Glendon librarian receives top professional award

When York senior reference librarian Vivienne Monty received the call informing her she had won the coveted Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award for 2008, she was speechless. Conferred by the Canadian Library Association, it is the ultimate recognition for an academic librarian.

Monty was nominated for this year’s Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award by Leslie Frost Library’s head librarian, Julianna Drexler, who described Monty as "outstanding in many ways: as librarian, member of the York University faculty, teacher, committee member, leader, mentor, writer and scholar”.

With a master’s degree in library science and a BA in history from the University of Toronto, Monty has been a librarian at York University for the last 35 years. She worked for 18 years in the Government Documents/Administrative Studies Library, first as assistant head and then as head from 1973 to 1991. After a one-year hiatus working at Glendon as senior librarian at Leslie Frost Library, Monty returned to the Keele campus as Internet coordinator and senior librarian at the reference department of Scott Library from 1993 to1996.

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 Leslie Frost Library in 1996 as senior librarian responsible for reference services, online and CD products, Leslie Frost Library’s Web site and new technologies instruction, and decided to stay for the long haul.

Right: Julianna Drexler (left) and Vivienne Monty

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 (see YFileJune 16, 2005).

Kenedy and Monty act as mentors for students in his class. Before undertaking an assignment, Kenedy’s students must attend a two-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. The students and the professor report 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).

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 six 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 & 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,” says Monty.

The Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award was announced at the Canadian Library Association’s 2008 National Conference in Vancouver. Since Monty was unable to attend this year’s conference, she will receive her award at the 2009 conference next year in Montreal, with nominator Drexler in attendance.

Submitted to YFile by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny