Celebrate Our Libraries

Celebrate Our Libraries
Saskatchewan School Library Association Conference 2001

FTLComm - Prince Albert - May 11, 2001
University of British Columbia professor, author and editor Judith Saltman was the keynote speaker at the Prince Albert Inn Thursday night as the Saskatchewan School Library Association kickedoff their annual convention.

If you go to their conference web site you can see the various sessions that are part of this year's conference.

For the past four years the association has held their annual conference in conjunction with other education interest groups and last year their conference in Moose Jaw was part of the national association conference. But this year they have chosen to focus on their own association and this self awarenss was very much in evidence.

The displays which are a very informative and important part of such a conference this year are more closely related to Saskatchewan school library needs and as a consequence emphasis Saskatchewan writers like the book shown here by Tisdale poet Marilyn Cay. The largest displays at the conference are by two Saskatchewan publishers Thistedown Press and Coteau Books. Both of these publishers have pushed back the Saskatchewan frontier on local literature and their catalogues have blossomed with material spanning the full range of the literatary and print publishing spectrum.

But publishers were not the only people sharing the emphasis on Saskatchewan content. Melfort's BookStop one of the few book stores operating in Rural Saskatchewan has a fine display at the conference with Gailmarie Anderson (seen in picture at right) on hand with the wide range of materials that her store offers to customers.

There was a time when the Internet age began that many said that print publishing and the consumption of print material was doomed. The result has been just the opposite as the Internet and the use of the Internet provides information and that information fuels the fire of interest and people are reading and perhaps writing more than ever before. Certainly when you consider the wonders of Saskatchewan publications there is a clear indication that there is both a market and demand for home produced material. But we are not the only people who want to read about and material by Saskatchewan writers. Saskatchewan writers are constantly in the running for national awards and recognition.

One of the triumphs of Saskatchewan literature has been the production of Sundog Highway and anthology prepared for use in ELA A30 and Canadian Studies 30 courses. Editor Larry Warwaruk put this work together for Coteau and it is a part of Saskatchewan curricula and distributed by the provincial government Learning Resource Distribution Centre in Regina. Sadly, this is one of the first times we have actually had a text used in Saskatchewan schools written by and for Saskatchewan people.
Judith Saltman presentation on the World of Canadian Picture Book Illustration was extremely popular with the teach/librarians of Saskatchewan as they were able to first hand hear from an expert in the field about the need for and the importance of using illustrated material. Certainly the readers of Ensign know how important pictures are and we are only beginning to appreciate the need for children to be given the full opportunity to understand and learn the language of illustration and imagery.