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BC Library Conference 2020: Libraries, Democracy, and Action

Keynote Speakers

We are thrilled to announce the following Keynote Speakers for the 2020 BC Library Conference!

Opening Keynote
Jessie Loyer: pê-itohtêtan ayamihcikamikohk: come, let’s go to the library

5:30 pm: Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Location: Elmbridge Ballroom
Generously Sponsored By: UBC Library


We don’t have a verb to describe the work that a librarian does. Librarianing? That imprecise language shapes our considerable professional anxiety and can encourage us toward inaction in an attempt to remain neutral. Imagine if we could move past the limitations of our professional identities. Imagine a different kind of librarian. Imagine if we could move beyond wanting to be perceived as doing good. We might be able to envision our work as distinct from neutral service and more closely tied to active, affirming relationships where our futures are inextricably tied up in the futures of the communities that host our libraries. In Cree language, verbs matter more than nouns, and Cree kinship is affirmed through actions, not simple titles. Imagine the possibilities if we could orient our libraries not toward neutrality, but toward justice.

Jessie Loyer is Cree-Métis and a member of Michel First Nation. She’s a librarian at Mount Royal University in Calgary, on Blackfoot and Treaty 7 territory. Her research looks at Indigenous perspectives on information literacy, supporting language revitalization, and building capacity for oral history sharing and digitization for communities. She’s interested in creating ongoing research relationships using kinship. Follow her on twitter: @jmloyer.



Hot Topic
Cicely Belle Blain: Diversity and Inclusion in our Libraries

5:00 pm: Thursday, April 16 2020
Location: Elmbridge Ballroom

191026 - Stratagem Outtakes 052 - SmallDiversity and inclusion consultant, Cicely Belle Blain will share their insights from many years fighting for equity, inclusion and justice in non-profits and corporations alike. Their talk will focus on the intersections of race, gender and sexuality and how libraries can be a core part of transforming our society for greater inclusion. Join for an inspiring talk and the opportunity to ask questions to a diversity and inclusion professional.
Through activism, education, consulting, writing, art and sometimes over cocktails, Cicely Belle lives to make radical change for the inclusion of marginalized and intersectional communities, namely Black, femme and LGBTQ+ peoples. Recognized as one of Vancouver’s 50 most powerful people, BC Business’s 30under30, among other accolades, they are committed to transformative justice, compassionate community building and laughter at the core of it all. Cicely Belle’s first book debuts in 2020 with Arsenal Pulp Press and the support of Vivek Shraya. They are full of big Sagitarius energy and obsessed with pink, dinosaurs and sci-fi.



Closing Keynote
Seth Klein: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency

3:45 pm: Friday,April 17, 2020
Location: Britannia Ballroom

Generously Sponsored By: CUPE BC


Seth KleinSeth will offer a preview of his forthcoming book A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency (due out fall 2020). He argues we need to approach the climate crisis with a new mindset – as an urgent threat requiring a wartime-scale emergency response. Seth explores how we can align our politics and economy with what the science says we must do to address the climate crisis. But he brings an original and uniquely hopeful take to this challenge. The book is structured around lessons from World War Two – the last time Canada faced an existential threat. Others have said we need a “wartime approach” to climate change, but this is the first book to delve into what that could actually look like. Canada’s WWII experience, Seth contends, provides an inspirational reminder that we have done this before. We have mobilized in common cause across class, race and gender, and entirely retooled our economy in the space of a few short years. Weaving together history, politics and policy, the book jumps between our past and present, answering questions such as: What did the marshaling of all our economic and human resources look like during WWII, and what might a similar deployment look like today? How was it paid for? What kind of leadership did it require? How was public support and national unity secured? What was/is the role of Indigenous people and youth, then and now? What did we do for returning soldiers, and are there lessons for just transition for fossil fuel workers today? And what are the war’s cautionary tales, the warnings of things that brought us shame, that we do not wish to repeat? The book is an invitation to both the public and our political leaders today, to reflect on the people who saw us through WWII, and to consider who we want to be, as we face down the defining task of our lives.

About Seth:

Seth Klein served for 22 years (1996-2018) as the founding British Columbia Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a public policy research institute committed to social, economic and environmental justice. He is now a freelance researcher, writer, consultant and speaker, and an adjunct professor with Simon Fraser University’s Urban Studies program. He is currently writing a book on mobilizing Canada for the climate emergency.
Seth is a founder and served for eight years as co-chair of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, a network of over 50 community organizations in BC campaigning for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan in BC. He is a founder and served for 10 years on the advisory committee of the Metro Vancouver Living Wage for Families campaign (and was co-creator of the methodology for calculating the living family wage, now used in about three dozen Canadian communities). He is an advisory board member for the Columbia Institute’s Centre for Civic Governance. And he is a founder, advisor and instructor for Next Up, a leadership program for young people committed to social and environmental justice.