Wednesday, November 30, 2011

GELA-FLIF-APIRG Edmonton Women's Prison Tour Debriefing

Last week members of FLIF, GELA, and APIRG went on two tours of the Edmonton Women's Prison led by corrections staff members. 

GELA has worked very hard to implement several projects in the prison community including bringing in books from the Edmonton Public Library based on the requests of the inmates because they do not have access to library cards or the EPL library catalogue. Requests are varied and include materials in different languages such as Arabic, Chinese, etc.

GELA has a great relationship with the inmate librarian Cathy to develop and execute projects such as the children's storybook project, supporting and growing the prison's library, book clubs, EPL loans, fundraising, and information literacy initiatives. GELA is interested in starting a technology literacy initiative that is in the very early stages and welcome anyone interested in participating in this discussion. 

Volunteer Opportunities: 
GELA is always looking for volunteers for the storybook project. This involves completeing two training sessions and takes place one Saturday per month. You don't have to go every month, but having a larger pool of available volunteer is helpful. You would go into the prison and use a voice recorder to record an inmate reading a children's book and then burn the recording onto a CD and then the book and recording is sent to the inmate's child. Don't worry if you don't have a voice recorder or laptop or experience with audio editing - we are happy to support you in getting access to the skills and technology you need to participate in this project. 

There is a mentorship program that matches inmates with mentors that is looking for people to participate in this capacity. This program includes meeting with inmates in the prison as well as escorting partners to cultural and social events.  They are always looking for people with different perspectives and especially younger people for this project.

GELA is organizing an art show at the Latitude 53 community gallery in the spring of 2012 of works made by the inmates. Help organizing this project would be appreciated and is something that could be done outside of the prison facility.
The library is always accepting donations of books. Contact GELA for a list of specific requests for the library.

The technological literacy group led by GELA member Masha would be a great opportunity to share your expertise and get involved in this capactiy.
For library school students GELA has also supervised a practicum at the prison library - this would be a great opportunity for an unusual practicum and a very rare and valuable experience. If you are interested in community librarianship or working with marginalized communities this could be a great fit.

There are lots of opportunities for getting new projects started, lots of things are possible if you have a passion and want to start a project. Past examples have been a zine that was produced based on the writing of the prison inmates.

FLIF would like to thank the volunteers at GELA (Sarah, Liz, Allison, Danielle & Anna) for organizing this tour and participating in this discussion, the prison facility staff, and APIRG for organizing the tour members and transportation to and from the facility. There was a lot of interest in these tours this time around and we could not accomodate everyone. If you are interested in these programs or possibly going on a tour in the new year please let us know and if there is interest we can work to organize another tour in early 2012. 

If you have any questions about these programs please check out the GELA blog -
or email us at flifblog (at) and we can connect you to the GELA Google Group

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meeting Minutes - Nov 15, 2011

Thanks to everyone how came out to the meeting yesterday. We are organizing a few groups to spearhead some of our projects for the upcoming year. If you are interested in getting involved in any of the following projects please comment on this post or send an email to flifblog (at) and let us know in what capacity you are intersted in getting involved:

1. Freedom to Read Week - we are open to suggestion about what we can do to promote intellectual freedom and literacy on campus during FTRW (Feb 26 - Mar 3, 2012). 

2. Jasper Place Highschool alternative library/resource centre collection development project
3. Community Bookshelf - sorting, packing and delivering book donations for our community partners

4. Working on our funding proposal for APIRG and other funding resources for Jasper Place and Community Bookshelf/Homeless Connect projects

We are also open to suggestions about project you might want to pursue or get involved in that fall under our mandate. 

Get in touch, we are here to help with all the resources we have available to us.

IFLA launches website on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions

*reblogged from the IFLA website (Nov 09/11), thanks to Toni Samek for bringing this to our attention 

IFLA has created a new set of webpages, dedicated to one of the most important policy issues which IFLA is currently dealing with - the issue of copyright limitations and exceptions for libraries.

Copyright exceptions enable libraries to preserve and make available works. In many countries they have been established in the print era and not been updated to meet the needs of the digital age. An updated system is needed to enable libraries to provide users with both historical and new services in pace with ongoing technological changes.

IFLA is working with Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to gain support for a binding international instrument on copyright limitations and exceptions to enable libraries to preserve their collections, support education and research, and lend materials. To demonstrate what is needed, IFLA has produced a Treaty proposal (called 'TLIB') to guide WIPO's Member States in updating limitations and exceptions for libraries worldwide.

Find out more about limitations and exceptions for libraries at and learn what you can do to get involved supporting an international binding instrument that meets the needs of libraries in the 21st century.