Monthly Archives: February 2015

Supreme Court ruling on assisted suicide – A discussion of neutrality in the library

So last week the Supreme Court of Canada made doctor assisted suicide no longer illegal in Canada. They also gave the government a year to figure out what to do regarding legislation of this change by the high court. The Supreme court ruling  “limits physician-assisted suicide to ‘a competent adult’ who “clearly consents” to end their life, and has an incurable medical condition — an ‘illness, disease or disability’ — that causes “intolerable” suffering. The court said the suffering could be either physical or psychological pain and that the person’s medical condition need not be terminal for them to be permitted to make the decision (Ottawa Citizen – Feb 7, 2015).

So what does this mean for the library? Well for starters, as a librarian you are no longer required to contact the authorities when someone comes in looking for information on how to kill themselves (Privacy of information is important too…I am just using the extreme example). What remains though is as a professional you must maintain a professional and neutral position on the topic. Regardless of your feelings on assisted suicide you are suppose to give the best information possible. If you get involved emotionally or politically you will be effecting your ability to provide information to the patron.

Reference inquiries that could be presented to you regarding the topic could range from an assortment of topics and people. from loved ones trying to help or stop a family member from committing suicide to doctors or patience looking for clarification on the ethics, technicalities, and process of performing assisted suicide.

It is not your place as information professionals to get involved in the discussion of whether or not this is right, but to help as many people who come looking for the information find the best information available. By doing this you educate and inform people of their options, their ethics, and their life choices. All while not interfering and letting them make the final decision.


My first week at Ignace School

Well I made it. 17 hours of driving and two stops on the way up. I have found the environment to be harsh and the people friendly. Working in such a small environment proves to have its advantages, as well as its disadvantages. My first week has been littered with informal meetings in the hall with other staff and students, as well as a bit of a laid back atmosphere.

I have found that things move slower up here, and being that I am one of only two library professionals in the school I am generally left to rule the library with an iron fist…..not really, but I am left to my own devices. The other library tech is now a supply teacher and her availability in the school is limited.

I have taken it upon myself to slowly, but surely re-imagine the libraries. I have taken a survey of the students and staff, and found a few things out about the library purposes. The senior library acts as not only a house for books, but also a communal lunch area. As well students and staff saw the library as primarily a giant bookshelf, but also as a place to sit quietly and do work. The idea of a book-fair and skyping in authors from time to time seems to be popular as well.

I have began the task of weeding the elementary library. Many books are donated to the school apparently, as some books are over 40 years of age. I am taking a liberal approach to weeding and only skimming some of the older books. I have also begun consolidating shelves, as I believe I could cut some of the excess shelving.

Some time this week I am to begin training for the tech side of the job. I am the first line in tech issues and distribution of tech. We shall see how the tech training goes.

The northern journey continues….

In the beginning

In the beginning there was only darkness, actually it was more like a range of emotions. I received a call from Ignace School notifying me I had been chosen as the School Librarian. For those who don’t know Ignace is in Northern, Ontario approximately 3 hours west of Thunder bay, Ontario.

After I got the call, as mentioned above, I went through a range of emotions. This was going to be a big change for me. I went from pure excitement at having my first job out of school, Apprehension of leaving what I knew, and fear of the unknown.

Excitement – I was pumped. My first real job out of School. A full time job to boot. I was moving to a new community, known for its lake resorts and outdoor tourism.

Apprehension – I was a bit anxious, I have never made a move this far, away from everything I knew. I grew up in Southern Ontario and this was gonna be a huge change.

Fear of the Unknown – After a few days I began looking excitedly at places to live, people to meet, and learning more about the school I was going to. It slowly dawned on me that this could go horribly wrong. What if I didn’t find a place to live? What if the job didn’t work out, what if I froze to death?

This was going to be huge. I was so excited for the experience, but terrified at the same time. I have found temporary lodging and the school has been very helpful with finding the accommodations I have. I am now packing to move up there and will be making the 2,000km drive north from London, On to Ignace, On. Next stop frozen north.