Worried About?

ColebatchMany librarians will be familiar with the concerns that have been raised about e-books and technological protection measures (which, for the sake of simplicity, will here be called “digital locks”). Cautionary tales abound about content being shackled to particular devices or students being unable to print chapters from e-books borrowed from their university libraries. To make matters worse, breaking these locks is now, in most cases, considered copyright infringement, thanks to the coming into force of the Copyright Modernization Act on November 7, 2012.

However, while the digital lock provisions in the Copyright Modernization Act received much attention,1 it is important not to overlook the fact that licenses may override the provisions of the Copyright Act. Although the Act now largely prohibits the breaking of a digital lock, a well-negotiated license could nonetheless prohibit restrictive digital locks or permit circumvention in certain circumstances.

This article provides a brief overview of some of the practical and contractual ambiguities around e-books and digital locks and suggests ways that licensing arrangements could be managed to minimize the detrimental effects of digital locks. In the same way that customer dissatisfaction and market forces prompted the music industry to abandon digital locks in 2008,2 pressure from librarians, through licensing negotiations, could help to drive the publishing industry to change its approach to e-books and digital locks, freeing up content for patrons to read, analyze, and share.

Digital locks in public library e-books vs. academic library e-books
Most CLA members will be familiar with e-book arrangements in the public library system. For the most part, e-books are made available through OverDrive and come heavily loaded with digital locks. Often, these e-books cannot be copied, printed, or loaned, and even reading aloud is prohibited.3 Furthermore, the e-books cannot be read on all devices.4

For academic or scholarly users, these types of digital locks can be problematic, as the ability to reuse material is often key. They may want to share chapters with students, provide copies to colleagues for research purposes, or extract excerpts for criticism or review. For this reason, and because electronic licensing is well advanced in research and academic libraries, this article focuses on academic e-book arrangements, but public libraries experience many of the same issues with locks and licensing.

What kinds of digital locks can you expect to find in an academic e-book?
The first thing you notice when browsing academic e-books is the range of limits you encounter. E-book digital locks vary from platform to platform, publisher to publisher, and even title to title. There is no consistent or predictable approach to setting restrictions. Download and copy limits, which generally present the greatest obstacles to research and teaching, range from strict and seemingly arbitrary limits to no limits whatsoever. Examples include a download/print cap of 20 percent per title, a download/print cap of one chapter or 5 percent per title (whichever is greater), a download cap of ten pages (yet a print limit of eighty pages per request), and a download cap of a hundred pages or a seven-day download of the entire title. In some cases, the limits are more of an inconvenience than a lock, as they only apply to each print or download request.

What patrons may find most confusing is that the type of digital locks they encounter will depend on whether a title is accessed through the publisher directly or through a third-party aggregator. Generally, it appears that third-party aggregators impose greater limits than the publishers themselves. A limited number of publishers, most famously Springer, have made their titles available free of Digital Rights Management (DRM), with no print or download restrictions, yet when these titles are accessed on other platforms, DRM is attached.

What do academic e-book licenses have to say about digital locks?
Given how extensively digital locks can interfere with a user’s experience, you would expect the accompanying vendor license to address them in some way. However, a number of licenses were reviewed as part of this study and most failed to clarify their digital lock arrangements.

Some of the licenses reviewed were completely silent on the issue of digital locks. Others included generalized references to providing content with digital locks without specifying what those locks were. For example, one popular e-book platform license specified that all titles must be made available with DRM technology, though it did not specify what the DRM technology would be, leaving users to discover the digital locks by chance, subject to the whim of the publisher or aggregator. Some licenses are more precise: one license reviewed expressly stipulated that the DRM structure must prohibit users from printing and copying more than 20 percent of each e-book. The license for one popular e-book aggregation platform indicates that users may download, copy, and print titles, subject to individual publishers’ restrictions, but provided no further details about what those restrictions might be. Despite not giving licensees or users advance notification of locks, the aggregator reserved the right to automatically suspend users’ access if they download or print a portion of a title in excess of the publishers’ restrictions.

Additionally, it seemed in some cases that the licenses did not always reflect the real print or download limits. For example, one license was silent on digital locks and expressly permitted copying of portions of works, but when an attempt was made to access an e-book supposedly covered by this license, the online terms and the technical functionality were much more prescribed.

The most favourable license reviewed was, not surprisingly, for Springer. This license follows the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) model license,5 which requires that if any DRM technology is used to control access or usage of the licensed materials, the vendor must provide the licensee with details and technical specifications for the DRM technology used, and in no way may the technology limit the usage rights under the license or applicable copyright law.

However, the license does not expressly give users the right to circumvent digital locks for non-infringing uses, such as fair dealing, which could be critical if, despite the vendor’s promises, digital locks are applied in a way that limits usage rights. Having such an express right would enable users to pursue their own workarounds, rather than have to resolve digital lock issues with the vendor.

What are the take-away lessons?
All of this suggests that while legislative provisions are important, the real battleground in the future may be licensing. Licensing terms can and do affect a patron’s experience with an e-book, and if digital locks are not adequately considered, licensing requirements may frustrate educational and research activities.

Although libraries may feel they have little bargaining power when it comes to digital locks, it is important that they make their best effort to ensure that licenses preserve user rights and do not shackle content with excessive DRM.

Here, then, are some potential take-away lessons for future licensing negotiations:

The task will not be easy. Many librarians have been pushing for these types of licensing arrangement for years, often without success. However, as futile as it may seem, the task is all the more critical now that digital locks have been given statutory protection. In this age, libraries need to remain vigilant to ensure that licenses preserve libraries’ and patrons’ hard-won user rights.

Chabriol Colebatch ( is the Copyright Coordinator/Legal Advisor for Brock University, where she provides copyright advice and education and tries to understand the confusing and sometimes dull technicalities of digital locks.


  1. See, for example, Library of Parliament, “Legislative Summary of Bill C-11: An Act to Amend the Copyright Act,” Publication No. 41-1-C11-E, Ottawa, Canada, 2012, 23-24, last modified April 20, 2012, accessed January 4, 2013,
  2. See, for example, Catherine Holahan, “Sony BMG Plans to Drop DRM,” BloombergBusinessweek, January 4, 2008, accessed January 4, 2013,
  3. These restrictions are common to any e-book made available through OverDrive in the Adobe Digital Editions format. E-books made available in other formats are subject to different DRM.
  4. Chad Skelton, “Kindle Public Library E-Books: When Are They Coming to Canada, UK?” The Vancouver Sun’s Curious Dad Blog, October 6, 2011, accessed January 4, 2013,
  5. The Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) model licenses are available at

Notice of Annual General Meeting

The 68th Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques will be held Friday, May 31, 2013, commencing at 4:30 p.m. local time, at the Winnipeg Convention Centre, 375 York Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba.


  • Approval of the minutes of the 67th Annual General Meeting
  • Receipt of the Audited Financial Statements for 2012
  • Appointment of Auditors for 2013
  • Amendments to the Bylaws
  • And any other business as may properly come before the meeting.

Those wishing to vote at the Annual General Meeting must be members in good standing as of May 30, 2013.

Members who have special accessibility needs (for example, mobility, hearing or sight impairments) are asked to contact the CLA office at their earliest convenience so that any possible arrangements can be made to ensure their complete participation in the Annual General Meeting. Members who are unable to attend may ask another member to act as their proxy. Members wishing to assign proxy must contact the CLA office.

Kelly Moore
Executive Director & Secretary
Ottawa, Ontario

Theme Feature

by Ann Ludbrook

Canada’s E-book Withdrawal: Digital Rights Management and the Canadian Electronic Library

LudbrookPenguin made news when it stopped selling frontlist e-books completely to public libraries in February 2012.1 At the time, the indication was that the publisher was concerned that the e-book platform it had been using—OverDrive—was allowing download functionality of which it did not approve. The Penguin case highlights one of the major concerns that libraries have when working with materials protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM): that DRM may lead to significant access and rights issues for libraries, and, in the worst-case scenario, a complete loss of content without warning.

