Monday, May 25, 2009

Halifax, Day Three

I have less than 10 minutes before we head out of the hotel again. Thankfully, and as a direct consequence, this will be a short post.

Today dawned bright and sunny and mild. (It's still May in Halifax, so I hesitate to use the word "warm".) So I put on my sundress, my flats, a jean jacket and a big scarf, and headed out to the conference hotel with Margo around 8:00 a.m. They were serving free breakfast, so it was worth our while to get out so early.

Plenary session at 9:00. Topic was recent developments in Canada's immigration and refugee policy. Speakers were Markham MP Paul Calandra and Halifax immigration lawyer Lee Cohen. Session was interesting, though not overly informative. Calandra talked about all the great things the federal government is supposedly doing; Cohen told some heartfelt stories. I think I know too much about immigration and refugee issues, and so am a bit cynical. Sorry.

The next session I went to was on embedded librarianship. Basically, this is the idea that librarians don't need to be in the library, but are often more effective outside the library, working in their organization directly. The session was interesting, though not earth-shattering (for me, at least). Working at the Library of Parliament last year, I already was a kind of embedded librarian - I was nowhere near the actual library, and I worked alongside, with and for, the analysts in the legal division. The library, at the LOP, was more a concept or idea than an actual physical place, at least for those of us in the research divisions. Anyway, the only thing truly controversial about the session was a couple of comments the speaker made about how she didn't think library schools were taking in the right types of students. I don't think that is necessarily true, though to some degree, library schools are more interested in filling seats with bums than with brains. I think the problem is more that library schools, at least in the U.S. (where the speaker was from), do not always teach library students the wide range of skills that they will need to survive once out in the real world. Some library schools focus very closely on technical skills. Many U.S. schools do not teach management skills, or how-to-deal-with-people skills. That's the real problem, in my opinion.

Anyway, must move on.

Lunch was served in Pier 21, just behind the conference hotel. I sat with Robin N. from LOP, and Mark and Maggie, friends of mine from library school. We ate salad, chicken in a cream sauce with veggies, and a delightful custard pie of some sort for dessert. There was an awards ceremony, and thankfully all the speeches were short and sweet (a skill I must still learn, obviously). Then we were regaled by Bruce Nunn, a/k/a Mr. Nova Scotia Know-It-All. I used to listen to him on CBC Radio, and would sometimes see him on CBC News in Halifax. He was very entertaining.

Post-lunch sleepiness having kicked in, I went back to the conference hotel for a session on sharia and talmudic law. It was very informative and two areas of law I think we will need to acquire resources in over the next year or two as they become more popular.

Margo and I skipped out on the last session to come back to our hotel to unwind for a bit, but now we are heading back out for the first of two back-to-back receptions. Then I am headed to The Fireside again for post-reception food (might not be hungry for the salmon, however, depending on how much they feed us) and drinks (on the other hand, there is always room for more drinks).

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