As a blogger, it can be frustrating when no one leaves comments on your posts. My stats indicate that people are reading, but is anyone really engaged with what I’m saying? To be fair, I don’t leave as many comments on other blogs as I probably should, but comments sure make a blogger feel appreciated.

So I was very happy to see that I’ve generated a bit of a discussion on my post about dressing professionally on the Re:Generations blog. It’s especially encouraging that the comments aren’t all from people I know personally (though many of them are).

In conclusion: go leave comments for your favourite bloggers today!

Come join the ILSS at the CLA Montreal Chapter’s Salon des Bibliothécaires

As President Elect of the CLA Montreal Chapter, it gives me great pleasure to invite you to join me and some other fantastic people for the first Salon of the season. Leave a comment if you can make it!


The CLA Montreal Chapter is starting off this season’s activities with its first Salon des Bibliothécaires!  Do you work at a library or information centre?  Are you a library school student? Throughout the year we organize several informal meetings where we chat about different topics.  We invite you to come and join us at our Salon des Bibliothécaires, everyone is welcome!

Salon #1: Virtual Reference

It’s all about Virtual Reference for our first Salon of the season!
Wondering how to get started?  What would work for your library?  Do you already provide virtual reference services? Come and chat with us, tell us what you do, learn from what others are doing, and have a great time!
Amy Buckland, Paul Century, and Leticia Cuenca will join us to talk about their experience working as virtual reference librarians.
We provide the snacks, you provide the conversation!

Where: EM Café, 5718 Avenue du Parc (corner of Bernard)
When: Thursday, Oct. 8th at 6:00 p.m.

Please RSVP to Leticia Cuenca at


La division montréalaise de l’ACB donne le coup d’envoi à sa programmation de la saison avec le Salon des bibliothécaires! Vous travaillez dans une bibliothèque ou dans un centre de documentation? Vous êtes étudiant en sciences de l’information? Au cours de l’année, nous organisons plusieurs activités décontractées pour permettre la discussion sur différents sujets. Nous vous invitons à vous joindre à nous au Salon des bibliothécaires – tout le monde est invité!

Salon #1 : la référence virtuelle.

Au premier salon de la saison, on parle de référence virtuelle! Vous vous demandez par où commencer? Ce qui fonctionnerait dans votre bibliothèque? Vous offrez déjà un service de référence virtuelle? Venez discuter avec nous, parler de votre expérience, découvrir ce que les autres font, et vous amuser! Amy Buckland, Paul Century et Leticia Cuenca seront des nôtres et nous parleront de leur expérience à titre de bibliothécaires de référence virtuelle. Nous offrons la nourriture, vous vous occupez de la conversation!

: Au EM Café – 5718, avenue du Parc (coin Bernard)
Quand : Le jeudi 8 octobre à 18h

Veuillez confirmer votre présence à Leticia Cuenca à

The ILSS takes on Re:Generations

Are you interested in academic libraries? If so, you should definitely check out Re:Generations. From their website:

The new CACUL Re:Generations Committee will encourage active engagement in CACUL from new or prospective academic librarians with the goal of revitalizing the organization and making it more accountable to the needs of new librarians. It will contribute to this goal by:

  • Providing advocacy for the needs/ issues/concerns of new librarians to CACUL executive.
  • Dovetailing this new engagement with CACUL with the professional needs of new librarians by providing mentorships, networking events, internships, support for research and new programs that will be of benefit.
  • Facilitating knowledge growth and sharing of memory within the profession

But perhaps even more interesting is their blog, where a team of academic librarians writes on a variety of topics. I’ve become a contributor, and my first post there is now available. I’ve called it Subject guides: an undervalued resource.

Library bloggers like to write about big ideas. Academic freedom, the digital divide, and intellectual property are popular topics in the biblioblogosphere. Today I want to discuss something a bit more mundane but certainly relevant to academic librarianship and hopefully interesting as well. Today I want to talk about subject guides.

Read the rest of my post.

Tips for surviving library school – and possibly even having some fun

It’s back-to-school time, and although I’m not heading to any classes, the fact that campus is now swarming with students reminds me that there is a new group of students starting library school. And if these people feel half as lost and confused as I did during my first few weeks, then they could use some advice. First, take a look at Biblioblond’s Thoughts on “Back to School” for MLIS Students, where she lists her Top 5 tips for incoming students. Then, if you’re not afraid of slightly stale information, you can take a peek at my post from last September.

