The two North American associations have a joint meeting every five years, so the meeting this year with almost 200 members present was much bigger than typical spring meetings. Both bodies also held their board meetings during the week.
ARL and CARL meetings are attended solely by library directors, making them different from LIBER’s Annual Conferences, which are attended by directors, heads of service and key specialists. The days were intense. Every minute from early morning until late at night was packed with presentations, networking and discussions. Round table discussions on predefined topics were popular during breakfast and lunch breaks.
LIBER and ARL signed a Memorandum of Understanding some years ago and since then a member of LIBER’s Executive Board usually attends ARL meetings. ARL’s Executive Director, Elliot Shore, has attended LIBER’s Annual Conferences a number of times, and he was one of the panellists on the very successful Open Science panel at the London Annual Conference last year. ARL President, Larry Alford, hoped to attend the LIBER Annual Conference in Helsinki this summer but this did not prove possible for personal reasons. A group of Canadian library directors is, however, participating in a study tour in Europe, led by CARL President, Martha Whitehead, and they will attend the LIBER Annual Conference in Helsinki, which will provide an opportunity to continue the discussions started in Vancouver and offer a chance for networking with European colleagues. Personally, the joint meeting was an excellent opportunity to meet the Presidents of ARL and CARL, and many colleagues from North American research libraries.
Topics covered included research data management (RDM), scholarly publishing, and the value of libraries. North American RDM solutions such as Digital Preservation Network (DPN), SHARE and Portage were presented, and Kathleen Shearer gave an overview of RDM in a global context, including the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and the recent ICSU Accord, which LIBER and other research library associations (ARL, CARL, CAUL and RLUK) have endorsed.
In the session on ‘Toward Sustainable Scholarly Publishing’ framed around the CARL White Paper ‘Canadian Universities and Sustainable Publishing (CUSP)’, Vincent Larivière, Associate Professor of Information Science, Université de Montréal, and Scientific Director, Platform Érudite, presented his findings on his research into subscription and emerging open access models for scholarly journals. According to his studies, fewer than 20% of the journals subscribed are used by researchers. Canadian libraries use his data in analysing their own subscription content usage and in negotiations with publishers. It will be interesting to see the outcome of these negotiations.
The session on ‘Opening an Uncomfortable Conversation on Social Justice and Privilege’ received the warmest reception from the audience. Professor Darren E. Lund, Assistant Professor (University of Calgary), spoke about his experiences from three decades of work on social justice activism and human rights. He addressed notions of privilege, and the need to be mindful of our own complex identities in this field.