YRL Blog - Updates and more

January 13

It's time for a change!

  • We are so excited to announce that a new weekly YRL newsletter is coming your way! Replacing the weekly email update and our previous newsletters, The Loop and The Scoop, this newsletter will become your new go-to for information on all YRL services and initiatives including cool stuff we find and updates you need to know about everything from library services to governance to technology, and much more.
  • What can you expect? On Wednesday, January 20, watch your inbox for the inaugural email which will be sent from askyrl@yrl.ab.ca. The newsletter is a subscription-based service, so we will subscribe all of our YRL partners including library staff, managers, directors and trustees. You can unsubscribe at any time, but we hope that you will let us keep our spot in your inbox – we promise you won’t regret it!
  • If you have any questions about the newsletter or want to add someone to the subscriber list, please get in touch with us at askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.

Auto-renew feature for your library's materials

  • When a library turns the auto-renew feature on, eligible items (i.e. items with no holds from other patrons) will be auto-renewed based on the number of days in the item record. Instead of an “almost overdue” notification, patrons would receive a notice saying that it was automatically renewed. The new due date is calculated by taking the current due date and the full loan period. If you are interested in turning this feature on, or have questions, please contact helpdesk@yrl.ab.ca.
  • Here are some commonly asked questions about auto-renewals:
    • What prevents an automatic renewal? Any condition that would block a patron from manually renewing their materials also prevents automatic renewals. In addition, they are prevented for eContent and overdue items.
    • Can auto-renew be limited to certain collections or material types? No, auto-renew either applies to all eligible items, or none. It can be set at the branch level, so only items assigned to a branch that has it enabled will auto-renew. 
    • Can auto-renew be limited to my patrons only? No, this is not possible. The auto-renew is a feature of the item, not the patron.
    • Will patrons be sent a separate notice informing them that their items have been auto-renewed? No, almost overdue reminders for items that cannot be auto-renewed and auto-renew notices have been combined into one notice.

Library as a small press webinar

  • Wednesday, January 27, 12:00-1:00 p.m.: To meet patrons’ needs for quality local content, more and more libraries have stepped into the role of small press to produce books written by staff and community writers. By publishing local content, libraries capture vital local information, promote diverse writers, reach underserved populations, and Illuminate special collections. Any size or type of library can start a small press, and libraries can publish an array of books. In this free webinar, you’ll learn the basic steps to publishing and promoting a print and digital book as well as ideas for programming and community partnerships stemming from your book. Examples from libraries across North American are included, as well as tips for publishing on a budget. If you're interested, but not able to attend the live webinar, go ahead and register. We'll send a recording of the webinar to all registrants after the fact. Register

Coping and resilience during COVID-19

  • Talking about coping and resilience during the pandemic has become a bit like discussing the weather. Although the “COVID-19 weather forecast” differs depending on geography, we all need to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Rather than a peak of stress from an intense challenge, the pandemic is bringing rolling waves of stress, one after the next, to many people’s lives. Read this Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute blog post to learn three small steps to help you build meaningful active resilience.

January 6

YRL webinar: Decoding the Annual Report

  • Thursday, January 7, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Another year will soon be in the books, which means it will be annual statistics time! On January 4 you received an email from YRL with the Polaris-generated Annual Report custom report – this report provides information to answer many of the questions in the PLSB’s Public Library Survey and Annual Report. But have you wondered what it is actually counting? What do those fields mean? Why does it sometimes not match the statistics that you keep? Join us with that report in hand as we decode the Annual Report custom report and answer any other questions you may have so that you can confidently fill out your Public Library Survey and Annual Report. Register

WiFi passwords changing

  • Monday, January 11: The Library Staff and Library Staff BYOD WiFi passwords will be changed on Monday. Please note:
    • Library Staff is only for devices that access network drives.
    • Library Staff BYOD is for all other library and staff devices.
    • These passwords should never be shared with library patrons.
    • These passwords should never be sent by email.
  • Library staff may phone YRL on or after Friday, January 8 to get the new passwords.

Update changes are coming!

  • Starting January 20, our weekly updates will look a bit different… watch for more information next week!

Outdoor winter programming ideas

  • This Crossroads newsletter article has great ideas for libraries who are looking for more outdoor ideas that can help patrons cope with online fatigue, to be physically active and healthy, and to benefit from spending time in nature.

How to go from virtual burnout to feeling energized online

  • This Charity Village article looks at digital fatigue and outlines ways to remain energized with an increased virtual schedule.

December 23

New CCD lists

  • There are another 12 new lists to choose from on CCD: 2020 Fiction Books of the Year via 49th Shelf; 2021 Forthcoming Recommendations from Novelist; 67 of the Best Queer Books of 2020; Best of 2020: YA Titles According to Kirkus Reviews; January Hot New: Playaway Audiobooks, and Audiobook, Blu-ray, DVD, and Music CD Releases; Resources for Those Facing Grief and Mortality; Top 50 Albums of 2020; and Best of True Crime Titles from 2020.

Alberta Nonprofit Network (ABNN) webinar: Civil Society Fund Grant Info Session

  • Wednesday, January 6, 9:30-10:30 a.m.: Join this session to learn more about the Government of Alberta’s new Civil Society Fund grant program including eligibility requirements and how to apply. This fund provides $20 million to expand civil society’s capacity to address social problems for Albertans – of which $7 million is budgeted for 2020/21 to support civil society’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. ABNN will be joined by Ken Dropko and Glen Hughes of the Ministry of Community and Social Services, who will provide an overview of the program and answer your questions. Ken is the Executive Director, Family and Community Services Branch, Preventive Community Services Division; and Glen is Secretariat Director, Premier’s Council on Charities and Civil Society. Register

Mental harm prevention: Road Map for employers

  • COVID-19 has shone a light on mental health in Canada and challenged employers to focus more on supporting employees’ through this challenging time. Workplace Safety and Prevention Services created a Road Map with eight building block to support the national standard’s implementation and to facilitate evidence-based research to measure how adopting some or all of its building blocks can improve employees’ psychological health and safety. Learn more in this article from The Conference Board of Canada, and what they are doing to support employers interested in leveraging the Road Map to have a positive impact on their employees’ psychological health and safety.
10 tips for nurturing happiness
  • "As we head into special times of the year such as holiday or vacation, we often anticipate finding happiness. But, I wonder if we can ever really find happiness? What is the real stuff made of? Not the illusion that disappears along with the last joyful moment of our holiday. I’m not so sure that we find happiness, but I am confident we can cultivate it, make a place for happiness, and be ready to experience it." The Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute lists 10 simple, quick tips for nurturing happiness in this timely blog post.

December 16

Stronger Together virtual conference available on-demand

  • Missed the conference? It’s okay… the Stronger Together conference videos are available on-demand until the fall of 2021. Simply login if you were previously registered or register now to gain access to the full suite of session offerings.
YRL Webinar: Decoding the Annual Report
  • Thursday, January 7, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Another year will soon be in the books, which means it will be annual statistics time! On January 4, you will receive an email from YRL with the Polaris-generated Annual Report custom report – this report provides information to answer many of the questions in the PLSB’s Public Library Survey and Annual Report. But have you wondered what is it actually counting? What do those fields mean? Why does it sometimes not match the statistics that you keep? Join us with that report in hand as we decode the Annual Report custom report and answer any other questions you may have so that you can confidently fill out your Public Library Survey and Annual Report. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the registration link. NOTE: Please do NOT run this report yourself; YRL staff will run this report on your behalf in the off-hours because it affects the performance of Polaris and we also keep a copy if you accidentally delete it.
WiFi passwords changing
  • Monday, January 11: The Library Staff and Library Staff BYOD WiFi passwords will be changed and more information will be shared in the first week of January.
PLSB 2021 Public Library Survey and 2020 Annual Report webinars
  • To say this past year has been challenging would be an understatement. To help with capturing those challenges, the PLSB has made small adjustments to the usual Public Library Survey and Annual Report data entry form in LibPAS. The changes are captured in the 2021 Public Library Survey and 2020 Annual Report Reference Key, formerly known as the “Companion Guide,” and is available on the PLSB website along with A Guide to Using LibPAS (also available within LibPAS by clicking on the help button in the top right corner). Six, 60-minute same-content webinars will be offered – they are free to attend and registration is not required.
    • Wednesday, January 13, 10:00-11:00 a.m.: Join
    • Friday, January 15, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Join
    • Tuesday, January 19, 3:00-4:00 p.m.: Join
    • Thursday, January 21, 1:00-2:00 p.m.: Join
    • Monday, January 25, 2:00-3:00 p.m.: Join
    • Wednesday, January 27, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Join
Peace Library System (PLS) Steps to Reconciliation in Alberta Libraries webinars
  • PLS is inviting all library staff and board members around Alberta to a webinar they are hosting throughout January called Steps to Reconciliation in Alberta Libraries that will be facilitated by Teneya Gwin of Eleven Eleven Consulting. Teneya previously worked at the Calgary Public Library as their Indigenous Services Design Lead so she is very aware of our library world and has created a session which will cover: terminology, key dates in history, myths and biases, responsibilities of allyship, deconstructing the media, and reconciliation within libraries. Each session is 4.5 hour long and will be offered on various times/days 14 times throughout January. To ensure the best learning experience, we will be capping each session at 30 individuals. You can see all the dates being offered and register for free through the PLS website under the month of January. Feel free to let your staff and Board about this opportunity

December 9

Public Library Services Branch (PLSB) interlibrary loan (ILL) update

  • “As you have likely heard, the province has announced that as of Sunday, December 13th at 12:01am all public libraries must close to the public. This means that the last day in-person public library service can happen is Saturday, December 12th. This closure will be in place for at least four weeks. As a result, we will be suspending the patron/discovery side of Relais as of Thursday, December 10th. The staff portal of Relais will remain active. Government courier (Loomis) will continue as usual, making daily drop offs and pickups. If you foresee this being an issue for your location, let us know and we will see about adjusting those hours for your library.”

hoopla circulation limits

  • Effective Friday, December 11, hoopla circulation limits will be increased to 10 checkouts per month per patron until the end of January.

Collections and Resource Sharing (CRS) year-end update

  • Due to the unprecedented number of new items that have been arriving at YRL from our vendors, we are pushing forward our fiscal year-end rollover date to Tuesday, December 22.
    • What does this mean for you? If you run the reports on December 14, 15 or 16 as recommended in the year-end webinar, the totals will not be correct as we are still receiving items.
    • Here is our recommendation: Since everyone is pivoting quickly to move to curbside services, let YRL run these reports for you! We are going to run these reports for every library – no need to email us or sign up – we will just run the following reports and email them to each library.
      • On-order items that are rolling over to 2021
      • Cancelled items in 2020
      • Fund expenditures in 2020 (for each fund you have with us)
    • What does this mean for invoicing? If we receive any items December 14-21 for bill direct accounts, we will scan and email you the invoice as soon as possible so that you can pay the invoice out of 2020 funds; or, if you prefer, you can also wait and pay in 2021 if that works better for you. We are trying our best to give a lot options and flexibility since we know this has been a weird year for budgets, publishing, etc.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jocie directly at jwilson@yrl.ab.ca. Thank you to all those who have reached out already, I hope this helps simplify a few things as you adjust your services due to the new restrictions.

December 2

YRL Public Libraries' Council virtual meeting

  • Friday, December 11, 10:00-11:30 a.m.: YRL member public library managers are invited to attend next Friday’s virtual PLC meeting. Please contact PLC Chair Robert McClure at rmcclure.yclb@yrl.ab.ca by Monday, December 7 with agenda items. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the registration link.

YRL webinars

  • Thursday, December 10, 1:30-2:30 p.m., EDI in Libraries: Doing “The Work”: Join us for an hour-long discussion wherein we will take a look what other libraries have been doing in their own communities, identify gaps in our practice, and hopefully brainstorm new projects for 2021. Participation is encouraged and access to a microphone or webcam is appreciated. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the registration link.
  • Wednesday, December 16, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Connecting with Indigenous Patrons: Wondering what libraries or you personally as library staff can do to better serve your Indigenous patrons? This webinar will discuss what Indigenous Librarians think libraries and library staff can do to make your library more... Welcoming, Inclusive and Respectful for Indigenous patrons. NOTE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to change the date by a week. If you already registered, your registration was automatically updated to December 16. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the registration link.

New CCD lists

  • Log into CCD for 25 new December-January super forthcoming lists along with four unique lists: Social & Emotional Learning, Western Roundup, Work Interrupted: Business Personal Finance Books, and Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Titles for Kids & Teens. Happy ordering!

Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) updates

  • 2020 Challenges survey
    • In August, the CFLA Intellectual Freedom Committee put a call out for reports of challenges to materials, resources, services or policies in 2019. The purpose of the 2020 Challenges survey is to gather data about the nature and outcomes of challenges to intellectual freedom initiated in publicly funded Canadian libraries (e.g., public, school, post-secondary, and government). Please refer to the attached PDF for more information. CFLA survey
  • Crown copyright
    • The CFLA Copyright Committee has been busy advocating with our federal government to modernize and improve access to government information. The Crown Copyright letter was recently shared with Cabinet Ministers and MPs and has had a positive response; we are encouraged by the number of follow up conversations we had scheduled as a result of the communique. The next steps for the Committee include communication with provincial governments to inform and gain support. Member associations will be copied on the relevant letters for their jurisdictions.

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) Emotional Intelligence podcast

  • Emotional intelligence is not a new term but it’s getting attention as more people explore its ways to help improve their day-to-day lives. This 10-minute Emotional Intelligence: What it is and why it matters CCOHS podcast features a conversation discussing emotional intelligence in the workplace. “A workplace with emotionally intelligent workers and employers is often one where there is easy collaboration, clear and simple communication, and a happy environment. This, in turn, can have positive impacts on mental health.”

American Library Association (ALA) Stay Well, Stay Inspired

November 25

YRL Coffee Chat - Save the date

  • Thursday, December 17, 1:30-2:15 p.m.: Mark your calendar for next month’s Coffee Chat.

Collections and Resource Sharing update

  • *New* Winter hotlist
    • Login to CCD to order from the latest ULS pre-publication Hotlist and Second Choice for adult fiction and nonfiction. The deadline to submit orders is January 8, 2021. If you have questions, please contact us at orders@yrl.ab.ca. NOTE: The 2020 deadline for ALL orders is Thursday, December 10. If you submit orders to YRL after that, we will process them on January 4, 2021 as part of the 2021 fiscal year.
  • Year-end Processes webinar recording
    • Check out the Year-end Processes webinar recording, presentation slides and report details available on Niche Academy to learn the cut-off dates for ordering, invoicing and fiscal year-end rollover at YRL, the reports you may want to run for collection development and auditing purposes, and other tips and tricks for ensuring your year-end processes go smoothly.
  • Fiscal year-end reports
    • The best time to run reports for an accurate list of what was ordered, received and cancelled through YRL is December 14-16, 2020. For information about the reports, go to Niche Academy. If you have any questions about these reports or would like YRL to run these reports for your library, please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca or orders@yrl.ab.ca as soon as possible. NOTE: Please do not run Polaris or SimplyReports year-long reports during the day as it impacts Polaris performance.
  • Important dates
    • December 10, 4:30 p.m.: Last day to submit orders for the 2020 fiscal year.
    • December 14-16: Best time to run acquisitions reports.
    • December 17: YRL roll-over to 2021 fiscal year.
  • Hours and delivery survey
    • Please take a moment to complete this short survey about your library’s hours and deliveries. Only one response per library please.
  • OverDrive contributions deadline
    • Friday, December 4: If your library would like to contribute funds to OverDrive from your allotment account or by cheque, please contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca with the donation details by Friday, December 4.

YRL webinars

  • Wednesday, December 9, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Connecting with Indigenous Patrons: Wondering what libraries or you personally as library staff can do to better serve your Indigenous patrons? This webinar will discuss what Indigenous Librarians think libraries and library staff can do to make your library more... Welcoming, Inclusive and Respectful for Indigenous patrons. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the registration link.
  • Thursday, December 10, 1:30-2:30 p.m., EDI in Libraries: Doing “The Work”: Join us for an hour-long discussion wherein we will take a look what other libraries have been doing in their own communities, identify gaps in our practice, and hopefully brainstorm new projects for 2021. Participation is encouraged and access to a microphone or webcam is appreciated. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the registration link.

PLSB Update

  • New COVID-19 measures were announced by the Premier yesterday. Effective immediately, public libraries can remain open with capacity limited to 25 per cent of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code. Watch your email this Friday, November 27 when the PLSB will share more direction to support libraries in these new measures.

Waubgeshig Rice hoopla Instagram takeover event

  • Monday, November 30: hoopla is happy to announce that Waubgeshig Rice is doing an all-day takeover on November 30 of @hoopladigital. His books have been very popular with libraries and even a few 'one read, one community' programs. Moon of the Crusted Snow was also shortlisted for the 2019/20 First Nation Communities READ Indigenous Literature Award! The cool thing about these all-day takeovers is that libraries and patrons can send a question anytime and Waubgeshig will get to them as he can, so it's not like a 'live' session where if you are busy during that hour you miss the opportunity.

Meet Notorious Cree!

  • Friday, December 4, 4:00-5:30 p.m.: The Youth Leading Reconciliation group of the Boys & Girls Club of Wetaskiwin (BGCW) is hosting world-class hoop and Powwow dancer Notorious Cree for ages 13+. Join this event for hoop dancing, traditional teachings and to ask questions about being a youth leader for truth and reconciliation. Contact Allison at BGCW by December 3 to register and get the Zoom link. Thank you to YRL Trustee Bill Elliot, City of Wetaskiwin, for sharing this with us!

November 18

Big news revealed!

  • We are elated to announce the new TRACpac app is live in both the Android and Apple stores! Download it now and let us know what you think at askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.

YRL webinars

  • Wednesday, November 18, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Year-end Processes – Reports, Important Dates and Rollover: Join the Manager, Collections and Resource Sharing, for a ‘how-to’ when it comes to year-end processes. You will learn the cut-off dates for ordering, invoicing and fiscal year-end rollover at YRL, the reports you may want to run for collection development and auditing purposes, and other tips and tricks for ensuring your year-end processes go smoothly! Register
  • Wednesday, November 25, 1:30-2:30 p.m., YRL Services to School Libraries: Are you a new or new-ish school librarian who wants to know more about the services that YRL offers to your school? Are you a long-term school librarian who would like a refresher or just a chance to connect with YRL and with your school librarian colleagues? Then join us for our first ever virtual webinar for YRL school libraries! During this session, we will be discussing how YRL can support you and your schools, including collections, programming and consultation support. Register
  • Wednesday, December 9, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Connecting with Indigenous Patrons: Wondering what libraries or you personally as library staff can do to better serve your Indigenous patrons? This webinar will discuss what Indigenous Librarians think libraries and library staff can do to make your library more... Welcoming, Inclusive and Respectful for Indigenous patrons. Register

Revised TRACpac brochures

  • Both TRACpac brochures – Tips and General Information for Library Customers and How to Place and Manage Hold Requests – have been revised and are available for download.  These are perfect to print, tri-fold and provide to your patrons. Note: If you currently have printed copies of either brochure, please replace them with these updated versions.

Ernest (Ernie) B. Ingles Reading Room

  • For more than two decades, Ernie Ingles was chief librarian of the University of Alberta, but his vision to make information available to all — student or not — embraced the entire country, particularly Western Canada. Read this UAlberta article to learn how two of his long-time friends have stepped forward to ensure lasting recognition of this visionary bibliophile.

How to practice winter wellness

  • For many of us, winter can be a difficult time. Shorter days and colder temperatures can contribute to depression and social isolation as we hunker down at home. With the added stress of the pandemic, we may be looking ahead to winter with foreboding. Winter doesn’t have to be a time of unhappiness and stress. Read this blog post from the Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute for six ways to improve your winter outlook!

November 12

What to do when your library is required to close

  • If your library is required to close down quickly due to a positive COVID-19 case or enhanced municipal/provincial measures, YRL is here to support you. Once a shutdown is confirmed, please contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca with answers to the questions below – a YRL staff member may follow up with a phone call to be sure we are meeting your specific needs.
    • How long do you anticipate the library being closed?
    • Are you closed to the public but still operational? OR Is this a temporary complete shutdown? If so, for how long?
    • Do you want closed days in Polaris and collections made unavailable?
    • Do you want deliveries shut down or do you want to receive them even if the library is closed so you have items there once you re-open?
    • Do you want card renewals done by YRL?
    • Do you want a banner on your website?
  • And, please remember to contact us when you know your library re-opening date.

Upcoming 2021 provincial budget input

  • The Government of Alberta is inviting input into the 2021 budget through either an online survey or telephone town halls – access the survey or view the town hall schedule on the Budget 2021 consultation webpage. “Your input will help inform tough decisions to ensure we can continue providing important programs and services, get Alberta out of debt and on the path to a prosperous future."

Big news!

  • Look out for some exciting news coming in the update next week!!

November 4

YRL webinars

  • Professional Reading Group
    • Tuesday, November 10, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Are you tired of tackling professional readings alone? Now you can connect the dots between abstruse theory and grounded practice in a group! We will be taking Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and applying it to library user experiences. Participants are encouraged to bring other content for discussion as well. After registering, you will be sent links to the readings. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca to get the registration link.
  • Year-end Processes - Reports, Important Dates and Rollover
    • Wednesday, November 18, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Join the Manager, Collections and Resource Sharing, for a ‘how-to’ when it comes to year-end processes. You will learn the cut-off dates for ordering, invoicing and fiscal year-end rollover at YRL, the reports you may want to run for collection development and auditing purposes, and other tips and tricks for ensuring your year-end processes go smoothly! Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca to get the registration link.
  • YRL Services to School Libraries
    • Wednesday, November 25, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Are you a new or new-ish school librarian who wants to know more about the services that YRL offers to your school? Are you a long-term school librarian who would like a refresher or just a chance to connect with YRL and with your school librarian colleagues? Then join us for our first ever virtual webinar for YRL school libraries! During this session, we will be discussing how YRL can support you and your schools, including collections, programming and consultation support. Contact schoolq@yrl.ab.ca or askyrl@yrl.ab.ca to get the registration link.

Lost Holds requests

  • When a hold request gets placed and there is only one item that can fulfill it but it doesn’t get pulled within a few days, it can drop off the Request Manager and become a digital ghost in the Polaris database. It’s still there, just floating around – we call these the Lost Holds – and you have the power to bring these holds back to life and get them in the hands of those who want them! Once a month, run the following three Lost Holds reports located in the Polaris Reports and Notices > Custom folder; locate the items and check them in to trigger the hold.
    1. Lost Holds (Bib-level – 1 item) by Item assigned branch: Will identify items that someone wants but that only your library has and sadly is not appearing on your Request Manager.
    2. Lost Holds (Item-Specific requests) by Library: Will identify item-specific holds that have been placed on something in your library that is not appearing on your Request Manager.
    3. Lost Holds (Bib-level – 1 item) by Patron branch: Will identify lost holds belonging to your patrons for items at other libraries. You may contact the library to ask them to locate the item, or you may use it as a collection development opportunity if it is available for purchase.

De-commissioning blue cloth shipping bags

  • Thank you to every YRL member library for discontinuing the use of the blue cloth shipping bags when packing and filling the bins over the past three months – we really appreciate it! We are now going to be "retiring" hundreds of these bags and are first offering the bags FOR FREE to your library for you to keep FOREVER! There are many possibilities for the use of these small, medium and large canvas bags in your library, such as:
    • Use them for curbside delivery pickups as they can be washed in between uses for sanitizing and have their own handy label.
    • Store items for kits in them.
    • Use them in crafts.
    • Turn them into take home programming bags.
  • If your library would like to own some of these bags, please send an email with the size and quantity to askyrl@yrl.ab.ca. The bags will be shipped to your library on the van delivery run over the next few months. Enjoy!

New employment standards rules in effect November 1

Library marketing during the holiday season

  • It’s hard to do library promotion during the holiday season in a normal year: People are less likely to respond to social media posts and emails, program attendance dips and circulations tend to drop. This year will likely be very different: Many families are hurting financially because of the pandemic – they’ll be looking for entertainment that don’t cost them anything, and because it’s not safe to travel, many of our community members will celebrate with only their immediate family members this year – they’ll be craving social interaction. Your library can fulfill the unique needs the pandemic has created. This Super Library Marketing blog post has four simple and easy ideas to market your library during this pandemic holiday season.

HRdownloads COVID-19 and workplace Q&A recorded webinar/handout

  • There were hundreds of questions submitted about the second wave and how it might affect organizations. While we did our best to answer as many as we could during the live webinar, we certainly couldn’t get to them all. We are committed to helping as many businesses through this difficult time as we can with access to information, so we’re sharing even more answers! Watch the COVID Q&A: Your Questions About the Second Wave, Answered recorded webinar and also read through the webinar handout.

