SFU Library Update: May 2012 Newsletter


SFU authors event

Books at Authors Event

A large turnout marked the fifth annual celebration of SFU authors hosted by the Library on March 20th in the Special Collections and Rare Books division of the Bennett Library. University President Andrew Petter welcomed attendees. Over 100 authors had collectively produced 79 books and 42 book chapters. There were a total of 127 works by 107 authors, including 77 faculty, 7 staff and 23 alumni. Some of the highlights included:

One of the special guests attending this year's celebration was Alan Twigg, founder, publisher and owner of BC Bookworld. He also manages the website ABC BookWorld, hosted by the SFU Library, which catalogues the works of nearly 10,000 BC authors. Twigg says, "I see the support of SFU as a clear example of the university's remarkable dedication to learning."  Visit the Authors Event website for a full catalogue of this year's works.




Library open 24/7 at exam time

Picture of moon

Responding to a request from the Simon Fraser Student Society, the Bennett Library stayed open all night during exam period, April 10-22. Meanwhile the Fraser Library at SFU Surrey extended its evening and weekend service hours from April 10-21.

Unlike previous 24-hour exam openings in December 1981 and April 1982, there were no reports of drinking and smoking, just a whole lot of studying fuelled by Red Bull and energy bars. Several hundred students used the Bennett Library between midnight and 8am each day during the extended opening period.

Given the enthusiastic response from students, the Library anticipates remaining open 24 hours a day again during future exam sessions.

Videomatica documentaries now in the SFU Library 

Librarian with DVD
Cataloguing division head Penny Swanson shows off one of almost 3000 documentaries.


On October 31, 2011 Vancouver's great 4th Avenue video store, Videomatica, closed its doors for good. But for SFU, it was a new beginning. Then Associate University Librarian, Collections, Todd Mundle, along with several staff, spent a rainy Saturday in November at Videomatica boxing up thousands of movies for the Library's media collection.

"We got the documentaries and UBC got the rest," says Mundle. "Because of the subject content, it will have as good an application within an academic environment as a collection of feature films. We already have a lot of documentaries, so this enhances what we've already collected."

Library staff are now matching the DVD disks and VHS tapes to their cases, which were kept separately and in some disorder. In all, about 2,300 DVDs and 500 VHS films were acquired. Sorting and cataloguing is expected to last through most of 2012 with borrowing starting in early 2013.

As he was boxing them up, Mundle kept thinking to himself, hey I wanted to see that. "Kings of Pastry caught my eye, for example. It's an intense and exhilarating film about four guys going for their pastry chef certification in France. The titles are all over the map," says Mundle.

The owners of Videomatica originally had approached the Vancouver Public Library and asked them to take over the collection, but it was so large, the public library could not afford it. So then UBC and SFU were approached. "From a cost perspective we could not afford the whole thing," says Mundle. Library Dean Chuck Eckman and former AUL for Collections Gwen Bird conducted the negotiations with UBC and the Videomatica owners. Eckman says, "We could not think of a clear way to make this a shared acquisition until [SFU Contemporary Arts filmmaker] Colin Browne mentioned that our film program focused on documentaries. At that moment we knew this component of the collection would be most appropriate to SFU's interests." UBC actually took 90% of the collection.

Asked how she felt about UBC getting the lion's share, Cataloguing Division Head Penny Swanson said, "The feature films will all eventually be online, but the documentaries, because of their very small distributions, may never be online. And we've got them!"

Grace McCarthy’s scrapbooks

Pages from Grace McCarthy's scrapbook

Grace McCarthy, a Social Credit MLA for more than 22 years who became cabinet minister and deputy-premier, has donated her scrapbooks to SFU Library Special Collections.

Her many successes are evident in the 88 volumes, which cover the larger part of her political career. The scrapbooks contain newspaper articles, campaign literature, photographs and other materials.

The archive of the Social Credit Women’s Auxiliary was also donated. It is a rich source of minutes books, Social Credit publications, and numerous studies.

Library Open House activities

The Library is at the heart of the university, supporting research and learning of faculty and students. On May 26 SFU Open house visitors can relax in the Library’s lobby lounge, learn about innovative Library projects, and tell us what they’re currently reading.

