Higher Ed: Canadian Association of Professional Academic Librarians

The Canadian Association of Professional Academic Librarians (CAPAL) supports academic librarians and the profession. As the only national association representing the interests of librarians as professionals, CAPAL strives to provide a voice for the professional interests and issues related to working as a librarian in Canada, including but not limited to research requirements; diversity, equity and inclusion; labour and working conditions, and more. The committee primarily focuses on academic librarianship but welcomes students, library workers, retired librarians, other academics interested in academic librarianship, as well as those working in adjacent fields. CAPAL is open to anyone working in, interested in working in, or interested in issues related to academic libraries from the perspective of the worker.

CAPALs committees work in various areas in order to advocate for academic librarians within Canada. Members can consider getting involved with any of the committees listed online – new spots are usually open at the end of each year (June), although there may be open spots throughout the year. (You can contact committee chairs to learn more.)

The Education and Professional Development (EPD) committee has a mandate to share educational and professional development opportunities with current library students and academic librarians in Canada; raise awareness of issues regarding the current state of library education in Canada; and monitor accreditation process in Canadian library education and seek out opportunities for CAPAL involvement. A major initiative the EPD committee has created and supported is the two Communities of Practice (COPs), one on Information Literacy, and one on Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. EPD is open to forming new communities of practice, and any CAPAL member in good standing can participate in the current COPs. For more information, visit https://capalibrarians.org/education/.

In addition, the annual CAPAL conference gives presenters and attendees a chance to learn and speak about critical issues related to librarianship in Canada and beyond. Conference keynotes have been focused on topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion, labour, research, and more. Conference information is posted on https://conference.capalibrarians.org.

CAPAL maintains a listserv for members and publishes the Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship (CJAL), which accepts articles in both official languages.

To join CAPAL, visit https://membership.capalibrarians.org. There is a reduced rate for students, and current MLIS/MLS students are encouraged to connect with the chapters at their institutions.

Kevin Tanner is former Communications chair and current Board Member and Secretary of the Organization of CAPAL. Kevin works as Coordinator of Information Literacy and Instruction at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.