October 28

YRL webinar: Incubating Creativity: Turning your Library into a Creative Hub for your Community

  • Tuesday, November 3, 1:30-3:00 p.m.: Libraries aren’t just for readers! In this 90-minute webinar, you will learn how to assess the creative landscape of your community, position your library as a creative hub, and identify ways that you can help provide access to interesting and useful resources. A handout for a pre-session guided reflection will be emailed out a few days before the session. This shouldn't take more than ten to fifteen minutes of your time and is not required for participation. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the registration link.

Resolved: Ancestry Library Edition and Google Chrome

  • Patrons had been encountering difficulties accessing Ancestry Library Edition outside of the library using Chrome due to a change Google had made. Working with our development company to update the code on the library websites, this was resolved on Thursday, October 22. Patrons should be able to continue working on their genealogical projects on Chrome without interruption.

We want your opinion... twice!

  • Library Managers and Trustees: How has YRL’s pandemic response been for you and your library? What did you like? What didn’t work very well? Please share your thoughts with us by taking YRL's Pandemic Response to Fall 2020 Survey (will take about 5-7 minutes) – if you participated in a focus group webinar, you can opt out of the survey. Thank you in advance for helping to inform our future services!
  • Library Managers and Programmers: Do you facilitate programs at the library? What are some of your hobbies, skills, or "passion projects" that you would be interested in bringing to the library as a program? Let us know through this short survey. Your input will help build the next wave of YRL kits!

YRL van delivery schedule

  • Need to know the YRL van delivery schedule for November, December and January? Here you go! Please note the changes due to the November and December statutory holidays (YRL is closed November 11 and December 25 to January 1). Contact Wendy if you have any questions.

Collection enhancement: Radon Awareness Kits

  • YRL has partnered with the Lung Association-Alberta & NWT and Health Canada to offer 18 Radon Awareness Kits for circulation in the region. These kits will be available in November just in time for Radon Awareness Month. We need at least six libraries to volunteer to house and circulate these kits from November 2020 to April 2021. The kits will be loanable inside YRL only and will display in TRACpac for patrons to place holds. Please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca if you are interested in housing 1-2 kits. Patrons and the loaning library are not responsible for loss or damages to the kits. We will be including more information about the kits in weekly updates as it becomes available. We hope these kits will be a valuable addition to the YRL region during peak radon testing months!

Interlibrary loan (ILL)/Relais update

  • A huge thank you to all of our libraries for working collaboratively with us on the new Alberta Relais system. 43 requests were filled for library patrons in the YRL region in September! As with any new software, we continue to work through some bumps in the road. Please continue to reach out to us through askyrl@yrl.ab.ca if you have questions or concerns.

Alberta Non-profit Network's (ABNN) non-profit survey

  • A lot can happen in a few months – what non-profits were dealing with in the spring is vastly different than the struggles of today. To help build an understanding of the current state of Alberta’s non-profits and charities, ABNN is conducting a fall sector survey. What are your funding, operating and staffing challenges? What support and policy decisions do you need on the road to recovery? The more organizations that complete the survey the better picture we can get. ABNN reports the data and results from this survey will be shared with the sector, government partners and funders to support ongoing dialogue.

October 21

Fine free libraries

  • If your library has fully or partially eliminated fines for overdue materials and you want this noted on a national list, please let us know at askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.

Virtual literary conference on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children’s literature

  • Tuesday, November 10, 6:00-7:00 p.m., Representation of Indigenous Cultures in Canadian Picture Books: IBBY Canada and Communication-Jeunesse are pleased to present a virtual literary conference on a very important subject: Why is it important that the diverse First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures, languages ​​and experiences be represented in picture books? How do you select and share authentic and relevant Indigenous children's literature? Acclaimed authors and educators Dr. Jenny Kay Dupuis (Nishnaabe/Nipissing First Nation) and Monique Gray Smith (Cree, Lakota, Scottish) will discuss these topics, complemented by children's books suggestions. Register

Board Leadership Calgary webinars for non-profits

  • Saturday, November 7, 10:30 a.m.-Noon, Introduction to the Essentials of Effective Partnerships: Demand for community services is rising and the complexity of the challenges is greater than any one single entity. At the same time, funding is in decline and Covid-19 pandemic layered on creates an entirely uncertain future that requires new thinking and approaches. One thing that feels certain is that a collaborative future will be essential for sustainable, just and inclusive communities. But partnerships are hard work and success is not guaranteed. This 90-minute webinar introduces you to some of the essential of effective partnerships to help you and your partners successfully achieve “more than the sum of the parts” results. Register
  • Saturday, November 21, 10:30 a.m.-Noon, Cash Flow Management in Times of Uncertainty: In today’s challenging and constantly shifting business landscape, many non-profits are feeling overwhelmed and left wondering what more they could be doing to elevate and protect their organizations during a deeply impacted economic time. To increase your chances of successfully pulling through the storm, it is paramount to have a full understanding of your current cash flow situation and how you could apply best practices that not only mitigate cash flow loss, but also provide room for opportunity. Register
  • Saturday, December 5, 10:00 a.m.-Noon, Anti-Racism and Equity is for Everyone: We're living in a moment of racial reckoning. Since the murder of George Floyd, the scale of Black Lives Matter protests, from grassroots organizations to registered charities, individuals and community organizers must consider what this cultural revolution is asking of us. Many non-profits are wondering how they can best respond to this moment and how they can hold themselves accountable to their Black, Indigenous, and racialized community members. But taking action is not easy, and many may be paralyzed into inaction. In this two-hour session, we will talk about why taking action to address racism is critical for non-profits to do, and how to overcome the barriers and challenges they may encounter as they begin this work. Register

Your employee refuses to wear a mask - now what?

  • You’ve probably seen video clips of people who refuse to wear masks in public getting into arguments, fights and all sorts of foolishness. But what happens when those people work for your organization? It’s important to understand what’s going on psychologically when employees don’t wear masks and once you’re able to understand this, you can then adopt an approach to get reluctant staff to observe safety guidelines. This article from TLNT Talent Management & HR explains the reason people won’t change and how to get people to listen to you by listening to them.

October 14

Ancestry Library Edition and Google Chrome

  • While Ancestry Library Edition extended its remote access through until December 31, some patrons may now be experiencing problems if they are using Google Chrome. The browser recently made changes to how it handles referral URLs, which is how Ancestry authenticates patrons to access it from home. We are working with both Ancestry and our website developer to make access seamless again, but until those solutions are in place, please recommend to your patrons to use a different browser (Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, etc.).

Virtual United Library Services Inc. (ULS) takeaway sale on CCD tool

  • By Friday, October 30: The ULS takeaway sale is now virtual on the CCD tool! There are 15 new selection lists (available until Friday, October 30) containing ULS titles for children and youth, by subject area: Easy fiction; FNMI; French; Juvenile and Middle Grade/YA fiction, graphic novels, non-fiction, and tried and true; Picture books; Social emotional learning and COVID; ULS top picks; and YRCA–PNLA.
  • To get these titles in your library quickly:
    1. Create a single cart on the CCD tool with these titles only – do not add items from other CCD selection lists.
    2. Before submitting your CCD order, it is very important to mark “TAKEAWAY” in the notes field at the bottom.
        • YRL staff send the orders to ULS, the ULS staff pick the titles from the stock at the ULS warehouse, the orders are shipped to YRL, and the titles are then delivered to your library.

Marigold Library System (MLS) Leap and Polaris training webinars

  • Our partners at MLS are offering the these short, free Leap and Polaris training webinars to all TRAC member library staff.
    • Thursday, October 15, 10:00-10:30 a.m.: Leap – Circulation basics Register
    • Thursday, October 15, 2:00-2:30 p.m.: Polaris – Circulation basics Register
    • Thursday, October 22, 10:00-10:45 a.m.: Leap – Patron accounts Register
    • Thursday, October 22, 2:00-2:45 p.m.: Polaris – Patron accounts Register
    • Thursday, October 29, 10:00-10:45 a.m.: Leap – Searching for materials and placing holds Register
    • Thursday, October 29, 2:00-2:45 p.m.: Polaris – Searching for materials and placing holds Register

HRdownloads COVID-19 and workplace Q&A webinar

  • Thursday, October 22, 12:00-12:45 p.m.: Many employees have begun to return to work, while others may continue to work remotely for an indefinite time. No matter what the situation has been for your organization and its employees, all workplaces have felt the impact from COVID-19. We are now moving forward and adjusting to the new normal. But as the first wave subsides, it is time to think about and prepare for a second wave. This HRdownloads webinar will be a Q&A where we answer your workplace-related questions on COVID-19 and address your concerns about the effects of a second wave. Feel free to submit your questions to us, or just register to learn more about the concerns many organizations have on topics like workplace safety, return to work, employment, layoffs, and accommodations during the pandemic. Register

Caring for your collection and facility recorded webinar

  • View the 60-minute Collections and Facilities: Caring for your resources during COVID-19 recorded webinar from the Reopening Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM) project to hear how some organizations are implementing policies and procedures for the safe handling of materials as well as the management of building operations. There is also an update on REALM testing efforts and the development of project resources. Watch

Library coding programs

  • Kids Code Jeunesse (KCJ) is a national charity dedicated to helping kids learn about AI, algorithms, code, and digital citizenship, while supporting teachers, educators, parents and volunteers in teaching digital skills, through online coding workshops, and the Code Club Canada project. KCJ has partnered with libraries around Canada for many years to offer coding workshops and programs to kids in the community. KCJ has a number of sponsored and paid programs offered, and are flexible while working with a library's budget. For more information, contact Zoë Decker, Alberta Community Developer, at zoe@kidscodejeunesse.org or 403-389-7564.

October 7

No 3D printer? No problem!

  • Tuesday, October 13, 4:00-5:00 p.m.: Ben Ehlers, Librarian, Library Development Services will be hosting an hour-long session on how to get started with basic 3D design, and develop activities for both children and adults. A laptop or desktop computer is the only tool anyone needs to start modeling. Pre-registration is not required. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the session link.

30 new CCD lists posted

  • The September YRL Bibliomaniacs booktalk recommendations (one list for books in all available formats, and another list for DVD/Blu-ray titles), 
  • Library Journal and Booklist recommendations,
  • Highly recommended indie films,
  • Amazing new fall Canadian titles,
  • Under the radar fairytale and folktale retellings and adaptations,
  • Hispanic heritage month featuring Hispanic and Latinx authors,
  • Indigenous futurism featuring sci-fi, fantasy and speculative fiction books by Indigenous authors, and 
  • CVS Midwest Tape's October and November super forthcoming and monthly lists.

Stronger Together virtual conference: Statistic highlights

  • Of the 1,155 registrations, 730 turned up for one or more sessions,
  • Together, we streamed over 27 hours of content,
  • Our learners watched a combined total of 2,426 hours of content,
  • Attendees asked our panelists over 230 questions,
  • At our peak, we were sharing content with almost 400 people simultaneously, and
  • During our keynotes, as much as 5% of our audience was from outside Canada.

Virtual book fair

  • Monday-Friday, October 19-23, Noon-4:00 p.m.: The Western Book Reps Association will be hosting an inaugural October Book Fair featuring Ampersand, Canadian Manda Group, Granville Island Publishing, Harbour Publishing, HarperCollins, Heritage Group Distribution, Login Canada, Midtown Press, Orca Book Publishers, Pajama Press, Penguin Random House, Read & Co. Books, Sandhill Book Marketing, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Theytus Books, and Thomas Allen.
  • Upon registration, participants will be providing all the Zoom, catalogue and recording links on the event page. Register

LGBTQ2I online panel discussions

  • Equitas is hosting two webinars on the important issues facing LGBTQ2I communities in Canada and around the world, and how we can all help build more equitable and inclusive communities. A diverse panel of Canadian activists who promote and protect the rights of LGBTQ2I communities will present with Victor Madrigal Borloz, United Nations Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. NOTE: Both sessions will be broadcast in French with live translation to English.
    • Wednesday, October 21, 10:00-11:30 a.m.: The impacts and challenges of LGBTQ2I rights defenders in Canada and internationally. Register
    • Thursday, October 22, 10:00-11:30 a.m.: Canada's Role in Supporting LGBTQI Refugees and Newcomers. Register

October 5

Stronger Together virtual conference: Accolades and request

  • On behalf of our partners, thank you so much to everyone who attended the Stronger Together virtual conference. It was an overwhelming success and we are so pleased how it rolled out!
  • We encourage you to share your conference experience with us by filling out the Stronger Together Satisfaction Survey that was emailed to all participants early Saturday. Thank you in advance for setting aside approximately 8-10 minutes to complete the survey – we’re going to query you on each presentation you attended.

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) webinar

  • Wednesday, October 21, 11:00 a.m.-noon: AUMA presents Ask the Expert: Cyber Awareness in the Not for Profit and Public Sector, an interactive webinar that will provide some insights and guidance on the cyber threat landscape as it relates to municipalities. With working from home becoming the new norm, the cyber threat has shifted to target municipal and not for profit employees using much more elaborate phishing scams as well as home devices not protected by your network. Cyber security is real and needs to be taken seriously, and municipalities ARE a target. Register

Working with immigrant and refugee families

  • As you approach your work with newcomers to Canada, it is critical to do so with cultural competence. Read this article from the Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute for insights and guiding principles for working with immigrant and refugee families.

September 30

Virtual conferences: How to prepare an what to do afterward

  • The Stronger Together virtual conference is tomorrow and Friday, and this timely Super Library Marketing blog post contains six things you should do to prepare before a virtual conference even begins, followed by this blog post about what to do post-conference.

Group benefit plans for libraries

  • YRL is often asked about how libraries and library boards can provide employee group benefits for their library staff. As a result of these past questions, we are passing along the following information for your library’s use. If you or your board are investigating employee group benefit plans for your library staff, we have heard of a plan offered by Navigate Financial Group Ltd. that has library specific group benefit plans. As noted in promotional material: “Known as the Alberta Libraries Benefits program (ALBP), the idea is to offer cost effective employee benefits programs to like minded libraries around the province. It has pre-negotiated terms with multiple insurers that allows it to offer perks, discounts, rate guarantees and annual donations back to the participating libraries. The donation is based on a percentage of the benefits premium paid and it will be given to each participating library upon renewal.” If you wish further information, please contact Brian Ross, Senior Benefits Advisor at Brian.Ross@navfingroup.com, 1.866.628.5628. NOTE: This is not an endorsement of this company by YRL.

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) conversation with the Minister of Municipal Affairs

  • AUMA recently had a conversation with the Honourable Tracy Allard, Minister of Municipal Affairs, to discuss areas of key interest to urban municipalities and to discern some little-known facts about the Minister, including what book she is currently reading.

September 28

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in Libraries: Conference debrief webinar

  • Tuesday, October 13, 1:30-3:00 p.m.: The Stronger Together virtual conference is over, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to talk about! This 90-minute session will provide participants with an opportunity to discuss EDI topics and themes that emerged in the course of learning. Below are some sessions that might be of interest, but this list is not exhaustive.
    • Jenn Carson – The Whole-Person Library: Meeting Lifelong Needs through Community
    • Michelle Pagliuso – Mind the Gap: Programming for Adults with Developmental Disabilities
    • Brandi Roper – Closing the Cultural Gap: Outreach Services to Hutterite Communities in Stettler County
    • Dr. Norene Erickson and Dr. Joanne Rodger – Strength in Numbers: Sharing the Stories of Public Library Worker’s Emotional Labour
    • Lorisia MacLeod – Making it 3D
  • Discussion questions and links to the talks will be provided a week in advance. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the registration link.
Websites outage
  • Friday, October 16, 6:00-10:00 p.m.: Please note that all member public library websites will be unavailable for up to four hours while the webserver is relocated. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact wsfl@yrl.ab.ca.

Library 2.020 mini-conference: Sustainability in Libraries

  • Wednesday, October 14, 1:00-4:00 p.m.: This mini-conference will focus on "Sustainability in Libraries." The event is being organized in partnership with Rebekkah Smith Aldrich (MLS, LEED AP), the Executive Director of the Mid-Hudson Library System. Rebekkah currently serves as the co-chair of the American Library Association's (ALA) Special Task Force on Sustainability, as an advisory board member for the ALA Center for the Future of Libraries, is the co-founder of the Sustainable Libraries Initiative, and a founding member of the ALA Sustainability Round Table, was named a Library Journal (LJ) Mover & Shaker in 2010, and writes the LJ Sustainability column. A frequent international speaker on the topic of libraries and sustainability, Rebekkah is the author of Sustainable Thinking: Ensuring Your Library's Future in an Uncertain World and Resilience, part of the Library Futures Series from ALA Editions. Learn more about Rebekkah at SustainableLibraries.org.
  • Everyone is invited to participate in our Library 2.0 conference events, designed to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing among information professionals worldwide. Each three-hour event consists of a keynote panel, 10-15 crowd-sourced thirty-minute presentations, and a closing 30-minute keynote. Register (free) as a member of the Library 2.0 network to be kept informed of future events. Recordings from previous years are available as well as a Library 2.0 YouTube channel. The School of Information at San José State University is the founding conference sponsor. Register

Virtual reptile shows

September 25

Alberta Public Library Administrators’ Council (APLAC) bylaw discussion response

  • There has been a lot of discussion over the last few days on the APLAC listserv regarding the library's ability to legally enforce mask wearing by the public. Here are some points to consider:
    • There are reasons why masks cannot be worn, and often in municipal bylaws, these reasons have been clarified.
    • Asking people to wear masks is not a Charter violation; but there could be reasons why people can't wear masks (see the point above).
    • If you want this to be a legally enforceable bylaw of the library board:
      • The bylaw needs to be passed by the library board and sent to council.
      • If councils are not enforcing mask use in the community, they will probably strike down the library's bylaw.
      • If council allows it to stand, you will need to contact the RCMP/Police/Peace Officers for them to charge the customer with a violation of the bylaw.
      • Be prepared with a communications strategy to handle the press.
      • Be prepared for a power struggle with the customers in reaction to this bylaw.
  • YRL does not believe that there are any grounds under FOIP or Human Rights to:
    • Require a doctors note from customers who wish to enter the library premises without a mask, and
    • Require the doctor to detail the reasons why the customer cannot wear a mask (aka the medical condition or diagnosis).
      • Information like this could be considered invasive and not required to be able to conduct business. Further, you would need to look at this from a records retention perspective -- are you going to keep the doctor’s note on file? For how long? Who will have access to it? How will the permission to not wear masks be communicated to the rest of the staff?
  • Emotions are running high; everyone is trying to find the 'right' answers and to support staff who interact with the public. Mask wearing, hand washing, etc. is ideal. I'm not sure a bylaw approach is going to put staff more at risk then they would be if they just used conversation first -- and then not get close to the unmasked people.
Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project: Second webinar
  • Thursday, October 8, 1:00-2:00 p.m.: Amid COVID-19, many archives, libraries, and museums are reopening and expanding access to services in their communities. The challenges of reopening during a pandemic have led to many questions about the handling of materials as well as the management of building operations. From allowing the virus to die naturally, to using disinfectants, to applying UV light or heat treatment—there are many options to consider. Join this webinar to hear how some organizations are implementing policies and procedures around the use of these various treatments and considerations that could inform your own local decisions. You’ll also hear an update on REALM testing efforts and the development of project resources. Register

One Page: Canada's Virtual Literary Series

  • 2020 has been a difficult year for many in the literary sector, with independent booksellers closing, writers and other artists finding themselves without any means of support, and many of Canada’s literary and arts festivals struggling to adapt to a new reality. So Toronto Public Library, in partnership with Canada’s largest literary festivals, is launching One Page: Canada’s Virtual Literary Series this fall. With One Page, we hope to strengthen and support the literary and arts scenes across the country by sharing resources and working together to ensure as many organizations as possible survive these difficult times, while at the same time, offering Canadians access to some of the best local, national and international literary content available. We’re hoping that Canada’s libraries will join us.
  • Starting on October 8, 2020, One Page will present a bi-weekly series of virtual events featuring some of the best known and most popular writers around the world, in conversation with Canadian hosts talking directly to Canadians. These events will be promoted across the country with the goal of attracting thousands of Canadians to watch online. Book sales and book borrowing will be an integral part of each event, to support writers, publishers and encourage book culture and access to literature.
  • With sponsorship and support funding from Toronto Public Library, and contributions from One Page’s founding literary festivals, we are able to offer One Page content (curated by artistic directors and curators from across the country) to Canadian audiences via their local libraries.  As a One Page partner library, you can:
    • Offer this content to your library customers by promoting it and providing links to the One Page platform. We know that these are busy times for everyone, and many libraries are under-resourced to develop, deliver and promote quality literary and cultural programs. So as a One Page partner library, you will be provided with promotional templates and tools, and pre-packaged content that you can tweak for your own market and communities.
    • Promote your library’s local program content on the One Page website in our program calendar so that others across Canada can engage with your library’s literary and cultural programs.
    • Offer other local library and festival content to your customers by promoting it (as other partners may do with your content).
  • Given the short lead times, libraries can join the initiative any time throughout the month of October. If you are able to join us earlier, you can be part of the launch announcement and promotional activities.
  • How to find out more: Our program coordinator Danielle would be happy to answer your questions and provide you with more information. You can contact her at info@onepagelit.ca. We will also be holding an information session on Tuesday, Sept 29th from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. (EST) where we can provide more information about how the project works, what events we have confirmed for the fall, the benefits for your library in taking part in One Page, and the benefits to One Page in having you involved.

September 23

YRL Board meeting

  • Monday, October 5, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.: During this virtual Board meeting, the draft 2021 budget and 2022-2023 projections will be presented to Trustees for information; voting on the budget will take place at the December 7 Board meeting. Contact lhaak@yrl.ab.ca for the meeting link.
Discover eResources for Kids and Teens Learning from Home webinar
  • Tuesday, October 20, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: In this webinar, YRL staff will highlight eResources to support learning from home that kids, teens and parents can access from your library’s website. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the registration link.

New Library Personnel Workshop

  • Thursday, October 22, 1:00-3:00 p.m.: During this casual afternoon virtual session, you will meet YRL staff, receive an orientation to the host of services that YRL offers, virtually tour our space, and have an opportunity to ask questions. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the registration link.

September 21

Welcome to YRL, Ben!

  • We are pleased to announce that Librarian Ben Ehlers joined YRL and the Library Development Services team today! Ben is coming to us from EPL where he has spent the last eight years contributing to the ongoing growth and development of the Makerspace, as well as building relationships and programming at the Riverbend Branch as a community librarian. Ben holds degrees in International Studies, Education, and an MLIS and is passionate about the role that libraries play in facilitating the exchange and creation of knowledge. On a more personal note, he enjoys cooking, collecting musical instruments, and playing board games with his family. When he’s not at home or work, you might find him exploring Edmonton’s river valley with his dog, Puccini. Ben can be reached at behlers@yrl.ab.ca or 780-962-2003, ext. 231.
Helping children succeed at online learning
  • For students learning from home this year, there will be some lingering challenges from last spring’s COVID-19 shutdown: parents busy balancing their own work needs, no in-person connection with teachers, technology headaches. But the best way to support online learners is through solid teamwork involving everyone in the equation, says a University of Alberta education expert in this folio article.

September 18

YRL Presents: The Bibliomaniacs - new webinar

  • Tuesday, September 22, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Join YRL staff for the second version of The Bibliomaniacs as they book talk the hottest new publications, read-alikes of popular titles and even some diamonds in the rough. From babies to adults you will discover something for every audience. Please note that the content for this session is NOT the same as last time – you will be introduced to a whole new series of books and resources for you to discover! Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the registration link.
RBdigital audiobooks now available on OverDrive
  • Library patrons will be elated to see nearly 6,000 always available audiobooks in OverDrive. The content migrated over from RBdigital, which was purchased by OverDrive earlier this year. Magazines and other content will be making the transition later this year.

SuperNet upgrades

  • YRL and its member libraries’ SuperNet connections are being transitioned from SuperNet 1.0 to SuperNet 2.0 by the end of 2020. On Thursday, October 1, the SuperNet at YRL headquarters is being upgraded; the work is scheduled from 6:00-9:00 a.m. Please note that you will have internet but Polaris and related services may be unavailable intermittently during this period. If there is an outage, look to your inbox and our website, Twitter and/or Facebook for updates.
  • Member libraries will be transitioning between October and November. If your library is scheduled for October, you have already been contacted. We will contact those libraries scheduled for November in a few weeks.
  • If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact helpdesk@yrl.ab.ca.

How to stop people from rambling

  • Ramblers are everywhere… on webinars, in the boardroom, in your training class. The reasons for rambling will vary, but if you’re the leader, the problem is yours. This short article from TLNT Talent Management & HR provides three options for bringing the rambler to a stop.

September 14

Stronger Together virtual conference

  • Thursday-Friday, October 1 & 2: Jointly presented by Parkland Regional Library System, The Alberta Library, Peace Library System and YRL, this two-day online event features 41 great speakers, 4 keynote sessions, 24 conference sessions and 2 vendor panels. And best of all… it’s free to attend! Register
Collective Trauma Summit 2020
  • Tuesday-Thursday, September 22-October 1: This 10-day online event will explore methods for working with unresolved and hidden trauma in individuals, communities and society. Discussions will explore the most pressing issues of our time such as racism, environment and climate change, global health care/pandemic crisis, war and conflict legacies, intergenerational trauma, and more. Learn from over 45 speakers, including Dr. Gabor Maté, on how to effectively identify and respond to collective trauma. Register

Make the most of your virtual conference experience

  • An in-person conference and a virtual conference are not the same… but you can have a fantastic virtual conference experience with the right preparation. Read this timely Super Library Marketing blog post for six things you should do before a virtual conference even begins.