Some academic libraries across Canada faced this worst-case scenario in early 2012, when Canadian e-book content was withdrawn in response to publishers’ concerns over DRM. On January 9, participating Canadian academic libraries were sent a notice from the Canadian Electronic Library (CEL) informing them that a request had come from a publisher that titles from the Canadian Publishers Collection were to be withdrawn from the CEL subscription collection: the University of Toronto Press (UTP), effective January 4, was immediately withdrawing most UTP titles bearing a copyright date later than 2008 from the subscription collection. The reason given was explicit. The withdrawal was related to the new full-text download feature that CEL’s e-book delivery partner ebrary had introduced near the end of 2011. As CEL’s Bob Gibson explained in the email, “They [UTP] are legitimately concerned that because an unlimited number of students can download a given title to personal devices, their print sales may suffer.” The new download feature was available to multiple users concurrently, and allowed for the full text in Adobe Digital Editions format to be downloaded to personal computing devices for fourteen days, at which point they would expire. Prior to the introduction of this feature, the platform had no download capability. Gibson’s e-mail was accompanied by a list of 574 recently published (post-2008) UTP titles that were being pulled from the subscription service.

The suddenness of the withdrawal shocked the subscribing libraries. By the time the libraries received notice of the withdrawal, the titles had already been made unavailable. Libraries that were participating in the CEL subscription package—about forty Canadian university libraries—had to scramble to communicate to their communities that these titles were no longer accessible, and deal with cataloguing issues at extremely short notice. If the UTP titles were being used for teaching purposes, the libraries also had to deal quickly with the needs of faculty and students, as the withdrawal occurred at the beginning of term. CEL promised that if there were more withdrawals subscribers would get more notice, and apologized for the after-the-fact notification process. In subsequent months, three other large university presses in Canada also chose to withdraw their subscription content, but agreed to a date that gave subscribers more time to prepare for the withdrawal. On March 20, the University of British Columbia Press, McGill-Queen’s University Press, and Wilfrid Laurier University Press withdrew a second set of subscription titles—321 in all—from CEL.

To purchase or subscribe?
The Canadian Electronic Library has two e-book licensing models available to libraries. One is perpetual access, meaning that the e-book is purchased and is in the permanent collection. The other is subscription-based, meaning the library only “rents” access to the collection. For example, in 2008, Gibson Library Connections (CEL’s publisher) signed a contract with the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) for perpetual access to 8,131 Canadian books from 47 Canadian publishers. At the time, this agreement was the first of its kind for e-books in Canada. This perpetual collection is licensed to sixty-seven universities across Canada, and has an annual maintenance fee. However, thirteen thousand of the fifteen thousand titles that CEL currently licenses from sixty-five Canadian publishers are subscription titles.

Only subscription titles in CEL were affected by the withdrawal. If a library had purchased a perpetual license for one of the subscription titles, it was not removed from its collection. All subscription titles, including those that were withdrawn, remained available for purchase through CEL; however, few universities apparently chose to purchase perpetual access to withdrawn titles.2 Subscription access to e-book collections often appeal to academic libraries because it is a cost-effective way to gain access to more titles, versus more costly perpetual purchases. However, with a subscription license, content can often be withdrawn without notice.

Impact on academic libraries
When specific e-books are pulled, certain library workflows are affected. For example, cataloguing demands can mean that records remain outdated for a period of time. Collection decisions may need to be made depending on the use of and need for the title. If a chapter from an e-book is being used for teaching purposes, a mid-term removal by a vendor can result in both unexpected and upsetting access problems for instructors and students. It can sometimes be difficult for the library to even know how e-book resources are being utilized for teaching in the wider university community until there is a complaint received about loss of access. This can result in academic libraries having to put extra processes in place to make sure that e-books being used for teaching purposes are tracked in some way.

For example, at Ryerson University Library, we use the Ares e-reserve system to deliver links to our electronic resources to support teaching. When a request is made to link to an e-book, we have added extra steps to make sure that the e-book is usable for teaching purposes. Often e-books come with single-user access, meaning that only one person can use the resource at a time. A resource licensed in this way does not support teaching well, so we upgrade the license to multiple-user access if possible. As well, we mark catalogue records with information that the material is being used in course reserves, so that if we have an e-book withdrawal we can immediately communicate the issue to the instructor.

Academic libraries generally prefer e-books that they can make available to more than one user at a time to better support their users’ needs. The new ebrary download functionality supports this kind of multiple-user access. As CEL’s Gary Gibson noted, in an email from early 2012, the download function that allowed multiple users to access content concurrently was something that libraries had desired: “This is a feature that has been much requested by our library customers, and we’re pleased to be able to provide it.” As only a licensor of the ebrary platform, CEL had no control over systematic DRM changes and could not modify or customize the DRM to suit each Canadian publisher that it represented. While overly restrictive DRMs, such as view-only display, can affect the ability of even short excerpts of an e-book to be used under fair dealing for education—a new right under Canadian copyright law—it is the right of the publisher to control the terms under which its material is made available to vendors under a subscription license, unless a contract has specified otherwise.

New models ahead
In a December 2012 conversation, Lynn Fisher, the vice president of Scholarly Publishing at UTP, maintained that the titles that were withdrawn were “never intended to be made available to multiple users” for full-text download and concurrent use. She felt that the download functionality could have affected print course-adoption sales and individual print sales. As a nonprofit press, where print sales of most titles are measured in the hundreds rather than the thousands, Fisher emphasized that UTP has a responsibility to support its authors and the enterprise of academic publishing in general. She stressed that UTP’s business model is committed to single-user access for academic libraries for certain select and recently published titles, and titles that are released for multiple-user access are carefully selected with the same criteria used for all their vendors.

Long term there is hope that future contracts in Canada will include perpetual access to Canadian material so that in the future content is protected against a withdrawal scenario. UTP and McGill-Queen’s University Press e-book titles can also now be found in the new JSTOR e-book collection. This platform advertises itself as having two DRM options.3 One is a single-user access model, with thirty downloads allowed per year and the ability to purchase more downloads. The other is a multiple-user access model allowing concurrent use by an unlimited number of users and unlimited DRM-free downloads.

The JSTOR e-book DRM options seem to follow a growing trend of scholarly e-book vendors making more of their content available for multiple-user access, and/or allowing some form of full-text downloading as well as offering the ability to purchase perpetual access rights. This new trend better suits the dual purpose of academic libraries: to support teaching, where multiple-user access is essential, as well as research.

Ann Ludbrook ( is the Copyright Coordinator/Librarian at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario. In this position, she provides copyright training to faculty, staff, and students at the university, and develops copyright training tools. She is also involved in a project to streamline the processes for permissions and course readings at Ryerson, and works closely with e-reserves. Her professional background is in educational publishing, working in the field of copyright and permissions for over 15 years. Having worked for both U.S. and Canadian publishers, she is familiar with both U.S. and Canadian copyright legislation. She has an M.A. from York University and an MLIS from Western University (UWO).


  1. Calvin Reid, “Penguin Severs Ties with OverDrive,” Publishers Weekly, February 9, 2012, accessed January 11, 2013,
  2. Bob Gibson, e-mail message to author, December 14, 2012.
  3. Information about JSTOR’s licensing options is available at

Unofficial Wisdom
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Theme Feature

by Devin Crawley

Public Libraries and E-books: After a Tumultuous Honeymoon, Seeking a Stable Marriage

CrawleyAs public libraries see a continued increase in e-book borrowing, a made-in-Canada project aims to tackle two of the medium’s biggest challenges, one technical, the other political. These two challenges—achieving greater integration of electronic titles and improving relationships with anxious publishers—are essential for moving the frontier of digital media into the mainstream of library services.

The Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) expects to launch a pilot e-book platform in early 2013 in partnership with Canadian publishers, which it hopes will form a new paradigm for digital lending. The joint committee behind the project, involving CULC and the English-language publisher consortium eBOUND Canada, has the twin goals of seamless catalogue integration and library-publisher cohesion, notes Jennifer Stirling, a member of CULC’s project team and a senior manager at Ottawa Public Library. The project team issued a Request for Information for a Canadian e-book lending system in June. A Request for Proposal for detailed technical specifications on the distribution platform followed, and applications were expected to be compiled by the end of 2012.

The project will result in a year-long pilot of a new e-book management system involving six major public libraries, including Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver, and the circulation of at least ten thousand electronic titles. Specific publisher participants were not known at the time of writing, but reports note that there has been interest from both existing large vendors and new entrants to library lending. In addition to being the largest library-led venture of its kind in the area of e-books, the project is also notable for what you won’t see. Instead of forcing users to a separate website for e-book discovery, e-book-related searching, holds, and checkouts will all take place within a library’s main catalogue, and the e-book infrastructure will be entirely behind the scenes. One of the initiative’s main goals is to have “no interface,” says Stirling, so that users see a blending of physical and digital titles in one collection.

