Member Profile: Gwen Bird Returns to SFU Library

e-HLbc congratulates Gwen Bird on her new position as University Librarian at SFU Library. In this interview, we get Gwen’s perspective on the value of consortia for member libraries.

Gwen, the outgoing Executive Director of the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL), and the former Associate University Librarian of Collections at SFU Library, has been an active leader in both consortia and libraries. She believes one of the greatest challenges ahead for libraries is to redefine their role in their communities. From having long been perceived as storehouses of information, academic libraries are increasingly taking on the role as active agents in the production of scholarship. SFU Library’s strong digitization program, internationally recognized publishing software, and burgeoning data curation services, have all contributed to raising the profile of SFU Library within the wider university administration. As University Librarian, Gwen will foster increased librarian-faculty partnerships, encourage SFU’s liaison librarians to be deeply involved in the university community, and she will seek more funding for library projects.  

Gwen will also seek out further collaboration opportunities with library consortia. Working at COPPUL opened Gwen’s eyes to the power of the collective. The centralized negotiations that consortia specialize in succeed in the saving of costs and staff time for libraries. It was a real accomplishment for SFU Library, Gwen feels, to have e-HLbc hosted within its walls. e-HLbc provides a continuum of service for students as they progress in their careers. Gwen is proud that SFU hosts three regional consortia – e-HLbc, BC ELN, and COPPUL – at the library, and thinks that it is to SFU’s advantage to have close ties with the consortia and to be able to draw on their knowledge and expertise.