Now, thinking back on my two years at SIS, here’s my advice:

  • Get involved with a student group. I remember when I was doing my undergrad, I thought student government and groups were totally lame, but trust me, in library school they’re worthwhile. If you’re at McGill, you can find some good info on the SIS website, and if you’re a student elsewhere, I’m sure you can find what you need online somewhere – you’re a resourceful soon-to-be information professional, after all. Figure out which group (or groups) is best aligned with your interests, and attend their first meeting. This is a great way to meet people and learn more about the field. Plus it looks terrific on a CV/resume!
  • Run for the executive of a student group. Okay, so this is an extension of my last point, but it really is that important! Each student group’s website should have info about running for exec (e.g., the McGill CLA Student Chapter – pay attention to the positions that say TBA in September: that could be you!), but if you can’t find that information online, just ask someone. The first year student who becomes VP often automatically becomes President in their second year, so keep this in mind if you’d like to run the show next year.
  • Go to social events organized by the student groups (or by anyone else, for that matter). In my experience, these events are usually poorly attended, but those of us who made the effort to go always had a blast.
  • Keep in mind that all the other first year students feel just as nervous and lost as you do – so go up to people and introduce yourself, because everyone is trying to make friends at the beginning of the year.
  • Don’t be shy to approach the second year students for help – like you, they chose this profession because they like to help people.
  • And finally, here’s one for McGill students only: join the Professional Partnering Program. It’s an incredible opportunity to get to know someone who’s working in the field, and the time commitment is completely flexible. You have no excuse for not joining this program!

Still inspired, no longer a student

For anyone who hasn’t already heard the good news, I’m extremely pleased to announce that I am now a Liaison Librarian at McGill! I had spent the summer at McGill as a casual employee, working on the new soon-to-be-launched Library website and applying to just about every academic library position I heard about. I became quite frustrated when I didn’t hear back from any of those libraries, but eventually I was invited to an interview at McGill and later offered a one-year appointment. I’m now in my second week in the new position and it’s all very exciting. I work with a great group of people, and I can’t wait for things to really get moving when the new semester starts in a few weeks.

I still haven’t decided what to do with this blog, since the title is no longer appropriate. I may just rename it, or I may start a new blog altogether. At any rate, I’ll keep you posted. For now, please indulge me while I link to the McGill Library newsletter, the June 2009 issue of which features a photo of me at graduation.

Oh, and one more thing. The fantastic Amanda Halfpenny has started a library blog of her own – she calls herself the Biblioblond. Go check it out, and be sure to leave her a comment!

CASLIS Bulletin Special Issue

If you’re like me, you’re still slogging through your final assignments: don’t give up! You can do it!

But if you’re lucky enough to be finished your semester and need a break between job applications, allow me to suggest some reading material. The Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services (CASLIS) recently published a special issue of their bulletin that students should find interesting. The issue is freely available online, so go ahead and download it now. The first feature article is about student experiences with CASLIS and features a number of LIS students, including my classmate Sarah Severson (in fact, I participated in some of the CASLIS activities she helped organize in Ottawa last summer).

Scroll down to page 19, and you’ll find a piece summing up the year’s events at SIS, written by our very own Brittany Trafford. I need to remember to thank her for saying such flattering things about Web 2.You!

Current and prospective students should definitely check out this issue to get the inside scoop on how CASLIS is helping students, and to discover what’s going on at library schools across the country. As for me, I need to get back to my descriptive bibliography – but as of tomorrow afternoon, I plan to be entirely finished my MLIS!

Thoughts and advice from a fellow graduating student

I just came across a post that anyone interested in the MLIS program at the University of Western Ontario (or simply interested to hear another pespective on library school) should find interesting and helpful. A lot of it sounds similar to my experience at McGill, with a few obvious exceptions, such as the co-op program and life in the city of London, Ontario. Warren Layton blogs at Libre-arian:

Final Thoughts on Western’s MLIS Program

Become a Shover and Maker 2009

The Library Society of the World has a fun new (okay, so I’m a few days late to the party) idea: instead of waiting for someone else to declare you an award winner, declare it yourself! Everyone can be a 2009 Shover and Maker (with reference to, but no affiliation with, Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers). Go ahead – announce that you’ve won! Here’s my acceptance speech:

Hi! My name is Graham Lavender, and while I’m still an MLIS student at McGill at the moment, I’m planning to shove and make my way into a library near you in the next few months (please hire me!). In my spare time, I enjoy organizing Web 2.0 conferences ( and writing on a blog that has almost outlived its name ( I’m also finishing up a practicum project about how to improve the McGill Library subject guides, in which I held focus groups and discovered that the students had no idea what I was talking about. I look forward to meeting as many of the other Shovers and Makers as I can in the near future!

Happy birthday to the ILSS!

My birthday was a couple of weeks ago, but Feb 18th is my blog’s first anniversary! A year ago I set out on this voyage, not knowing what to expect, and since then I’ve interacted with some great people and learned a lot about libraries and the Web. I promise I won’t get too emotional on you, but I wanted to acknowledge my first year as a blogger and to thank everyone who has supported me along the way!

In other news, I had a lot of fun as the photographer for the McGill CLA Student Chapter Freedom to Read photo shoot today. Here I am, posing with a fantastic novel – A Clockwork Orange:

Posing for the SIS Freedom to Read photo shoot

Posing for the SIS Freedom to Read photo shoot