September 11

Public Library Services Branch (PLSB) Webinar

  • Thursday, September 24, 10:00 a.m.: The PLSB is pleased to announce our upcoming webinar - Public Libraries and Pandemic Closures: Using Statistics to Communicate Resourceful Service Delivery. Over the past few months, PLSB has sent out multiple surveys to public libraries regarding pandemic closures, activity during closures, and reopening strategies. This webinar will discuss the ways in which libraries can use statistics in a meaningful way to communicate activity during closures. Attend this session to learn more about:
    • Why it is useful for libraries to collect statistics.
    • Interpreting data collected during the pandemic to make the best use of your library’s statistics.
    • How policies, plans of service and other governance tools can assist you.
    • Ways to use statistics to demonstrate activity during closures.
  • This session is open to library board members and library managers, and will be approximately 20-30 minutes in length. There is no charge for this training session, and registration is not required. We recommend logging on a few minutes before the session begins. Please note that we are not able to record sessions at this time. Attend webinar Password: PLSB

YRL webinar: SimplyReports for Collection Development

  • Tuesday, September 15, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Wondering what SimplyReports can tell you about your collection? Join Jocie Wilson, Manager, Collections and Resource Sharing, as she reviews her favourite SimplyReports collection development and analysis reports. This session is best for those with some previous experience with SimplyReports. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the registration link.
Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) 2019 Challenges survey
  • Did your library experience any challenges to materials, resources services or policies between January 1 and December 31, 2019 that have not yet been reported? Challenges include disputes about Internet access, meeting rooms, speakers, library displays, exhibitions, or other matters that would prevent or restrict access to titles, collections, services, or other resources. If so, please report the details of each challenge in this longstanding survey, now managed by the CFLA. Please submit one form per challenge. If your library experienced multiple challenges, each challenge requires a separate submission. The survey is open until October 31, 2020. After that there will be a call for challenges initiated in 2020. If you have questions about the survey, feel free to contact the chair of the CFLA Intellectual Freedom Committee at IFCchair@cfla-fcab.ca. Thank you for participating in this important national work. Survey

HRdownloads webinar

  • Thursday, September 17, noon: Children are returning to school, and their parents are returning to work—for now. The COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, and there is considerable concern about whether outbreaks will occur in schools—and if they do, what that will mean for their parents. As long as schools remain open, employers and employees have fairly straightforward obligations, though both parties might need help understanding or fulfilling them. If schools close again as they did in the spring, however, then circumstances could change profoundly. Join HRdownloads for COVID-ucation: Employers, Parents, School, and the Pandemic to learn more about:
    • Possible disruptions to the school year and how they might affect parents;
    • Employers’ obligations to employees for accommodation; and
    • Handling job abandonment. Register

September 9

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in Libraries: A Continued Discussion webinar

  • Monday, September 21, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Join Laina Kelly (YRL) and Rena Traxel (Parkland County Libraries) for an online round-table discussion on EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) and library programming and outreach. Please see the pre-reading and discussion questions for more information about this topic and our plans for the session. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the registration link.
Food Literacy during the Pandemic webinar
  • Wednesday, September 16, 12:00-1:00 p.m.: This Niche Academy webinar will explore several ways that libraries have changed their service and program design to provide food literacy programs and services during the pandemic. Register

September 2

Transitioning Programming to a Virtual Environment webinar

  • Tuesday, September 8, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Are you wondering how to program during the pandemic? In this discussion-based session, we will be sharing our ideas and best practices for virtual programming in our libraries. In preparation for our discussion, please view "Transition Planned In-Person Adult Programs to a Virtual Environment", a video from the Public Library Association (link emailed upon registration) that provides information on how to present virtually, how to integrate community partners into your virtual schedule, setting up online conferencing accounts for maximum security, optimal programming selection and how to support staff in shifting to a virtual environment. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the registration link.

Tips for supporting anxious children

  • Children experience anxiety in a number of different ways: it can be physical or psychological, they can explain it with words or they may have no language for it, it can manifest as a limitation in their ability to concentrate or it may show up through refusing to go somewhere. This Crisis and Trauma Resource Institute blog post contains five strategies to help children who are facing anxiety.

August 31

September delivery schedule

  • The van delivery schedule through to October 1 is now available online. Note: There are delivery changes for next week due to the statutory holiday on Monday, September 7. Please contact delivery@yrl.ab.ca if you have any changes, questions or concerns.

Relais D2D starts tomorrow

  • Relais D2D, the new way to place interlibrary loans provincially, goes live tomorrow! A link will be added in TRACpac and shared on Facebook. If you would like a page added to your website with a description and video tutorial (preview), please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.

Expression of interest: Bulk purchase of webcams and/or headsets reminder

  • YRL is exploring a bulk purchase of webcams with integrated microphones and headsets, similar to our purchase of medical grade keyboards and mice. We do not have exact models or prices at this time as we are still locating stock, but we anticipate them being approximately $50 for each item.
    • Webcam: Wired webcam with integrated microphone. Perfect if you are using a computer that is not equipped with a webcam and/or microphone. Allows you to be seen and heard.
    • Headset: On-ear, wired headset with noise-cancelling microphone. Ideal for recording audio and/or participating in online meetings where privacy is a must.
  • Please complete this form by this Friday, September 4 if your library is interested in purchasing a webcam and/or headset.

Mental Health Wellness and Support recorded webinar

  • Mental health concerns will directly impact one in every five people… and the remaining four will know a friend, family member, co-worker or acquaintance that struggles with their mental health. This 60-minute recorded webinar from the Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute (CTRI) explores factors affecting mental health, give participants a general overview of common adult mental illnesses and, most importantly, how to be a support. Watch

Strengthening positive connections

  • What is of one of your favourite memories of a loved one? Try and think of one that has the power to help you feel calm, more secure, or just a little better about life. Find out more about staying positive along with three steps for strengthening positive connections in this CTRI blog post.

August 28

Fundraising to your cardholders webinar

  • Thursday, September 3, 10:00-11:00 a.m.: Recent analysis shows that library cardholders are an incredibly valuable segment for fundraising. And if you aren’t fundraising to them, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Give these loyal patrons the opportunity to support the vital organization that is near and dear to their community – their public library. Join this webinar to learn why and how you should be fundraising to cardholders and how to begin communicating with this valuable group of supporters. Register
Breathe easier while wearing a mask
  • Masks are safe and don’t limit breathing says University of Alberta respiratory expert, who offers five ways to help people of all ages get used to wearing a mask in this folio article.

Caring for your mental health

  • Coronavirus and the social, financial and psychological implications it carries can seriously impact one’s mental wellbeing, so it is crucial to have access to mental health resources. To learn more about how to look after yourself and your mental health, check out the Guidance for Better Mental Health published by rehab4addiction.

August 26

Summer Reading Club surveys *new PLSB survey*

  • YRL is inviting our member libraries to fill out the SRC 2020 survey to capture the unique work and how you’ve reached patrons during this time.
  • The Public Library Services Branch (PLSB) is inviting libraries to fill out their brief survey about their summer reading program. If a program was not offered this summer, please indicate that in the survey.

Financial training for non-profit organizations webinar series

  • Thursdays, October 8 to November 26, 2:00-4:00 p.m.: This eight-session webinar series from the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (ECVO) was developed specifically for the non-profit sector and will help to strengthen the financial skills of both staff and board members. The registration fee is $300 or $210 for ECVO members and the topics will include: Board governance, roles and responsibilities; financial governance; financial policies and procedures; developing and tracking budgets; financial statements; year-end preparation and audit; and compliance and reporting. Register

Free OHS webinars

  • The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety is offering free occupational health and safety webinars on a variety of topics including mental health, musculoskeletal disorders, office ergonomics, along with pandemic awareness, planning and reopening for business. Register

We Can't MASK Our Excitement!

  • Featured on CBC Edmonton AM yesterday, Edmonton teachers Kristi Chip and Cassandra Christen wrote the book We Can't MASK Our Excitement! to help students understand what going back to school may look like in the midst of a pandemic. Consider adding this book to your collection as a timely back-to-school resource. Listen to the interview and/or order the book.

Book Publishers Association of Alberta announcements

  • The BPAA is excited to announce that Watershed by Doreen Vanderstoop is the second title for the Alberta Reads Book Club. This book will be available online to public library patrons through the Read Alberta eBooks program. Please do not release this information publicly until the official announcement on Friday, August 28 at 10:00 a.m. Promotion for the book club will primarily take place through the BPAA website, Facebook, and Twitter. Individual promotions are welcome and appreciated, please get in touch with the BPAA if you are planning anything so they can assist if needed and make sure the information is available through their platforms.
  • Thursday, September 10, 3:00 p.m.: The BPAA is thrilled to extend the official invitation to the virtual 2020 Alberta Book Publishing Awards, premiering on the BPAA YouTube channel.

August 24

Expression of interest: Bulk purchase of webcams and/or headsets

  • YRL is exploring a bulk purchase of webcams with integrated microphones and headsets, similar to our purchase of medical grade keyboards and mice. We do not have exact models or prices at this time as we are still locating stock, but we anticipate them being approximately $50 for each item.
    • Webcam: Wired webcam with integrated microphone. Perfect if you are using a computer that is not equipped with a webcam and/or microphone. Allows you to be seen and heard.
    • Headset: On-ear, wired headset with noise-cancelling microphone. Ideal for recording audio and/or participating in online meetings where privacy is a must.
  • Please complete this form by Friday, September 4 if your library is interested in purchasing either a webcam and/or headset.
Puppet search
  • Are your puppets lonely? Do they miss being on stage? Do they miss the roar of the crowds? Rank Amateur Productions would be interested in providing your puppets with a professional development opportunity – and a chance to be part of history in a Stronger Together conference session. If you have an old man puppet, various animal puppets and/or finger (or glove) puppets, please contact me at kpalichuk@yrl.ab.ca. Thank you in advance for your help!

How to overcome social media addiction

  • When we think about addiction, we often think about drug and alcohol use. However, research is clear that individuals can get a similar “high” from using the internet, including social media. Read this Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute blog post that explains the signs of internet/social media addiction plus four strategies to address it.

Temple Scott Associates (TSA) leadership analysis

  • Read this TSA analysis about newly-elected Conservative Party leader, Erin O’Toole, and where the party may go from here.

August 21

REALM Project update: Round three test results *Best Practices revised*

  • The round three test results showed that the virus was not detected on unstacked flexible plastic storage bag or DVD case after five days of quarantine; unstacked rigid plastic storage container, plexiglass and USB cassette all showed detectable virus at five days, the final timepoint tested. Based on these results, a slightly longer quarantine time may be required for plastic-based materials to render the virus undetectable. Alternatively, as the material is nonporous, suitable liquid disinfection methods may promote a more rapid decontamination than the quarantine method.
  • Due to these findings, we have revised the YRL Best Practices – Library Reopening During a Pandemic document (at the top of the page) by adding in the round three test results and “Hard plastic materials (i.e. audio-visual cases) can easily and rapidly be decontaminated by liquid disinfection methods (i.e. disinfectant wipes).”

YRL Collections and Resource Sharing update

  • Are your patrons wondering why their holds are not arriving at the library as quickly as they did pre-pandemic? In general, we are moving things as quickly as we can through YRL but here are some contributing factors that have impacted holds:
    • Due dates and quarantine times: We are seeing many libraries be generous with due dates (which is okay!) and adding time for quarantining materials; this can slow down the circulation of materials.
    • Closures: Not all libraries in TRAC are open and filling holds; there are still a few libraries who are closed, so while the copy may be “In,” the library may not be open to fill the hold.
    • Polaris: We have not completely turned all the request sequences back on in Polaris; this means that while holds are still moving, they are moving a bit slower.
  • We empathize with your patrons because through their experiences with TRACpac and seeing YRL bins delivered weekly, it would appear that processes are back to normal. Unfortunately we are not there yet. Libraries in the YRL region are doing great work in serving their patrons and contributing to resource sharing! Thank you for all of your hard work since July 13, it has been a learning experience for all of us. We hope this information is helpful and if you have feedback, please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.

Minister's Seniors Service Awards

  • These awards recognize individuals and organizations who support seniors, lead the way for improved services and contribute to strong communities. This year, the awards feature new categories and sub-categories to recognize those who have exemplified leadership and compassion to serve Alberta seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nominations will be accepted for individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations who have served seniors through their extraordinary work in volunteerism, philanthropy, innovation or outstanding service. Nominations have been extended until Tuesday, August 25.

AUMA convention: Together We Can!

  • Thursday-Friday, September 24-25: Join Alberta's elected officials, administrators and business partners from the comfort of your home for this year’s AUMA convention, Together We Can! The registration fee ($100 for members; $200 for non-members) grants access to dialogue sessions with provincial Ministers, two keynote speakers (Peter Mansbridge and TBA), virtual networking events, award winning entertainment, and a week of educational sessions leading up to the two-day live event. Register

Edmonton Seniors Centre (ESC) free online courses and streaming service

  • ESC knows that many seniors in rural Alberta might not be able to access instructor-led courses and they are currently offering individual seniors, regardless of ESC membership, a variety of online courses including Zumba, yoga, knitting, painting and more.
  • ESC also offers a free online streaming service between 6:00 a.m. and midnight, ESCTVYEG, which features curated content drawn from our increasing list of content providers. The content is informative, educational, factual and entertaining, and will also be featuring interviews in the days and months to come with well known figures and numerous individual seniors with interesting life stories and experiences to share.

HRdownloads recorded webinar

  • Watch the Health and Safety 101: COVID-19 Pandemic Edition recorded webinar for helpful information about occupational health and safety COVID-19 information including:
    • How can we keep our employees safe?
    • What if employees and customers refuse to wear a mask?
    • Can employees refuse unsafe work due to COVID-19?

August 19

Recent changes to Employment Standards

  • The Government of Alberta has passed the Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act, which includes changes to employment standards rules. Changes to temporary layoffs, group termination and variances took effect August 15 and several other changes to employment standards rules take effect November 1. Fact sheets are available to help employers and employees understand the changes.
  • Free online webinars will be offered soon with the first set covering the changes that took effect August 15: temporary layoffs, group termination and variances. Webinars covering changes taking effect on November 1 will also be available. Contact Employment Standards with questions about these changes and/or to sign up for Employment Standards updates.
SRC 2020 survey
  • YRL is inviting our member libraries to fill out the SRC 2020 survey to capture the unique work and how you’ve reached patrons during this time. This information will help us share and promote the services you continued to provide this summer despite the many challenges of COVID-19. Please share this survey with staff who gathered program statistics during SRC, such as program attendance and social media reach.

August 17

YRL training opportunities and Coffee Chats

  • YRL is pleased to offer the following online training opportunities and Coffee Chats for late August and September. These webinars are a great opportunity to learn something new, refresh your skills and (virtually) connect with staff and managers from across the YRL region and beyond!
    • Registration is free and all interested staff are welcome – please share this invitation widely in your organizations.
    • The webinars are offered thru GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar – both can be used on your computer or device (for the best experience, audio and video should be enabled), or you can connect using your phone – email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for details.
    • The training sessions will be recorded and posted on the YRL website for future viewing (Coffee Chats are not recorded).
    • Tuesday training sessions are from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. and Thursday Coffee Chats are from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m.
    • Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for the registration link(s) or with any questions!

  • Welcome to Alberta Relais: a new ILL experience In this webinar you will have a tour of the new Alberta Relais website and learn how to search and request ILLs from libraries outside of TRAC. We will be discussing new ILL procedures that will make doing ILL easier than ever! This webinar is for all public services staff who help patrons with ILL requests and questions.
    • Tuesday, August 18, 1:30-2:30 p.m
    • Friday, August 21, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
  • YRL Presents: The Bibliomaniacs! Introducing the Bibliomaniacs – a new learning series from YRL that will introduce you to the latest and greatest books! Do you love discovering new books to purchase or to recommend to your patrons? If you said yes, then this webinar is for you! Join YRL staff as they book talk the hottest new publications, read-alikes of popular titles and even some diamonds in the rough. From babies to adults you will discover something for every audience. Note: The content for the August and September sessions are NOT the same – each session will introduce you to a whole new series of books and resources for you to discover.
    • Tuesday, August 25, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
    • Tuesday, September 22, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
  • Transitioning Programming to a Virtual Environment Are you wondering how to program during the pandemic? In this discussion-based session, we will be sharing our ideas and best practices for virtual programming in our libraries. In preparation for the discussion, please view the "Transition Planned In-Person Adult Programs to a Virtual Environment" video from the Public Library Association that provides information on how to present virtually, how to integrate community partners into your virtual schedule, setting up online conferencing accounts for maximum security, optimal programming selection, and how to support staff in shifting to a virtual environment (the link will be emailed to you upon registration).
    • Tuesday, September 8, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
  • SimplyReports for Collection Development Wondering what SimplyReports can tell you about your collection? Join YRL's Collection and Resource Sharing Manager, Jocie Wilson, as she reviews her favourite SimplyReports reports for collection development and analysis. This session is best for staff with previous experience in SimplyReports.
    • Tuesday, September 15, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
  • YRL Coffee Chats Working from a distance doesn’t mean you can’t connect! Join YRL staff for a weekly coffee chat, where we answer any questions you may have, discuss projects you are working on, chat about what’s happening in your library, and (virtually) check in with how each of us are doing. Each coffee chat has a limit of 26 participants, so be sure to join the meeting early to secure your spot! NOTE: No registration is required for Coffee Chats – simply click on a meeting link and join us when you can! If you are accessing the Coffee Chat via your phone or tablet, add the GoToMeeting App.
    • Thursday, August 20, 1:30-2:15 p.m.
    • Thursday, August 27, 1:30-2:15 p.m.
    • Thursday, September 3, 1:30-2:15 p.m.
    • Thursday, September 10, 1:30-2:15 p.m.
    • Thursday, September 17, 1:30-2:15 p.m.
    • Thursday, September 24, 1:30-2:15 p.m.

Increasing cardholders

  • This Super Library Marketing blog post has six ideas for recruiting new cardholders, including asking partner organizations in your community, current cardholders and staff to spread the word.

Building resilient communities

  • Resilient communities are those that have the capacity to weather the storms of change in order to enact transformation. This CTRI article explains four ways to support the possibility of post-traumatic growth to build families, neighbourhoods and communities beyond what existed before the pandemic.
Free trauma-informed workplace assessment
  • Trauma-informed workplaces create a sense of belonging, connection and healing. How trauma-informed is your organization in both its awareness and practice? Take 2-5 minutes to complete the free Trauma-Informed Workplace Assessment from the Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute (CTRI). Once completed, you will be provided with an 8-page detailed report that will help you evaluate, understand and discuss how your organization can become more trauma-informed.

Navigating Difficult Conversations webinar

  • Tuesday, September 22, 11:30 a.m.: Presented by the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), this 60-minute webinar will provide you with the knowledge and skills to face the challenges of difficult conversations at work, and how to successfully navigate difficult conversations with peers. Pre-registration is required; free for ALISE members and $50 for non-members. Register

August 14

Relais staff training webinars

  • The new provincial interlibrary loan (ILL) system will be going live this fall! To ensure you and your staff are ready for it, attend one of next week’s Welcome to Alberta Relais: a new ILL experience webinars.
    • Tuesday, August 18, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
    • Friday, August 21, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
  • Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca to get the registration link. If you are unable to make a live event, the session recordings and documentation will be posted on the YRL Staff Training Academy in late August.

Community Initiatives Program (CIP) Project-Based grant program

  • The provincial government announced the reopening of the CIP Project-Based grant program; the maximum funding available is $75,000, on a matching basis. Apply to the September 15 intake (for notification in March 2021) for funding that focuses on events, festivals, programs and projects delivered in innovative and creative ways that align with public health measures, and which aim to foster healthy and vibrant communities across Alberta. The re-opening of the CIP Project-Based grant program will support non-profits in their work to rebuild social connections in Alberta’s communities and support Alberta’s recovery.

REALM Project webinar recording

  • The 90-minute REALM Project webinar recording is now available, along with the slides, chat and related links. Learn about the testing process, how to present the results to stakeholders, project resources to inform local decisions, and what to expect from the REALM project in the months to come.

Future Skills Centre podcast series

  • The Future Skills Centre podcast, presented by The Conference Board of Canada, will explore some of the most crucial emerging challenges to the future of work. Launching Monday, August 17, each episode will unpack unique issues facing the Canadian labour market and hear from varying perspectives – such as community members, decision-makers and thought leaders – to discuss solutions and paths forward. Listen to the 90-second trailer.

August 12

TAL update: Services to non-members policy

  • On Monday the TAL Board of Trustees accepted a revised policy on providing services to non-members; this will guide TAL staff when searching for alternative sources of revenue including going ahead with not only licencing for non-members but offering other services such as conference and/or meeting hosting, and training. These services will only be available to organizations who are not eligible to be members of TAL, and will be offered at no less than full cost recovery ensuring the services to non-members does not negatively affect members, according to TAL principles.

How to handle digital overload

  • A steady stream of remote meetings or online classes can become exhausting as the pandemic wears on, according to U of A experts who offer eight practical ways to cope with digital overload in this folio article.

The Big Rethink: Fundraising in the era of COVID-19

  • Non-profit organizations must be purposeful in planning how they will recover and set themselves on a path for future growth, and it will be imperative for boards to lead their organizations through visioning and planning exercises. In this report, KCI has created a ‘one-stop shop’ to be used over the next number of months to guide planning activities including specific elements that should be examined, advice and guidance about areas beyond fundraising that organizations need to unpack and explore to ensure growth, and links to a variety of helpful resources to help guide the process.

Building a resilient Alberta non-profit sector after COVID-19

  • Not only are many non-profit organizations faced with revamping how they deliver services, they are also seeing an increase in demand for those services in a time when their revenues and abilities are decreasing. Last month, the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO) published the attached report that covers common impacts of emergencies on non-profits, the consequences of a weakened non-profit sector, building a strategy for community prosperity, and more. You can also download the guide and find out more at the #ABCommunityAdvantage CCVO webpage.

August 10

CloudLibrary update

  • You and/or your patrons may have noticed that CloudLibrary has been having some recurrent performance issues over the past 10 days. Currently, there are intermittent outages with authentication via the app and website. It should, however, not prevent you from checking out and downloading CloudLibrary titles via TRACpac. This is affecting all their customers and they have been working diligently for a resolution. We thank you for your patience.

Health and Safety 101 - COVID-19 Pandemic Edition webinar

  • Thursday, August 20, 12:00-1:00 p.m.: Most of Canada has controlled cases of COVID-19 enough to reopen services, but reopening isn’t an excuse to lessen precautions. Employers still have questions about how to get things ‘right’, and how to support employees and members of the public. This webinar includes best practice advice to help all Canadian employers to manage their health and safety concerns during this latest stage of the pandemic. Topics include: how to keep employees safe; what if employees and customers refuse to wear masks; can employees refuse unsafe work due to COVID-19? Register

Is your mind's forecast 'Hot and Hazy'? Try a mindfulness cooler!

  • Building on the themes of resilience, this brief article from the Institute of Mindful Leadership provides ideas when our to-do lists get too long, when we feel pulled in too many directions – and nothing seems to get done. The Institute for Mindful Leadership is a non-profit organization dedicated to training and supporting leaders and the cultivation of leadership excellence through mindfulness. You can learn more here.

August 7

Stronger Together conference registration

  • Registration is now open for Stronger Together, a virtual library conference hosted jointly by Parkland Regional Library System, The Alberta Library, Peace Library System and Yellowhead Regional Library.
  • The conference will take place over two days on October 1 & 2, and will feature 41 great speakers, 4 keynote sessions, 24 conference sessions and 2 vendor panels. And best of all… Stronger Together is free to attend!
  • At our conference website, you can explore all the details of the conference schedule, find answers to frequently asked questions, and register to attend. Registration will close Monday, September 28, so sign up now to save your spot. Join us October 1 & 2 as we become Stronger Together
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries: A Conversation webinar reminder
  • Tuesday, August 11, 1:30 p.m.: Libraries have important work to do centering equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in our spaces and services. But what does that look like for your library and in your community? Join Laina Kelly (Librarian, Library Development Services, YRL) and Laura Winton (Director, Bibliothèque de Beaumont Library) in this 60-minute round-table discussion about EDI in library management and service, that will be centered around two prerequisite readings (with discussion questions).

Message for circulation staff

  • Thank you to our member library staff, especially those in circulation who pack the blue bins coming to YRL, for implementing the How to Pack Materials for YRL Van Runs guidelines so quickly! We really appreciate the work you do and we hope these guidelines have made your local procedures more efficient and stream-lined. The changes have made a HUGE difference at YRL – staff have sorted through hundreds of bins quickly and efficiently. Once again, thank you!

