Anne Galler Award for Outstanding Library Service

Submitted by Linda J. Toivanen

 

On behalf of the Awards Committee – Maria Morales, Lisa Milner and myself - it is an absolute pleasure to announce the recipient of this year’s Anne Galler Award: Ms. Christine Jacobs.

 

Our association created this award many years ago, as a means to recognize an individual who has enriched librarianship in Quebec and made a lasting contribution to the profession. Specifically, this award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated achievement in:

1. Significant leadership role in the Quebec library community;
2. Exemplary career performance, serving as a model for colleagues in the library profession; and
3. Contributions to professional and/or scholarly activities, including ABQLA.

 

I will now call upon Linda Toivanen, a colleague of Christine’s at John Abbott College, to help present the award:

 

Linda Toivanen:

 

Good evening. It is with pleasure that I relate to you some of the contributions Christine Jacobs has made to librarianship. She has a very extensive and impressive resume and will now have more accolades to add to it! I am gong to start you off with what I know about MLS Christine. In 1996 Christine joined the teaching staff full time at John Abbott College (JAC) where she continues to teach in the Information and Library Technologies (ILT) program. The ILT program is two or three years long and graduates library technicians. During her first
years at the College Christine helped to redesign the ILT program and create new courses structured to transition learning to a competency and abilities based curriculum. Christine is recognized within the College as an expert in competency based curriculum. Many libraries in Montreal and around Quebec have Christine to thank for their confident and skilled JAC library technicians!

 

ImageFor all the years Christine has been at JAC she has either chaired or co-chaired the ILT department. Always a very knowledgeable and understanding leader Christine is a role model, collaborator and mentor for staff, both within and outside the Department. She is always gracious with her advice and leads with integrity. Christine’s resume tells you how she continues to work professionally as a librarian outside the College and that she updates herself on new developments and technologies so she can be ever better in her career. Her resume doesn’t say anything about the infinite patience and care she takes with every student that comes through her door. I share an office with Christine and I will tell you. ILT students are of varying ages, backgrounds and abilities and she listens to understand them and their circumstance. She then works to make it possible for each individual student to attain their goals. In 2003 she instituted an ILT Peer Training Program, just one example of her “going to bat” for student success. She has, tacked to her bulletin board, a dozen JAC Special Teacher certificates awarded to her by ILT students . In 2007 Christine was nominated for the Association of Canadian Colleges Teaching Excellence Award. Such is the regard and respect her students and colleagues have for her.

Even when on a much deserved sabbatical from the College, Christine continued to contribute professionally, but this time from half a world away. In 2007 she spent time in Ghana working at the Temale Institute of cross-cultural studies where she provided training in library software and database enhancement. At an elementary school library, also in Ghana, she delivered professional staff training programs and led by example. Each year, since her Ghana visit, Christine organizes a used-book sale at John Abbott to benefit this library. This is what I know of Christine. There is so much more detail that could be added about the contribution she has made to our profession. After obtaining her MLS from McGill in 1983 she pursued her interest in indexing and abstracting starting her own company CM Jacobs Information Management Services which she still runs today. Before joining the College her work at the National Film Board in film indexing was widely recognized. She served as a part-time instructor in the library studies program at Concordia teaching indexing. She continues to publish professionally, present workshops and papers at Canadian and International conferences and is a long standing contributing member in a number of professional organizations.Image

Christine has been a mentor in the McGill School of Information Studies Mentorship Program, she has been a member of ALA Accreditation committees on several occasions and she makes time for local community service work. I think of Christine Jacobs as one or our professions ‘unsung heroes’ and am so pleased to see her recognized with this year’s Anne Galler Award for Outstanding Library Service. Congratulations Christine!

 

Anne Galler Acceptance Speech: Christine Jacobs

Thank you so very much for this honour. I had no warning or awareness that I was being considered for the award, and when I received the e-mail from the Committee, I did not open it immediately. When I opened it later in the evening, I had to read it several times, because it simply did not “compute” – then I started to cry.

 

And I started to cry, I think primarily because I was so moved at being graced with an award with Anne Galler’s name attached to it.