Accomplishing the second goal will require careful diplomacy with publishers to convince them that e-book lending is a win-win for both lenders and sellers, not just an erosion of a still-nascent but essential revenue stream for many publishers. CULC’s talks with the Association of Canadian Publishers, representing Canadian-owned companies, and the Canadian Publishers Council, which includes the big-six multi-nationals, have been ongoing since 2010, with the goal of hammering out a range of mutually agreeable licensing terms. CULC’s executive director, Jefferson Gilbert, notes that progress has been slow, mainly because of mutual misunderstandings about one another’s operations, given that most publisher-library relations have tended to be governed by wholesalers in the middle. “It was and is an exercise in education and trust,” he says.

After several years marked by territorial maneuvers by the biggest firms—notably HarperCollins’ e-book lending cap, a striking price increase for Random House e-books, and, until recently, Penguin’s broad-based withdrawal from e-book lending altogether—Stirling acknowledges that CULC’s progress with the larger publishers has been slow going. Still, diplomatic efforts continue with an emphasis on the carrot rather than the stick, such as the promise of a prominent “Buy now!” button in the catalogue records of electronic titles. “We’re making progress, but it’s really delicate,” she says. “I think the large publishers just don’t know what to do.”

The joint Canadian project appears the furthest along in a group of similar efforts to match library advocacy with action in the effort to push digital lending firmly into the mainstream. The largest is the 192-library-strong ReadersFirst initiative, which began as a statement calling on publishers to offer flexible licensing and availability by the New York Public Library last summer. The initiative’s goals are essentially the same as the CULC-eBOUND project, but on a North American scale. The bravest is the do-it-yourself approach by Colorado’s Douglas County Libraries (DCL), which acquired an Adobe content management server for handling its own distribution of digital-rights-managed titles in deals negotiated directly with publishers. (So far, DCL has attracted a dozen mainly regional players.)

This flurry of manifesto-writing and requirements-gathering represents, on the one hand, a necessary clarification by libraries of what their needs are in the e-book ecosystem. On the other hand, this expression of libraries’ independent spirit could be seen as a rebuff to the industry’s dominant e-book vendor, OverDrive, whose practices have essentially dictated the terms of the library e-book boom so far. (Other vendors such as EBSCO, Freading, and Baker & Taylor have rival e-book platforms, but so far without OverDrive’s dominant market share.) The privately held company has both thrived with rapid growth and been hard-pressed to keep up with the demands placed on it by libraries and end users alike.

As a member of the Digital Services team at Ottawa Public Library, I’ve seen firsthand both happy customers and those frustrated by the multi-step process involved in first-time checkouts of e-books from OverDrive. To be fair, most of the challenges library patrons have faced result from Adobe’s Digital Rights Management (DRM) system, not from OverDrive; these challenges include the requirements for downloading Adobe’s e-book software in the case of most non-tablet e-readers, and for obtaining an additional Adobe account in addition to one’s library account for verification of one’s identity in the checkout process. For some, the e-book discovery process is invariably daunting, partly attributable to the unusual situation of having a fifty-plus demographic—the most ardent readers but generally not the most experienced computer users—being on the forefront of a technological trend.1

For its part, OverDrive has responded to pressures to make e-book checkouts easier with an improved help system, an integrated app for Apple and Android devices, a simplified download process, and, more recently, a browser-based reading option that dispenses with software altogether. It also responded to calls for greater openness from libraries with the development of an application-programmer interface (API) to allow libraries to integrate OverDrive titles directly into their catalogue. The move has been controversial, however, in that it followed BiblioCommons’s own announcement earlier in the summer that it planned to offer full integration of OverDrive titles in BiblioCommons catalogues, through an API developed without OverDrive’s authorization, and which the company later quashed. While noting that CULC’s direct negotiations with publishers are “not an anti-OverDrive move,” Stirling adds that OverDrive’s insistence on channeling hold notifications and the checkout process through its own site rather than a centralized catalogue “fall very short” of the CULC project’s more integrative vision. “There’s a lot of strings attached.”

For library staff on the front lines, the subtleties of user experience have been largely overshadowed by the priority of keeping up with the proliferation of new devices and demands for support. At Ottawa Public Library, e-book checkouts have been clocking in at close to or more than thirty thousand per month throughout 2012, nearly double 2011’s figures, which in turn reached an astonishing 440 percent increase over 2010. Public libraries across Canada have had to jury-rig training programs both for the public and for staff, and encourage information desks to morph, at least partly, into technical help desks. Hamilton Public Library illustrates the multi-faceted approach to support and training that has become the norm. In addition to answering questions from a specific e-mail form for e-book and audiobook help on the library’s website, the IT department’s five technology specialists share responsibility for maintaining a technology knowledge base for staff through the library’s intranet and for coordinating staff training by a dedicated e-book training team. Dijia Qin, manager of digital technology services, notes that the varied efforts have paid off at the front desk. “The comfort level of staff is better,” she says. “[E-book support] just becomes the norm.” Other strategies include lending kits of reading devices to branch staff to get hands-on experience, and building a network of tech experts at the branch level who can train others. “Most front-line staff don’t feel extremely comfortable, but many do quite well with [e-book support],” notes Lester Webb, Director, Outreach and Technology at Kingston Frontenac Public Library. At Ottawa, we’ve tried to balance the need to build staff knowledge with the availability of a safety valve to push the toughest questions to OverDrive through a support contract.

Ottawa Public Library
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Overall, public libraries are seeing the promise of stable long-term service growing out of a curiosity-fueled rush. Still, questions linger about the long-term viability of e-book lending given the ruthless competition among online retailers. Countering the view of libraries as a revenue drain for e-book sales, a Pew Internet & American Life Project study on e-books in libraries released in June of last year notes that a mere 12 percent of e-book-reading Americans had checked out a library e-book in the previous year. Added to that visibility challenge is the greater tendency among e-book borrowers to buy rather than borrow their next electronic read.2 The ratio is good news for publishers but an ongoing test for libraries, who want to keep their own share of the reading market. That’s especially true for the growing cohort of tablet owners, who can buy e-books with a few clicks—or scrap reading altogether and opt for a movie or game.

Devin Crawley ( is a supervising librarian at Ottawa Public Library. Before library school he spent two years as a staff writer for Quill & Quire magazine.


  1. “Demographics of Kindle and Other eReader Users,” Florida Communications Group, accessed January 4, 2013,
  2. The survey notes that 55% of e-book readers would buy first and only 36% would borrow, compared to a more even buy/borrow split for print readers. Kathryn Zickuhr et al., Libraries, Patrons, and E-books, Pew Internet and American Life Project, accessed January 4, 2013, PIP_Libraries_and_
    , 20.

Theme Feature

by Diane Michaud

Copyright and Digital Rights Management: Dealing with Artificial Access Barriers for Students with Print Disabilities

MichaudI currently oversee Library Accessibility Services and accessible format production at the Ryerson University Library. Among other services, my department creates accessible versions of course readings and other course content, including videos. The service we offer is essential to enabling students with disabilities to access their course materials.

One common misconception is that “available electronically” means “accessible.” For example, when we get a request for an accessible version of a book that the Library has as an e-book, we will still have to request a copy from the publisher because, in most cases, the e-book prevents us from saving the entire text as a PDF for a student to access via his or her preferred adaptive software (text-to-speech or screen reader applications). In addition, many online e-reader platforms that claim to be accessible are not easy to navigate with some adaptive applications. All of this contributes to a delay for students in receiving a text in an accessible format.

While it’s true that many e-book platforms offer the option of downloading an entire e-book, it’s generally a very convoluted and time-consuming process. Some e-books will not be available for full download at all (depending on the type of license your library has negotiated). Ebrary, for example, will allow you to download an entire e-book, but this involves a complicated nine-step process that requires you to install third-party software, such as Adobe Digital Editions. This process results in a downloaded file that is still hindered by technological protection measures (TPMs), which impose a limited access period (either seven or fourteen days). I cannot speak to how accessible the downloaded file actually is, either.

Videos can also present difficulties. Many films from smaller production companies do not include closed captioning, because smaller organizations often do not have the resources or the budget to add captions. In these cases, our accessible format unit will coordinate the closed captioning of videos. Section 32 of the Copyright Act stipulates that you are permitted to make a copy or adapt documents to make them more accessible on behalf of a person with a print or perceptual disability, except when it comes to “cinematographic works.” In addition, most DVDs are protected by region coding, a type of TPM that cannot be legally broken in Canada. This means that we need to get permission before making a captioned copy of a video.

In order to close caption films, we have to track down the copyright holder. Then, if we are granted permission to caption the film, we must try to convince the copyright holder to send us an “unlocked” copy of the video file. In many cases, they will allow us to strip the video file off the commercial DVD we have purchased, but this involves using somewhat dubious and often illegal software and necessitates an extra step, once again slowing down the process for the student.

Another accessibility issue concerning videos, Digital Rights Management (DRM), and accessibility relates to videos on websites like YouTube. For example, an instructor in Ryerson’s Disability Studies Program contacted me to inquire about getting two YouTube videos captioned last year. This request had a very short time frame. In this case, one of the requested videos was owned by an online news show and the other by a small independent film distribution company. Both videos were posted under the Standard YouTube License. As of early January 2013, the terms of use for YouTube (what the Standard License defers to) in section 5, B and C, stipulate:

You shall not copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, or otherwise exploit any Content for any other purposes without the prior written consent of YouTube or the respective licensors of the Content. YouTube and its licensors reserve all rights not expressly granted in and to
the Service and the Content.

You agree not to circumvent, disable or otherwise interfere with security-related features of the Service or features that prevent or restrict use or copying of any Content or enforce limitations on use of the Service or the Content therein.

In order to caption these videos, in other words, access to the original video file or the ability to sign in to the account that posted the content would be required. It would be a time-consuming and potentially futile process to track down the appropriate contact person who could permit these actions. In this case, our only option was to provide a transcript of the video content to the student. While this is compliant with the current obligations and policies of accommodating students with disabilities at my institution, for the student, it’s a far less effective method than a close captioned video.

Therefore, sites that provide services (and protect content using DRM) such as YouTube should consider including a clause in their terms that facilitates the creation of captions. For example, YouTube could put a captioning interface in place where anyone could provide captions to any video (as it stands, only the person who uploaded the video can do this) or they could allow individuals to download and re-upload captioned clips for the purpose of making the video accessible.

Currently, the only workaround solution for captioning is to use software that allows individuals to download videos from YouTube. Working with the source video file is the easiest and arguably the best way to create well-synched captions, but doing this would constitute contravening the “You agree not to circumvent, disable or otherwise interfere with security-related features of the Service” part of the Standard YouTube License. It also constitutes breaking YouTube’s DRM, which is illegal under the Copyright Act. While this may be a reasonable risk for an individual or for an advocate for greater accessibility, it becomes more problematic when you are acting as an employee and representative of a university.

In hindsight, it occurred to me that I could have found a way to create a caption file (compatible with YouTube) and then sent those captions to the two content owners asking them to consider adding the caption file to their video. But this too would have been a long shot, and amounts to risking wasted hours of work time creating captions that might never be used.

Ironically, the short YouTube videos in question were required viewing for a course the Disability Studies Program called Media Representations of Disability (hence the more popular media sources). For a course on disability, you would definitely want all the course content to be as accessible as possible, regardless of whether or not there is a student with a hearing impairment taking the class.

There are many reasons to be optimistic that our ability to provide accessible texts will improve (at least in Ontario). There are positive developments on the horizon. For example, the provincial government’s accessible text repository, called AERO, will soon be available to all publicly assisted post-secondary institutions in Ontario. The AERO repository consists mostly of textbooks in electronic formats; previously, it had been in pilot project mode and was only available to a limited number of colleges and universities. For the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) members, Scholars Portal (the consortial technological innovation and infrastructure group) has just begun the process of creating an accessible texts repository for research resources (beyond textbooks). Both of these will be able to provide non-DRM electronic texts. In the other provinces, from what I can tell the accessible text services and repositories seem to focus on texts for elementary and secondary school levels rather than post-secondary. It appears as though most accessible format production and acquisition for post-secondary texts is done by accessibility units within specific colleges and universities. Hopefully they are finding ways to collaborate and share texts amongst institutions.

As for accessible videos, I think that as awareness increases and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) compliance dates approach, closed captioning may become more commonplace or at least easier to add to all films. Free captioning applications exist, and one can only hope that even smaller film production companies (especially those based in Ontario) will no longer neglect to add closed captions to their future releases. Soon, I hope we’ll see a shift in which accessibility prevails over copyright and digital rights management.

Diane Michaud ( is currently the Accessibility Services Librarian at Ryerson University Library. Previously she’s worked at UTSC, Centennial College, and Concordia University. She enjoys being an advocate for accessibility and a universal design approach. She has a soft spot for children’s encyclopedias and illustrated dictionaries from the 1960s and 70s.

The Future is Now: Responses to the Canadian Library Human Resources Study (2012)The highly anticipated follow-up publication to the 8Rs The Future of Human Resources in Canadian Libraries (2005 ) is now available!

The Future is Now: Responses to the Canadian Library Human Resources Study (2012)

Kathleen De Long and Allison Sivak

Alvin Schrader
Deborah Hicks
Donna C. Chan
Marianne Sorensen
Lyn Currie and Carol Shepstone
Islay McGlynn and Joan Cherry


ISBN: 978-0-88802-337-7
CLA Member rate $ 39.95
Non-CLA Member rate $ 43.95

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An excerpt from the introduction by Allison Sivak
"In summary, the 8Rs study has served a greater function than simply being a piece of interesting research.We have felt gratified to observe how others have put this research to work: the publication and presentation of scholarly works that investigate study aspects more deeply, the development of a national dialogue around human resources, and use of the findings to support institutions’ own strategic planning. This collection is but one part of a greater series of efforts by the library community to better understand our human resources landscape, in order to serve our communities as well as we possibly can."

Feature Article

by Guy Robertson

Into Every Professional Life, a Little Moon Will Shine: Dealing with Sub-problem Patrons

RobertsonYou’ve been dreaming about it for years. It would feel so good. So do it. Don’t hold back any longer. Look that man in the eye and say, “Shut up. For the love of all that’s sacred, stop yapping at me!”

That man—a retired accountant—is a regular patron at your branch. He sits in the chair by the reference desk and babbles. You ask the Babbler politely if he has a question. He ignores you and starts a monologue about his grade four teacher who made him stand in a corner for throwing a spitball at a boy who eventually became a Member of Parliament, and who had to leave office owing to health problems including gastric reflux and restless leg syndrome, which is especially common in Nova Scotia because nobody speaks Gaelic in Halifax anymore, but they should, and the Babbler will offer you numerous reasons why....

You won’t actually tell him to shut up, will you? Of course not. Your library administrators expect you to be courteous at all times. You’re obliged to tolerate the Babbler, no matter how irritating he becomes. And he’s not the only patron who threatens your sanity. Another is the Mobile Mum. She pushes a stroller the size of an aircraft carrier through the front entrance to the children’s department, crushing everything in her path. The stroller contains one child, the day’s groceries, a yoga mat, a supply of diapers and toys, a laptop, a purse, a fighter squadron, a company of Marines, and a missile system camouflaged as a series of cup holders. In fact, an entire task force of Mobile Mums could arrive at any moment for story time. Soon the children’s department will be crammed with strollers that block aisles and crash into each other, spilling groceries and Marines and children all over the place, and making the children’s storyteller wonder why the hell she didn’t become a pharmacist. But no matter how frustrated she gets, she will remain cheerful and courteous, and welcome the mums and occasionally the dads to story time. She may not presume to tell parents to dock their carriers outside, but you can be sure that she enjoys fantasies involving the latest model of attack submarine.

Pass the earplugs
Over the past twenty years, noise levels in libraries have increased. Sources of noise include not only the aforementioned parental navy, but also patrons such as the gentleman in the newspaper section who finds the sports page dull, and falls asleep. Unfortunately, his slumber detonates an arsenal in his pharynx, and you have dubbed him Norm the Snore. His snoring has been measured by seismographs in California, and recently David Suzuki suggested that slumbering Norm could provide an alternative form of energy, if only scientists could develop a method of harnessing the power that he generates with every breath.