26 new CCD lists

  • Homeschool & Educational Resources: Alberta Education Science Curriculum; Alberta Education Social Studies Curriculum; Canadian Curriculum Subject Supports; Educational Television Shows; How To, Plan, Tips & Tricks; and K-12 School Catalogue
  • Fall Hotlist addendum
  • August and September Super Forthcoming (14 lists)
  • August and September Video Game Titles
  • CVS Midwest Tape for August (4 lists)

Medieval manuscripts - request for information

  • From Laura Moncion: The project "Livres d'heures : textes et langue," funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and headed by Prof. Dorothea Kullmann at the University of Toronto, is seeking information about medieval manuscripts currently held in Canadian archives, libraries, museums, art galleries, and other collections. Manuscripts may be from any region, in any language, and any genre, provided they were handwritten some time between approximately 500 A.D./C.E. and 1500 A.D./C.E. We conducted a first preliminary survey last fall, and therefore you may have already received an e-mail in October. In that initial phase, unfortunately, a few of the negative replies from public libraries were inadvertently not recorded. If your library is in this position, please forgive us; we would appreciate it very much if you would send us your answer anew. If your collections contain any medieval manuscripts or fragments of manuscripts, or if you know of any private holdings, we would be grateful if you could send a list of these, with any description or other information there might be relating to them. Many thanks in advance for your help! Laura Moncion, (laura.moncion@mail.utoronto.ca) Research Assistant, "Livres d'heures : textes et langue," PhD Candidate, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto.

International Day of Older Persons

  • Friday, October 1: The Alberta Council on Aging calls on Alberta municipalities and their various organizations to join in celebrating International Day of Older Persons (IDOP). This year has seen the emergence of COVID-19 which has caused an upheaval across the world, and it has also raised the question: How do pandemics change how we address age and ageing? Marking this day emphasizes the value of seniors and raises awareness about the inequalities and barriers older adults face. Let us also recognize and celebrate positive age and honor the older adults in our communities. Commemorate IDOP by:
    • Declaring International Day of Older Persons: Make a proclamation to declare October 1 as International Day of Older Persons using the attached declaration template.
    • Host an event: Celebrate age in your community showcasing older adults through local and social media.

August 5

Patron renewals

  • Your patrons are eager to stay active! As the majority of library cards expired on July 31, we have received a large number of patron-initiated renewal requests through libraries’ webforms and our eResources Support email. You have probably been hearing from folks as well! To make it easy on staff during this busy period, if you would like library memberships extended again, please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca with the specific date and we’ll get that taken care of for you.

Stickers on blue bins *new*

  • YRL staff will be placing stickers with “Contents last touched [insert date]” on the tops of blue bins starting today. This should make it easier for you to quarantine according to your local procedures AND get items in the hands of your patrons as quickly as possible! If you have any questions or feedback, please contact us at askyrl@yrl.ab.ca. Note: Libraries do not need to do the same when returning bins to YRL; we have our own internal safe handling procedures in place.

PNLA Virtual Poster Session *happening now*

  • Tuesday-Friday, August 4-7 This free, four-day event has presenters for 31 posters, from professionals affiliated with a mix of academic, public and school libraries, available to discuss their work with you – and you don’t have to be a PNLA member to participate. The theme is Empathy, Innovation, Impact and will address areas of collections and publishing, literacy and instruction, relationships and connections, and leadership and administration, with a special focus on COVID-19 response. The presentations may be viewed at your convenience, with commenting enabled over the four days so that viewers can ask questions and interact with presenters. Each theme will be highlighted on social media on the specified date and some presenters will be available at designated times to answer questions in real time (times TBD). Participate


  • Please join us in commending the Spruce Grove Public Library board and staff for winning the Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Library Service for their New Beginnings Listening Circle!
    • "The New Beginnings Listening Circle is a new library program based on traditional Indigenous talking circles, with an added focus on listening to members of the community who are willing to share their stories in a safe and welcoming environment. The program came to life because of the City of Spruce Grove Family and Community Support Services’ (FCSS) New Beginnings project to "develop a tri-regional (Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County) strategic response to the increasing number of Indigenous families and individuals seeking services from Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County.” One of the New Beginnings project’s overall goals is to "build upon current collaborative programs and services to improve current access, services delivery and social policy initiative while continuing to provide crisis intervention services," and therefore approached the Spruce Grove Public Library to partner in the next steps of their New Beginnings project."

Free access to School Library Journal (SLJ) magazines

  • SLJ is offering free access to current and back issues of its magazine! From the homepage, click on "Access Digitized Edition" in the upper left-hand corner and choose the edition you wish to read.

Education Institute webinars

  • “As the library landscape is rapidly changing across Canada, impacting not just your programs and services, the Education Institute is honored to support the library community evolve from this global pandemic. During this time, the Education Institute is utilizing a pay-what-you-can fee structure with a base of $10.” Details/Register

July 31


  • Thank you to everyone for working through your Request Manager lists to fill holds. We know some libraries have long lists and that you’re all seeing holds from other regions. Please continue to prioritize filling local and YRL holds and then holds for TRAC libraries as you’re able. Just a reminder to also check in the unclaimed holds off your hold shelf so they can go on to the next patron.
  • We are actively working with Polaris to resolve an issue where patron’s holds are not moving from Active to Pending when items are available to fill holds. We appreciate your patience as we work on this and we will provide more information as it becomes available.
  • You may be getting questions from patrons about their holds not going pending even though there are items available in TRAC. This is part of items staying in the home region for 180 days before jumping out to TRAC. This is just temporary, but a means to spread out the inter-regional borrowing over time.
  • 11,075 items were shipped to fulfill holds in YRL libraries in July, with 4,180 of those coming from non-YRL libraries and 7,755 YRL items were sent to other regions. That’s a lot of material moving around!
hoopla circulation limits
  • We will be reducing Hoopla circulation limits from ten (10) to our pre-Covid limit of four (4) starting on Tuesday August 4, 2020. This is due to all YRL member libraries offering physical material loan via curbside pick-up or limited opening hours, in addition to the request features in TRACpac being re-activated and resource sharing resuming throughout TRAC. We know that many patrons have happily utilized this service over the past few months and we were really pleased to offer this enhanced service. This email has been sent to all YRL Library Managers, please share this with your public services staff.

Masks for Albertans

  • 75,000 masks were made available for YRL libraries to distribute to community members. If you have questions about your masks, please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca. The Public Library Services Branch (PLSB) is looking for stories, comments, impact statements and/or photos. If you have any stories or positive feedback about the Masks for Albertans program, please send them to askyrl@yrl.ab.ca and we will collate the responses to send to the PLSB.

Read-aloud Canadian books update

  • We’re happy to report that Access Copyright extended their Read Aloud permissions through the end of 2020. A list of participating Copyright holders is located here and the updated usage guidelines can be found here. Additionally, Penguin Random House has extended their Open License for Story Times and Read Alouds. Their requests for posting are located on their website. Thank you to Parkland Regional Library System for sharing this information!

Globe and Mail op-ed: Throw the book at libraries

  • Some of you may have seen an op-ed published by the Globe and Mail last week, discussing the negative role public libraries have on the publishing industry… Again, this was an opinion piece, not fact. Michael Geist, Professor of Law, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law (amongst other things), has written a rebuttal to the op-ed. Geist clearly explains how public lending rights work and how authors are compensated. The TRAC holdings were one of the seven representative “libraries” used for this years survey.
  • The Association of Canadian Publishers also issued a rebuttal to the op-ed: Canadian publishers recognize that public libraries are an important part of the reading ecosystem, and a primary channel for book discovery, particularly in communities that are not well-served by physical bookstores. Library sales are also an important part of the publishing business model, which benefits from a mix of revenue streams and promotional channels. Readers are best served when public libraries purchase and promote a diversity of material, including books by local authors published by independent Canadian presses. Increased investment in and attention to these efforts is critical to building a strong reading and literary culture. Publishers and librarians are well-poised to pursue these shared goals in partnership, to the benefit of readers, writers, and local communities. Kate Edwards, Executive Director, Association of Canadian Publishers
  • We would like to thank the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) for working to respond to the original article.

Opportunity out of Adversity: Digital Access in Rural and Small Libraries webinar

  • August 6, 1:00-2:00 p.m.: Opportunity often hides behind adversity. If we are intentional, we can use the circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic to grow our organizations and to address the digital access disparities in small and rural communities. This presentation will explore how one rural library has improved internet access in partnership with an internet service provider, hosted telehealth appointments in collaboration with healthcare providers and transportation agencies, worked with schools to ensure opportunities for youth through esports, and improved digital literacy skills for patrons and local businesses. Thank you to our partners at Parkland Regional Library System for finding this opportunity! Register

July 29

Ancestry Library Edition

  • Temporary remote access has been extended another month to September 30, 2020.

hoopla circulation limits

  • YRLwill be reducing Hoopla circulation limits from 10 to our pre-COVID limit of four starting on Tuesday August 4. This is due to all YRL member libraries offering physical material loan via curbside pick-up or limited opening hours, in addition to the request features in TRACpac being re-activated and resource sharing resuming throughout TRAC. We know that many patrons have happily utilized this service over the past few months and we were really pleased to offer this enhanced service.
TAL update
  • TAL has moved to a new location, on the 6th floor of EPL’s Milner Library. The rent at the new location is geared to non-profit organizations and is helping to manage costs. If you want to visit TAL, you need to call 780-414-0805 ext. 237 and TAL staff will come and meet you downstairs; for security reasons, the 6th floor doesn’t allow unexpected visitors.
  • The Community Mental Health Action Plan has created an Alberta-specific resource page for organizations that provides links to mental health supports for the employer as they launch back into 'regular' business. Note: You may need to login to a Google account to open the link.

Excellence Canada webinar: Improving processes

  • Excellence Canada is providing a free webinar on August 13, 2020: “Improving Processes: when work is not the same as it ever was”.  Register

July 24

REALM Project webinar: Materials Testing and Resource Overview

  • August 4, 1:00-2:30 p.m.: As libraries and museums begin to resume operations and reopen to the public, the need for clear information to support the handling of core museum, library and archival materials has become increasingly urgent. Through the REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project, OCLC, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Battelle are conducting research on how long the COVID-19 virus survives on materials that are prevalent in libraries, archives and museums. Join us for this 90-minute webinar to learn more about the testing process, how to present results to your stakeholders, project resources to inform your local decisions, and what you can expect from the project in the months to come. Register

Library Association of Alberta digital meet-up summary

  • On July 14, LAA hosted a digital meet-up event for library staff to discuss topics such as plans and feelings about the phased re-opening of the province, new opportunities that have presented themselves throughout the pandemic and whatever else currently occupies their minds. For those unable to attend or as a refresher, review the summary notes.

July 22

REALM Project update: Round two test results *Best Practices revised*

  • The second round of tests had researchers looking at the longevity of the virus on paper, including braille, board books and magazines, in common heat and humidity and, different from the first round of tests, the items were stacked in a pile or shelved. The round two test results showed that the virus was undetectable at day four on these items except magazines, where it was still detectable on day four. Due to these findings, we have revised the YRL Best Practices – Library Reopening During a Pandemic document to increase the quarantine recommendation to 4-5 days, from 3-4 days (posted at the top of this page).

Relais staff training

  • Tuesday, August 18, 1:30-2:30 p.m. or Friday, August 21, 10:00-11:00 a.m.: The new provincial interlibrary loan (ILL) system will be going live this fall! Make sure you and your staff are ready for it by attending one of our Welcome to Alberta Relais: a new ILL experience webinars in August. Not able to make a live session? Session recordings and documentation will be posted on the YRL Staff Training Academy in late August. Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca to get the registration link.
Masks for Albertans press release template
  • If you want to announce that masks are available at your library, use this Masks press release template. Just add the time/date and personalize it with your library’s information where indicated.

Canadian library song

  • Thank you to Andrew from our YRL team for sharing this with us! Canadian musician John K. Samson put out the song Millennium for All earlier this year about supporting Canadian libraries, specifically the Millennium Library, Winnipeg Public Library’s main branch. Not only is it a nice gesture and worth sharing, it’s a good song too! He also has a bit about the advocacy aspect of the song on his website. Enjoy!

July 20

Masks for Albertans update

  • We are happy to report that the masks arrived at YRL today. Libraries can expect their masks, bags and stickers on the van delivery runs starting tomorrow.

TAL update

  • Ancestry Library Edition: Temporary remote access has been extended another month to August 31, 2020.
  • Calgary Herald Archives: Accessible provincially without a login or sign-up. Access

Innovation: From Creativity to Delivery recorded webinar

  • All organizations must create an environment of innovation if they wish to be successful. Innovation does not start with hiring more imaginative people, but rather by fostering an environment that allows creativity and innovation to happen, and where contributions can come from anyone. This ACHIEVE Centre for Leadership 60-minute webinar provides practical strategies for stimulating and channeling creativity and innovation into organizational productivity. Watch

REALM Project update: Round two test results

  • The REALM Project has published the results of the second round of laboratory testing for COVID-19. More information and revised documentation will be shared on Wednesday.

July 17

YRL training opportunities/Coffee Chats

  • YRL is pleased to offer the following online training sessions Coffee Chats for late July/August. These webinars are a great opportunity to learn something new, refresh your skills and (virtually) connect with staff and managers from across the Yellowhead region and beyond! Please note:
    • Registration is free and all interested staff are welcome – please share this invitation widely in your organizations.
    • The webinars are offered thru GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar – both can be used on your computer or device (for the best experience, audio and video should be enabled), or you can connect using your phone – email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for details.
    • The training sessions will be recorded and posted on the YRL website for future viewing (Coffee Chats are not recorded).
    • Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca to get the registration link(s) or with any questions!
  • Tuesdays, July 28 and August 25, 1:30-2:30 p.m. YRL Presents: The Bibliomaniacs! Introducing the Bibliomaniacs – a new learning series from YRL that will introduce you to the latest and greatest books! Do you love discovering new books to purchase or to recommend to your patrons? If you said yes, then this webinar is for you! Join YRL staff as they book talk the hottest new publications, read-alikes of popular titles and even some diamonds in the rough. From babies to adults you will discover something for every audience. The content for the July and August sessions are NOT the same – each session will introduce you to a whole new series of books and resources for you to discover.
  • Tuesday, August 11, 1:30–2:30 p.m. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in Libraries: A Conversation Libraries have important work to do centering equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in our spaces and services. But what does that look like for your library and in your community? Join Laina Kelly (Librarian, Library Development Services, YRL) and Laura Winton (Manager, Bibliothèque de Beaumont Library) as they facilitate a conversation to explore how libraries can center EDI work, what that could look like, and how we get started. In order to aid your understanding of the topic, some brief pre-reading will be distributed to registered participants prior to the conversation.
  • Thursdays, August 6, 13, 20 and 27, 1:30-2:15 p.m. YRL Coffee Chats Working from a distance doesn’t mean you can’t connect! Join YRL staff for a weekly coffee chat, where we answer any questions you may have, discuss projects you are working on, chat about what’s happening in your library, and (virtually) check in with how each of us are doing. Each coffee chat has a limit of 26 participants, so be sure to join the meeting early to secure your spot! No registration is required for Coffee Chats – simply click on a meeting link and join us when you can! If you are accessing the Coffee Chat via your phone or tablet, add the GoToMeeting App.
Masks for Albertans update
  • We are patiently waiting for the shipment of masks, bags and stickers to arrive – we hope to see them next week and will notify you when they’re here.

July 15

PLSB June 1 Town Hall update

  • Please the letter from Minister Madu regarding the June 1 Town Hall teleconference with public libraries, the topic of discussion was re-opening libraries to the public in Stage 2 and the Provincial Relaunch. Also, there is a list of questions that were not able to be asked during the June 1 call, with answers now provided.
    • The PLSB “Public Library Relaunch FAQ” document and the checklist for resuming service listed as attachments are both posted at the top of this blog.
  • Minister Madu mentions in his letter that libraries will be receiving masks as part of the second phase of the “Masks for Albertans” program. Nearly 800,000 masks are being delivered to the seven regional library systems this week for distribution to member libraries. If you have further questions about when/how your library will be receiving masks, please contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca. If you have general questions about the “Masks for Albertans” program, please contact PLSB directly. You may also want to consult https://www.alberta.ca/masks.aspx#toc-0.
Request Manager
  • If you opened your Request Manager yesterday or today and were stunned by the number of holds to fill, you weren’t alone. You’re under no pressure to get these all pulled right away. Work through your local patrons and YRL member library patrons’ requests first and take your time getting through the rest.
  • Remember, titles on your Request Manager will differ from day to day, so if you print off the list today, those titles may not actually be on your Request Manager tomorrow. Requests stay at a library for one open day and then move on to the next library where there is a copy available. However, if your library has the only copy, it will stay on your Request Manager (please run the Lost Hold report occasionally).
  • To help staff identify the codes of YRL member libraries, please see this library code and name list.

New CCD selection lists available!

  • As always, the core CCD lists include the ULS Super Forthcoming, monthly large print, Hotlist and Second Choice (deadline August 24), the monthly CVS Midwest Tape audio visual lists, and the Library Bound Video Game selections. There are also a variety of themed lists available too, such as trending topics, pandemic-related subject matter, and fun and timely lists to fill those huge collection gaps after months of weeding! Please check out these lists on CCD:
    • Anti-Racist, Social Justice, BLM & Black Empowerment Reading List
    • This Ain't Your Grandma's Textile & Stitching Crafts
    • Career Moves & Job Search Resources
    • Urban Homesteaders – Pandemic Edition 101
    • French Collection for Kids!
    • 50 Fairytale Retellings for Picture Books & Juvenile Readers
    • The Best Nonfiction Hitting Shelves in 2020
    • 35 Best of 2020 for your TBR List According to Good Housekeeping
    • 10 Most Anticipated Graphic Novels of 2020 (That Aren’t About Superheroes)

July 13

Holds reactivated

  • The ability to place holds was reactivated for YRL member libraries in TRACpac and on library websites.
  • In the first 6-hours from 6:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. today, 794 holds were placed!

MAH survey reminder

  • A reminder that both MAH surveys are to be completed by this Friday, July 17.
    • Survey 1: Public library service delivery during pandemic closure (March 17 to June 12 statistics)
    • Survey 2: Relaunch strategies of Alberta public libraries

How to find good COVID-19 information

  • In this folio article, a librarian at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus offers six tips to help people sift through the endless stream of pandemic information and sort out what’s accurate and trustworthy.

NOTE: Starting Monday, July 13, our update emails will transition from daily to three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) unless an emergent issue arises.

July 10

Preparing to re-launch resource sharing - Part three: a. Van delivery schedule b. Empty packaging/cloth bags

  • The van delivery schedule through to August 31 is now available online. If you have any questions, concerns or updates regarding the schedule, please get in touch with us at askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.
  • Over the next few weeks you may still receive items packaged in bags, boxes or bubble wrap. These items were in limbo during the pandemic shutdown and are now making their way to your library. If you don’t want the empty packaging and/or you have cloth bags or other packaging that you no longer need, feel free to put it in a blue bin and send it to YRL on the van delivery – we’re happy to take it from you!

TRACpac app email request to library managers

  • Library managers/directors: Check your inbox for the email from Stephanie this afternoon about beta testing the TRACpac app. A small request and then you can explore and play in the new app! Please confirm your library’s details and send us your thoughts about the app by Tuesday, July 21.
Municipalities and the road to recovery recorded webinar
  • Recovery is top of mind for municipalities as they face major financial shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch this 60-minute recorded webinar by Grant Thornton to learn the common and unique challenges municipalities are facing due to the pandemic, how they’re responding to the challenges, the hard questions to ask in order to build a response plan, and practical tips with immediate value.

Understanding re-entry anxiety

  • The coronavirus pandemic has introduced a long list of reasons to feel anxious and now, as the country begins to reopen, new concerns are emerging and return or re-entry anxiety is setting in for many. Find out how to curb re-entry anxiety and also how employers can help staff transitioning back to the office in the Mental Health Commission of Canada Catalyst newsletter article, Reopening is hardly a return to normal.

July 9

MAH Survey statistics correction - HIGH IMPORTANCE

  • The Public Library Services Branch (PLSB) has clarified information about the MAH survey which has resulted in us needing to make a change to how your statistics were aggregated, as follows:
    • Circulation is meant to be broken down twice, by age group and by material type. Your print and non-print circulations have been updated to reflect that.
    • E-books circulation is meant to only include EPUB and PDF formats. eAudiobooks will fall under “all other virtual items.”
    • New temporary cards are not meant to refer to cards processed by library system staff on behalf of your library. These have been zeroed out and will be reflected in the system’s separate survey to the PLSB.
  • If you have not submitted your survey, please check the spreadsheet for the most up-to-date figures.
  • If you have submitted your survey, please email Stephanie at sthero@yrl.ab.ca; on your behalf and in coordination with the PLSB, she will ensure those statistics are changed.

Preparing to re-launch resource sharing - Part two: Packing and preparing bins

  • We are excited to launch new guidelines for packing and sending items through YRL van runs. Please see the new workflows document.
    • We designed this new workflow in consultation with the TRAC Delivery Team and these guidelines are similar across TRAC.
    • ALL materials sent to and from public libraries within Alberta will be in boxes or bins. These items will travel directly from one node to another, meaning the boxes/bins will be handled and unpacked by library staff at their destination.
    • Government Courier for individual libraries has officially ended; all items you wish to send to other libraries should be sent through YRL van run only.
    • If your library was on Government Courier, you may still need to visit your local Provincial building a few times over the summer to pick up items that were in limbo during the pandemic shutdown.
    • Questions? Comments? Email us! askyrl@yrl.ab.ca
  • Stay tuned for Part three: July 20 to August 27 delivery schedule in tomorrow’s update!

REALM Project update: Third round of testing begins

  • The third round of testing, set to conclude in early August, will include the following materials:
    • DVD/CD: Polycarbonate
    • Talking book, USB cassettes: Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), specific blend
    • Acrylic
    • Flexible plastic storage bags: Low-density polyethylene (LDPE), recycling #4
    • Rigid plastic storage containers: High-density polyethylene (HDPE), recycling #2
  • More information and the first round test results can be found on the REALM Project update.

July 8

Preparing to re-launch resource sharing - Part one: Filling holds

  • On Monday, July 13 we will be turning holds back on for many libraries in YRL. We have created a document for you with instructions on filling holds and answers to frequently asked questions. Please keep the following in mind as we re-launch holds next week:
    • Your request manager may seem sparse the first day holds are turned on, this is normal.
    • Fill what you can, leave what you cannot fill, and mark the items you cannot find as missing.
    • Prioritize filling holds for YRL libraries. If you do not want to fill holds for libraries outside of YRL at this time, leave them in your request manager; requests not filled will either sit or re-assign to another library.
    • Letting holds for libraries outside of YRL sit for a few weeks is okay. Government Courier does not start until Monday, July 20, which means any holds for patrons outside of YRL will not be sent out until after July 20.
    • You can start filling holds for libraries outside of YRL after July 20 and into August, as you see fit for your operational level.
    • NOTE: In order to avoid holds where you have the only copy dropping off your list, please run this report for your library once a week: Utilities > Reports and Notices > Custom > Lost Holds (Bib-Level with 1 item only) by Item Assigned Branch.
    • If you have questions, please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.
  • Stay tuned for Part two: Packing and preparing bins in tomorrow’s update!

Project management lessons for the library

  • Library managers and staff are under stress to reopen or provide service to their communities amid a pandemic, while staying physically safe and mentally healthy. Angela Hursh of Super Library Marketing recently added a blog post entitled Four Important Project Management Lessons You’ll Need to Survive the Next Year of Library Work; the four lessons are:
    • You can only do what you can do. You are only human. You cannot do all the things, no matter how energetic you are.
    • People have phases of enthusiasm; use them to your advantageYou need people of varying levels of energy to finish your project.
    • The middle portion of any project is the hardestThe transition from planning to completing project tasks is always a slog; expect that it will happen and devise strategies ahead of time for how you’ll deal with it.
    • Set boundaries for yourselfYou cannot be open and available for work 24 hours a day; it’s not healthy for you or your organization.

July 7

Statistics corrections

  • MAH Survey: We have zeroed our your “non-catalogued” category line as we determined that the circulations were actually eBooks and eAudiobooks that did not have collection codes assigned to them. This would have been covered off in your eBooks line anyway, so no math is required.
  • Monthly statistics: RBdigital statistics had been reporting cumulative checkouts as of February 2020. This has been fixed and all figures now accurately report monthly checkout activity. We apologize for the inconvenience if this affected your reporting.

