October 5, 2007
Digital library reaches out to learners
New resource honours memory of Lois Hole
by Ileiren Poon
The Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library, a cutting-edge digital resource that changes the landscape of information accessibility for Alberta’s learners, researchers and faculty, was launched at the University of Alberta.
“We are honoured to be one of the host sites, which, more than any other individual project has the opportunity to provide every single Alberta student learning opportunities when and where they need them,” U of A President Indira Samarasekera said. The digital library was named for the former chancellor of the U of A and former lieutenant-governor of Alberta, who had an abiding passion for education, lifelong learning and reading.
“I suspect she would be enormously pleased that today’s actions will result in numerous learning activities for so many people,” said Samarasekera. “I only met her once and I have to say I was mesmerized. She told me many things, but the one thing she did say to me was, ‘Do not let them forget, forget education, the value of education’. I don’t know a better way of keeping education at the forefront of people’s minds than through a digital library.”
“Lois Hole’s unwavering support of libraries and her commitment to inclusiveness and literacy made her the natural choice for the library’s name,” said Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach. “Lois worked tirelessly to make higher education available to everyone. The Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library is the perfect symbol of her immense contribution to libraries and learning.”
The digital collection currently contains more than 4.5 million licensed items, including academic journals, encyclopedias, magazine and newspaper articles, literary critiques and video clips. These resources are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by students in 35 different Alberta post-secondary institutions, said Ernie Ingles, chair of the Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library committee and vice-provost and chief librarian at the U of A.
“The Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library represents a major commitment to providing resources to learners anywhere at anytime,” he said. “Today’s launch will showcase the future of digital learning in Alberta. You may be interested to know that even though we’re only beginning our journey, already the world’s eyes are upon us and we have been designated a centre of excellence for digital libraries and are participating in worldwide endeavours with colleagues around the world.”
Samarasekera, Stelmach, Alberta Minister of Advanced Education and Technology Doug Horner and Hole’s son Jim joined via video-conference with MLAs and other guests at colleges in Calgary, Lac La Biche, Medicine Hat and the Blood Reserve to showcase the potential of Alberta’s leading digital library.
“It’s an incredible achievement; one that distinguishes Alberta as a leader globally. It’s a high-tech, online resource that moves us a huge step closer to our goals of enhancing the accessibility, affordability and quality of education,” said Horner. “Ultimately it does give our students an educational advantage. In particular, it will give students in rural colleges and Aboriginal colleges, smaller centres, as well as distance learning students the same access to library resources now available to students in larger centres.” n
Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library components:
• Developing a collection of digital resources to support research and learning across the province.
• Licensing digital journals, books, reference materials and other specialized information to support the program needs of 35 Alberta post-secondary institutions.
• Retrospective digitization of materials - from monographs to journals, newspapers, manuscripts, audio and video files, art, maps, artifacts, specimens and more.
• Building the technical infrastructure, staff resources and information literacy programming to optimize the integration of digital content into learning environments for Albertans.
• The Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library is an initiative of the Alberta government and is delivered by The Alberta Library, a non-profit, province-wide library consortium whose members work collaboratively to promote universal, barrier-free access to the materials and resources in Alberta’s diverse libraries.