Lobby, lounge or media screening room displays and activities include:

  • Rotating images from the Punk Rock and Postcards holdings in Special Collections
  • Pull up banners from Belzberg and Fraser libraries
  • Quick fact sheet handouts from all three library branches
  • Komagata Maru posters, postcards and a video presentation
  • “What are you reading now? Electronic or print?” interactive display
  • Children’s zone in lounge
  • Student Learning Commons display and activities.

Library Distinguished Scholar in Residence

Photo of John Willinsky

John Willinsky

John Willinsky, the father of the Public Knowledge Project (PKP), will become SFU Library’s inaugural Distinguished Scholar in Residence. Among other things, Willinsky will deliver an annual lecture and advise the Library on strategic initiatives in scholarly communications. Library Dean Chuck Eckman says, “I am thrilled that we were successful in formalizing John Willinsky’s relationship to SFU in multiple program areas. John’s leadership in global scholarly communications is unparalleled, and his residency will help move the Library’s initiatives in this area forward.”

Willinsky and PKP are changing the way scholarly communication is done and the SFU Library is front and centre in this new world of free Open Source ePublishing. PKP is based at SFU, with UBC, Stanford U., the University of Pittsburgh and the California Digital Library as partners.

Willinsky will also have a three-year appointment in SFU’s Master of Publishing program within the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing. The Centre’s director, Rowland Lorimer, says, “The arrival of John Willinsky engages SFU in the development of technology that, like Apple’s new iBooks Author, has the potential to change the fundamentals of publishing.” Willinsky tends to see the goal in simpler terms: to make more of the knowledge that universities produce freely available to the wider world. “Scholars need to avoid the two monastic sins of vanity and pride. We just want to make a little more of what we know free to everyone,” he says.

Currently Khosla Family Professor of Education at Stanford University, Willinsky also has a home in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood. While at the Library, he will continue working on PKP, as well as on a book currently entitled A History of the Intellectual Properties of Learning. He will also do some teaching.

SFU’s relationship with Willinsky began over 10 years ago, but in 2005, then head Librarian Lynn Copeland and Associate University Librarian for Processing and Systems Brian Owen officially brought PKP software development to the SFU Library.

Since then, the team has developed many free publishing tools including:

All were created by contract programmers managed by SFU Library staff. PKP products have been installed by users around the world, with some choosing to have the software hosted by the SFU Library. In fact, the Library now hosts over 350 international academic journals on its servers.

Brian Owen says Willinsky’s appointment formalizes a very productive relationship. “In 2005 when we started, there were about 250 known installations of Open Journal Systems (OJS); as of May 2012 that number has passed 12,000 and appears to be growing at the rate of 7-10 new OJS sites every day.”

OJS improves the efficiency and security of publishing a journal online. Willinsky and his team have been careful to keep their software compatible with international standards. “Everything that’s published is findable by Google,” says Lorimer. In recent years, reading tools were added making the software as powerful as any commercial solution. “But it’s all done in open source,” says Lorimer, so a wide community of programmers can make changes.

PKP is an enormous success, yet Willinksy has bigger plans. These include preprint publishing and the addition of software that allows for collaborative writing where people can provide feedback as an article is being written and reviewed prior to formal submission. “We’re already using it in the Canadian Journal of Communication and in Scholarly and Research Communication,” says Lorimer, who is editor of those journals. “It’s all very usable and slick.”

According to Lorimer, Willinsky wants to challenge the whole system of scholarly publishing so that it need not be dependent entirely on commercial publishers. “With PKP it’s already possible to build in sound, movie and image files. Now we are working on the development of mobile applications,” he says.

Willinsky sees the Public Knowledge Project as a perfect fit with SFU, given the university’s roots in the 1960s when it was first known across the country as a radical, progressive institution. Lorimer characterizes Willinsky as the Steve Jobs of open source academic publishing. “He’s not the programmer, but he understands what he wants and he can talk to programmers and explain to them what it should be. But he’s not as hard to get along with as Steve Jobs was.”

Supporting the heart of SFU

Potential new library entry
Artist’s concept of new WAC Bennett Library entry.

Plans are underway for some major upgrades to the WAC Bennett Library, and thanks to our donors, we already have funds ready. Over the past year, nearly 1,000 people and organizations have donated more than $110,000 for library upgrades.

