Views From the Library – Check Out Our “International Year of Indigenous Languages” Display!



Did you know that 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages?    The year of celebration was declared as an initiative by the United Nations, as eloquently described on the IYIL Website (   “…In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, based on a recommendation by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues….At the time, the Forum said that 40 per cent of the estimated 6,700 languages spoken around the world were in danger of disappearing.  The fact that most of these are indigenous languages puts the cultures and knowledge systems to which they belong at risk… Celebrating IYIL2019 will help promote and protect indigenous languages and improve the lives of those who speak them…”

Have you checked out our colourful display on the main floor of Archer Library? The display showcases numerous beautiful infographics from the IYIL website,  as well as a wonderful sampling of books available for borrowing from Archer Library.  Whether you’re interested in learning a particular language or reading about global issues for Indigenous languages,  the library is a great place to start!

Photo credits: (above) and the Archer Library staff (below).




The Surprise in the Book Drop: Tabs, Tabs, Tabs

surprise book drop

As the end of the semester approaches, book returns increase in number.  Library staff are busy scanning books in, loading them onto carts, and sending them upstairs for re-shelving.  One thing we’re also busy with…removing sticky tabs from returned books.


We realize that this is a busy time of year for everyone, but we kindly ask that you remove your tabs from your books before returning them.  On days when we have hundreds of books returned, it can take up a lot of precious staff time to remove tabs and post-its from books.  If it all possible, please use non-sticky page markers; sometimes the sticky tabs can tear fragile pages on older books when they’re removed.

The staff thank you for your consideration.  Good luck on your exams and have a great summer!


National Canadian Film Day 2019

Need a break from studying? On Wednesday, April 17, take a few hours to celebrate National Canadian Film Day. Enjoy a screening of Window Horses and a talk by Dr. Christine Ramsay and Professor Gerald Saul, Department of Film. Refreshments will be served.

National Pet Day: Create-Your-Own meme contest

Today is National Pet Day and the last day of classes for the Winter 2019 semester!


Create an original meme, preferable with one of your pet photos, about why the Archer Library is a great place to study for your finals. Share your (g-rated) meme with us for a chance to win one of three $10.00 Tim Hortons Gift Cards! You can make memes using PowerPoint or through the online meme generator:

Email us your meme (include your name and UofR student number) by Wednesday, April 17th at midnight for a chance to win. Winners will be drawn on Thursday, April 18th.

This contest is only open to students registered in the current winter semester. By submitting an entry, entrants agree that the Dr. John Archer Library may use, repost, and publish entries. Meme creators will be credited if/when their entries are used.

Views From the Library – The 3D Printer At Our Door



Libraries are forever evolving and growing with the time and society they serve.  Libraries also do more than adapt to changing needs;  they become places of creativity and innovation.  Some of the greatest trends across the library world right now involve community programming and makerspaces.  Academic libraries are certainly no exception,  and while our focus is perhaps more scholarly-oriented than a public library,  academic libraries are amazing hubs for creative thinking, invention and ingenuity.

Did you know we have a 3D printer at Archer Library?  Perhaps one of the most auspicious technologies of our time,  the potential of a 3D printer is limitless.  Whether it’s an original project or an idea from a 3D object repository, having a design created on campus is as simple as filling out a form (links to repositories and FAQ’s too!):

So whether you were on campus at the time of the proud launch of our 3D Printer, or you are just learning about the technology now:  the next time you walk into Archer library, take a peak at the 3D printer to your left, and remember that the creative possibilities in a library are infinite.

Art in Archer Alcove -2-

Thank you to the student for creating this beautiful drawing in the Archer Alcove… Just walk past the elevators on the main floor to discover the Archer Alcove. Take a break from studying and use this “chill zone” to play a game, puzzles, colouring, create art on chalk walls, and use the desk treadmill.




The Digitized Slide Collections of Artist Joe Fafard

Joe Fafard. Altamira I. 1991
61 x 48 x 20 (cm)

Renowned Regina artist, Joe Fafard passed away at his family home in Lumsden on March 16, 2019. The University of Regina holds archival materials donated by Mr. Fafard and has in recent years digitized a significant portion of them for free access on the internet. These materials can be found at:

When Archives and Special Collections began its visual arts collecting program in 1985 and 1986 the records of the Regina Five, a local group of internationally known artists,  were among the first to be acquired. That collection grew and other artists of national and international renown based in Saskatchewan and in Manitoba were soon depositing their records with the University of Regina.

Joe Fafard was among them. He also became the first of our artists to make his archival records available to researchers over the internet. The original concept for this digitization project came to us from an art exhibition curator. Terrence Heath is a freelance writer, consultant and curator who, in his past life, was an associate professor of history at the University of Saskatchewan and later director of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Completing work on a major retrospective show on Joe Fafard, Heath approached Archives and Special Collections in 2005 proposing that the archives digitize Joe Fafard’s extensive slide collection as a step toward creating an online “research center” on the work of Fafard. This online research center would allow for serious scholarship and was envisioned as aggregating the material of archives, galleries, and other institutions and individuals.