Other noise-makers include patrons who conduct long and loud conversations on cell phones, or who simply bellow at each other or you or the circulation staff, as if your library had become mere “public space” such as an airport or subway station. You do not dare to tell patrons to pipe down. Gone are the days of the librarian’s piercing shhhh!, which current administrators discourage. Gone is the stereotypical librarian who demanded silence and tranquility in all public areas, and who would stifle anyone who dared to make a sound greater than that of a muffled sneeze or a clicking keyboard. Instead you note spiraling decibel levels and see behaviour that infuriates you. You recognize that patrons are human beings (most of them, anyway) and that as such they are fallible and inclined to break rules. But you have lost control of your workspace in being forced to allow patrons to act as they please. Now administrators expect extraordinary patience from librarians, technicians, and clerical workers who must deal face-to-face with patrons. Appropriately, administrators declare that such library employees are “on the front line,” as if they were in a World War I trench. Metaphorically, they often are.

Moon shot
These days, what are the most common outrages to occur in libraries? (Indulge yourself. Consider those matters that administrators call “issues” as outrages. Feels good, doesn’t it?)

“Clothing styles come and go, and some styles can be problematic,” says Cheryl, a thirtyish adult services librarian in Vancouver. “For example, the style based on the idea that less is more. Some patrons want to show off their tattoos, and that’s fine, but they end up revealing a lot more skin, and some patrons and staff members find that offensive. Some people wear low-slung trousers and no underwear, and when they bend over to take a book from a low shelf, they moon everyone in the vicinity.”

In Toronto, a college librarian named Brooke deplores the lack of hygiene among some of the students who appear at her reference desk.
“Most of the kids who attend my college are middle or upper middle class,” she says. “They can afford to have a shower every now and then, to brush their teeth and wash their clothes. But some of them don’t. And the problem is not gender-specific, either. Young women can smell as bad as young men. Some of these kids have atomic B.O. and horrible breath. I guess there have always been patrons like this, but these days we have to be so politically correct when we talk to them. It’s no longer acceptable to tell somebody who reeks to go have a shower. Our administration demands that we respect library users at all times, because to do otherwise would be to humiliate them.”

Brooke is often tempted to humiliate one of her smellier patrons, but realizing that she could be reprimanded for it, she remains calm and polite. What might make her snap?

“There’s a creature that uses libraries across the country called the Gum Ghost,” she says. “The Gum Ghost leaves wads of chewing gum stuck to the undersides of tables and chairs. Sometimes he or she simply spits the gum onto the floor or ground for somebody to step on. If I catch the Ghost, I’m going to…. Well, I’m going to… ask him or her to deposit that wad of flavourless goo in a trash receptacle. Oh, I’d like to spray the Ghost with disinfectant or air freshener, but that would cost me my job.”

R & J
The Gum Ghost and assorted foul-smelling persons have patronized libraries for many years. So have Romeo and Juliet, those ardent lovers who engage passionately with each other on the floor in your university library’s learning commons, or on an upholstered bench in the adult fiction area of your public branch. You would require a crowbar to separate them. If you tell them to desist, they usually will—briefly. And then they will reattach and commence the swapping of saliva, to the horror and disgust of Shouting Edward, who will approach the reference desk and shout at you about the rotten behaviour of “those shameless youngsters over there.” Shouting Edward is a taxpayer, a war vet, a gentleman, and a weapons-grade bore. He will continue shouting until the Babbler arrives and scares him away.

You listen to the Babbler for what feels like an eternity, until you must go and be mind-numbingly polite to the Feeders. These are patrons of any age and gender who insist on treating your library as if it were a cafeteria. They prefer fast food in the form of lukewarm hamburgers and French fries, chocolate bars, gooey doughnuts and muffins, and sugary beverages in paper cups so large that the slurping of cola will create an echo punctuated with the loud clatter of tiny ice cubes. Inevitably the Feeders toss their debris—paper cartons, Styrofoam containers, plastic bags, and cup-and-straw combos—in the direction of trash receptacles, but miss. Trash builds up around the receptacle. Your library starts to look grubby. You ask the Feeders to be sure to deposit their trash in the receptacle, and they mumble willingness to do so through mouthfuls of burger. And they miss that receptacle every time.

“Our administration has posted signage that tells patrons to use trash receptacles, and to clean up after themselves,” says John, an academic librarian in the Vancouver area. “Our administrators have given library staff permission to tell Feeders not to make a mess. It would be easier to outlaw eating in our libraries. But now our administration is thinking about setting up a snack counter in our library. Not outside the front entrance, or in the foyer, but right inside the library near the periodical section. This will encourage more feeding, and more mess. We’ve always had to deal with food stains in books and on DVDs, and I imagine this problem will get worse. But at least the rodents won’t starve. We librarians are too kind-hearted.”

Meanwhile, as the Babbler babbles and the Feeders feed, the Internet surfers surf, often indefinitely and in all the wrong places. Dedicated surfers show up at opening time and will spend hours at your Internet stations. You may remind them that their time is up, and that other patrons would like to consult online resources. The surfers simply wait until you have turned your attention to something else, and then they move to another station and resume their surfing. Sometimes they investigate porn sites. You have signage that tells them that using library Internet stations to view pornography is unacceptable, but so what? Eventually you lose your temper.

“Turn that rubbish off, you dirty little man. How dare you look at that muck in my library? Do that again, and I will….” What will you do? No, you’d never say such a thing to that dirty little man, as much as you’d like to. Insult him, and he could write to your director and claim that he was examining a medical reference site when you snuck up behind him and called him disrespectful names. He might claim to be an upstanding citizen descended from United Empire Loyalists and many generations of taxpayers, and then you would be in serious trouble. Just as you would be in serious trouble for telling the kleptomaniac to remove those books from under her overcoat before leaving the library. Just as you would be for telling her to stop removing the Tattle-Tape from books in the library’s toilet cubicles. Just as you would be for telling the obstreperous drunks and addicts to take their problems to mental health professionals outside your library. You must accept these so-called “negative behaviours” as part of your job.

Sub-problem solutions
Judith, a retired library director who lives in Regina, says that she understands the frustration of library employees who must deal with Mobile Mums and Babblers and similar nuisances. She refers to “the sub-problem patron,” which she defines as a library patron who causes problems whose solutions are usually not worth the effort.

“This is a liberal age, and the library world tends to be generous and forgiving,” she says. “Some patrons take advantage of our professional good nature. I hear about patrons refusing to pay overdue fines because they don’t feel they should, even though they have the money. That used to annoy me greatly, but I told myself that most patrons paid their fines without complaint. I didn’t want to waste time arguing with some selfish neurotic about a small fine, or even a larger fine. I moved on, and I told my staff to do the same. I reminded my staff that sub-problem patrons are not as common as we like to think. The reason that we focus on them is because they grab our attention and irritate us. We let them get under our skin.”

Judith says that sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between a sub-problem patron and a true problem patron, that sometimes the behavioural boundaries blur. She suggests that a true problem patron is one who threatens library employees or other patrons, who could cause significant harm to themselves, other people, or library assets, or who could disrupt library activities “for more than a few minutes.”

“If a patron threatens somebody with physical violence, then by all means call the police,” she says. “If a thief attempts to steal rare books or artwork, then dial 911. But if somebody with emotional problems tries to walk out the door with a battered romance novel or two under her coat, don’t bother raising the alarm. The police have far more serious crimes to investigate.”

As for the other sub-problem patrons, Judith recommends “firm assertiveness.” You may want to scream at the Babbler, the Feeders, and the Surfers, and you may long to spray Romeo and Juliet with a fire hose. But a better and more acceptable approach is to express your disapproval in polite but nonetheless vigorous terms. Establish strong eye contact. Speak plainly and clearly. Ensure that your posture is healthy and upright, since poor posture will make you seem smaller and less robust. Repeat yourself as required, and be prepared to repeat yourself a number of times. Do not confuse assertiveness with bad manners.

Develop a presence in your workplace. Practice constructive disruption of inappropriate conduct. In time, you will earn a reputation for being in charge—which you will be. It’s a matter of reclaiming your work-place from those who would take it from you. When you reclaim it, not even a task force can stand in your way.

Guy Robertson ( is a security consultant and business continuity planner in Vancouver. He teaches at Langara College, the Justice Institute of British Columbia, and the University of British Columbia’s School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies. In 2009, CLA published his Unofficial Wisdom: Selected Contributions to Feliciter 1995 – 2009. As promised, he has changed the names of all persons quoted in this article.