Designing libraries for safety recorded webinar

  • As libraries cautiously reopen the doors of their physical buildings to the public, minimizing risk from the COVID-19 pandemic to patrons and staff is top priority. Expert architects share design tips for how to use the building itself, and its furnishings, to reduce transmission, encourage social distancing, and get the library ready for its next phase while preserving flexibility for the long term in this 65-minute recorded webinar from Library Journal. Watch
Building staff engagement webinar
  • Thursday, July 9, 11:00 a.m.: There is a direct relationship between high levels of vocational fulfillment and enhanced quality of service. In the 60-minute Charity Village webinar, Improving employee engagement: Using creativity, vocational fulfillment and your team’s collective wisdom to co-create community, you will learn strategies to help you tap into the capacity and creativity of your team members to create space for their unique contribution. You will explore mind-sets, approaches and tools that not only support the people in your organization but also become a source of self-discovery for you. Walking the talk is one of the most powerful ways to lead! Register

Leaders who may burn out

  • Being too hands-off can be as stressful for leaders as being too engaged found a University of Alberta business study, says this folio article.

July 6

MAH survey statistics available

  • The member public library MAH survey statistics for circulation, patrons, and WiFi sessions are now available. Please take a moment to read the short explanation on the Statistics page where you will find a link to access the spreadsheet. Thank you once again for your patience!

Masks for Albertans update

  • We have been informed of a change to the quantity of masks that will be shipped out to public libraries as there was a concern about the impact the enormous volume of masks would have on the Government Courier Delivery System. As a result, the regional library systems will each be receiving an initial delivery of 75,000 masks with the potential to receive more – down significantly from the 2.4 million masks YRL was expecting to receive. We will be working out a plan to distribute the masks and thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate constantly changing information. As a reminder, you CAN hand the masks out to patrons for use when in the library and provide packages of masks to the public. If you have any comments or questions, please contact Karla at kpalichuk@yrl.ab.ca.
  • Suggestion: Libraries could recruit volunteers to pack the masks through the Canada Student Service Grant program; more information and registration is available at iwanttohelp.org and jobbank.gc.ca/volunteer.
Respiratory viruses and the workplace recorded webinar
  • This 15-minute, Alberta Occupational Health and Safety recorded webinar gives employers, supervisors and workers information about minimizing risk from respiratory viruses in the workplace.

Library staff safety and security podcast

  • Library Safety & Security with Dr. Steve Albrecht is a 30-minute podcast containing information about patron-perpetrated sexual harassment/workplace violence. You need a (free) Library 2.0 account to access the podcast.

Managing change positively

  • This LinkedIn Pulse article looks at the difference between change and transition, and explains the three phases in the transition process – this may be helpful to some people as we head back to physical workplaces and/or open the library doors to the public again.

The art of optimism

  • Research tells us that life tends to be more manageable for optimists: they experience increased physical, mental and emotional health benefits and at work, optimism has been linked to overall work happiness, increased motivation, improved task-orientation and better problem-solving. Being an optimist is good for you, personally and professionally. This Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute blog post contains four, easy science- and research-based strategies for thinking more optimistically.

July 3

MAH survey statistics update

  • YRL is compiling the data that will help libraries answer the MAH survey circulation, patrons, and wifi session questions. There is a lot of data to aggregate, so we appreciate your patience. We will send the link to the statistics – and update the YRL website as well – on Monday, July 6.

Temporary layoff term extended

  • On June 26, the government passed the Pandemic Response Statutes Amendment Act, part of which extends the maximum time for temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 from 120 days to 180 days; more information is available online.

COVID considerations for the home office

  • As more work continues to take place at home instead of the office, issues and complaints have started to emerge related to inappropriate employment practices at home. This Mondaq article talks about work from home policies, expectations and encouraging productivity.

July 2

Advancing racial equity and inclusion in the workplace symposium

  • Wednesday-Friday, July 8-10, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: While this symposium is free and open to the public we do want to be clear that the intended audience is folks who have been already centering equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the professional work that they do and are wanting to learn from folks that are also equally committed and engaged in the work. We recognize that folks and organizations will be at different places on their EDI journey but we are expecting that those who attend the symposium will have already begun and will be walking into the conversation with a foundational understanding of what a racial equity framework is and why it matters in the work that they do. Register
Helping municipalities on the road to recovery webinar
  • Tuesday, July 7, 11:00 a.m.: As municipalities face major shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery is top of mind. Join Grant Thornton for this one-hour webinar to learn how municipalities can weather the economic storm as we take you through a series of case studies that will demonstrate how unique challenges are being addressed with unique solutions. Register

Innovation: From creativity to delivery on-demand webinar

  • All organizations, from service to industry, must create an environment of innovation if they wish to be successful. Innovation does not start with hiring more imaginative people, but rather by fostering an environment that allows creativity and innovation to happen, and where contributions can come from anyone. This 65-minute webinar from Achieve Centre for Leadership provides practical strategies for stimulating and channeling creativity and innovation into organizational productivity. Viewers will learn how to generate good ideas, identify which ones to pursue, and implement them effectively. Watch

Video calls reduce the value of relationships

  • Thank you to Scott from our YRL team for sharing this with us! In-person encounters are crucial for establishing trust and building successful teams, according to research. Online video chats may look like the real thing but the lack of real-life contact short circuits a part of the brain essential for understanding non-verbal cues – and that's bad for business, according to this CBC News article.

June 30

PLSB update

  • Masks for Albertans: Public libraries will be included in the next phase of the “Masks for Albertans” program. These masks are being provided at no cost to libraries for both your patron/staff use and for distribution to the general public. We will send masks to regional library system headquarters and they have offered to distribute masks to their member libraries. You will be hearing more from your regional library in the coming weeks about how and when they will be getting masks to libraries that are open and would like masks. We expect that regional library systems will receive masks from the Government of Alberta by mid-July. Find out more on the Masks for Albertans webpage.
  • ILL news: PLSB staff are working to implement a phased relaunch of interlibrary loan services. In the first phase, the staff side of the interlibrary loan software will be made available, and we will launch our modified government courier service. This will give libraries and/or nodes the opportunity to clear up any backlog. The patron side of the interlibrary loan software will relaunch a month later. Our current target date for phase 1 of ILL relaunch is July 20.
  • School-housed public libraries: We know that those of you co-located in public schools are facing re-opening challenges. PLSB is offering webinars specifically for school-housed public libraries during the first weeks of July. Libraries in this situation have been contacted directly and invited to attend. We are also happy to support you individually if you contact us directly at libraries@gov.ab.ca.
  • Reminder – two library surveys: PLSB is seeking your input by July 17 regarding public library services during closure, as well as the your library’s strategy for reopening the physical space to the public.
    • Survey 1 – Public Library Service during the Pandemic Closures: This survey is meant to capture data from the closure period due to the pandemic. The closure period is considered to be from March 17 to June 12, from when Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer issued the directive to when Stage 2 of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy began. Access survey 1
    • Survey 2 – Relaunch Strategies of Alberta Public Libraries: This survey is seeking information from public libraries about their relaunch strategies. Access survey 2
  • Direct deposit for grant payments: To receive future grant payments via direct deposit, please ensure that your bank account is in the legal name of the library board, i.e. (Name of Municipality) Library Board. If so, you can email libgrants@gov.ab.ca for a direct deposit form to have your bank fill out, or you can submit a void cheque to us. Please email libgrants@gov.ab.ca if you have any questions. Second installments (the remaining 50%) of your 2020-2021 Provincial Public Library Operating Grant will be paid out in the fall and the deadline for your 2020-2021 grant application has been extended to October 1.

TCBC vacation policies survey results

  • Summer is typically prime vacation time. Will it be this year? TCBC asked organizations across the country how they’re managing employees’ vacation usage and what changes they’re making to vacation policies; review the survey results.

Mindful hydration

  • Two factors that impact our overall health are water and mental calm: without water, our health is at risk; without mental calm, our mental health is at risk. Mindful hydration – the daily practice of meditation while drinking water – can reduce stress and boost productivity according to this Howatt HR Consulting article. By practicing this 90-second mindful hydration activity with intention you have an opportunity to positively impact both your physical and mental health, one mouthful of water at a time.

June 29

TRACpac app survey reminder

  • Library managers/directors: If you haven’t already, please complete this quick TRACpac app survey by Friday, July 3. Only one response from each library is needed.

Action Required: Library reopening survey for Polaris

  • We hate to add another survey to your to-do list, but this one is very important! In order to prepare for reopening YRL member libraries for holds on July 13, we’re also going to be updating all your library’s Polaris settings as everything is fairly interconnected.
  • Library managers/directors: Please take about 10 minutes to fill out this Polaris survey by Wednesday, July 8. Only one response from each library is needed.

CSSG funding application now open

  • The CSSG provides qualified post-secondary students and recent graduates with volunteer opportunities while supporting not-for-profit organizations with flexible solutions to address COVID-19 response during summer 2020. More information and registration is available at iwanttohelp.org and jobbank.gc.ca/volunteer.
Calming your emotions
  • To say emotions are big is an understatement. Although shame, fear, sadness and anger, among others, can sometimes be overpowering and overwhelming, regaining control and bringing down big emotions will enable you to focus and work with them in a way that feels safe and manageable. This Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute article has seven skills to help.

June 26

Masks for Albertans: Distribution question

  • The provincial government will be distributing masks through public libraries in the coming months. Have you thought about 'creative' ways to distribute masks in your community? Please share your ideas with us at askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.

Guidance for indoor events

  • For your information and reference, this indoor event guidance document was developed to support those who organize public or private indoor events in reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 among attendees.

Albertan's discuss systemic racism

  • CBC Alberta hosted an online public forum discussion on systemic racism yesterday; watch the recording of the We Need To Talk event.

Supporting employee mental health: Recorded webinar and checklist

Recovering from COVID-19 may provide long-term immunity

  • It’s not clear whether people who have recovered from COVID-19 are immune to the coronavirus that causes it, but a new research project at the University of Alberta will examine whether the antibodies their immune system produced to fight off the disease provides them with long-term immunity, as per this folio article.

June 25

Government Courier update

  • The tentative start date for Government Courier is Monday, July 20.
    • If your library previously received Government Courier directly, check at your local drop-off location as items for your library may be delivered the week of July 20.
  • More information on the YRL van run delivery schedule will be communicated next week.

REALM Project update: Second round of testing begins

  • The results for the first round of testing for live COVID-19 virus on common library materials was released earlier this week. The second round of testing, set to conclude in late July, will include the following materials:
    • Braille paper pages (closed in the book)
    • Glossy paper pages (closed in the book)
    • Magazine pages (closed in the magazine)
    • Children’s board books (closed in the book)
    • Archival folders (stacked together)
  • The first round test results can be found on the REALM website and included in this project update is a listing of best practices/reopening plans from a variety of US libraries – most of which were used to inform the documentation sent out by YRL in April and May.
Optimize your energy with food
  • Check out these five strategies to maintain healthy energy and improve productivity throughout the day.

June 24

TRACpac app survey

  • We heard great feedback about the new TRACpac app and its exciting new features – mobile self checkout and click-and-collect/curbside pickup. In order to prepare for the launch and get everyone set up, we’ve built a quick survey for library managers/directors to answer – only one response per library is needed. Please submit responses by Friday, July 3.

Ancestry Library Edition update

  • Remote access of Ancestry Library Edition has been extended another month to July 31, 2020.

Copyright permissions extended

  • Thank you to Kelly from Onoway Public Library for sharing this with us! Many librarians who are producing online Storytimes and other programs for children have been concerned about the June 30 expiration of many of the special permissions extended by publishers for use of their books in streamed and/or recorded events. Several publishers either offered a longer permissions period to begin with, or have recently extended their permissions through the summer. Check the COVID-19 Publisher Information Directory, a comprehensive list maintained by School Library Journal. In addition, Candlewick Press and Cottage Door Press do not state an expiration date, and Sleeping Bear Press/Cherry Lake Publishing Group is extended until August 31.

June 23

REALM Project update: Round 1 test results now available

  • The REALM Project released the results of the first round of Battelle’s laboratory testing for COVID-19 on five commonly circulated library materials: hardback book cover (buckram cloth), paperback book cover, plain paper pages inside a book, plastic protective book covering, and a DVD case. “Results show that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was not detectable on the materials after three days of quarantine.” Test 2 results are expected by the end of July; details on the items being tested will be available by July 1.

Month of the Artist/Culture Days/Grant opportunity

  • Did you know that Alberta is the first (and remains the only) province in Canada to dedicate an entire month to artists?
  • Month of the Artist, an annual celebration of artists and the social/economical value they bring to the province, was moved to September to align with and complement Alberta Culture Days, which is celebrated September 1 to 30.
  • Alberta Culture Days Grant applications must be submitted by Thursday, July 16. Grant funds are to support online and small venue events held in September that help build partnerships, showcase homegrown talent, boost existing cultural programs, engage public participation, and inspire future involvement.
  • The Alberta Culture Days event resources page has planning guides, posters (customizable, non-customizable and multi-language), print and web ads, wordmarks, and media templates.
  • National Culture Days is September 25 to October 25 and this year’s theme is Unexpected Intersections.

Libraries relaunch: Webinar for public libraries housed in schools

  • Municipal Affairs Public Library Services Branch is hosting four, 30-minute webinars to discuss re-opening strategies for public libraries housed in schools. These sessions are designed for school-housed public library staff and board members to share ideas for re-launching library service in their communities, as well as explore opportunities and challenges. Register
    • Monday, June 29 at 1:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, July 2 at 5:00 p.m.
    • Tuesday, July 7 at 3:00 p.m.
    • Wednesday, July 8 at 11:30 a.m.

June 22

MAH survey

  • The MAH survey has been sent to libraries to complete and you may notice that it looks quite similar to your annual report! To make it easy for our member libraries, YRL staff are working on compiling the information (circulation, card holders and WiFi) and will send out an update when these statistics are available.

TAL update

  • In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, TAL has launched an Anti Racism Resources webpage to help libraries with policies and programs in this area.

Hope for Wellness Helpline

  • Indigenous peoples across Canada who need immediate crisis intervention can contact Hope for Wellness to engage with experienced and culturally sensitive counsellors. Phone and online counselling is available in English and French; phone counselling is also available in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut, on request. Call toll free 1-855-242-3310 or access the online chat.

Learning to live with COVID-19

  • With a coronavirus vaccine likely years away and other viral threats emerging every year, shoring up health care for vulnerable groups is critical, experts say in this folio article.

Anxiety intervention strategies

  • This free, 4.5-hour, on-demand workshop from the Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute (CTRI) explores practical and accessible strategies which can be applied to all ages, and help address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social aspects of anxiety. Register

Setting personal boundaries

  • This CTRI blog post provides gentle guidance on the importance of setting personal boundaries in order to teach others how we want to be treated. “If we do not set personal boundaries for ourselves, we do not learn how to keep the space around us safe.”

June 19

SRC celebrity guests

  • We are so excited to inform you that the Alberta Regional Library Systems have secured a variety of TOP SECRET celebrity guests to help make your online SRC programming extra special.
  • YRL will post a sneak-peek graphic on Facebook and Twitter the day before each special guest video is released (1-2 per week). Please share our posts/tweets with your communities using #ABSRC2020 and encourage people to guess who our celebrity might be. Watch for the first graphic this Monday, June 22!
    • If your library uses Instagram, contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca and we’ll send you a link for the image files.
  • Mark your calendar… the sneak-peek graphics will be posted on: June 22, 29—July 6, 9, 13, 20, 23, 27—August 3, 6, 10, 13, 17.

YRL delivery schedule—June 29 to July 16

  • The modified delivery schedule for Monday, June 29 to Thursday, July 16 is available online.
TRACpac app update
  • The long-awaited TRACpac app (version 3 by the vendor Solus) is nearing release! We have worked very hard for many months and are now in the final stages of development and testing. A beta version will be unveiled in the upcoming weeks for managers to doublecheck that library information is correct and check it out. But this isn’t just any ordinary library app… of course you can search for titles, place holds (eventually), find directions, display your barcode and link other family member accounts, but there are two new feature that make this app revolutionary. The new TRACpac app will enable libraries to offer mobile self checkout and click-and-collect curbside pickup arrangements. How will that work?
    • If a patron walks into a participating library with their location services enabled, the self checkout feature will allow them to check out items right from their phone. Just scan the barcode, the receipt goes into the app and off you go! This looks a little differently if you use RFID tags, but we’ll tell you more later.
    • The click-and-collect curbside pickup feature will allow patrons to arrange a pick-up time for their holds. A separate portal will be available for library staff to log in, see who is coming and when, and know what needs to be pulled. The patron uses the app to let staff know they’ve arrived and what vehicle to look for. They simply pop their trunk and staff can come and deliver it right to them for contactless delivery!
  • Next week, library managers will be emailed a survey about whether they are interested in using the app to offer self checkout and/or click-and-connect at their location. If interested, you will be contacted in July so that we can make proper configurations. Keep your eyes on your inbox!
2020 Alberta Book Publishing Awards Shortlist
  • The Book Publishers Association of Alberta (BPAA) announced the 2020 Alberta Book Publishing Awards shortlist which represents the finest of Alberta book publishing as determined by leading professionals in the book industry from across Canada. BPAA will be promoting the shortlisted titles through social media over the coming months. Keep an eye on #ABbooks and #shortlist2020, as well as the BPAA Facebook page.

June 18

Non-medical masks may be distributed by public libraries

  • The provincial government is considering a partnership with public libraries to distribute non-medical masks to Albertans at no cost. YRL staff will be requesting information from each library about this potential initiative during the next weekly check-in call/email.

AUMA and Service Alberta broadband update

  • As part of AUMA’s ongoing work on the issue of broadband internet, we have been in regular contact with Service Alberta, with senior ministry officials recently presenting at our Small Communities committee. Further to this, the Ministry recently shared some of their plans regarding increasing access to broadband internet access for Alberta communities. Read the update

MLS training opportunities

  • Thursday, July 9, 10:00 a.m. Leap – Circulation Basics: Learn the ins and outs of circulating library materials using Leap in this 30-minute webinar. Register
  • Tuesday, July 14, 10:00 a.m. LibraryAware Basics – Print Materials: This 60-minute webinar will show you the ins and outs of using LibraryAware for the first time and using the drag and drop editor to create awesome, eye-catching print promotional materials for your library. Register
  • Thursday, July 16, 10:00 a.m. Leap – Patron Accounts: Learn all about patron accounts in Leap in this 45-minute webinar. Register
  • Thursday, July 23, 10:00 a.m. Leap – Searching for Materials and Placing Holds: Learn all about searching for materials and placing holds in Leap in this 45-minute webinar. Register
  • Tuesday, July 28, 10:00 a.m. LibraryAware Basics – Social Media: Learn how to use LibraryAware to create social media posts to inform and entertain your followers in this 30-minute webinar. NOTE: It is recommended that you watch LibraryAware Basics – Print Materials prior to watching this webinar. Register
  • There are also recorded webinars available on demand:

PLA Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice live Twitter chat

  • Wednesday, July 1, 11:00 a.m.: Join PLA's Task Force on EDISJ for their first live Twitter chat. The discussion will focus on EDISJ in the library workforce, and will aim to help library staff understand the interplay of EDISJ principles in workforce development and re-examine systems and policies to expose issues of inequity and injustice. To ensure a lively discussion, we're providing the discussion questions ahead of time. So get ready to share your experiences and resources, ask questions, and learn from your peers!
    • Has your library normalized a shared lexicon or other formalized initiatives around EDISJ?
    • In what ways are communities of color formally recognized as key stakeholders in organizational decision-making?
    • In what ways has your library developed hiring practices that support the recruitment and retention of those who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour)?
    • Does your library have a systematic review of racial equity?
    • What are some of the societal shifts in a post-COVID world that will impact the public library workforce & values?
  • To participate in the conversation, simply follow PLA on Twitter at @ALA_PLA and tweet using the hashtags #chatPLA and #libraryworkers.

AUMA and RMA recorded webinar

  • Last week’s What "Phase 2" means to municipal & community services webinar recording is now available online. During this 60-minute session, experts including Dr. Deena Hinshaw shared insights into developments and delivery timelines, answered questions on the provincial relaunch strategy, and shared available supporting materials. Watch

June 17

Freedom to Care Act survey

  • The Government of Alberta is proposing the Freedom to Care Act which will “allow charitable and non-profit groups to apply for a 'common sense exemption' from regulations that are designed primarily for commercial application where those regulations have the unintended consequence of preventing a social good from being performed.” Responses from the Freedom to Care Act survey will help the provincial government determine how best to remove barriers for non-profit groups, charities and volunteers across the province.
Library strategic planning webinar
  • Monday, June 22, 11:00 a.m.: Should you think about strategic planning in the middle of a crisis? What does a strategic planning process look like in turbulent times? While looking ahead three or more years may be out of the question, strategy is necessary to help your library bring order to the unknown and provide the road map your library needs to feel secure in your decisions and communicate with stakeholders. Learn how to leverage your strategic planning knowledge and experience in new ways to help your library successfully navigate the coming months and years. This free, 60-minute webinar will help library staff with a role in organization strategy build capacity to negotiate how planning for the future is changing and level up their ability to respond. Register

June 16

Modified YRL delivery schedule continues

  • The modified van run delivery schedule will continue into the first two weeks of July (at least). We will send out the schedule for June 28 to mid-July by the end of this week.
Training resources for library staff
  • YRL staff are busy updating and organizing all of our virtual training materials. For quick tips and an overview to all of YRL’s key tools and resources, be sure to check out the training section on the our website.

TD SRC kids' site

  • The TD SRC kids’ site is now live and taking registrations plus there are lots of fun activities for children of all ages, interests and abilities. TDSummerReadingClub.ca

YRCA winners for 2020

  • The 80th annual YRCA winners are:
    • Junior Division (Grades 4-6): Refugee by Alan Gratz
    • Intermediate Division (Grades 7-9): Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
    • Senior Division (Grades 10-12): The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Go to the YRCA website for information about how to participate and to see the 2021 nominees.

Small, Rural and Independent Libraries mini-conference reminder

  • Wednesday, June 17 1:00-4:00 p.m.: It’s not too late to sign up for the free, Libraries 2.0 Small, Rural and Independent Libraries mini-conference happening virtually tomorrow afternoon. Register

Helping municipalities navigate the road to recovery webinar

  • Tuesday, July 7, 11:00 a.m.: As Canadian municipalities face major shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery is top of mind. During this 60-minute Canadian Municipalities: COVID-19 challenges call for unique solutions webinar, Grant Thornton will teach you how municipalities can weather the economic storm by taking you through a series of case studies that will demonstrate how unique challenges are being addressed with unique solutions. Register

June 15

SRC 2020 training webinar reminder

  • Tuesday, June 16, 11:00 a.m.:  This 90-minute webinar will include a live tour of the TDSRC and ABSRC resources along with Q&A. Register
  • The recorded webinar from last week is available on YouTube and the handouts are online.

Diversity audit webinar reminder

  • Wednesday, June 17, 11:00 a.m.: YRL librarian Laina Kelly will be doing a live Q&A with BookNet Canada for her Diversity Benchmarking: Improving Diversity and Inclusion in Library Collections presentation . Register for the 90-minute live event (recording will be available after).

Post-pandemic organizational sustainability recorded webinar

  • In this Excellence Canada webinar, How a Healthy Organization Achieves Post-Pandemic Sustainability, learn how inclusive leadership can inspire employees and build team resilience to produce a vibrant, positive workplace.

Another safety barrier option

  • Thank you to Karen from Three Hills Municipal Library for sharing this safety barrier idea! “As plexiglass is hard to obtain and incredibly expensive, we purchased large frames from Ikea ($30 each) that came with an optically clear acrylic cover; we removed all the backing, used silicone to keep the acrylic cover in place, drilled small holes in the top of the aluminum frame, and hung them up with picture wire.”

June 12

Communicating new library rules/processes

  • As library staff are busy behind the scenes preparing to reopen, it is important to plan your reopening communication strategy. This Super Library Marketing blog post has great ideas for conveying the new rules and processes to your staff and the public.
National Indigenous Peoples Day virtual celebration
  • Thank you to YRL Trustee Bill Elliot from the City of Wetaskiwin for sharing this with us! Join the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in virtually celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day with a rich and unique immersion in Treaty 7 arts and culture featuring free events and workshops. Register
    • Sunday, June 21, 10:00 a.m.: Drawn to Nature Online Workshop led by Alberta Rose W/Ingnuk
    • Sunday, June 21, 12:00 p.m.: Domestic Mark Making Printmaking Workshop led by Laura Grier
    • Sunday, June 21, 6:00 p.m.: Live Stream Music Performance by Juno-nominated Celeigh Cardinal
    • Sunday, June 21 to Saturday, June 27: Screenings of OChiSkwaCho by Jules Koostachin, and films from the Stoney Nakoda AV Club

BPAA announcement

  • Please see the BPAA announcement regarding the newly launched "Alberta Reads" provincial book club.