Joe Fafard, Vincent, 1985
39” x 27” x 9.5”

Internationally acclaimed artist and sculptor, Joe Fafard was one of Canada’s leading professional visual artists and had exhibitions of a wide variety of work in galleries and museums across the country and around the world. Much of his early sculpture used clay then in 1985 he shifted to bronze as his chief sculptural medium. Successfully establishing a foundry in Pense, a small Saskatchewan town, Fafard portrayed his neighbours, farm animals, and famous artists that he came to respect as he learned his craft.

Slides documenting almost his complete body of work from roughly the mid-1980s to 2002 were duly acquired by Archives and Special Collections in 2006 and 2007. Over 3,700 slides were received and organized chronologically by project. Fafard’s staff maintained a series of log books that documented project details such as medium of the work, size, number of castings, and purchase information. While these log books were not part of the archival donation the information in them was recorded by archives staff and formed the basis of the archival finding aids produced for the slides (See


Archives and Special Collections is a component unit of the Library at the University of

Regina, and at roughly the same time that the slides were being described the Library’s Access and Systems department began the digitization of the slides.

High quality master images were created of each slide using a high-end slide scanner and scanning software capable of producing high resolution TIFF format files. Master TIFF files at 4000 dpi were created with smaller derivative JPEG files created for eventual display on the internet.

Joe Fafard, Auguste, 1993
21.5” x 12” x 13”

Numerous staffing and organizational changes at the Library resulted in the project being placed on the back burner in 2008. It would be almost three years before Archives and Special Collections was again in a position to devote time and attention to the Fafard slide project. But these weren’t three wasted years. The University Archivist undertook an educational leave that saw him in Australia learning about digital archives in that country, the Library hired a Digital Collections Administrator with significant technical knowledge appropriate for digitization, and Archives and Special Collections undertook two smaller digitization projects to develop and refine its work processes.

A significant aspect of that process was an understanding of the importance of the context of the original archival materials and conveying that contextual information as accurately and as completely as possible in the digital world. Archives have long been about “context” and their very methods of organization, description, and access reflect that.

In his original approach to Archives and Special Collections, Terrence Heath envisioned something significantly more than a web exhibition of Fafard slides. Luckily all the Fafard slides that had been scanned in 2006 and 2007 had their contextual information dutifully recorded by archives staff from the Fafard logbooks. Now the task was to devise a system to attach the contextual information to the digitized slides and to create a presentation that would provide further background and information on Fafard and his art.

To this end Archives and Special Collections attached to each slide a detailed set of information about the original art object (the sculpture) with descriptive elements for the archival object (the slide) and technical elements about the scanning process and resulting digital files. Specific elements are designed to record contextual information. In addition to obvious elements, such as artwork medium, edition, date and measurement, others provide a short biography of Fafard, a brief custodial history, and lists of further readings and related materials. All these elements are linked to the digitized image of the slide they describe in the CONTENTdm application utilized by the project fulfilling Heath’s original concept of a digital collection with sufficient information to serve as a tool for the serious researcher.

Mark Vajcner

University Archivist

The text of this post is drawn from a more detailed paper on the Fafard Digitization Project presented by the University Archivist at the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, in October 2011. That full paper may be found at:

Meet the Staff: Jennifer Hall

Jennifer has been with the Archer Library for 14 years as a Library User Services Assistant.  She has rather stereotypical library-worker interests: coffee, reading, and crafting (mostly crocheting).  With degrees in palaeobiology, she also maintains an intense interest in all forms of ancient life.  If you see a staff member wearing a dinosaur skirt, that’s probably Jennifer.

jen staff profile


What’s the one book you suggest everyone read? Why?

Wonderful Life by Stephen Jay Gould.  Gould’s language and heavy use of taxonomic jargon may be off-putting for many, but his underlying message about the randomness and wonder of life on earth is incredibly powerful.


Who are your favourite writers?

Jane Austen, L. M. Montgomery, S. J. Gould


What’s one skill that everyone should develop?



Which person – living or dead –  do you most admire?

Jane Goodall, for her courage, determination, intelligence, and optimism.  She had a dream for her life and didn’t let her lack of formal education or gender deter her from pursuing it.  She changed how we view our closest living relatives and how we view ourselves within the context of the animal kingdom.  Her lifelong commitment to conservation and environmental responsibility is something that should inspire us all.


What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Cliché mom answer, but…my children.  Second to that: surviving grad school.


What’s one powerful piece of advice for living a fulfilling life?

Don’t keep telling yourself that “I’ll be happy when…”.  Find the joy and goodness in where you are right now.

Art in Archer Alcove -1-

In the coldest February in Saskatchewan since the 1930s, it warmed the library staff hearts to discover this beautiful drawing in the Archer Library today.

Did you know that the Archer Alcove in the Archer Library has blackboards and chalk to create wonderful drawings? Just walk past the elevators on the main floor to discover the Archer Alcove. A “chill zone”, created to take a break from your studies, that provides games, puzzles, colouring, chalk walls, and a desk treadmill. And of course we are curious who made this wonderful drawing…


Freedom to Read Week

clip art

February 24 to March 2 is Freedom to Read Week.  This annual event is organized by the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee.  The aim of this event is to encourage “Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms” (Freedom to Read Week, 2019).

In recognition of this event, the Dr. John Archer Library has created a display of challenged books that can be found in our collection.  Some of them may surprise you!

To learn more about this event and what you can do to support intellectual freedom, visit the Freedom to Read website.