In January, sALA UW officers Twanna Hodge, Sarah Leslie, Heather Newcomer, and Xochitl Rocha went to Vancouver, BC over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. They participated in an exchange with the University of British Columbia ALA student chapter members. The previous year sALA officers invited UBC students to UW and this year the exchange was reciprocated. On Friday officers toured different departments at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre on the UBC campus, including the ASRS (Automated Storage and Retrieval System), the Digitization Center, and the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS).
On Saturday we started out the day by visiting the Out on the Shelves Library at Qmunity, Vancouver’s queer resource community center. The library has more than 3,500 LGBTQ books. It is evident that the library serves as an important resource for the community and was a pleasure to hear about what all they were doing. Following the Qmunity tour three out of the four sALA officers had their first poutine and proceeded to walk to the Vancouver Public Library, Central branch. Other UBC SLAIS students met sALA officers and their hosts for a VPL tour by a librarian. It was very interesting to see what the Vancouver Public Library has been up to. The tour was both architectural and gave overview of the different departments and services offered. Some fun tidbits are that VPL has a gym onsite at the library for staff to use. Also there is only one information desk (besides the one on the children’s floor). There are seven levels open to the public and on each floor there is a reference telephone rather than librarians staffing a reference desk. A librarian will come to the patron after the inquiry has been made. The Children’s area and Special Collections were the highlights of the library visit. After the tour all enjoyed a delicious sushi dinner and sALA officers drove back across the border the next day.
Thank you to UBC ALA members, especially Matthew, Anna, Mark, Apple Berry, Chloe, and Megan for arranging the awesome tours, showing us your city, and for being such wonderful hosts. We hope that the exchange can continue with new officers!