June 11

Local holds reopening

  • YRL is planning to reopen local holds as of Monday, July 13. Before we do, we will contact every member public library to gather specific information, as once the holds are opened, it will impact other things such as notices and overdue fines.
  • “Why July 13?” We had multiple requests from libraries to provide as much notice as possible as staff may need to be recalled. We also do not know when government courier will resume, which will impact the movement of material between regions/outside of YRL.
SRC 2020 training webinar
  • Thank you to all interested libraries who signed up for yesterday’s SRC 2020 training webinar. We are very sorry not all attendees were able to view the webinar and YRL is offering the following options to make sure programming staff feel prepared for SRC 2020.
    • The recorded webinar is on YouTube: Watch
    • The handouts are available online: Download
    • Tuesday, June 16, 11:00 a.m.:  Another 90-minute webinar with a live tour of the resources and Q&A. Register

Diversity audit webinar

  • Wednesday, June 17, 11:00 a.m.: YRL librarian Laina Kelly will be doing a live Q&A with BookNet Canada for her presentation Diversity Benchmarking: Improving Diversity and Inclusion in Library Collections. Register for the 90-minute live event (recording will be available after).


  • Saturday, June 13, 9:30 a.m.: Library board members across the province are invited to view the meeting package and attend ALTA’s 49th AGM. Register

June 10

Tips for dealing with angry patrons when your library reopens video

  • As libraries reopen their physical buildings, library staff may be worried about dealing with patrons who are upset. This 6-minute Super Library Marketing video offers tips for dealing with patrons who are having trouble accepting the new rules and regulations.
Supporting mental health in a virtual world recorded webinar
  • The Conference Board of Canada presented this informative session with mental health experts to help individuals and workplaces navigate the many virtual mental health offerings, and they discussed the role of employers and governments to promote and scale these services as society becomes reliant on digital platforms. Access recording

June 9

Relaunch Strategy Stage 2 starts Friday, June 12

  • It was announced earlier this afternoon that Stage 2 of the relaunch will begin this Friday, June 12. This will allow additional businesses and services, including libraries, to reopen and resume operations with two-metre physical distancing requirements and other public health guidelines in place.

  • Premier Kenney emphasized that although businesses and services CAN open on June 12, they do not HAVE to open until they determine they are ready and can ensure all guidance for workplaces is met.

  • Libraries are encouraged to review the YRL Best Practices - Library Reopening During a Pandemic, the COVID-19 Information Guidance for Libraries produced by the office of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Alberta Biz Connect.

AUMA webinar

  • Friday, June 12, 11:00 a.m., What "Phase 2" means to municipal & community services: This 60-minute interactive webinar will provide some insights and guidance on operational matters for Stage 2 with a panel of experts, including Alberta’s CMOH, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. Register

June 8

YRL van delivery

  • Please continue to quarantine bins arriving from YRL for at least three days. It is not necessary to quarantine anything being sent to YRL, as we quarantine all bins and items for at least three days. If you have any questions please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.

Virtually share your new books!

  • You may have noticed that YRL changed many of the record sets on the homepage of your website to eBooks and eAudiobooks when your library closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. We are happy to announce that you can now use these record sets to promote the new items or any other physical items belonging to your library to your patrons. The best part is all the work can be done easily in Polaris through record sets. If you are interested in learning more, please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca and someone from our websites team will contact you to get this set up and show you how to maintain the record sets.
SRC 2020 training
  • Wednesday, June 10, 1:00 p.m.: YRL will be offering a two-hour training session covering the TD SRC website, online programming and other topics related to this year's SRC. Register

Race Matters webinar series

  • Thank you to Laura from our YRL team for sharing this with us! In this three-part webinar series, Korn Ferry will discuss what business leaders at all levels can say and do to tackle racism in their organizations and in society, the impact of recent events on the Black community, what White people can do to be authentic allies and drive change, and what leaders and HR can do to address systemic racism and build inclusive organizations for all.
    • Tuesday, June 9, 9:00 a.m. Stand by Me – How whites can become authentic allies: White privilege has always been difficult to explore. But without accusation we will talk about how Whites can leverage racial privilege to be effective allies for achieving equity. Register
    • Wednesday, June 10, 9:00 a.m. In My Shoes – Addressing systemic racism through structural inclusion: The emphasis of diversity and inclusion over the past few years has been to tackle people’s behavior with unconscious bias training. But, while worthwhile, it’s not enough. In this webinar we discuss how organizations are tackling the systemic racism in their existing talent systems. Register
    • Thursday, June 11, 9:00 a.m. Don’t Talk, Do – Creating a racially equitable future as inclusive leaders: Organizations need CEOs to be champions of racial equity. But to lead their businesses to become truly inclusive and equitable they also need to be highly skilled in a multitude of ways. We talk about what inclusive leadership looks like in action. Register
    • Hear Me – Black voices on their pain and anger (recorded June 4): Four Black professionals from three different generations share what George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery's tragic killings and that of many other Blacks means for them and their families. Watch

Home office ergonomics video

  • HRdownloads created this short video with ergonomic tips for those working from home.

How to stop rumination during stressful times

  • Rumination occurs when our primary focus is on negative things that are happening in our lives – we focus on the distress rather than looking for possible solutions. Without intentionally trying to disrupt rumination, your brain will remain focused on the negatives, which only leads to further stress and anxiety. This Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute blog post offers seven ideas for shutting down rumination.

June 5

PLSB update: Nodes meeting

  • Diana Davidson, PLSB Director, sent this message about the Provincial Public Library Network Nodes roundtable meeting held June 3: Thanks for attending the teleconference yesterday and for so quickly sharing your new card holder numbers with me. I thought you might like to know that, according to the numbers you shared, just over 18,500 Albertans registered for new public library cards since March 15th. That is pretty incredible. For perspective… This is roughly double the number of new card registrations typically seen in a three month period (as estimated from total new card numbers in the last four years of annual reports). I think this rough statistic speaks to how important libraries have been during the pandemic (even as physical doors had to close). I know that when we officially report this, there will be more analysis to be done around other benchmarks and other totals and what happens to usage generally over the rest of the year.  But for today, it is an encouraging number and I think something everyone can be proud of.
LibraryAware has reopening templates
  • Did you know that LibraryAware had hundreds of new COVID-19 related design templates that library staff can use to prepare signage for reopening? There are options for posters, flyers, bookmarks, social media widgets and more, with designs for topics such as reopening hours, donations, directional signage and curbside pickup. To access the templates, log into your library's LibraryAware account and enter "covid" into the search box. If you need help accessing LibraryAware, please contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.

Distillery hand sanitizer vendors

Helping restore an anxious brain

  • COVID-19 has brought anxiety to the fore with many of us during this pandemic period. This folio article has good news though – scientists at the University of Alberta are progressing in research on the anxious brain.

June 4

Canada-Alberta Job Grant

  • The Canada-Alberta Job Grant is a training program where an employer applies on behalf of their employee(s) for eligible training costs. Employers decide who gets training and what type of training may be needed for their employees. Eligible employers are required to contribute a minimum of one-third of the total training costs for existing employees. Government contributes two-thirds of the cost to a maximum of $10,000 per trainee per fiscal year. If hiring and training an unemployed Albertan, up to 100 per cent of training costs could be covered, up to $15,000 per trainee.
Re-opening policies, etc.
  • Reopening policies and other relevant documents will be added to the Library Toolshed as they become available.

ALTA Zoom tutorial and AGM

  • Saturday, June 6, 9:30 a.m., Zoom tutorial: Attend this webinar if you are new to using Zoom. Register
  • Saturday, June 13, 9:30 a.m., AGM: View the meeting package and attend ALTA’s 49th annual general meeting. Register
Small, Rural and Independent Libraries mini-conference
  • Wednesday, June 17, 1:00-4:00 p.m.: The second Library 2.020 mini-conference will be held free online, and will focus on innovation and innovative thinking in rural, independent, tribal, and other small libraries – as well as the many unique challenges that they face – from a diverse array of keynote panelists and curated presenters. Register
10 Days of Happiness program
  • The COVID-19 pandemic brings big challenges for our mental health, whether you're isolating at home or trying to live with the new restrictions. 10 Days of Happiness is a free, 10-day online coaching program which guides you through daily actions for happier living, and can help you cope and find a little more happiness in these difficult times. Join

June 3

Provincial town hall call on June 1

  • Hosted by Tanya Fir, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, along with Kaycee Madu, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, the call was to gather questions and feedback from the library community which will then be used in the development of library-specific guidelines that will be available before Stage 2 begins. It was confirmed that Stage 2 is not a 'must open by date' for libraries: boards can decide timelines based on the community and risk assessments.
  • Topics of discussion included: physical distancing between staff and/or patrons, computer access, face masks, acrylic barriers, sanitizing surfaces, browsing library collections, restroom access, managing staff or patrons who may be sick, and public libraries in co-located facilities.
  • Minister Madu spoke to the actions taken by the Public Library Services Branch and remarked how active public libraries in the province have been in supporting communities in a variety of ways, the creativity that has gone into offering programming and the increased use of eResources. He also affirmed the commitment to provide the balance of the library operating grant this fall.

PLSB update

  • The PLSB hosted a Provincial Public Library Network Nodes roundtable call this afternoon. Highlights include:
    • Minister Madu was delighted with the participation and number of people (384 in total) connected to Monday’s provincial town hall call, particularly since it was organized and communicated on very short notice.
    • The guidelines coming from the office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health will probably be very general with regards to restrictions. For specific information, please refer to the previously distributed PLSB material and YRL planning documents, and what has also been shared amongst libraries. Contact the PLSB or YRL if you have any questions or concerns.
    • PLSB will be sending out a statement this week regarding co-located facilities, but it appears the decision on when and how to open will need to be a conversation between the partners (i.e. library board and school) and as per any agreement(s) in place.
    • There is no obligation for libraries to open sooner than when you are ready to do so. A number of the urban libraries in the province are aiming for a July opening date.
    • Some locations are NOT starting with curbside pickup of material. Instead, they are starting with computer access BY appointment, AND working through community agencies.
      • The library books time for the agency clientele to come in.
      • Those clients come in for one hour.
      • After that hour, the computers are cleaned before the next group booking is allowed in.
      • Computers have been moved into a separate area, and physically distanced.
    • Communication plans on what services you are opening with, and why you are choosing one service over another will be very important, especially to manage expectations of patrons coming back in. Contact Karla if you need assistance.
    • There are 16 Provincial Public Library Network Node members. Not including Edmonton and Calgary Public Libraries, Chinook Arch Regional Library System (even with Lethbridge Public Library's numbers removed) currently has the most new cardholders for March-May (well done!) and YRL has the second highest number of new cardholders in the province for the same time period: more than 1,000! Great job engaging with your communities!

Supporting mental health in a virtual world webinar

  • Monday, June 8, 12:00 (MDT): The Conference Board of Canada presents this 60-minute webinar with mental health experts Joe Blomeley and Bill Howatt who will help individuals and workplaces navigate the many virtual mental health offerings, and will discuss the role of employers and governments to promote and scale these services as society becomes reliant on digital platforms. Register

REALM project update

  • The REALM Project released a technical document, Test Plan for the Natural Attenuation of SARS-CoV-2 as a Decontamination Approach, that explains the process and details about conditions for testing materials provided by archives, libraries and museums. A preliminary literature review prepared by Battelle informed the context for the laboratory research that is currently underway; the REALM Project Happening Now update has more information on this first round of testing.

Project READY: Reimagining Equity & Access for Diverse Youth free online curriculum

  • The Project READY curriculum modules were designed to support school and public youth services librarians committed to working toward racial equity and may also be useful for teachers and other school staff members, library or school administrators, instructors in library science programs, or anyone else interested in improving their own understanding of racial equity issues. Thank you to Susan from Calmar Public Library for sharing this resource with us!

June 2

New chat feature available!

  • YRL is pleased to offer a chat service platform to its member libraries. After some beta testing with libraries, LibraryH3lp is now live for Beaumont, Hinton and Spruce Grove with two more libraries in the testing phase.
  • LibraryH3lp is a flexible virtual reference platform that provides real-time chat for instant answers. With LibraryH3lp embedded on your website, library staff can connect with visitors to your website, providing assistance and answers from the comfort of their desk at work, at home, or even on the go using a web-based chat application on their phone.
  • If you would like more information or are interested in adding LibraryH3lp chat as a service your library offers, contact Stephanie at sthero@yrl.ab.ca.

TAL Update

  • TAL is running a pilot project with Parkland Regional Library System, Peace Library System and Yellowhead Regional Library. Prior to COVID-19, there were discussions about combining workshop planning and the need for a virtual conference led to the invitation for TAL to be a partner.
  • Along with technical expertise and contacts, TAL has licensed the virtual conference software and has the capacity to host and archive the conference sessions. TAL is using this opportunity to assess how we can provide this as a service to our members and whether it has the possibility of generating revenue if we host sessions for other non-profit organizations.
  • Stronger Together Virtual Conference October 1 & 2, 2020
Adapting to new workplace health and safety measures
  • As businesses begin to reopen, they’re setting new rules around health and safety. But it will take some time for these new rules to feel normal. Leaders can take a few steps to help their teams adapt.
    • First, encourage returning employees to not only follow, but help enforce the rules. Ask them to politely call out any violations of the new safety practices, and to remind the offender of proper protocol — even if it’s the boss.
    • Next, remind your team that the best response to a reminder is a simple “thank you,” followed by compliance.
    • Finally, hold a boot camp where people can practice the new behaviors. This can be as short as 30 minutes or as long as a few hours, depending on your company’s particular policies.
    • Make the moral case for changing behavior by clearly communicating the life-and-death risks of noncompliance. And give people the opportunity to go through the motions, so they can begin to develop these new habits.
  • Establishing new norms is difficult, but clear and committed leadership will help make it happen.
    Adapted from the Harvard Business Review, 5 Tips for Safely Reopening Your Office by Joseph Grenny
Feel the grief and keep going
  • Thank you to Allison from Stony Plain Public Library for sharing this newsletter with us! Parkland School Division’s Family Supports Newsletter contains a wide variety of information and training opportunities; the first article in this issue, The Discomfort You Are Feeling is Grief, aptly describes what many people may be going through and also offers insights on how to be empathetic and compassionate toward others.

How to overcome challenges

  • This Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute blog post lists three important lessons for overcoming challenges.

June 1

Order by Friday: Re-entry kit/Acrylic barrier

  • YRL is coordinating the bulk purchase of COVID-19 Re-entry Kits for Libraries and acrylic safety barriers; libraries will be invoiced upon receipt and the kits/barriers will be delivered on the van run. Email your order to Wendy by 12:30 p.m. on Friday, June 5.
    • COVID-19 Re-entry Kit for Libraries – $375
      • 10 – face shields
      • 50 – masks
      • 12 – sanitizer bottles (240 ml each)
      • 2 – sanitizer refill bottles (2 L each)
      • 4 – 8.5" x 11" plastic signs (2 each: Social distancing in use and Clean your hands)
    • Acrylic safety barrier/sneeze guard – $200

ALA 'Libraries Reopening' webinar series

  • Thank you to Allison from Stony Plain Public Library for sharing this with us! The ALA IRRT webinar committee will run six free webinars focusing on perspectives from libraries around the world, and the presenters will address the following questions:
    • What risks are libraries expecting to be associated with the reopening?
    • What is the library strategy to protect their users, the library staff, the building, and the materials?
    • What are the safety measures that libraries are putting in place?
    • What is the training the staff need?
    • What communications channels are you using or plan to use to communicate the staff safety?
  • Libraries in Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mexico, Qatar, Netherlands, Sweden, and Australia will share how they addressed, and are currently addressing, the reopening of libraries during the challenging time of COVID-19. Register
    • Wednesday, June 3: #1 Leipzig University Library | Germany | 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (MDT) #2 University of Hong Kong | Hong Kong | 6:00-7:00 p.m. (MDT)
    • Thursday, June 4: #1 UIN Sunan Kalijaga Library | Indonesia and National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico | 9:00-10:00 a.m. (MDT) #2 ACT Heritage Library | Australia | 5:00-6:00 p.m. (MDT)
    • Friday, June 5: Qatar National Library | Qatar and Netherlands: A Comparative View | 1:00-2:00 p.m. (MDT)
    • Thursday, June 11: Helsingborg City Libraries and Mjölby Public Library | Sweden | 9:00-10:00 a.m. (MDT)

Mental health and returning to the workplace

  • This Conference Board of Canada article looks at what organizations must consider as they prepare to return to the workplace, and how employers need to be prepared to support mental health as well as employee safety and physical health.

'Libraries Still Light the Way'

  • CBC Radio’s Daybreak Alberta with Russell Bowers reached out to Terra Plato, Lethbridge Public Library CEO, to find out how libraries are adapting and the preparations being done to reopen. Terra did a wonderful job during the 11-minute interview!

May 29

20 million masks to be distributed to Albertans

  • As part of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy, the provincial government is partnering with A&W, McDonald’s and Tim Hortons to distribute non-medical masks at no cost through drive-thru locations across the province starting in early June. Media Release
Diluted bleach and cleaning products
  • If you are (or will be) using diluted bleach in your library, please consider potential conflicts with the cleaning products being used. For example, bleach and ammonia (commonly found in glass and window cleaners) can produce a toxic gas.
  • For your reference, Alberta Health Services recommends mixing 20 ml (4 teaspoons) of unscented, household bleach with 1000 ml (4 cups) of water for environmental cleaning of public facilities.
Science-based reopening plans in everyday English

May 28

Save the date!

  • Parkland Regional Library System, Peace Library System, The Alberta Library and Yellowhead Regional Library are pleased to announce their joint virtual conference: Stronger Together, October 1 & 2, 2020.
  • Registration is free and opens on Friday, August 7.
  • Visit the Stronger Together website to learn more.

Packing of delivery bins

  • When library staff are packing bins for delivery to YRL, place all material directly in the bin – please do not use any extra packaging; for example: canvas bags, bubble wrap, cardboard. Thank you!

June schedule: YRL Coffee Chats

  • Thursday, June 4, 11, 18 and 25, 1:30-2:15 p.m.: Working from a distance doesn’t mean you can’t connect! Join YRL staff for a weekly coffee chat, where we answer your frequently asked questions, discuss projects you can work on during closure, chat about what’s happening in your library and (virtually) check in with everyone to see how each of us are doing during this unprecedented time. Each Coffee Chat has a limit of 26 participants, so be sure to join the meeting early to secure your spot! Email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca to get the meeting link.
  • If you are accessing the Coffee Chat via your phone or tablet, download the GoToMeeting app.

May 27

Face shields and more...

  • Having trouble buying PPE and other necessities for your library’s relaunch? YRL could coordinate a bulk purchase and have the items delivered to your library on the van run.
    • COVID-19 Re-entry Kit (as listed) $375
      • 10 – face shields
      • 50 – masks
      • 12 – sanitizer bottles (240 ml each)
      • 2 – sanitizer refill bottles (2 L each)
      • 4 – 8.5" x 11" plastic signs (2 each: Social distancing in use and Clean your hands)
    • Stand-up acrylic safety barrier/sneeze guard, 31.75” x 45" View $196 (NOTE: YRL is looking at additional safety barrier quotes.)
  • To express an interest for your library, email Wendy at wsears@yrl.ab.ca.

TAL update

  • An annual report will be published and shared in June.
  • Continually adding online content to support libraries in post-pandemic planning, and provide free professional development opportunities for staff.
  • Exploring options to work with the Alberta Library Trustees’ Association (ALTA) and the Alberta Museums Association for shared programming.
  • Anticipate early July move to new location at Edmonton Public Library.
  • Met with several TAL members to discuss options for licensing the Edmonton Journal archives; work continues on this project.

FWE free 5-day program

  • Launching Monday, June 8Ready, Resilient, and Strong: A resilience program for women entrepreneurs – Join women entrepreneurs from across Canada for a free, 5-day educational dive aimed at strengthening you and your business’ resilience during this unprecedented time. Register

May 26

CAMH webinar

  • Tuesday, June 2, 9:00 a.m.: Managing the transition back: Organizational readiness and employee anxiety – as a business leader, you may be thinking about managing the transition back to the office and what the new normal will look like. This one-hour webinar will discuss managing the transition back to the office, organizational readiness and employee anxiety during COVID-19. Register

How to save your summer vacation

  • Thinking differently about leisure time can help you get a family getaway despite the pandemic, say experts in this folio article.

May 25

Patron expiration dates

  • On June 1, YRL will be doing a bulk change for patrons with expiration dates in the month of June – they will be extended through until July 31, 2020.
  • If you do not want this, or would like a longer extension, please email Stephanie at sthero@yrl.ab.ca as soon as possible.

Washable keyboards and mice

  • For those who were interested in sealable, washable keyboards and mice, we have sourced out a supplier who has high inventory (for now) of high-quality, waterproof, dishwasher-safe units:
    • Seal Shield Silver Seal TM Waterproof Keyboard, Black, SSKSV207 – $115.99 View keyboard
    • Seal Shield Silver Storm TM Waterproof Mouse, Corded, Black, STM042 – $83.49 View mouse
  • YRL will coordinate the bulk purchase and invoice your library after. As stocks of such items are in high demand, the order will be submitted at the end of this week.
  • If you are interested in purchasing these for your library, email the quantity of each to Stephanie by 12:30 p.m. on Friday, May 29.

Reopening notes

  • Separation barrier specifications
    • There has not been a size stipulation provided by the province. None of the best practices out of the US have indicated any size standards.
    • Most libraries that are going forward with barriers are ensuring that they extend up quite high (at least 6-8” above the height of the tallest staff person or patron).
    • Some libraries are opting to use a clear shower curtain suspended from the ceiling and taped to the desk.
  • Number of people in the library
    • At this point, the maximum number of people that can be in the facility cannot exceed 15, until and unless the province determines that libraries can act as retail outlets.
    • The Public Library Services Branch (PLSB) set out a suggestion of one person per 10 square metres (108 square feet) but you cannot allow more than 15 people in at this time, even if the calculation indicates otherwise. One thing to consider, is to remove the space taken up by computer stations, staff work areas, shelving and any other fixtures. For example, when Edmonton Public Library ran the calculation on one of their 8,000 square foot spaces and removed the space taken up by shelving and other items, they had 15 people allowed in; at this time, they determined that 15 people is too many to keep the staff safe so will not be opening to the public. 
    • A majority of libraries in the province are moving to start curbside pickup OR a combination of curbside pickup and allowing customers to enter the library into clearly defined areas for holds pickup or computer use only (closed stacks, no browsing).
    • You could, as Stage 2 opens, allow up to 15 people – but you must ensure physical distancing and that any surface touched by patrons and/or staff is thoroughly cleaned, including books.
  • School-housed/Co-located libraries
    • School-housed public libraries and other co-located areas may be included in Stage 3. The PLSB is going to confirm because there are quite a few school-housed/co-located public libraries in the province.
    • Questions to consider: Do you have your own public entrance? Or an entrance that is separate from the school (or other organizations)? Is the school (or other organizations) aware of your opening plans?
ALTA Virtual AGM
  • Find out the details and download the Saturday, June 13 meeting documents from the ALTA website.

May 22

The Dewey Divas and Dudes presentations

  • The Dewey Divas and Dudes are excited to offer a virtual presentation of the Spring 2020 books that should absolutely not be missed! These titles are the must-reads and hidden gems hand-picked by our reps that will entertain, absorb, and comfort readers of all ages. Thank you to Wendy at Westlock Municipal Library for sharing this with us!
  • Pre-registration is required by Sunday, May 24 to attend one or both sessions. Register
    • Tuesday, May 26, 11:00 a.m.: Adult picks
    • Wednesday, May 27, 11:00 a.m.: Kids and teen picks
Excellence Canada webinars
  • Thursday, May 28, 11:00 a.m.: Workplace Wellness, It's Not Just Checking a Box – If you are going to do wellness, why not do it well? In this session we will explore the science of wellness and key elements required to drive sustainable health behaviour change, the power of measuring wellness, and a glimpse into the future using data to drive tailored interventions. Register
  • Thursday, June 11, 12:00 p.m.: How to Enable Your Workforce to Thrive as You Transition Out of the Pandemic – Anyone in a management position can benefit from these insights about designing a healthy change process, cultivating team resilience, and fostering the mutual trust that will be essential for future success. Register

May 21

Polaris considerations when offering curbside services

  • While many libraries are offering curbside services and the van delivery system is starting to move materials around, the ability to place holds in TRACpac for YRL libraries will not be activated yet. This is one way we are “flattening the curve” of materials moving around in the initial stages of reopening. Considerations include:
    • The majority of libraries are not fulfilling holds from other locations, regardless of what region they are in. Some regions are not yet doing deliveries between all their libraries, and government courier is not yet operational.
    • Holds that are placed, go to pending and then are ignored long term, can become problematic to the holds routing setup in Polaris.
    • We have to be very considerate of the capacity of our van deliveries. At present, YRL van deliveries are more about moving material that has been returned and providing libraries with their new materials.
    • Reducing the impact on libraries when they reopen as well as limit the volume of materials coming through all sites, including YRL HQ. All the materials that were checked out are going to be returned, likely quickly, and must be quarantined for 3-5 days minimum. Bins and storage space is going to be at a premium.
  • Despite the hiatus of patrons being able to place holds in TRACpac, library staff are still able to place item-specific holds on their own materials in Polaris/Leap and be able to identify it in Request Manager (just switch the By field to Pickup and Status to Active). When you check the items out, they will take the regular loan period, so if you’re looking to go longer or shorter, make sure to choose a Special Loan Period date.
  • One thing you’ll need to consider is whether you want email, phone and text message notifications turned on; they are currently turned off. That’s going to include hold notices, but also almost overdue reminders, overdue notices, patron expiration reminders, etc. For more information or to turn your notifications on, email Stephanie at sthero@yrl.ab.ca.
  • Contact Stephanie if you have any Polaris-related questions about curbside services.

