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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Engaging learning opportunities initiated by Maskwacis Library (July 2014)

Engaging learning opportunities brought to Maskwacis college


Maskwacis Cultural College hosted a Science Day on Wednesday, July 16 to mark the efforts undertaken by the college staff, in particular librarian Manisha Khetarpal, to engage not only the students but also the larger community.

Invited by Khetarpal down from Edmonton was the Let’s Talk Science team, an outreach science organization affiliated with the University of Alberta, to engage the community in several topics.

“We grabbed activities that encompasses all the areas of science we cover,” said site lead Shakib Rahman.

Let’s Talk Science uses simple household items to further interest kids in learning. “The biggest thing is, if you make science approachable to the kids . . . you find a lot of them coming out,” said Rahman.

He says teaching children science isn’t about intimidating them with every detail but about fostering an interest and a passion. “It’s about self-discovery.”

He wants approachable science to break down barriers and attract students of all ages to learning.

Sociology class

In the spirit of furthering their education and knowledge, the students of the college are exposed to a sociology class taught by Yun-Csang Ghimn.

Ghimn joined the college almost six years ago and began teaching a course equal in value to those at the University of Alberta, making the course transferable and providing more post-secondary options to the students.

He also teaches sociology at the University of Alberta and feels the smaller classes are more beneficial in readying the First Nations students for other schools and experiences. “Academically, I would say they’re more than ready.”

The small size also allows for more emotional interactions between the students; heated arguments and debates are common, says Ghimn.

Ghimn focuses on social structure and inequality with a First Nations perspective.

“(It) seems like the last five years, my students have had some organic exposure to non-white ethnic people,” said Ghimn. “I believe it’s an important thing for native students to have.”

The open dialogue of the class deals with customs, traditions, and truths and myths behind stereotypes, both for First Nations people and the rest of the world. “That’s a quite unique Maskwacis sociology class,” said Ghimn.

“I believe the college has to work as a window for them to the outside world,” he added.

Unlike most academic courses, where one lesson segues into the next, Ghimn’s class jumps from one topic to another depending on what the students wish to discuss.

He finds some of the topics closest to students’ hearts include race ethnicity and the hierarchy of “white” people, which refers to immigrants and other styles of people in a traditional western secular society, such as Hutterites.

“Students tend to find a few or several topics they love to talk about and they’re on fire,” said Ghimn.

Maskwacis Cultural College, 40th anniversary

Maskwacis Cultural College is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a year of cultural ceremonies and celebrations.

The college was provincially sanctioned in 1988 and has graduated more than 2,000 students with degrees, diplomas and certificates. “We’re a provincial private institution,” said president Patricia Goodwill-Littlechild.

“We hire the finest faculty; highly qualified faculty and teach courses approved by the government of Alberta,” said Goodwill-Littlechild. Maskwacis Cultural College’s courses are transferable to many universities, including Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

First Nations Community Library Service development

First Nations Community Library Service development

Support by people, agencies, media, corporate organizations, tribal, provincial and federal government is gratefully acknowledged. 

May 23, 2013:  Library in a Box Service launched

May 29, 2013: Information Research Forum (Duty to consult)

June 10, 2013: CBC book drive mobilized $23,000 for the collection and development

July 17, 2013: ATCO Library Showcase BBQ (Community Collaboration raised $1400 and mobilized $3000)

September 28, 2013: Alberta Culture Days contributed $10,000

October 1, 2014: ebook reader borrowing service launched

December 2014: Viewing station by Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education $10,000

January 27, 2014: NoFrills Literacy day mobilized $10,000

February 28, 2014: New Horizons for Seniors Grant for computer training and digital literacy $23,000

April 15, 2014: Indigenous Library Training and Mentoring program proposal submitted

April 17, 2014: First Nations Library Service Without Borders gathering -Educational programming generated $4,300
May, 2014:  Save the Children Canada-Scholastic contributes books valued at $125,000
May, 2014:  3rd annual TDSRC in Maskwacis
June 11, 2014:  New Horizons Sharing Circle community engagement and language revitalization 

July, 2014: Online catalog in collaboration with Soutron Global

July 16, 2014: 160 indigenous community members registered for the summer reading program at the library showcase on July 16, 2014.

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The 10 new priority occupations are: geoscientists, carpenters, electricians, heavy duty equipment technicians, heavy equipment operators, welders, audiologists and speech language pathologists, midwives, psychologists, and lawyers.

Government of Canada Helps More Skilled Newcomers Get Jobs in Their Fields Faster

July 18, 2014 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Employment and Social Development Canada

The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, and the Honourable Chris Alexander, Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister, announced that the Government of Canada, in partnership with the provinces and territories, will improve foreign credential recognition for 10 additional priority occupations including the skilled trades and healthcare. They made the announcement today at separate events in Vancouver and Toronto.

The 10 new priority occupations are: geoscientists, carpenters, electricians, heavy duty equipment technicians, heavy equipment operators, welders, audiologists and speech language pathologists, midwives, psychologists, and lawyers.

Minister Kenney explained that occupations in the skilled trades were selected because they are in demand in some sectors and regions of the country, while occupations in health care were emphasized because they help address skills shortages and improve the quality of life of Canadians.

These occupations are part of a national framework that aims to streamline foreign credential recognition for priority occupations. For priority occupations, service standards are established so that internationally trained professionals can have their qualifications assessed within one year, anywhere in Canada.

