CRKN’s role as a voice for Canadian academic libraries offers us the chance to advocate on behalf of our community. Over the past year, we offered services, events, and tools that advanced growth for our members and for our organization.
CFI Innovation Fund Initiative
After considering an application for the 2023 Canada Foundation for Innovation – Innovation Fund (CFI IF), the CRKN Board of Directors decided to focus on the next IF competition in 2025. A project vision has been drafted to outline the future of a sustainable, robust, and interoperable access and preservation infrastructure that mobilizes the Canadiana collections for research. Underpinning the initiative would be member and partner content included on the Canadiana platform and a suite of state-of-the-art researcher tools and services.
In early 2022, the Board of Directors approved the Terms of Reference for the inaugural CRKN Researcher Council, a group that would drive the research questions and needs of the CFI IF project. A call for nominations was also shared with great support from the community. CRKN launched the Researcher Council in April 2022.
Government Relations and Advocacy
In November 2021, CRKN issued a request for proposals for a Government Relations firm. Recognizing the need for increased external funding for CRKN’s heritage program, CRKN developed an advocacy agenda focused on two advocacy priorities: increased funding for access to, and preservation of, heritage and cultural material held in the Canadiana collections; and increased policy support for open science and scholarship. The CRKN Board of Directors announced Cumberland Strategies as CRKN’s Government Relations firm in February 2022 and launched with a Government Relations 101 presentation to Board and staff in March 2022. Cumberland Strategies will be developing an advocacy workplan for CRKN that will run throughout 2022-2023.
The 2021 CRKN Conference was CRKN’s second all-virtual conference. With a condensed scope to maximize engagement for participants, the conference attracted a total of 498 attendees and featured 37 speakers presenting at 18 sessions. A powerful keynote address from Manitok Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation, started off the events, and the annual Meeting of the Members closed the conference. With two years of hosting virtual conferences, CRKN has seen the lasting impact that these events can have. While we look forward to future in-person conferences, CRKN will continue to hold a combination of virtual and in person programming.
Ron MacDonald Distinguished Service Award
In 2021, the Ron MacDonald Distinguished Service Award was given to Jonathan Bengtson, University Librarian at the University of Victoria. Mr. Bengtson, who has a distinguished career in libraries across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, was recognized for his leadership in digitization initiatives, advocacy for research dissemination, and dedicated involvement with CRKN. We congratulate Jonathan on his many achievements and thank him for his years of service to the library community.