Feature Article

by Norda Majekodunmi

Diversity in Libraries: The Case for the Visible Minority Librarians of Canada (ViMLoC) NetworkWhat is ViMLoC?!

MajekodunmiThe Visible Minority Librarians of Canada Network (ViMLoC) (pronounced “vim lock”) became the Canadian Library Association’s twentieth network in December 2011. ViMLoC is a collaborative network intended to connect, engage, and support the visible minority librarians of Canada. ViMLoC is open to anyone who is a visible minority working in libraries and to anyone interested in issues concerning visible minorities or serving multicultural populations.

Why is there a need for a network specifically for Canadian visible minority librarians?
At the recent Canadian Library Association (CLA) conference in Ottawa, a couple of delegates posed the question as to why we established a new network for visible minority librarians. This was an unexpected question that at first took the founding members by great surprise. As a visible minority librarian, I personally thought, Why would someone question the need for such a network? Would they question, for example, the need for a network for government library and information professionals? Although the answer was quite obvious to me and to my fellow founding members, the answer was not as obvious to others. I felt this provocative question was an indicator of the many issues, challenges, and barriers faced by visible minority librarians that may not be readily apparent to our professional colleagues.

Why is there a need for ViMLoC?
1. Canada’s population is changing …

Canada’s demographics are shifting. The 2006 Canadian Census estimated that there are more than five million visible minorities in Canada (16.2 percent of the population), with the top four groups being South Asians, Chinese, Blacks, and Filipinos.1 Canadians generally value multiculturalism and recognize the benefits of a diverse workplace that mirrors Canadian society’s demographics. Visible minority librarians have a vested interest in ensuring that information resources and services meet the needs of these diverse populations. Where can Canadian librarians go to discuss the provision of services and information resources to ethnic and immigrant communities?

2. … but the library profession does not reflect this population trend.
Next time you are at a Canadian library conference, look around the room. How many visible minorities do you see? Not only are minority librarians underrepresented in libraries, they are especially less likely to occupy senior administrative or management positions.2 Canadian visible minority librarians can face unique challenges in the library profession, including discrimination, lack of recognition of foreign credentials, and lack of professional opportunities and mentoring relationships. Given our small numbers (7 percent of the library profession)3 it is not impossible for a minority librarian to be the sole visible minority librarian working in a specific library system. Where can Canadian visible minority librarians go to network, discuss their unique problems and issues, and feel a sense of belonging?

3. Lack of research on visible minority librarians in Canada
There is no shortage of research on the experience of visible minority librarians in the United States and on the issue of diversity in American libraries. In comparison, there is a dearth of literature on diversity in Canadian libraries and the distinctive experiences and challenges of visible minority librarians in Canada. Given Canada’s changing demographics and multicultural ethos, it is important for the library profession to first understand these experiences before advocating for change in the profession. Who will encourage, promote, and champion research that reflects the voices and experiences of Canadian visible minority librarians? Dialogue about diversity in librarianship is warranted, not just in the profession, but also in the services we provide and the information resources we acquire. Where are these conversations going to take place?

4. Canadian libraries need ViMLoC!
Librarians in the United States have organized several ethnicity-based library associations since the 1970s. The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA), the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL), the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA), and the American Indian Library Association (AILA) are a few examples. The social, economic, and political circumstances, particularly the civil rights movement, that warranted the organizing of such ethnic library associations in the United States understandably differs from the Canadian experience. However, these ethnicity-centered associations were organized to “fill a niche in the profession not met by other associations.”4 But Canada has far fewer libraries than the United States; there are approximately 6,573 Canadian libraries5, as compared to an estimated 121,785 libraries in the United States.6 Currently, it is neither practical nor feasible to establish a Canadian library association for every ethnic group, as our numbers are just too small. Before the creation of ViMLoC, the only forum available for Canadian visible minority librarians to network with one other was through the existing—and of course ethnicity-specific—American associations. For the aforementioned reasons, there is a practical need for a network of visible minority librarians working specifically in Canadian libraries.

What are ViMLoC’s goals?
ViMLoC will:

ViMLoC is open to anyone who is a visible minority working in Canadian libraries, and to anyone interested in issues that concern visible minorities or in serving multicultural populations. The network is currently working on plans to host professional development activities such as meetings, lectures, and workshops. Help make a difference! Visit the website (, join the network, and find out more information about the network, planned events, and resources. Connect with us online by joining our listserv at CLA membership is not required to join the network.

Norda Majekodunmi ( is a Research and Instruction Librarian at York University and a founding member of the Visible Minority Librarians of Canada (ViMLoC) Network. She is interested in exploring mentoring opportunities for Canadian visible minority librarians.


  1. Statistics Canada uses this terminology to categorize visible minorities in its “Ethnocultural Portrait of Canada.” Statistics Canada, “Visible Minority Groups, 2006 Counts, for Canada, Provinces and Territories - 20% sample data,” accessed January 7, 2013, dp-pd/hlt/97-562/pages/page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo= PR&Code=01&Table=1&Data=Count&StartRec=1&Sort=2&Display=Page.
  2. Ernie Ingles, Kathleen De Long, Chuck Humphrey, Allison Sivak, Marianne Sorensen, and Jennifer de Peuter, The Future of Human Resources in Canadian Libraries, University of Alberta (2005),
  3. Ibid., 44.
  4. Tami Echavarria and Andrew B. Wertheimer, “Surveying the Role of Ethnic-American Library Associations,” Library Trends 46, no. 2 (1997): 373-91.
  5. Libraries Canada, 2012-2013. (Toronto: Grey House Publishing Canada, 2011).
  6. American Library Association. “ALA Library Fact Sheet 1,” last modified December 2011, accessed January 7, 2013,

Feature Article

by Amanda Peters

New Media and New Collaborations: Librarians and Academics Together

PetersLast summer, the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) published its list of the top ten trends in academic libraries. The list includes “scholarly communication,” “information technologies,” “communicating values,” and what I want to talk about here: “user behavior and expectations,” which includes the notion of embedding librarians within academic departments.1 ACRL’s rundown quotes Martin A. Kesselman and Sarah Barbara Watstein, who wrote that “with the dramatic increase in electronic resources and technological capabilities, bringing the library and the librarian to the user, wherever they are—office, laboratory, home, or even on their mobile device—is at the forefront of what it means to be embedded.”2

I am now a retired librarian, but when I was in the workforce, I was always trying to keep up with new trends, and even then the idea of embedding was starting to become a key priority. Recently, I got to know Dr. Graham Cairns and Rachel Isaac-Menard, an academic and a librarian (respectively) who are the founders of a new academic journal, Architecture_ Media_Politics_Society, and have been talking to them about their approach to embedded librarianship. In particular, their journal is trying to encourage better collaboration between academics and librarians, which is key to the success of embedded librarianship.

The intention of this article is to share Cairns and Isaac-Menard’s experiences and thoughts on the idea of embedding librarians in research, and to tell you about a model they are trying to develop for the future which would seek to fund collaborations between academics and librarians.

Architecture_Media_Politics_Society, which is online and open access, was launched in September 2012, and is now run by a team of both librarians and academics. In its few months in existence, the journal has already seen an unusually close relationship develop between these sets of colleagues—groups that sometimes, unfortunately, remain too separated.

Resource Repository
The academics behind the journal aren’t the only ones doing research. The librarians working on the journal are doing their own research on the journal’s themes, too. The journal website’s Resource Repository showcases their work on the issues and materials relevant to the site and, in some cases, worth archiving.3 They have put together current listings of events and publications relevant to the journal’s themes, they write critical reviews, and they have collated a bibliography and web index of other materials related to the areas covered by the journal.

I think this is fantastic. I don’t know of any other online journals where the published research is located on the same site as the resources that get used to support research. It’s a reflection of a very different approach to the way librarians and researchers work together. Both the research materials and the results are published together and available for other academics, students, and librarians to use.

What makes this even more interesting is that they are using social media (a blog platform) which, the editors explained to me, allows for collaboration and dialogue between the users, whether they be librarians, academics, or students. In fact, they see this dialogue as one of the key aspects of the journal and, in particular, of the Resource Repository. In the repository’s discussion forum, librarians will be posting short articles and asking for direct feedback from other readers. It’s allowing them to collaborate not only with academics, but with each other as well.