Quick facts

  • Under the Framework, high-skilled newcomers in the 14 priority occupations, including some 2,000 pharmacists, 1,200 dentists and 5,600 engineers, are already benefitting from improvements to foreign credential recognition.
  • The Government also launched the Federal Skilled Trades Program to facilitate the immigration of skilled tradespeople to Canada and help address serious skills shortages in the construction industry. Applicants are selected according to criteria that put more emphasis on practical training and work experience. Altogether, there are 90 occupations currently eligible for processing under this program.
  • On May 13, 2014, Minister Wong launched the NHSP 2014-2015 Call for Proposals for Community-Based Projects. Through this call for proposals, organizations may receive up to $25,000 in grant funding for projects that are led or inspired by seniors. The call closed across Canada on July 4, 2014, except in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where it was extended until July 18, 2014, as a result of significant damages caused by flooding in June.
  • The Government of Canada also offers a microloans pilot project to help internationally trained workers cover the cost of having their credentials recognized. To date, more than 1,300 skilled newcomers have benefitted from microloans.


"Our government's top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. We recognize that skilled newcomers help fill shortages in key occupations and make an important contribution to Canada's economy. That is why we are speeding up foreign credential recognition for 10 more occupations, including jobs in the skilled trades and healthcare. This means that even more new Canadians can put their skills to work sooner across Canada."

– The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism

"To ensure that immigration continues to support our future prosperity, our government is building a faster and more flexible immigration system that ensures this country attracts the best newcomers who are able to contribute to their communities and the Canadian economy while helping address Canada's labour market needs. This includes the launch of Express Entry next January, which will revolutionize the way we attract skilled immigrants and get them working here faster."

– The Honourable Chris Alexander, Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister

Associated links


Alexandra Fortier
Office of Minister Kenney

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Buying books is ok; recommendations are ok

7 surprises about libraries in our surveys

By 4 comments

The Pew Research Center's studies about libraries and where they fit in the lives of their communities and patrons have uncovered some surprising facts about what Americans think of libraries and the way they use them. As librarians around the world are gathered in Las Vegas for the American Library Association's annual conference, here are findings that stand out from our research, our typology of public library engagement and the quiz we just released that people can take to see where they compare with our national survey findings: What kind of library user are you?

1Library Use by AgeEach time we ask about library use, we find that those ages 65 and older are less likely to have visited a library in the past 12 months than those under that age. Equally as interesting is the fact that younger Americans (those ages 16-29) are just as likely to be library users as those who are older.

2Although 10% of Americans have never used a library, they think libraries are good for their communities. We've identified this group of library users as "Distant Admirers," and they are the majority of the nearly 15% of Americans ages 16 and older who have never been to a library. Despite their lack of personal use of libraries, their positive views of libraries might stem from the fact that 40% of Distant Admirers report that someone else in their household is a library user. About two-thirds of them or more say libraries are important because they promote literacy and reading, that they play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed and they improve the quality of life in a community. Finally, 55% say the loss of the local library would be a blow to the community.

3FT_Print.E.ReadingE-book reading is rising but just 4% of Americans are "e-book only" readers. The incidence of e-book reading has been steadily climbing during the course of our libraries research. It now stands at 28% of the population who have ever read an e-book. But this has not really affected the number of those who read printed books. The vast majority of e-book readers also enjoy printed books.

4Those who read both e-books and printed books prefer reading in the different formats under different circumstances. One of the reasons many book lovers read in both printed and e-book formats is that they feel each format has its own virtues. In a head-to-head competition, people prefer e-books to printed books when they want speedy access and portability, but print wins out when people are reading to children and sharing books with others. When asked about reading books in bed, the verdict is split: 45% prefer reading e-books in bed, while 43% prefer print.

5FT_Borrow.Or.Buy.BooksOne of the big concerns in the publishing industry about selling e-books to libraries is that allowing free access to e-books through libraries might eat into book sales. In fact, Pew Research data show that those who use libraries are more likely than others to be book buyers and actually prefer to buy books, rather than borrow them. Among the 78% of Americans 16 years and older who had read a book in the previous year, according to a survey we did in 2011, a majority of print readers (54%) and readers of e-books (61%) said they prefer to purchase their own copies of these books rather than borrow them from somewhere else.

6One of the foundational principles of librarians is supporting the privacy of patrons. Librarians have long resisted keeping or sharing records of the book-borrowing or computer-using activities of their patrons. However, in the age of book-recommendation practices on all kinds of websites, many patrons are comfortable with the idea of getting recommendations from librarians based on their previous book-reading habits. In a 2012 survey, 64% of respondents said they would be interested in personalized online accounts that provide customized recommendations for books based on their past library activity. Some 29% said they would be "very likely" to use a service if it were made available by their library.

7Many librarians are struggling to figure out how to think about their book collections in the digital age. The responses in a 2013 survey was the most divided verdict we got in the range of changes in the library world that we probed. Some 20% of respondents said libraries should "definitely" make changes with the ways they arrange their books, such as moving some print books and stacks out of public locations to free up more space for tech centers, reading rooms and cultural events, according to our 2013 survey. However, 36% said libraries should "definitely not" make those changes and 39% said libraries should "maybe" consider moving some books and stacks.