REALM project update: Material testing underway

  • Five items commonly found in public libraries have been selected for initial lab testing to determine the length of time the COVID-19 virus may live on the surface of these materials. Testing began May 13 using materials provided to Battelle by Columbus Metropolitan Library, and the results of this first round are expected to be released mid-June.
  • For more information on this first round of testing and other activities, visit the “Happening Now” project update page. For more on the scope, timeline, and committees involved with the REALM project, visit oc.lc/realm-project.

May 20

Ancestry Library Edition update

  • Remote access of Ancestry Library Edition has been extended another month to June 30, 2020.

Flushing building water systems

  • For buildings that have had low or zero occupancy during the COVID-19 pandemic, the water lines in these building should be flushed to ensure that potential microbial and chemical risks from stagnant water are minimized. Alberta Environment and Parks produced this Guidance for Flushing Water Systems document.

May 19

AUMA webinar on YouTube

  • Last week's 90-minute Ask the experts webinar is available on YouTube.
Is it safe to borrow library books?
  • This reader-submitted question was in a CBC news article. Please note that Alberta-specific information will be forthcoming but this does underly the importance of libraries to quarantine materials and the need to communicate the same to their staff and patrons.

How to manage anxiety during COVID-19 - A guide for frontline workers

  • This Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute blog post has five anxiety-reducing tips for frontline workers.

May 15

PLSB public library relaunch update

  • As part of Opening soon: Alberta’s relaunch strategy, the Government of Alberta is beginning to carefully and gradually lift restrictions imposed as part of the COVID-19 response. Stage One of the relaunch began May 14. Public libraries remain closed to the public right now and should continue to offer virtual services during this time.
  • Public libraries can re-open to the public with restrictions as part of Stage Two of the relaunch. Stage Two will begin after analysis can be done on the impact of Stage One. There is not a specific date for Stage Two to begin.
  • Your public library board likely has many questions about what this means for your staff and patrons. You probably want to start planning now for re-opening when it is permitted. The PLSB want to empower you to know that:
    • Your board can choose whether or not to re-open to the public when provincial restrictions are lifted in Stage Two.
    • Your board can choose what services to offer at that time.
  • To help guide public library boards in their decision making, refer to this document and this checklist.

May 14

Reopening libraries

  • Premier Kenney announced yesterday that Stage 2 of the Alberta Relaunch Strategy would not start any earlier than Friday, June 19. Libraries are included in Stage 2; however, restrictions must be adhered to including two metre physical distancing requirements and other public health guidelines. We will continue to send out more information as it becomes available.
Managing your team post-pandemic
  • Managing your staff as they return to work will be different than a few months ago; listen to the recording (password: FxAJs4pa) of this RBC Dominion Securities presentation for some great ideas and approaches.

Grammarly for free

  • Grammarly provides writing support including critical grammar, spelling, punctuation and conciseness suggestions, along with tone detection, and they have launched a tailored offering for non-profits that is free through all of 2020. This free offer provides access to key features, including all premium-level writing suggestions, administrator dashboards, and integrations with websites and workplace tools.

May 13

YRL Delivery Schedule - May 19 to June 25

  • Thank you to our member library staff for their flexibility and communication these last few weeks as we have experimented with van runs to deliver new books and in-transit items to your libraries. We have really appreciated everyone putting safety first and being open to changing how you accept the bins. It has led to this! A modified delivery schedule for the next six weeks. This will help everyone to plan and help us to keep new books flowing into your libraries. A few things to remember:
    • If you do not want to accept a delivery, that is okay. Please mail delivery@yrl.ab.ca or askyrl@yrl.ab.ca to let us know.
    • If we do not have any bins for your location in any given week, we may contact you to see if you have items to pick-up. 
    • If you have any questions or concerns about delivery and you would like to make further changes to how we are picking up bins and/or where we are dropping them off, please contact Jocie Wilson at jwilson@yrl.ab.ca. We want to ensure we are not causing any extra anxiety or worry by re-establishing deliveries/pick-ups and will work with each individual location to meet your needs the best way we can.
    • Please continue to be flexible. We are cautiously optimistic by planning for a six-week period but at any given time we may need to make further modifications to this schedule. We will do our best to communicate this with you if anything arises.
AUMA webinar
  • May 14, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. - Ask the Expert: What a “relaunch” means to municipal & community services: With the recent announcement of the Provincial Relaunch Strategy, there have been many questions about how and when to reopen municipal services and businesses within our communities. AUMA is hosting this multi-stakeholder webinar with a panel of experts to provide:
    • A status update on the province's Relaunch Strategy and what supporting materials are available.
    • Some insights into developments and delivery timelines.
    • Q&A with the best information available.

Free self-paced online courses

  • NorQuest College is offering free self-paced tutorial courses during the pandemic with three months to complete the 24-course-hour programs.
    • Managing customer service: Become indispensable to any organization by understanding how to identify and meet customer needs. Register
    • Fundamentals of supervision and management: Learn the people skills required to motivate and delegate, and learn tools for solving problems and resolving conflicts. Register
    • Personal finance: Protect your assets and discover how best to achieve all your financial goals. Register
    • Individual excellence: Master twelve career-enhancing skills including goal setting, time management, personal organization, and creativity. Register
    • Keys to effective communication: Lost for words? Don't be! Learn to build rapport, trust, warmth, and respect through conversation. Register

May 12

PLSB operating grant payments update

  • As of May 5, all payments have been processed. If you receive direct deposit, please check your accounts to make sure the funds are there. If you receive a cheque, they were put in the mail the morning of May 12, so they should get to you by the end of this week. Contact libgrants@gov.ab.ca if you have not received your cheque by May 22, to submit your grant application, or if you have inquiries about the grant or the grant process.
TAL update
  • By calculating the value of licensing through TAL, the overall consortia savings for TAL Opt-in licenses totaled over $2.25 million in 2019, not including savings from the TAL Public or Academic Cores. Individual reports for each TAL member will be distributed in the next few weeks.
  • Contacted several suppliers of "sneeze guards" to see whether there was a role for TAL in buying them on behalf of members. Because they need to be individually fitted to your desk, and the vendors aren't interested in offering a bulk discount, TAL will not be pursuing this.

YRL-recorded webinars

  • Library Development Services staff created an April-June 2020 Webinars playlist on YouTube for member library staff to view at their convenience. You can currently watch Collection Development 2.0 and Finding your Collection Gaps, and more will be added soon!

May 11

TAL update

  • TAL is in discussions with other western Canadian consortia to prepare a joint COVID-19 response statement for vendors. The purpose is to approach vendors with a common, coordinated message requesting vendors to keep renewal pricing stable for libraries in these difficult times.
  • We have started a section on our site for post-pandemic planning.  We will include resources there that might help with your planning for re-opening, or for moving forward after your libraries re-open.
  • An interesting, free webinar on hosting practicum students remotely from CERIC: Going remote with experiential learning and work-integrated learning.
    • Wednesday, May 13, 10:00-11:00 a.m.: What is work-integrated learning when workplaces are remote? What is front-line experience when locations are essential staff only? How to host a placement student in these times? These are the questions we are facing. This practical session is about getting to “this is a possible option” by identifying priority outcomes, the design options that remain, and assessment/feedback and activities that could align. Register
Video editing software
  • Screencast-O-Matic is a free software program offering easy-to-use, accessible tools to create and share videos; you can upgrade to the Deluxe version for $20/year or the Premier version for $48/year to get enhanced editing features and the ability to transfer videos from a mobile device to save as an MP4 or easily post to social media. Thank you to Kelly at Onoway Public Library for sharing this with us!

CORE Alberta

  • Yesterday, the government announced a new online hub called CORE Alberta to coordinate community services for older Albertans and seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The hub will make it easier for seniors-serving organizations to share resources and coordinate services and will feature:
    • Online forums to access training, share resources and promote best practices.
    • A link to Alberta 211 for seniors seeking direct supports.
    • Information about volunteer safety, protocols and guidelines.
    • Links to funding opportunities and resources to address challenges related to COVID-19.

May 8

YRL Best Practices: Library Reopening During a Pandemic

  • Public library boards and directors can refer to this document for information and best practices around reopening. We will update and resend this document as more information becomes available.
CMOH profile article
  • Before she was Alberta's CMOH, Dr. Deena Hinshaw “impressed her medical professors with her quiet thoughtfulness, commitment and empathy for patients.” Find out more about Dr. Hinshaw in this folio article.

May 7

PLSB operating grant payments update

  • Normally, the PLSB processes grant payments and each library board receives a letter with the grant amount – enclosed with the cheque or on its own if the funds are direct deposited (aka EFT); however, with the current COVID-19 situation, the PLSB will not be sending letters for the 50 per cent advance. Letters will be sent with/for the second payment later this year.
Leading Remote Teams When the Stakes are High recorded webinar
  • Have a look at this Center for Creative Leadership recorded webinar and slide deck to review the mindset, skillset and toolset needed to navigate the new virtual landscape with greater effectiveness.

It's who you know...

  • We are looking for a distillery within the YRL region that is currently producing hand sanitizer. Do you know of one? Do you know the owner(s)? Please share what you know with us at askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.

May 6

Your Home Librarian newsletter

  • Sign up to receive this weekly newsletter for help through the COVID-19 crisis – it will keep you informed, entertained and organized as well as providing book recommendations for readers of all ages, multigenerational activity ideas and tips on home organization. Thank you to Darlene from Drayton Valley Municipal Library for sharing this with us!

Old-fashioned connection: Phone programming

  • Library programming has gone digital… but what about patrons without internet access, or with very limited access? To combat the digital divide, libraries and humanities professionals are finding the old-fashioned phone to be a strong programming tool. From Programming Librarian, a website of the American Library Association Public Programs Office, this news article offers tips on how your library can start similar programming.

May 5

Annual conference

  • It will come as no surprise that YRL's annual conference will not take place as usual at the River Cree Resort & Casino. But that won't mean we won't be learning together this fall! Stay tuned – we have something incredible up our sleeves and we can't wait to share it with you soon!

Libraries reopening globally

  • The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ COVID-19 and the Global Library Field blog has a dedicated Reopening Libraries section with information on what libraries around the world are doing.

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs...

  • You may need some signs when we relaunch society, here are some useful links:

Personnel management kiosks

  • The wave of the future? Maybe kiosks that check your temperature before entry will be in public libraries! Watch this webinar about the Meridian kiosk and if you are interested in purchasing one (or more) for your library, email Stephanie.

May 4

YRL Public Libraries' Council meeting cancelled

  • In consultation with PLC Chair Robert McClure, the decision was made to cancel the meeting scheduled for this Friday, May 8.

ORC 101 Public Libraries webinar

  • May 5, 1:30 p.m.-2:15 p.m.: Join this free webinar tomorrow by Lorisia MacLeod, ORC Coordinator at The Alberta Library (TAL), for an overview of the K-12 resources available and the temporary login access change. Register
Mental Health Week
  • The Mental Health Week website has articles and tips for every age group along with shareable resources for social media using #GetReal.
  • The Wellness Together Canada website provides tools and resources to help people get back on track with modules for addressing low mood, worry, substance use, social isolation, and relationship issues.

May 1


  • Statistics have been compiled and are available online.
  • We added a new sheet called “Patrons” which has the numbers of patrons renewed and new patrons signed up, as well as the number of help questions that came through on the website forms.
  • March to April usage increases:
    • OverDrive – up 15% (YRL patrons) and 18% overall in TRAC
    • hoopla – up 44% (YRL patrons)
    • cloudLibrary – up 27% (all TRAC, including Parkland Regional Library borrowing)
    • PressReader newspapers – up 10%
    • RBdigital magazines – up 38%
  • New patrons accessing eResources for the first time:
    • OverDrive – 349 new YRL users (1,299 for all of TRAC)
    • hoopla – 228 new YRL users
    • cloudLibrary – 503 new users (across TRAC, not exclusive to YRL)
PLSB update
  • You will likely have heard details about Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy. Public libraries will be considered in Phase Two of the relaunch. Details will be shared as they become available.

Cleaning versus disinfecting

April 30

Let Me Out! Designing and Implementing Digital Escape Rooms webinar

  • Thursday, May 14, 11:00-11:45 a.m.: With many libraries adapting programs for virtual environments due to the pandemic, one unexpected contender has emerged: the digital escape room. Join Hailey McCullough, Head of Adult Services at Grande Prairie Public Library, as she discusses and demonstrates the steps for creating a digital escape room of your own using Google Forms. Register
COVID-19 Impact on Mental Health Pulse Check Survey
  • The Conference Board of Canada, Mental Health Commission of Canada and Workplace Safety & Prevention Services developed this short 5-minute survey designed to provide a snapshot of the current state of Canadians’ mental health, the coping strategies that people are using and perceived assessment of how they are working. “Complete the survey and share it with your teams and professional colleagues. Aggregate results will be available at the end of May. Not only will this serve us as we move through the next few months, it will provide vital insight to assist with planning and decision making in the future.”

Dealing with uncertainty and anxiety during these times

  • When events are unpredictable, anxiety can increase. Here are some helpful tips from the Centre for Creative Leadership to aid you during those anxious moments.

April 29

Extensions for due dates and patrons

  • Due dates for items Out: This will be done for all items, excluding digital titles, regardless of when they were checked out. Item checkouts will be extended until July 31, 2020. TRAC understands that some libraries have been checking out items during the broader closure; however, with more than 200,000 items currently Out, this must be done for all items in one go.
  • Items with Being Held: Status will be extended until July 31, 2020.
  • Patrons with expiration dates in May 2020: These will be extended through until July 31, 2020. If this concerns you, please contact Stephanie as soon as possible at sthero@yrl.ab.ca.
Libraries Reimagined
  • Libraries Reimagined is a special public radio series examining the role of libraries as a fundamental resource for democracy where you’ll hear from librarians in the field, library patrons, and authors and experts including bestselling author and sociologist Eric Klinenberg. You can share the four-part series online and there is promotional artwork available in a variety of digital formats.

World Tales Short Story Competition

  • With the aim to foster imagination, resourcefulness and ingenuity, UNESCO and the Idries Shah Foundation launched the World Tales Short Story Competition in close collaboration with the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities of UNESCO. Using the theme Once upon a time in my future, young teenagers from all over the globe are invited to write about challenges of today and tomorrow and share their perspectives in a short story format. Submissions are accepted until May 31, 2020.

April 28

PLSB update

  • Plan of Service: We are at the time of year when many library boards submit, or begin working on, a new Plan of Service and we’ve had a number of questions about how COVID-19 impacts this process. If you have questions, or want to inquire about the status of your current Plan of Service, please contact Jordan DeSousa.
  • Public library operating grants: As you will likely have seen, Minister Madu sent out a letter last Monday regarding payment of 2020-2021 public library operating grants. All operating grants will be paid out in a first installment of 50 per cent in the next few weeks. This includes municipal library board grants, regional system library board grants, and grants to boards serving Indigenous populations. You do not have to apply for this first 50 per cent payment. Library Boards have until October 1 to submit their annual grant application, and the payment of the second 50 per cent of the operating grant will happen in the fall (and once boards have been able to submit their information to PLSB). Feel free to contact Jen Anderson with questions.
  • Recording books with NNELS: The NARRATE! Pilot Project is an opportunity for libraries to connect their volunteers with NNELS to record an audiobook. This pilot is currently underway with 10 libraries across Canada. Three portable recording kits have gone out to libraries and online training, resources and direct support are available for all participating libraries. If your library is interested in participating in a NARRATE! Project, please fill out the library sign-up. Recording an audiobook is a great activity to do while people are working remotely and will add to available titles for readers with print disabilities.
  • Press Release on World Book Day: You may have seen a government press release last Thursday for World Book Day. Minister Madu celebrated the Read Alberta eBooks Project which PLSB offers in partnership with the Book Publishers Association of Alberta. Did you know that all Alberta libraries have access to the Read Alberta eBooks Project which offers over 1,700 Alberta-published eBooks? And that the Prairie Indigenous eBook Collection – including wonderful children’s books – is also part of the project?  The Read Alberta eBooks Project is also accessible for readers with print disabilities through NNELS. As more and more patrons access eBooks and eContent, now is the perfect time to utilize and promote this funded project. Read Alberta eBooks allows for simultaneous downloads of a title so it is a perfect resource for virtual book clubs. (refer to the second bullet of Virtual book club author visits).

Virtual book club author visits

  • Local author Marty Chan has let us know that he is eager and willing to participate in book club meetings! If you're hosting virtual book clubs for kids, Marty's books are available on hoopla and Overdrive. Please contact him via his website.
  • Other Alberta authors might be interested in virtual appearances at book clubs too! Check out Read Alberta eBooks for lots of great eBooks by local authors for your book clubs.

April 27

TAL update

  • A new section of resources is being created on the TAL website for material to support post COVID-19 planning; more information will be shared soon.
  • In response to a member query: It is an individual library decision whether or not you issue TAL cards during this time of restricted service. Your resource sharing obligations as a TAL member are waived until we all resume normal service.
  • Information will be sent out this week for licensing software to support online reference services.
  • Contact us if there are any other ways that TAL can support you during this time.
CTRI free resources
  • Stress Reduction Exercises: Guided exercises for adults and children for managing stress and anxiety through mindful awareness, breathing, and simple movements (3-8 minute audio recordings).
  • Anxiety – Practical Intervention Strategies: explores practical and accessible strategies which can be applied to all ages, and help address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social aspects of anxiety (4.5 hour on-demand workshop).

April 24

YRL webinar: Collection Development 2.0

  • Tuesday, April 28, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Level up your collection development skills! YRL offers several selection tools that you can use to build your collection in both breadth and depth. Move beyond ordering from Amazon and join us for a introduction to our favourite selection tools for all areas of your library collection. Intended for library managers and any library staff members who do selection for the library. Register
PLSB operating grants update
  • All public library boards in the province will automatically be receiving an advance of 50 per cent of their provincial operating grant and system library boards will also be receiving 50 per cent of their library services grant. Here are some logistical details:
    • To see the total amount that your municipal library board is eligible to receive, click here.
    • Your 50 per cent installment will be half of those total amounts.
    • We anticipate the first 50 per cent installment to be reaching library boards in the second or third week of May.
    • The second 50 per cent installment will be released in the fall, after your grant application has been processed and approved for payment.
    • You can access the grant application form, as well as our templates for the financial review, budget and direct payments, on our website.
    • To help speed up processing, if you deposited some or all of your 2019-2020 operating grant after December 31, 2019, please include a deposit slip (or other proof of deposit) with your grant application, as it will not show up in your 2019 financial reviews.
    • Please email your grant applications to libgrants@gov.ab.ca. Unfortunately, we can no longer accept faxed applications.
    • Please note that the website and documentation still list the deadline of June 15 right now (we are working to update it) but the revised deadline for 2020-2021 is October 1st. If you are unable to meet the Oct 1 deadline because of working remotely etc., you will still be paid your second installment when we receive your documentation.
  • If you have already sent in your full grant application, thank you. We will be processing grants over the summer as we usually do, and will have as many as possible ready for payment in the fall so there is no further delay.
  • If the pandemic situation continues into the fall, we will re-evaluate the situation to get you your second grant payment.
  • If you still receive your grant by mail and have concerns about this, please contact Jen Anderson directly.

April 23

The reason video calls drain your energy

  • Video calls are helping us stay employed and connected. But what makes it so tiring – and how can we reduce ‘Zoom fatigue’? Find out more in this BBC article.
How families can cope with pandemic stress
  • Families are experiencing new stresses every day as they practice social distancing during this pandemic. This folio article provides tips to help families cope.

April 22

PLSB update

  • Library Board Governance During the COVID-19 Pandemic webinar: PLSB is hosting four same-content webinars for library board trustees and library managers to expand on the information sent out over the past several weeks. Attend a session to learn more about:
    • Library board governance basics.
    • Board meetings during the pandemic.
    • How policies, plans of service and other governance tools can assist you in this time.
    • PLSB support.
      • Registration is not required; simply click on the link to attend the session that works best with your schedule.
      • Monday, May 4, 11:00-11:45 a.m. Attend
      • Tuesday, May 5, 7:00-7:45 p.m. Attend
      • Wednesday, May 6 from 10:00-10:45 a.m. Attend
      • Thursday, May 7 from 2:00-2:45 p.m. Attend
  • 2020-2021 public library grants: Minister Kaycee Madu sent a letter that explains that the government is paying out 50 per cent of 2020-2021 public library grants right now (without requiring boards to apply and report on last year for this first installment and the second 50 per cent will be paid out in the fall when we have [hopefully] returned to normal practices) with the hope that the first payment alleviates potential cash flow issues and the administrative work of the grant application on librarians and board chairs working remotely.

YRL van runs

  • We will be extending our offer of special van runs to libraries who have staff onsite between April 28 and May 7.
    • If you have not been contacted by YRL and would like a special van run, please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca by Friday, April 24 and we will schedule a van run for you.
  • We are asking that physical distancing measures be put into place to protect library staff and YRL staff. This may mean that library staff bring bins out to an open area or foyer and the van driver dropping off bins in the same area. We are asking libraries to quarantine all bins for 72 hours after delivery before checking in items.
  • YRL has been cataloging and processing new items so you may receive a mix of new items and items in-transit.
  • Please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca if you have questions.

IMLS news release

  • In a news release today, IMLS, OCLC and Battelle, announced a new collaboration to support libraries and museums as they consider safe reopening practices in light of COVID-19.
WSCC Pandemic Awareness online course
  • Thank you to Kelly from Onoway Public Library for sharing the information about this course with us! During this 30-minute online course, you will learn about the nature of viruses, how to protect yourself and others from viral spread, and how to react to the different effects of outbreaks and becoming ill during a pandemic event. This course will remain free to use until this pandemic has passed, and is based on the data available and best practices learned from Influenza, COVID-19, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Register

April 21

Publisher permission and copyright laws

  • As we move to remote learning and programming, many are worrying and wondering about reading books aloud online and possibly violating copyright laws. In response, many children's publishers have temporarily altered policies.
  • For reference, School Library Journal has created the SLJ COVID-19 Publisher Information Directory.

TAL webinar

  • ORC 101: Public Libraries – Wednesday, April 29, 11:00-11:45 a.m.: An overview of the Online Reference Centre (ORC) specifically with a focus on the important aspects for public libraries. Register
    • This webinar will feature a 20-minute presentation and then extra time for Q&As; topics covered will include:
      • The temporary change in login access.
      • Introduction to the ORC mandate.
      • Overview of the ORC resources.
      • Review of the supports in place for learners and our ORC ambassadors (like you!) who support those learners.
CCL free webinar series
  • Building Resilience and Leadership in the Context of Crisis & Telework – Tuesday, April 28, 3:00-4:00 p.m.: This webinar will cover the importance of resilience and leadership and practical ways to enhance personal and team effectiveness during times of crisis. Register
  • Leading Remote Teams When the Stakes Are High – Wednesday, May 6, 3:00-4:00 p.m.: With new emphasis on telecommuting comes a new need for leading remote teams. Tune into this webinar to learn best practices for virtual leadership. Register

Salt to combat viruses, could be a winner

  • See how University of Alberta researchers are testing compressed salt to make door levers and handrails that fight the spread of viruses in this folio article.

April 20

Curbside delivery of library materials

  • Please refer to this YRL document containing information and best practices about curbside delivery.
Ancestry Library Edition update
  • The temporary access that was expanded to library cardholders working remotely, courtesy of ProQuest and Ancestry, has been extended another month to May 31, 2020.
YRL webinar reminder
  • Connecting with your Customers using LibraryAware on Tuesday, April 21, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: LibraryAware is a library-focused outreach service that allows library staff to design, develop and distribute professional library communications and promotional content. With free access for YRL members, Library Aware features professional designed templates, images and other ready-to-use promotional content that can be used to engage your customers and increase circulation. Intended for any library staff member who does the outreach and social media for the library. Register

TAL update

  • The Online Reference Centre (ORC) webinar from last week was recorded and will be available on our training page.
  • We continue to add library resources to our website and ask that you let us know if there is particular material you would like to see added.
  • Deeper dive into the Calgary Herald webinar on Thursday, April 23, 11:00-11:30 a.m.: By the end of this deep dive session into ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Calgary Herald, you will be able to apply advanced search features, distinguish differences between searching the Calgary Herald and Canadian Newsstream, implement full-text search tricks in place of common ProQuest Platform filters, and create custom links to search multiple databases. Register

April 16

Canada Summer Jobs program changes

  • The federal government announced changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program to help employers hire summer staff and to provide young Canadians access to the jobs they need during this unprecedented time. The temporary changes to the program include:
    • An increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee.
    • An extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021.
    • Allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services.
    • Allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis.