The editors say that one of their biggest problems regarding their decision to make the journal open access was how to satisfy the traditionalists among the academics, who were concerned about the scholarly quality of open access journals and wanted to see their work in a physical book. The answer to the problem was in many ways a standard one: double-blind peer reviewing and indexing through scholarly databases such as EBSCO’s Art Source as well as directories like Ulrichsweb and JURN. As well, the journal plans on publishing a print book every two years, which will include expanded versions of articles on the website.

Future Plans
Now that the journal is up and running and the main features are in place, the editors are thinking of the future and have some exciting ideas about how to make the existing semi-informal relations between academics and librarians something more formal, embedded, and supported institutionally.
So far the librarians working on the project have been involved in occasionally helping academics to source materials, both in general terms and in specific ways. Academics preparing articles for the journal have, for example, asked for help finding the quotes, books, and other sources they need to use. They have sent questions via e-mail and the librarians have responded as and when they could.

This arrangement is all very informal at the moment, but the editors see it as sowing the seeds of a bigger project. They intend, for example, to apply for grants to set up a “pairing system” in which a librarian will partner with an academic. The model they use is their own: Architecture_Media_Politics_Society is hosting a research project being run by Dr. Cairns, an academic based in the UK, and Isaac-Menard, a librarian based in Canada, who are collaborating closely. (The results of the project are hosted on the journal’s website.)

Their bigger idea involves inviting researchers and librarians to do similar things. If, for example, a researcher in Australia is working on a project related to Canada, it may be possible to pair him or her up with a Canadian librarian, or vice versa. As in their own case, of course, the project relies on the researcher and the librarian sharing the same interests and knowledge areas. But the ultimate goal is to apply for funding from bodies such as the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in the UK and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) so that the researcher-librarian team can develop the project together.

Cairns and Isaac-Menard will be applying for this funding themselves in the coming months, to see how their idea may be developed. It would represent a great opportunity to not only encourage more intensive collaboration between academics and librarians who work in the same institutions, but to extend their ideas across borders. Given the ever-increasing tendency for research to take on a collaborative and international character, it could be an idea that works.

Whether the people behind this project manage to achieve their goals remains to be seen. But what they have set up is getting noticed by academics and students; a steady increase in the number of website views is one indication of this. In their home institutions Cairns and Isaac-Menard have been able to clearly show how they are engaging in and helping others conduct academic research. It’s a fundamental part of what ACRL calls “communicating value.”

The editors say that, in some cases, it’s the first time academics have realized just how much more librarians have to offer. Academics are seeing that librarians have valuable skills, including writing! Apparently, it’s still not easy to convince some of the old academic hats to see librarians as more than the clichéd old-fashioned spinster, but being part of an academic “Resource Repository” run by a team of librarians seems to help.

Amanda Peters ( is a retired librarian from Essex, England. Before working in various libraries across the Essex region she was an administrator in the banking sector.


  1. ACRL Research Planning Review Committee, “2012 Top Ten Trends in Academic Libraries: A Review of the Trends and Issues Affecting Academic Libraries in Higher Education,” C&RL News 73, no. 6 (2012), 316,
  2. Martin A. Kesselman and Sarah Barbara Watstein, “Creating Opportunities: Embedded Librarians,” Journal of Library Administration 49, no. 4 (2009), 385.
  3. See

Book Reviews

The Cybrarian’s Web: An A-Z Guide to 101 Free Web 2.0 Tools and Other Resources

Cheryl Ann Peltier-Davis. Foreword by Stephen Abram. Medford, NJ: Information Today, 2012. 486 pp., US$49.50. ISBN 978-1-57387-427-4.

The Cybrarian's Web: An A-Z Guide to 101 Free Web 2.0 Tools and Other ResourcesWith collaboration and sharing being the new imperatives in libraries and information centres, Peltier-Davis has collected 101 free web resources that staff can learn about and use. No matter whether you’re a novice or a pro, something here will pique your interest. These tools include (among others) blogging, RSS feeds, photo and video sharing services, podcasting, wikis and social bookmarking services.

Each item entry begins with an overview, setting the stage for why someone might want to have and use that resource. The Features section describes the item using illustrative screenshots. Next is the most useful section, “How Cybrarians can use this resource” containing examples as well as practical tips. Following the practice of good research papers, the entry ends with endnotes that list the references mentioned in the text.

This volume is rounded off with three very useful sections—ideas for keeping up to date with technology, a glossary of terms, and a list of websites mentioned within the chapters—and is completed with an index. Readers may also refer to the author’s website, where updates and new items can be found.

This volume is also available in several e-book editions, such as Kindle, Nook and Sony Reader as well as library circulation versions for OverDrive and ebrary.

Recommended as a terrific resource and a jumping-off place to begin the exploration of technology and its uses.

Reviewed by Brian Rountree, who teaches cataloguing and other courses in the Library and Information Technology Program at Red River College in Winnipeg.

Graphic Novels in Your School Library

Jesse Karp. Illustrated by Rush Kress. Chicago: American Library Association, 2012. 146 pp., softcover, US$50. ISBN 978-0-8389-1089-4.

Graphic Novels in Your School Library Those wanting to start or enhance a graphic novel (GN) collection at their school or public library need look no further than this book. With more than three decades of studying, reviewing, writing and teaching about the medium, school librarian Jesse Karp offers a one-stop resource that details everything you always wanted to know about graphic novels but may have been afraid to ask.

From the Preface, “Why This Book, Anyway?” right through to the Afterword, readers are led to discover how to use GNs in education, when to use them, and what to use them for. Part One highlights the differences in form between GNs (not floppy) and comics (floppy); describes the tools of sequential art: the space in between panels, symbols and codes, and words; and discusses manga (the Japanese version of a comic book). The illustrations alone are worth a thousand words.

Part Two provides a history of the format and chronicles the evolution of stories told in a sequence of images, from hieroglyphics to newspaper comic strips, from superhero comics to works like “Maus.” The annotated reading lists of Part Three cover a wide range of themes and discussion topics and are arranged in two chapters: “Preschool through Grade 8” and “Grades 9 through 12.”

Part Four offers lesson plans and activities that are meant to help incorporate GNs into the school curriculum, but could also be used for school or public library programs and discussion groups. There are three comprehensive indexes at the back of the book arranged by discussion topic, author-title and subject.

As the author states in his afterword, “Whether we embrace it or challenge it, we are all living in a GN world now.” This book will encourage and support even the most reluctant to use this unique art form to educate and inspire.

Reviewed by Gina Varty, School Library Media Specialist with Edmonton Public Schools.

The Library Catalogue as Social Space: Promoting Patron Driven Collections, Online Communities, and Enhanced Reference and Readers’ Services

Laurel Tarulli. Libraries Unlimited, 2012. 122 pp. ISBN 978-1-59884-629-4.

The Library Catalogue as Social Space: Promoting Patron Driven Collections, Online Communities, and Enhanced Reference and Readers’ ServicesA library that uses social media and other tools of online presence with an open-door policy makes its catalogue an interactive tool for two-way traffic: both the library and the patron contribute content. In theory, this is an extension of Ranganathan’s second law—“every reader his [or her] book—and by implication it justifies a felt need for conversation with the patron and builds a balanced approach. The balance is sustained as long as conversations continue, with the moral being “use it or lose it.”

The main focus of this book is next-generation catalogues, which are providing opportunities for librarians and patrons to interact, collaborate, and enhance core library functions. A foreword by Barbara Tillett, chief of the Policy and Standards Division at the Library of Congress, adds considerable value to the book.

Laurel Tarulli creatively enables the reader to visualize such catalogues—which are more than just inventories, which are “intuitive catalogues that provide a sense of ownership to users”—and where they fit. She lists several public libraries that have added a user interface based on the technology provided by platforms such as Serial Solutions’ AcquaBrowser, Innovative Interfaces’ Encore, Oracles’ Endeca, OCLC’s WorldCat, Ex Libris’ Primo, and BiblioCommons’ Bibliocore (the most common in Canada). A brief discussion of vendor-provided next-generation catalogue interfaces and web-scale discovery tools makes for interesting reading.

While the book covers theories (Chapter 2), discussions and controversies (Chapter 3) as well as practices (Chapters 4 and 5), a practical guide on how to create this social space is missing. Nevertheless, this is a useful book with which to visualize emerging trends in the catalogue’s new interface.

For librarians in general and technical services professionals in particular, this book’s content, coverage and analysis will make it much more than a one-time read.

