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When Ingrid Parent first started as University Librarian at UBC, one of her goals was to establish a staff recognition program at the Library. In 2012, that goal came to fruition with the launch of the Library Staff Awards Program, designed to acknowledge the many ways in which staff contribute to their workplace through creativity, innovation, excellence and customer service.

The program is a way of applauding employees and a tribute to those who serve the Library and UBC; it also helps support the Library’s aim of fostering an exceptional workplace by honouring and recognizing the talent and contributions of its employees.

“Every day at UBC, the work that staff does contributes to making the University a world-leading research and academic institution, as well as a great place to work,” says Alex Bayne, Director, HR Integrated Strategies. “Acknowledging the contribution of our colleagues through small gestures or through formal recognition goes a long way towards creating a caring and respectful workplace.”

Image of Anne Miele Image of staff member Image of staff member
Winners of the Library’s inaugural staff awards program, left to right: Anne Miele, Ernie Dick and Paul Lesack.

Paul Lesack, recipient of the inaugural Innovation Award and a Data/GIS Analyst at Koerner Library, was nominated for a collaborative project that uses emerging technologies to develop a new service for UBC students and the broader community. Working with the Vancouver Aquarium, he scanned old paper maps into interactive versions with geographic data. The project began as an effort to help geography students, but has also been used to assist scientists and city planners. By turning this resource into an interactive tool, Paul also addressed issues of sustainability and collections preservation.

The Library’s first Unsung Hero Award was presented to Ernie Dick, whom co-workers highlighted as someone with a phenomenal memory for procedures, work processes and people. Dick, a Library Assistant at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, received multiple nominations that described him as an invaluable team member and a pillar of the Library. 

Anne Miele, recipient of the Employee Excellence Award, was described as someone who goes the extra mile for Library patrons and her team members. Her nominator expressed appreciation for the positive energy and sense of humour that she brings to the workplace. “I work with a great group of folks who are all very supportive of me and each other,” said Miele, a Reference Assistant with Woodward Library, when she received the award. “These awards show commitment to the Library and University, and that the worth of our work is valued by all.”

“Publicly acknowledging the dedication and hard work of deserving employees brings with it many benefits,” adds Keith Kawa, Director of Human Resources for UBC Library. “However, recognizing the contributions of employees on an everyday, informal basis is, in my opinion, even more important. Feeling valued by their supervisor in the workplace is central to high employee motivation and positive morale.” 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

UBC’s Okanagan Library launched its Leader in Residence program this February, welcoming Ernie Ingles,Vice-Provost and Director, School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) at the University of Alberta, as its inaugural leader. The two-day professional development event was an opportunity to bring together the campus community and regional library partners.

Too often the value of libraries is underestimated, says Heather Berringer, Deputy Chief Librarian in the Okanagan, adding that such events help nurture leadership among librarians and libraries. Kim Partanen agrees, adding that the time spent with her peers discussing trends and issues was invaluable. Partanen, an Access Services Coordinator, also found the outside perspective of a prominent librarian such as Ingles provided a context for larger issues impacting the profession and in academic libraries.

Hear more about the program from Heather and Kim and discover how participants benefitted from the two-day event.


Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

Photo of two staff members

Staff members Shirin Eshghi and Katherine Kalsbeek are part of the Managing at UBC program.

A program to support managers at UBC Library is one of the key initiatives stemming from efforts to bolster UBC Library’s workplace culture.

In November 2011, UBC staff were given the opportunity to share their thoughts on working at UBC, via a Workplace Experiences Survey conducted by Ipsos Reid. Library staff participated by sharing their views and opinions on topics such as equity, career navigation, senior leadership communication and action, and faculty orientation.

Library-specific results were shared with staff in March 2012. Soon after, the Library established an Exceptional Workplace Committee, which has focused on the creation of a variety of programs, projects and initiatives to contribute to the development of an exceptional workplace at the Library.

One of these is Managing at UBC, a program developed by the UBC Organizational Development & Learning office and designed to support managers, recognizing the significant responsibility they hold for employee performance, engagement and achievement of unit goals. “This initiative allows managers to self-identify and work towards their own developmental goals as well as the developmental goals of those reporting to them,” says Chantal Duke, Leadership Program Manager, UBC Organizational Development & Learning. “Some of the areas participants want to strengthen their muscles in are teamwork, working structures, future orientation and communication.”

A Library cohort of 50 staff with supervisory responsibilities are working with UBC Human Resources over a 12-month period to develop their leadership and management abilities through coaching, online lessons and face-to-face events. The program has been tailored specifically for the Library and allows for the participation of faculty, CUPE 2950 and Management and Professional staff.

“There is a great buzz with this cohort and a consensus that we are in it together to create a better working environment across the Library,” adds Duke. “I see lot of heart and pride in one’s role, the best of intentions to develop staff to the best of their capabilities, and eagerness to learn about leadership and management styles.” 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

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