Financial help for Canadians affected by COVID-19

  • This CBC website has a list of benefits the federal government, provinces and territories are offering to people financially affected by the coronavirus including lost income, renters/homeowners, families, seniors, students, businesses, and a personal finance section with information on tax and utility bill deferrals.

The FOLD: April 30-May 3

  • The FOLD celebrates books and stories, with over 30 events that prioritize underrepresented authors and storytellers from around the world. This year’s festival will take place virtually – featuring free online events. Panels, discussions and workshops will allow guests from across Canada and around the world to participate in the festival via Zoom and all virtual events will be close-captioned.

Behind the scenes at Alberta’s COVID-19 testing labs

  • Do you wonder how Alberta is leading the country in testing for the COVID-19 virus? This folio article explains how the provincial laboratory system ramped up to do thousands of tests per day.

April 15

PLSB recommendations for library board meetings

  • PLSB has recommended that meetings for all library boards continue and shift to an online platform. As library board meetings are public, the recommendation is to notify the public (via website(s) and social media) requiring pre-registration so that instructions can be sent (a recommendation to prevent being hijacked if using Zoom).
  • If you would like help with setting up a virtual board meeting, please contact email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.

SRC survey

  • Given the current (and potential) social distancing measures, we are requesting feedback on how YRL can support libraries with online SRC programming. Please complete our SRC 2020 survey.

AHS Text4Hope program

  • The Text4Hope program is a free service providing three months of daily cognitive behavioural therapy-based text messages written by mental health therapists. This evidence-based tool helps people identify and adjust the negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours a pandemic might be expected to provoke. Through the messages, you will receive advice and encouragement helpful in developing healthy personal coping skills and resiliency. Subscribing is easy: Text COVID19HOPE to 393939.

Imagine Canada: COVID-19 and the Canadian non-profit sector

  • Charities and non-profits are on the front lines of dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Imagine Canada is dedicated to supporting you as the situation evolves, and advocating for support from the federal government.
PSD resources webpage
  • PSD has curated a great list on their Crisis Hotlines and Community Resources webpage covering COVID-19 support, crisis hotlines, and community resources including general assistance; addictions, detox and mental health; counseling; food and finance assistance; and shelters and safe houses.

April 14

PLSB curbside delivery service update

  • We know that public libraries are working hard to get readers resources in innovative ways. Some libraries in Alberta have been offering curbside delivery services since our Chief Medical Officer of Health prohibited Albertans from visiting public libraries as of March 17. Following inquiries about the service, we are sending out information that may be useful in your decision making. It is really up to you as a public library board, working with your library director/manager, whether or not to offer curbside services at this time. Some questions to ask when considering this service:
    • How do we protect employees from the risk of transmission?
    • How do we limit the risk of spreading in the workplace?
    • How do we ensure critical aspects of service continue if possible?
  • Safety should be at the forefront of any decision to provide curbside delivery or have staff in a building. This also includes vehicle and road safety if you are providing curbside delivery/pick-up. The Provincial Operations Center shared the following information about curbside delivery services:
    • Libraries can operate but cannot allow public access into the facilities:
      • While public access into libraries is restricted as per Order 02-2020, nothing specifically prohibits a library from offering the delivery or curbside pick up of books and other items.
      • The safest option is for any library is to expand its online offerings and limit the handling of books and other items.
      • As a workplace, a library that offers curbside pick up is responsible for keeping both patrons and workers safe from virus transmission. This means that the library must put measures in place to prevent transmission from handling books and other items.
      • Risk mitigation strategies should address the latest knowledge relating to the risk of transmission of the virus from inanimate objects.
        • The COVID-19 virus can survive up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel. As books cannot be effectively cleaned and disinfected, it may be wise to store books for a minimum of 24 hours before making them available to a new user. Plastic or stainless-steel items should be cleaned and disinfected immediately upon their return to the library.
        • Books and other educational resources can help to maintain basic societal function, however the library should consider limiting the types of items they make available to the public for pick up.
        • Patrons who are immune compromised or otherwise susceptible to COVID-19 infection should not take out items from the library.
        • Patrons should be advised to wash hands before and after handling books and other items, avoid touching their face while reading and to avoid sneezing or coughing onto the page while reading.
  • Also, a reminder that the Public Library Services Branch in Manitoba has produced a communication on the sanitation/safe handling of books that may be of use during your decision-making.
TAL resources
LAA temporary office closure
  • The LAA office will be closed from April 15 to July 15. The LAA board is available if you need to reach out for support or information.
Created While Isolated website
  • Created While Isolated is a collaborative creativity journal from the Howard County Library System in Maryland. Thank you to Leah from Drayton Valley Municipal Library for bringing this site to our attention!
Online storytime and copyright
  • When it comes to copyright and online storytimes, there isn’t one blanket answer. However, author Kate Messner has created a comprehensive webpage about publisher guidelines during COVID-19.
  • Additionally, Canadian publishers are extending their rights to schools and libraries as well through their Read Aloud Canadian Books Program with more publishers being added each day.
How to Run Coding Programs at Your Library webinar from MLS
  • Tuesday, May 5; 10:00-11:00 a.m.: Join Grant Stewart on a lesson on how to teach kids coding. Grant will show you the basics of the coding program he organized and delivered to dozens of patrons throughout multiple summers working for MLS. He will go over the resources that are the most useful, fun games, and coding toys like the Sphero and Code-a-Pillar that teach kids while they play! Register

April 9

YRL Coffee Chat update

  • Thank you to those who were able to join the first YRL Coffee Chat today! We had 26 people participate including one from another region. We look forward to “seeing” you again next Thursday!
PLSB update
  • The PLSB shared information from the Manitoba Provincial Government, with thanks to their colleagues at the PLSB Manitoba in Brandon, who produced a circular for their libraries with a wealth of good information including how to sanitize books which may be useful to those libraries who are offering curbside delivery/pick-up services.
  • If you are offering or wanting to start curbside service, Boards and Directors need to be very clear on the risks and how much you are willing to accept. Here are some questions to consider:
    • How will you mitigate risks to staff?
    • How will you mitigate the risks to the public?
    • What are the optics of doing this service? Will you be blamed if someone gets sick? Are you encouraging people to leave their homes?
    • What does your local or regional health unit say about this?
    • What is the current COVID-19 infection rate in your community?
    • Libraries are not on the essential services list. There is no clarity yet if either the library or the customer could be fined for this type of service.
    • Are there other ways to provide physical materials to the public without customer interaction?
      • Little free libraries outside the building or in the lobby.
      • Providing sanitized and quarantined material to food banks.
      • Can you mail material to the customer?

Wellness Society Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook

The Conference Board of Canada (TCBC) survey results

  • In an ongoing survey series, TCBC asked organizations across Canada if and how they’re accommodating employees with family responsibilities and have now released their Family Responsibilities Survey Results.

April 8

Is your library in the news?

  • Has your library received any press attention about your programs and/or online services? If you have, please share them with us at askyrl@yrl.ab.ca! Here’s an article about Westlock Municipal Library (shared with permission).
Listing online programs on your website
  • Please start including your online programs on your website as Upcoming Programs so they will be accessible to those who are looking for something to engage with, and really highlights what is happening in your communities. Email wsfl@yrl.ab.ca if you’d like us to do it for you!
Summer Reading Program
  • Discussions have started around how to manage or coordinate a provincial online summer reading program, and what that could look like. More details coming soon!
COVID-19 tracking maps
  • Do you wonder how the COVID-19 tracking maps are developed? Read about the work being done at the University of Alberta through this folio article.
Public Library Services Branch (PLSB) update
  • Please fill out the PLSB programming survey that was sent to all libraries last week! The data will help them determine how to structure the 2020 Annual Report, and share information about programs inside of government.
  • PLSB says “Don’t Panic!” if your Plan of Service is due! They will work with Boards with needs assessment processes, and timelines.
  • Have you pressed your 3D printers into service to produce PPE? Are you working with agencies to loan out laptops or other technology to reduce the digital divide? Are you working with the food bank? What non-library-specific activities are you engaged with to support your community? Please let me know at kpalichuk@yrl.ab.ca as PLSB is looking for these stories!

April 7

Healthy Together website

  • Check out Alberta Health Services’ Healthy Together website, a guide to family and home life during COVID-19. Each weekday, they will post a new story about how families can be healthy, active and safe in these changing times.
3D printing for healthcare workers
  • Does your library have a 3D printer that is currently idle? Check with your local healthcare providers to see if they would like surgical mask straps! These devices hold the elastic straps of a mask, keeping the pressure off the wearers’ ears.

Perceived Isolation-Loneliness Effect survey

  • Want to help on-going research into workplace mental health while going through self-isolation? Share your experience about loneliness in this new type of workplace by taking the Perceived Isolation-Loneliness Effect survey.

The Alberta Library (TAL) request

  • TAL would like to highlight programs and services libraries are currently doing to connect with their community. What have you had success with? What new thing are you proudest of? What idea (or program or video) would you love to share with others? Please email your stories to me at kpalichuk@yrl.ab.ca.

April 6

Utility Payment Deferral Initiative

  • The Government of Alberta has released some updated information regarding the Utility Payment Deferral Initiative it announced on March 18 as part of the financial relief available for Albertans affected by COVID-19. Go to their webpage for additional information regarding the program and its eligibility requirements.
NoveList + LibraryAware News
  • Social distancing means many libraries are offering their in-person services online. NoveList and LibraryAware have put together some great tips, tools and resources to help you make the transition.
  • If you would like specific book lists created for your website for OverDrive and CloudLibrary resources, please email wsfl@yrl.ab.ca.
Guide for municipal leaders on economic response to COVID-19
  • AUMA has developed a guide for municipalities to outline the variety of programs available and actions taken by the Government of Canada and Government of Alberta to stabilize the economy as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The online guide was updated on April 1, so please make sure you view this new version and its additional resources.
Digital tools to help you work remotely
  • Thank you to YRL Trustee Bill Elliott for sharing with us the details on this free webinar series so we can share it with you!
  • Digital tools to help you work remotely webinars start at 11:00 a.m. MST.
  • https://zoom.us/j/8238748691; Meeting ID 823 874 8691 or One tap mobile 1 647 558 0588.
    • April 8: How to use Zoom effectively
    • April 15: G-Suite for real time use
    • April 22: Communication with Slack and Voxer

Understand the facts: Deciphering COVID-19

  • This 19-minute video provides information from Dr. Timothy Caulfield, University of Alberta Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health and Research Director of the Health Law Institute as well as the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy.

Active for Life

  • Need some ideas for you or your library patrons to stay fit while “physically distancing?” Get moving with Active for Life.

The Alberta Library (TAL) updates

  • Province-wide access to the Calgary Herald; details to follow soon.
  • Permanently added the National Film Board of Canada to the Online Reference Centre (English and French) as well as temporary access to five more databases.
  • Library resources including digital and Indigenous resources, training opportunities and working remotely.
  • Details on emergency wage subsidy.

April 2

Statistics – patron renewals

  • We added a new spreadsheet to the 2020 Statistics Google Drive. It is called Patron Renewals. Many of you have asked how many of your patrons’ cards were renewed – now the answer is at your fingertips. This figure is from March 1 – 31. This does not include new memberships.
Emergency funding to charities program
  • If you haven’t seen this yet, the province has a program to support additional emergency funding to charities, not-for-profits and civil society organizations to support their COVID-19 response. In looking at the forms, FAQ and requirements there could be opportunities for libraries to partner with other agencies in your community to offer supports to families, children and seniors. Technology purchases would not be funded. Have a look, the information is here.

Provincial survey

  • Last week, PLSB sent a survey to all public libraries with some information for trustees, and a survey for libraries. They are very interested in we are all doing to offer programs and services through this unprecedented time. PLEASE review this survey and let me (Karla: kpalichuk@yrl.ab.ca) know if you need support with completing it. There is no timeline at this point.

Provincial meeting

  • Every week, the Node Directors meet with PLSB. This includes a brief statement from PLSB and a round table.
    • PLSB is asking for data and stories. If you receive positive feedback on your programs, any impact stories, please send them to me (kpalichuk@yrl.ab.ca).
    • Please track your online program attendance! You will want this information later. If you are on APLAC, there is a good thread on what to count and how. If you are not on APLAC, or unsure what to do, please contact me (kpalichuk@yrl.ab.ca).
    • PLSB would like data on e-resource activity – YRL has responded.
    • PLSB is aware that there are challenges with bandwidth right now (brownouts in some places; slow connectivity in others) and have taken this under advisement. Not sure what they can do, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
    • YRL has asked PLSB if they can remove the authentication on the Alberta Books resource.

April 1

Email to customers
  • YRL has received some questions about using patron emails stored in Polaris in order to contact patrons during the pandemic to conduct welfare checks, promote online services, identify social isolation etc. Due to Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), this type of contact is not recommended. How would you feel to know that an organization was looking at your personal contact information in order to send you unsolicited information? This might come across as shocking and alarming to patrons, especially since the public views libraries as an institution that respects and maintains privacy. Patrons provide their personal information to us with the expectation that it be used under certain circumstances, such as automatic account notices within Polaris. Best practice is to never assume that patrons have opted in to receiving other communication from the library, unless they have expressly done so by signing up for a newsletter. Here are some tips to ensure compliance with CASL according to fightspam.gc.ca:
    • Don't send messages without consent: For express consent, a customer must have said, verbally or in writing, “Yes, please contact me.” If you have implied consent because of an existing relationship with the recipient, ensure you maintain complete records and respect the time limits for implied consent as set out in CASL. For example, a patron has contacted you first, you have evidence of this contact, and you are responding within a reasonable time limit and for the purposes of satisfying the reason for their inquiry.
    • Make sure you provide an opportunity for customers and clients to say no to your commercial electronic messages (e.g., via an unsubscribe button).
    • Clearly identify yourself and your organization.
  • Resources: 


  • March 2020 statistics are available. Not surprisingly, there was a big jump in eResources usage; some highlights comparing February to March include:
    • hoopla: 2,290 to 4,521
    • OverDrive: 14,698 to 16,621
    • CloudLibrary: 3,490 to 5,296
    • PressReader: 3,928 to 8,026
    • RB Digital magazines: 5,173 to 8,070
  • Additionally, 6,920 patron memberships were renewed in March – that is not including new sign ups!
  • Looking at the stats for the websites, system-wide, there has been a 33% increase in the number of users accessing your websites and a 29% increase in the number of pages viewed.

April online training opportunities

  • YRL Library Development Services Librarians will be hosting several live, online training opportunities in April on topics such as Simply Reports, Collection Development, Polaris LEAP, LibraryAware, and more.  Starting next week, we will also be hosting weekly live, coffee catch-ups – an opportunity for you to (virtually) meet with other YRL library managers and YRL staff to ask questions and share information.
  • Although we can’t visit you in person, YRL staff are also available for one-on-one virtual training on a variety of topics.  Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for more information and to set up a time to meet.

March 31

Polaris update

  • Patron cards with expiration dates between April 1 and April 31, 2020 have been extended until May 31, 2020.

Polaris Leap training

  • Marigold Library System is offering their online training to other TRAC libraries and their focus in April is Leap. NOTE: You must have permissions to use Leap outside of the library; if you do not have those permissions (or do not know), please email Stephanie at sthero@yrl.ab.ca.
    • Session: Leap – Circulation Basics Learn the ins and outs of circulating library materials using LEAP.
    • Session: Leap – Patron Accounts Learn all about patron accounts in LEAP, including view, edit, renewing patron registration; registering new patrons; patron block and notes; fines, claims and lost items; holds and notices; reading history; and associations,
    • Session: Leap – Searching for Materials and Placing Holds Topics include using the Find Tool and search filters, bibliographic and item records, placing and grouping holds.

Keeping your spirits up and guarding your mental fitness

March 30

Webinar: Library Emergencies - Doing the Right Things When Things Go Wrong

  • Tuesday, March 31, 2:00-3:00 p.m. MST: This webinar looks at library life through the eyes of protecting your facility, your staff and your patrons from real harms, and discusses your response to low likelihood events with highly catastrophic consequences versus higher likelihood events that can cause a lot of headaches. Register online ($98/person).

Emergency planning and business continuity for municipalities

Free yoga: down dog

Online mini-conference: Small, Rural, and Independent Libraries

  • Wednesday, June 17, 12:00-4:00 MST: This mini-conference will focus on innovation and innovative thinking in rural, independent, tribal, and other small libraries, as well as the many unique challenges that they face. Register online (free).

March 27


  • We are starting to hear comments regarding supports to residents who do not have internet (or stable internet) at home and how they can be supported to access the provincial and federal government programs if the application is online. Today Employment and Social Development Canada released the following: “To support access to critical programs and services for clients without access to technology, Service Canada Community Outreach and Liaison Service staff are contacting communities to offer alternate service delivery methods that will continue to support accessing critical programs, services and benefits.”

Cybersecurity at home

  • Starting Monday, YRL will be sharing key tips about how to work securely from home. In the interim, Stephanie highly recommends you subscribe to (or at least have a look at) the OUCH! Newsletter, a monthly security awareness newsletter developed by the SANS Security Awareness team, that is useful for everyone. Check out their Digital Spring Cleaning article – something we should all be able to do with this extra time we have. If you want to learn more, register for the Spring Has Sprung! Time for a Digital Spring Cleaning webinar hosted by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Better Business Bureau on April 14 from 11:00 a.m. to noon (MST).

From The Alberta Library (TAL)

  • LearnAlberta changed the login for the Online Reference Centre (ORC) so that it is geolocated for the moment. All students/parents/guardians/teachers across Alberta should be able to access it without an issue.
  • TAL is fielding calls from customers who are concerned about renewing their library material (they somehow get to TAL first). On behalf of public libraries, TAL is telling them to hang on to the items until libraries reopen, and not to worry about the fines or due dates.
  • TAL is adding free professional development ideas to their website and are currently developing an Indigenous Resources section. Please email Karla if there is something you would find useful.
  • National Geographic is offering free access to their special Coronavirus coverage.

March 26

Watch your email for... 

  • A message from Stephanie Thero (sthero@yrl.ab.ca) on how to work from home – and be cybersecure.


  • We have had a number of libraries asking to provide funds to increase OverDrive and/or cloudLibrary purchases – thank you!!!!! If you have questions about this or would like to allocate funds, please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca (then everything is in one place and we won’t lose anything!).
  • hoopla has just announced 1,100 additional titles to their catalogue (okay, that part isn’t news). What IS news is that these titles are part of their ‘bonus borrows’ collection – customers will NOT be debited borrows from their monthly allotment. Check our Facebook and Twitter accounts for hoopla promotional posts you can share.

Information for employers and staff

Federal programs 

  • Demonstrating how quickly things are changing... after yesterday’s update was sent, the federal government announced changes to their COVID-19 response funding. In particular, the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to four months.
  • The CERB will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.
  • Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times, while ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible.

March 25

Provincial library operating grants 

  • All library nodes were told today via a conference call that the provincial operating grants for libraries are secure; the government is currently developing a process to release the funds.

Training materials 

  • A tutorial has been developed on the various options available for organizing and running virtual meetings; this tutorial can be found on our Training page.
  • Thank you to those who have reached out to us already for weeding support! We are happy to help you virtually and we will have additional training for weeding posted on our training page by the end of this week.

They love you! They really love you!! 

  • As the webform rolls out, we’re seeing an influx of new cards and card renewals! As of 3:00 p.m. today, YRL staff have issued 27 new cards and 37 renewals.
    • As we get juvenile card requests without guardian details, we will be sending that back requesting the full information.
  • Libraries in the United Kingdom are now contacting us asking for OverDrive support!

Federal government initiatives (as we know them to be) 

  • The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a Helping Canadians with the economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic page to provide information on programs and services including.
    • Emergency Support Benefit: Support for workers who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) and who are facing unemployment.
    • Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers: A new program intended to support employers: non-profit organizations, charities, and some private corporations. These employers, effective immediately, reduce remittances of federal, provincial or territorial income tax paid to the CRA.

Communities of support 

March 24


  • We will be purchasing additional content for OverDrive and cloudLibrary. HUGE thanks to the member libraries who have asked if they could contribute funds as well.


  • We have ‘assigned’ member public libraries to specific staff at YRL who will be calling you about once a week, just to check in. Please don’t hesitate to call or contact us if you have questions, or just need to talk!
    •  If you are calling, please leave a message on the main line voicemail as it is checked regularly throughout the day. 780-962-2003 or toll free 1-877-962-2003, press zero when the message starts which will transfer you to the main line voicemail.
    • For email, you can send it directly to your contact or to askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.

March 23

New cards/card renewals 

  • If you would like a form on your website for customers to fill out, for a new card or card renewal, email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca
  • If you would like us to manage the new card/card renewal issuing process for you, email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca. We ask that you please allow 48 hours turn-around time, depending on volume.  

Request: Online programming 

  • If you are doing any online programming, please keep track of the numbers you are getting, and if you can – the reach of the program. Did you have participants from outside your municipality? Outside of Alberta? Outside of Canada? 
  • Please let us know if you are also doing online programs in languages other than English (no pressure) 

Online Reference Centre

  • TAL has announced that they were successful in getting LearnAlberta and the vendors to agree to temporary access to the Online Reference Centre Content. TAL is working with LearnAlberta on developing a temporary login and will inform us when it is ready to go.  Stay tuned for more resources to support Alberta students!  

Professional Development 

  • NOTE!!! ALC has officially been cancelled for this year. Any registration amounts you have paid, will be refunded. Jasper Park Lodge will be refunding any deposits made on the rooms.  

Online professional development opportunities: 

  • Library 2.0 presents Libraries stepping up! Serving the needs of communities in crisis. Thursday, March 26, 11:00 am - 4:30 pm Mountain Time (four one-hour sessions with one 30-minute break).
    • Registration: To register for the mini-conference, join Library 2.0. Those who are already members of Library 2.0 do not need to do anything. The schedule with the live session links will be sent to all Library 2.0 members the day prior to the event. You can also attend the conference by logging in to this site and there will be links on the main page to follow. The mini-conference platform is Zoom. To make sure your computer or mobile is configured for Zoom, please visit zoom.us/test.
  • African Library and Information Associations and Institutions’ Suite of COVID-19 Resources for Librarians is a collection of online/mobile reading platforms, more resources for students, links to Massive Open Online Courses, tools to create digital content, and more.

HR Questions 

  • If your Board needs to meet, let us help you set up a virtual meeting (Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Whereby, etc.). Email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca with the participants’ names and emails and, of course, the date and time of your meeting (please allow us 24 hours notice minimum). 

March 20

  • Click here to view a recording of a recent webinar on COVID-19 workplace implications. Although Ontario-focused, YRL member libraries may find information in this webinar helpful. Alternatively, you can read the transcript

March 19

  • Library delivery services, including government courier, have been shut down. YRL is not able to move items between libraries and systems until further notice.
  • Any item with a status of Out as of Wed., Mar, 19 had its due date extended to May 15, 2020. This does not apply to eResources (e.g. eBooks).
  • Items with a status of Held as of Wed., Mar. 19 had its held til date extended to May 15, 2020. 
  • All hold requests with a status of Active with expiration dates between Mar. 18 and Dec. 31, 2020 have been extended to Dec. 31, 2021.
  • Patron records with an expiration date between Mar. 1 and Mar. 31, 2020 regardless of standing were extended to May 31, 2020. Depending how long libraries are closed, we may have to do another bulk update for cards expiring in April. 
  • As no one will be able to fill holds, placing holds has been disabled and holds routing is stopped, we’ve removed YRL libraries as a pickup location so that people don’t think that they’ll be able to pick up holds. 
  • Email, text and telephone notifications have been turned off to minimize patron confusion.
  • Do not access Leap or SimplyReports from a personal device. 
New cards/card renewals
  • If you would like a form on your website for customers to fill out, for a new card or card renewal, email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.
  • If you would like us to manage the new card/card renewal issuing process for you, email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca. Allow 48 hours turn-around time.
  • On Mar. 19, we increased hoopla checkouts to 10 per month. We will reassess this in April based on use and volume.
  • We will increase OverDrive and Cloud Library purchases.
  • Don’t forget about the Read Alberta eBooks collection! There are often fewer holds on titles accessed through here.
  • Email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca if you need assistance with waiving fines so that customers can access eResources.
Wireless Internet
  • We removed the library barcode and PIN authentication for the Library Wireless WiFi network. 
  • We will be touching base with library staff regularly as things progress by phone or email. Please keep in touch with us as well through askyrl@yrl.ab.ca or call and leave a message at 780-962-2003/1-877-962-2003, press zero.
  • Visit our website for updates, recommendations and changes.
  • Training and resource videos are available.
  • If you need your website updated, email the details to wsfl@yrl.ab.ca.
  • If your board needs to meet, let us help you set up a virtual meeting (Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Whereby, etc.). Email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca with the participants’ names and emails and, of course, the date and time of your meeting (please allow us 24 hours notice minimum).
  • PLSB reminds us all that the libraries should be completely closed to the public. Please do not stay open to serve target groups or book appointments for people to come in and use computers or browse the collection.

March 31

Polaris update

  • Patron