WAC Bennett Library was built more than 45 years ago, so upgrades are required to keep up with today’s students, researchers, and faculty who expect information 24/7. Immediate revitalization plans are in place to create vibrant and collaborative learning spaces for students, faculty and the community on the second and third floors, including a new main entrance.

Dean of Library Services and University Librarian Charles Eckman says, “The library is the heart of the university, a place where all alumni have spent time writing papers, preparing for exams and working with friends. So it doesn’t surprise me that donors have always been so generous. I’m looking forward to continuing our work with our friends and supporters to improve resources, pilot new services and enhance physical spaces to support learning and research.”

It’s not too late for you to lend a hand. Contact Virginia Hong: 778.782.9341 or virginia_hong@sfu.ca.

Staff advancement and moves

Photo of Todd Mundle
Todd Mundle
Photo of Patty Gallilee
Patty Gallilee
Photo of Don Taylor
Don Taylor
Photo of Baharak Yousefi
Baharak Yousefi
Photo of Nicole White
Nicole White


Associate University Librarian (AUL) for Collections & Scholarly Communication Todd Mundle accepted an appointment as University Librarian at Kwantlen Polytechnic University effective May 1st, 2012.

Todd came to SFU in 1995, first as Head of the Interlibrary Loans and Telebook Unit, and then via a promotion in 1999 to become Head of the Collections Management Division. From 2002 to the present Todd has served as AUL.

While SFU Library looks for a replacement for Mundle, Patty Gallilee (Head, Acquisitions/Serials Division) will serve as Acting AUL for Collections & Scholarly Communication.

Don Taylor (Assistant Head, Access Services) will serve as Acting Head, Acquisitions/Serials Division.

Meanwhile, Baharak Yousefi will become Head of the Fraser Library at SFU Surrey effective July 1st. Yousefi comes to SFU from Capilano University where she is serving as electronic resources and liaison librarian. Yousefi is well known to the SFU community; prior to Capilano she served in the SFU Library as a liaison librarian.

Her background also includes significant management experience at Chapters Bookstore. Yousefi has a record of success in developing innovative programming and engaging diverse communities in all of her professional endeavours, including her work as librarian at Vancouver Public Library and with the social discovery system, Bibliocommons.

Yousefi is an SFU alumna with an MA in Women’s Studies.

Nicole White was appointed coordinator of the Library’s new Research Commons in December 2011. Since then White has coordinated workshop offerings and the development of online tutorials under the Research Commons brand, as well as participating in program planning discussions with the Office of Graduate Studies and other partners.

A reorganization is bringing more staff to the Research Commons including the complex operations of the Thesis Office. To reflect the increasing profile of the Research Commons, White has been promoted to the rank of Division Head and her new title will be Head of the Research Commons.

New look for the newsletter

As you may have noticed, the PDF version of the SFU Library Update has been redesigned. Josh Laidlaw of SFU’s Design Group created the new look.

In addition, this is the first issue of Library Update that is published and distributed in both paper and electronic versions. We will continue to produce a paper version of the newsletter, but those who wish to receive the latest issue automatically in their email inboxes are encouraged to subscribe.  It’s free.

To reduce costs and save trees we encourage fans of the Library to switch to our e-newsletter. Or you can download printable versions of the paper newsletter. All issues of Library Update are available as pdf files in the online archive.

Please subscribe to receive the newsletter by e-mail. And let us know if you have any questions or comments about the new look and feel: shell@sfu.ca.

Upcoming Events

Books, bytes, and beyond

SFU Open House

May 26, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

WAC Bennett Library.

Reading by Norman and Allan Safarik

Norman and Allan Safarik will read from their new book Bluebacks and Silver Brights: A Lifetime in the B.C.Fisheries from Bounty to Plunder.

(Early October in the WAC Bennett Library, exact time to be announced.)

The SFU Library Update is published by the SFU Library.

Charles Eckman, Dean
Barry Shell, writer and editor.

© 2012 Barry Shell. Permission granted to reproduce articles for SFU promotional purposes. Comments and suggestions welcomed.

ISSN 1929-316X (Print)
ISSN 1929-3178 (Online)

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