How To Give A Dumb Farm Boy Librarian A Swelled Head

I attended the 2013 Stapleford Lecture at the U of R last night which featured Dr. Toni Samek from the U of A’s Library School. Her topic was: “Librarians Unplugged: How and Why Librarians Are Speaking Out About Crucial Social Issues”.

My first swelled head moment came when I got the invitation to attend the lecture a few weeks back.  In addition to an invite to attend the lecture, there was also an invitation to a pre-event supper with Dr. Samek.  Although I’ve known Dr. Samek through CLA and her work with the CLA’s Intellectual Freedom committee for a number of years, I assumed the supper must be an open invitation to a bunch of librarians in Regina or maybe to ones who would be on some U of R mailing list (which I could be an as alum and/or as someone who’s done business with the U of R a few times since coming to RPL.)

But nope, the invitation was just for little ol’ me (along with a few select others) which was a nice surprise.  That was the appetizer for me getting a swelled head – the main course was yet to come.

In the course of dinner conversation, I reminded Dr. Samek of how we met – I had driven a van load of students from UWO in London to Ottawa for the 2006 CLA conference.  I was introduced to Dr. Samek at one of the conference’s social events and when we first introduced, she said “Jason Hammond!  I’ve read your paper!”

This was quite a shock considering I was mid-way through my second semester of library school and hadn’t actually published or even disseminated any of my papers.  Turns out that the prof who I wrote the paper in my first semester “Foundations of Library Science” course had passed it on to Dr. Samek since the paper, “Cash Cow: User Fees in Alberta Public Libraries” touched on many of her areas of interest, all within an Alberta context.

That gave me a bit of a swelled head at the time but that feeling had long since dissipated.  So what gave me a swelled head last night? (No, not too much free wine!)  I went on to publish that paper partly due to encouragement from the original prof I wrote it for and from Dr. Samek and in the course of discussing it last night, she said it is NOW USED AS ONE OF THE REQUIRED READINGS IN HER OWN FOUNDATIONS OF LIBRARY SCIENCE CLASS!

Now, for my more academically minded readers, this probably doesn’t seem like a big deal.  But I think it’s pretty frickin’ cool (er, there’s probably a more respected academic way to phrase that!) that a paper I wrote is now being used in the development of the next generation of librarians (er, being the elder statesman that I am.)  😉

It wasn’t exactly on my bucket list but it’s still cool that this is another fairly unique experience in this life (again, at least for the non-academics among us) that I can claim to have experienced.  Back when I was failing out of Economics 101 in first year University, I never would’ve guessed my work would end up being part of the required reading list for a Masters-level course!  😉

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