 

When I graduated in 1983, Anne was a part of the world into which I graduated. I was quite in awe of her, and when we eventually met over a CLA committee table I was prepared to be somewhat overwhelmed. Anne did not leave space for being overwhelmed, however, and I was very happy to be caught up in her whirlwind. A few years later she “head hunted” me to co-organize the SLA/QLA Christmas benefit with Molly Walsh. I was quite reluctant at first – it was a great cause, but I had young kids, and Anne was looking for a five-year commitment. She was very persuasive, however, and absolutely confident that I could do it – a very difficult combination to which to say no. Anne had the amazingability to be a down-to-earth visionary, able to inspire while maintaining focus on elemental and essential issues such as education and literacy. To be receiving an award in her name is a truly profound experience.

 

ImageThis is a wild kind of birthday present – I turned 60 last week, and although I have no intention of retiring any time soon and certainly do not feel ready to stop working, the award has made me look back to realize that I have actually had a career, not just a string of jobs. It feels very odd because in many ways I feel like I have just been “doing my thing” for the past 30 years, indulging myself in choosing jobs that I have found demanding and fulfilling. Barring the occasional day when I really felt like staying in bed, I have always looked forward to being at work – whether those crazy Sunday afternoons on Reference at the Cote St Luc Library with students trailing after me like supplicants – or the pleasure I had at the NFB learning PRECIS indexing (an exceedingly complex system) and working on research projects for providing subject access to films.

 

I never planned to teach – the profession found me. In fact, I did not consider myself at all suited to teaching – too impatient and demanding of myself and others. However, for a number of years after I graduated I was asked to TA the Indexing class at McGill, and it opened a world that I found interesting and challenging. I did not get to this point in my career by myself. There are too many people to list in all, but I would particularly like to thank (in order of appearance in my life) Marty Cutler, Miriam Tees, John Leide, Rabab Naqvi, and Carol Greene for their mentorship and guidance at various points in my career. It has been my good luck to work with interesting people whose company I have enjoyed and from whom I have learned much, particularly at the Cote St. Luc Library, the NFB and now at John Abbott. And I am not forgetting all the colleagues in the various associations in which I have been active – particularly the Indexing Society of Canada, SLA, QLA, and CLA.

 

In time-honoured fashion, I would also like to thank my family, particularly my sons Brendan and Keelan who tolerated the many evenings I spent working or marking, or in committee meetings, and who have always supported me 100%, even when it meant babysitting the house and looking after my affairs while I lived in Africa for 5 months. They have listened to my ideas and occasional grousing, and even put up with the fact that I insisted their high school projects have bibliographies even when their teachers did not require them!

 

And last, but not least, I thank my parents – they both taught in their chosen professions of social work and engineering and their mothers before them were school teachers. Except for a few short years when my siblings and I were very young, my mother worked as a social worker, taught at McGill and at Cégep du Vieux Montréal and she helped organize and participated in an on-the-job training program for Cree and Inuit social workers in northern Quebec. Mum was also active in the Home & School, and became the Chair of the
founding Board of Directors of Champlain College. She was an amazing role model, not just in what she did, but in the value she placed on people and in her belief in the empowerment of education.

 

So, perhaps it was inevitable that I end up balancing two professions. And I think that it is at this juncture of two professions that I feel such a kinship with Anne Galler. Librarianship, with its broad scope, constant change and interesting questions has given me the opportunities to expand my mind, and to care for people and for their needs, and Education has simply multiplied the dimensions of those opportunities.

 

So, I will end my thank- yous with a plea that we all take seriously the educational issues within our profession. Let us not get so sidetracked by the technologies, by the GPAs, by the tight budgets, by the rapid change, that we lose sight of the basic skills sets and the necessity of encouraging potential in those interested in the profession. A number of the speakers today referred to the core / foundational values of librarianship and it is these values that must b nurtured, both for their inherent value and for the longterm roles they have in society. Mentoring is a very important way of transferring the values, knowledge and skills of librarianship, and I encourage you to pay attention to your colleagues– the library technicians, the clerical staff and the professional librarians – as well as to those outside of the profession whom we would welcome into it. In our day-to-day work lives we may not imagine librarianship as empowering, but it is, and we need to keep a focus on that, as did Anne Galler, as we move forward in an ever-changing environment.