Featured Speakers

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference has been cancelled. Please see the announcement in the News section.

Author Sarah Leavitt

Sarah Leavitt is the author of the graphic memoir Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me, published in Canada, the US, UK, Germany, France, and Korea. Tangles was a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize in 2010, and is currently in development as a feature-length animation. Her new book, Agnes, Murderess, is horror/historical fiction set in 19th-century British Columbia. Leavitt teaches comics classes at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.



Author Shelley Wood

Shelley Wood’s short stories have appeared in a range of Canadian and international journals and have won her the Frank McCourt prize for Creative Nonfiction, Freefall Magazine’s fiction prize, and the Okanagan Short Story Prize. Born and raised in Vancouver, she divides her time between her role as Editorial Director at the Cardiovascular Research Foundation in New York City and her home in Kelowna, Canada. The Quintland Sisters, which debuted at the top of the Canadian bestsellers list, is her first novel.


Panel Speaker Jonathan Bengtson

Jonathan Bengtson is the University Librarian at the University of Victoria, only the third person to hold the position since the foundation of University in 1963. He has been a director of academic and special libraries in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Bengtson has a summa cum laude BA from the University of California, an M.Phil. in history from the University of Oxford, and an MLIS from University College London, UK where he was awarded the Sir John MacAlister Medal for distinction in the degree. He is the current President of Canadian Association of Research Libraries and also the founding editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed, open access journal KULA: knowledge creation, dissemination, and preservation studies (https://kula.uvic.ca)

Panel Speaker Mark Asberg

Mark first joined Calgary Public Library as Director of Service Delivery in 2014 and was appointed CEO in 2019. Mark completed his MLIS and PhD at Western University and, prior to his work at the public library, had taken on a series of leadership roles in library systems at Alberta Justice, Canada Revenue Agency, and Alberta Health Services. At Calgary Public Library, Mark has been at the forefront of any number of key projects and initiatives, including expanding library service to new communities, increasing participation in the library through enhanced virtual and mobile services, growing programming and outreach, and developing productive partnerships with key government and community groups, including Calgary’s school boards.

Panel Speaker Norene Erickson

Norene is an Assistant Professor at MacEwan University, teaching in the Library and Information Technology program within the School of Business. She is a 2018 PhD graduate in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Alberta, and received her MLIS also from the U of A in 1993. Her dissertation topic focused on the work identity of library paraprofessionals, and she continues to research in the areas of changing roles of library technicians, work identity, and emotional labour in library work.


Panel Moderator Kathleen De Long

Kathleen De Long is the Deputy Chief Librarian at the University of Alberta. She has a Masters in Public Management from the University of Alberta, as well as an MLS, and a doctorate in Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions from Simmons College in Boston. Kathleen has been involved in a number of major studies of human resources in Canadian libraries and most recently chaired a Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) committee charged with developing aspirational and future-oriented competencies for librarians in CARL libraries. 


Chef Shane Chartrand

Shane M. Chartrand, of the Enoch Cree Nation, is at the forefront of the re-emergence of Indigenous cuisine in North America. Raised in Central Alberta, where he learned to respect food through raising livestock, hunting, and fishing on his family’s acreage, Chartrand relocated to Edmonton as a young man to pursue culinary training. In 2015, Chartrand was invited to participate in the prestigious international chef contingent of Cook It Raw, and has since competed on Food Network Canada’s Iron Chef Canada and Chopped Canada. Currently, Chartrand is the executive chef at the acclaimed SC Restaurant at the River Cree Resort & Casino in Enoch, Alberta, where he transforms his diverse influences and experiences into culinary art.


Food Writer Jennifer Cockrall-King

Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Jennifer Cockrall-King is a Canadian food writer who now lives in the small community of Naramata, in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. She is the author of Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution and Food Artisans of the Okanagan Valley. Her writing has appeared in publications across North America, including Maclean’s, Reader’s Digest, Eighteen Bridges, Canadian Geographic, and enRoute magazine. tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine is her third book.

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