Mohamed Taher is an author of many works in the field of Area Studies Librarianship. His most recent books are Job Search the Canadian Way (Akbani Informatics, 2010) and Cyber Worship in Multifaith Perspectives (Scarecrow Press, 2006). He serves as Information Coordinator, Ontario Multifaith Council, Toronto.

Listening to Learn: Audiobooks Supporting Literacy

Sharon Grover and Lizette D. Hannegan. Chicago: American Library Association, 2012. 200 pp., softcover, US$45. ISBN 978-0-8389-1107-5.

Listening to Learn: Audiobooks Supporting LiteracyIf you are an auditory learner, then you know that a well-told story not only enhances the listening experience, but also strengthens the learning experience. For a librarian, educator or parent seeking to engage the attention of kindergarten to Grade 12 students, this book is a complete auditory advancement guide.

With decades of audiobook and research experience, librarians Sharon Grover and Lizette Hannegan answer the question “Why Listen?” as well as the questions of who, when, where, what and how to listen. In 10 short chapters and four appendixes, the authors equip readers with a brief history of the audiobook; offer titles, publishers and sources for audiobook collection development; and include listening activities and instructional themes that are tied to standards.

Although the chapter discussing state standards may be too American, the curriculum standards referenced are basically subject and grade-level goals that are not very different from our own provincial best practices.

Whether for the classroom, the library or the home, finding the right audiobook for the right listener at the right time is a much less daunting task, thanks to this resource. From picture book read-alongs (like Chrysanthemum, narrated by Meryl Streep), through to classic literature (like Treasure Island, narrated by Alfred Molina), and from planting a garden to lunchtime listening clubs, this book offers it all and more.

So pick an audiobook from the annotated primary, intermediate, middle or high school lists, pull out your headphones or earbuds, and your cassette, CD or MP3 player, and read with your ears. Then share your experience with some children or teens.

Reviewed by Gina Varty, School Library Media Specialist with Edmonton Public Schools.

The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Mystery

John Charles, Candace Clark, Joanne Hamilton-Selway and Joanna Morrison. Chicago: American Library Association, 2012. Second edition. 168 pp., US$52, C$62.40. ISBN 978-8389-1113-6.

Readers' Advisory Guide to MysteryThis is a useful guide for anyone interested in knowing more about many of the titles available in the world of mystery novels. The authors intend this volume to be an introduction to the genre and deliver “some basic tips on providing effective mystery readers’ advisory service.”

The first three chapters include some history of the mystery novel as well as advice on how to apply this information in RA interviews with patrons. The following five chapters deal with sub-genres, providing the background on each along with a variety of key authors and several of their titles. Following almost every author is a “Now read” recommended author whose style or content matches the previous author. These five chapters cover amateur sleuths, private investigators, police procedurals, historical sleuths, and genre-blended mysteries. The remaining four chapters discuss practical aspects of a mystery collection in the library, including the RA interview, collection development, and merchandising your collection.

Perhaps as a result of the collaboration of four authors, duplications exist in terms of authors, titles and summaries across several of the sections. This might have been avoided if successive mentions were just by author and title, allowing room for more authors and book summaries. Also, in a volume where we find the juxtaposition of authors and one or more titles throughout, it is a curious omission that a famous New Jersey bounty hunter is not mentioned by name or by author.

This guide includes the expected bibliography and index, but it also includes two additional bibliographies, on movies and television series, that make it more versatile.

This title would be useful in a public library but might also be helpful in a high-school library. It is available through the ALA store in print, as an e-book, or as a print/e-book bundle.

Reviewed by Brian Rountree, who teaches cataloguing and other courses in the Library and Information Technology Program at Red River College in Winnipeg. He is now inspired to read more mysteries!

Readers’ Advisory Guide to Street Literature

Vanessa Irvin Morris. Foreword by Terri Woods. Chicago: American Library Association, 2012. 118 pp., softcover, US$48. ISBN 978-0-8389-1110-5 (alk. paper).

Readers' Advisory Guide to Street LiteratureAn assistant professor at the College of Information Science and Technology at Drexel University, Morris is currently researching street literature in pursuit of her EdD.

She describes street literature as a sub-genre of urban fiction, while noting that street literature includes poetry, picture books and non-fiction (e.g., biography, memoirs and some research material). Street literature encompasses adult and young adult (teen) material, and both focus on the struggle of inner-city living. However, in the teen version the graphic language, violence and sex scenes have been eliminated.

Morris discusses the creation of a basic foundational street literature collection that will evolve and grow. She identifies classics of the genre, presents lists of appropriate materials, and explains collection development, management and promotion strategies.

She points out that the act of reading street literature validates the reality of inner-city life for those living it. Thus she urges librarians to be fully engaged with the genre by reading and promoting it. In this regard, she advocates the establishment of reading circles, book clubs and book displays, all devoted to street literature. She also advocates the establishment of librarian-based book clubs to develop strategies for promoting street literature.

The book includes an appendix entitled Street Literature Publishers, followed by two lists: Works Cited and Literature Cited. An excellent index closes this helpful volume, which will be appreciated by both public and school librarians, especially those involved with the inner city.

Reviewed by Eileen Goltz, Librarian Emerita, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario.

Small Business and the Public Library: Strategies for a Successful Partnership

Luise Weise, Sophia Serlie-McPhillips and Elizabeth Malafi. Chicago: American Library Association, 2011. 132 pp., ISBN 978-0-8389-0993-5.

Small Business and the Public Library: Strategies for a Successful PartnershipThe authors, part of the Miller Business Resource Center at the Middle Country (NY) Public Library, offer a recipe for services and programs aimed at business and careers in a public library setting. Drawing mainly on the experience of the Center, the book presents a smorgasbord of ideas, couched in a context of economic hard times and the need for partnerships within the community.

This softcover book features chapters on collection development, programming, marketing, networking and funding, with a tendency toward overlap in both theme and idea. Contrary to the title, there is almost equal emphasis on services to job-seekers and career changers, including interview preparation and résumé critiquing, in addition to entrepreneurship.

For a Canadian audience, many references—not just the state of the economy, but specific government programs and databases—will seem too U.S.-centric. Still, this book is thought-provoking, idea-filled, and ultimately a good piece of evidence of the need for community partnership and the importance of public libraries to local economies.

Reviewed by Todd Kyle, CEO, Newmarket Public Library, Newmarket, Ontario.

True Stories of Censorship Battles in America’s Libraries

Edited by Valerie Nye and Kathy Barco. Chicago: American Library Association, 2012. xix, 175 pp,. US $50. ISBN 978-0-83891-130-3.

True Stories of Censorship Battles in America's LibrariesThe war between those who champion free access to ideas and those who claim the right to restrict that access according to their own views and beliefs is not going to end soon. The current skirmish in the United States over the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has librarians on the front lines bravely defending Ranganathan’s second and third principles: “every reader his [or her] book” and “every book its reader.”

The editors of True Stories are librarians in New Mexico who have been giving their “Banned Books Exposed” presentation to professional and community groups for years. The book was planned as a resource after hearing librarians express how alienating a book challenge could be. With an excellent introduction by the Young Adult author Ellen Hopkins, the 31 narratives discuss challenges in public, school and academic libraries; challenges to books, websites, displays and movies; challenges over sexual, graphic or political content; and challenges by individuals and by religious or ideological groups.
The book documents a wide spectrum of motivation and action, and the outcome is usually positive in that the material under question is retained after due process. However, it would have been useful to read about more examples where demands for censoring materials were met, because titles are indeed being successfully banned in some communities.

Since we are not immune to disputes over intellectual freedom in Canada today, the book’s lessons are certainly applicable. These include the necessity for strong written collection policies, as well as forms and procedures for book challenges; support from administration, whether principals, boards or directors; and personal commitment by library staff to the right and freedom of the individual to read. True Stories is recommended as a timely reminder of the continued importance of our work in maintaining a free society.

Reviewed by Carmen Königsreuther Socknat, Head, Bibliographic Services, Victoria University Library, Toronto.

CLA Executive Council 2013

Pilar Martinez
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Jennifer Evans
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Marie DeYoung
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Karen Hildebrandt
(780) 479-9336

Ex Officio
Kelly Moore
(613) 232-9625 ext. 306
Mary-Jo Romaniuk
(780) 492-5958
Jane Schmidt
(416) 979-5000


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