Alberta’s Librarians Rock!

A shout-out today to ALL libraries, librarians, and the library systems in this wonderful province of ours! I began working with them when I was still a publishers’ sales rep, presenting the lists and selling new books every season for inclusion in their collections. I got to know some of the systems very well, because I displayed books at their conferences, and several were receptive about meeting with me personally, or faithfully attended the informational presentations I gave to booksellers and other customers.

I should explain that while there is an overall association encompassing all libraries in Alberta, the Library Association of Alberta, which also organizes a fabulous annual province-wide conference held in beautiful Jasper, most libraries belong to regional systems for administrative purposes. Calgary Public Library and Edmonton Public Library each encompass their own “systems,” and there are a number of independent libraries, as well, that function autonomously. Most of the smaller centres and rural areas are covered by seven systems – Chinook Arch, Marigold and Shortgrass are in the south; Parkland is central (between Edmonton and Calgary); Northern Lights, Yellowhead and Peace represent the libraries in the northern half of the province. There is also a provincial Association of library techs, the Alberta Association of Library Technicians, that holds its own annual conference.

Calgary Public Library is MY library, of course, because I live in the city. As a patron, I can assure you that it is one of the very best library systems in the country. I actually believe it’s “the best,” but then I am a tad biased towards my home city! Through my company, Alberta Books Canada, over the past two years I have been working with CPL and most of the other systems, displaying books at their conferences, speaking at sessions, and providing suggestions of, and contact with, authors who will speak at conferences and in libraries – especially those in rural locations. All the systems I’ve associated with have been nothing short of supportive, enthusiastic, and a pleasure to know!

Recently, I gave a talk at two conferences – Northern Lights in Elk Point and Peace Regional in Grande Prairie. I spoke about the large number of Alberta authors we have in this province. I’ll be delivering a similar speech in Lethbridge next March to the librarians attending their Southern Alberta Library Conference. Providing information about Alberta authors, and generally recommending their books to readers, has been my business, but it’s also been my extreme pleasure, because I’m promoting books I enjoy reading and believe in, and authors who are my peers. So imagine my extreme surprise and gratitude when I received the following comments made by librarians who attended one of the talks I gave in September:

(First, from the conference coordinator) We appreciate you sharing your expertise on Alberta authors, a topic of great interest and importance to our delegates.

Skype conversation: great idea! I just loved it! Thank you! (I had contacted authors in Calgary via Skype and allowed them to speak about their own writing.)

Knowledge of the presenter interesting & the variety of the presentation was great. A great session to have at the conference.

She really knew her stuff, lots of personal experiences – awesome! Thank you for giving me hope for Alberta authors! I didn’t realize there were so many!! Cool!

Very interesting, great to hear about well-known and lesser-known Alberta authors. Loved the idea of Skyping authors to hear about them in their own words.

And my favourite… Susan is a fantastic rep for authors. She could have a day session!

I’m not sure that everyone would want me to talk about Alberta authors for an entire day – however, your sentiment is much appreciated! It’s librarians like these who make the preparation for, and the driving throughout the province to attend these conferences, well worth it. It’s nice to know that what I do with Alberta Books Canada really does have an effect and that I am managing to get the information out there!

So… a big THANK YOU to all the librarians and libraries in this province of Alberta! We have no shortage of great writers – I will continue to sing their praises to you. I hope you will continue to listen!

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