Senior reference librarian Vivienne Monty was speechless when she received the call informing her that she had won the coveted Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award for 2008. Conferred by the Canadian Library Association, it is the highest honour, the ultimate recognition for an academic librarian.
l-r: Julianna Drexler, Head Librarian of Glendon's Leslie Frost Library with Vivienne Monty
In fact, Monty, who holds a Master’s of Library Science (1973) and a BA in history (1971) from the University of Toronto, has completed 35 years of outstanding service as a librarian at York University. She worked for 18 years in the Government Documents/Administrative Studies Library, first as assistant head and then as head (1973 – 1991). After a one-year hiatus, working as senior librarian at Glendon’s Frost Library, Monty returned to the Keele campus as Internet coordinator and senior librarian at the Reference Department at Scott Library (1993-1996). But the pull to Glendon was too hard to resist, especially for a bilingual, in fact multilingual (English, French, Hungarian, some German, Spanish and Italian) professional like Monty. She returned to Frost Library in 1996 as senior librarian responsible for Reference Services, online and CD products, Frost Library’s website, and new technologies instruction, and decided to stay for the long haul.
As an academic librarian, Monty is also a published researcher and an academic herself, with numerous articles in refereed publications, research papers, books, chapters, editorships and university publications. Her curriculum vitae includes a listing of close to 20 pages of publications.
Monty is a frequent guest lecturer in Glendon’s classes, teaching research methods in all of Glendon’s teaching areas, “Glendon’s faculty members really understand the benefit of this service”, says Monty. She gives these lectures over 60 times each academic year. “The faculty report a qualitative improvement in research papers after students attend these lectures”, she adds.
Monty’s ‘bread and butter’ is innovation. She loves new technologies and finding ways of integrating them into the curricula, teaching methods and research. She has participated in numerous collaborations with professors, outlining the best ways to help students in their search for source materials and other relevant documents. Currently, she is working on a project with York sociology professor Robert Kenedy, a recipient of York’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2005. Kenedy and Monty act as mentors for students in his class. Before undertaking an assignment, Kenedy’s students must attend a 2-hour research lecture given by Monty, outlining the best research methods tailored to each particular topic. “Students can continue to consult the professor or myself, if they encounter a snag in their research”, says Monty. The results speak for themselves, with both students and the professor reporting significant improvements in the quality of the work they complete. The project’s results (a work in progress) have been accepted for publication for 2008 as a book chapter, co-authored by Kenedy and Monty, under the title “Dynamic Purposeful Learning in Information Literacy”.
This year’s award is not a first for Monty. In 1987, she received the Librarian of the Year Award for Professional Service and Recognition of Significant Contributions to Librarianship, from the Special Libraries Association. In 1997, Monty received the Outstanding Academic Librarian Award presented annually by the Canadian Association of College and University Libraries (CACUL), honouring an individual member of CACUL who has made an outstanding national or international contribution to academic librarianship and library development.
Monty is an avid participant in professional associations, working groups and committees. Recent involvements include working as Canadian Library Association representative to the Libraries Advance Canada Group; chairing the CLA Outstanding Librarian Awards Committee for 6 consecutive years (1998-2004); and being an observer for the Canadian Library Association on the Accreditation External Review Panel for the University of Western Ontario’s School of Library and Information Science. In addition, as a former Chair of the Depository Services Remodeling Committee, she was influential in shaping federal government information policies through her 1998 report, Proposal for a revised model depository system. She is also a former president of the Canadian Library Association and a former president and member of the Executive Board of the Toronto Chapter of the Special Libraries Association. In 2004, she was Chair of a prestigious American Library Association Accreditation External Review Panel. “Participating in these associations allows me to network and consult with top specialists across North America”, comments Monty.
Vivienne Monty was nominated for this year’s Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award by Frost Library’s head librarian, Julianna Drexler, who described her as "outstanding in many ways: as librarian, member of the York University faculty, teacher, committee member, leader, mentor, writer and scholar.” The award was announced on May 24th at the Canadian Library Association’s 2008 National Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. Since Monty was unable to attend this year’s conference, she will receive her award at the 2009 conference next year in Montreal, with Drexler in attendance.
Article submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny