Kathy Sanford is a professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Victoria. Her research fields are teacher education, literacy, video games and learning.
What that basic bio doesn’t tell you is that Kathy is a leading thinker of 21st century teaching and learning. That she is intensely focused and passionate about the larger context of learning – the natural environment of the digital generation and the community partners that surround the formal education system. That her enthusiasm for learning, combined with her depth of experience in facilitating learning, dazzles and inspires. That she is spearheading a progressive and collaborative teacher training program that draws together experienced teachers, keen student-teachers and teens in a collaborative learning environment.
It’s been three months since I started my new job as a chief librarian. The work environment is obviously very different from the government setting where I previously worked as the provincial librarian. But the vision for community-connected modern library service is the same – with the refreshing position of having more influence in one local setting!
People have been asking me how it’s going and I enthusiastically tell them about the supportive and bold-thinking library board, the strategic planning process that we are embarking on, and the 50th anniversary that is coming up.
But what inspires me every day are the people I work with and their enthusiasm for the work we do to support our community.
When everyone is capable of creating and distributing content, what can a library look like?
An answer might be found in Tennessee. Blessed with a progressive mayor who wanted to make the library his legacy in a city that made a serious public investment in a fibre network, the Chattanooga Public Library embraced the challenge of innovation, inspiration and community learning. They converted the library’s fourth floor into a beta space for the community, a creative place to prototype experiments.
Having recently returned to public library work, my librarian heart is filled with joy when I witness daily the interactions between people in an information-rich environment. To see people alone or in groups, with or without help from staff: browsing, reading, typing, thinking, relaxing, engaging, talking, working. Using every chair and computer in the library, finding the sunny corners or the quiet nooks, spending time or simply picking up or dropping off books. Multiple uses, a variety of people, and limitless possibilities.
My mother used to quote a Dutch saying: “There is a time to begin and a time to end, and now the time to end has begun.”
With mixed emotions, I am leaving my role as Director, Libraries and Literacy after seven years. I am excited to be taking on the role of Library Director for the District of North Vancouver, effective September 30. North Vancouver District Public Library is an outstanding library with a strong tradition of providing excellent service, and I look forward to working with the board and staff.
I thank all of you who supported me and the work of the branch — as well as everyone who worked in the branch — over the past seven years. Together, we have made an enormous difference in the sustainability of all libraries, helping to build a strong future. I’m proud of what we have accomplished as the ground shifted below our sensible-shoed, catalogue-carded feet!