Library Escapades: Yellowhead Tribal College (YTC) Library

This month, I had the pleasure to learn about the amazing library at Yellowhead Tribal College (YTC).

YTC is a college dedicated to supporting life-long learning through accredited degree programs while nurturing First Nations language, traditions, and cultural practices. The college serves approximately 150 students from members of the Treaty 6 community - the Alexander, Alexis, Enoch, O'Chiese, and Sunchild First Nations.

This is the YTC logo representing the 4 bands of the Yellowhead Tribal Council - Alexander, Alexis, O'Chiese, and Sunchild.

This is the YTC logo representing the 4 bands of the Yellowhead Tribal Council - Alexander, Alexis, O'Chiese, and Sunchild.

In addition to a tour of the library, the Digital Literacy Librarian, Jordan chatted with me about the unique resources and services offered at YTC Library.

As you can probably imagine, the YTC Library is a bit different from other academic libraries that you might come across. Not only is it responsible for library collections and operations, but YTC Library also looks after some aspects of student registration and student wellness including student ID card pickup, a student support space, Coffee Mondays, yoga classes, and traditional beading classes. To further encourage its students to make use of the library, it runs on an honour system with phone and laptop chargers for use within the library and no overdue fines. Because a lot of YTC students are also parents, they tend to go home to their families after classes are dismissed, therefore hours are generally from 8:30am-4:30pm on weekdays receiving an average of 30 daily, unless otherwise requested by the students during exam periods.

The quaint reference desk where the always kind library support staff, Ernestine greets you as you enter the library.

The quaint reference desk where the always kind library support staff, Ernestine greets you as you enter the library.

This is called the "Reading Corner". It's a small space where patrons can enjoy their periodicals, namely newspapers and magazines. On Mondays, the library hosts "Coffee Monday" where free coffee is offered to students and staff in the "Reading Corner". 

This is called the "Reading Corner". It's a small space where patrons can enjoy their periodicals, namely newspapers and magazines. On Mondays, the library hosts "Coffee Monday" where free coffee is offered to students and staff in the "Reading Corner". 

The computer area has 2 PCs and 2 Macs, which patrons are free to use. Due to the student body being comprised of First Nations students where many of them are also mature students, there is a strong emphasis on providing them with technology skills that they can apply to modern day life being mainly Microsoft Office Suite and social media. 

The computer area has 2 PCs and 2 Macs, which patrons are free to use. Due to the student body being comprised of First Nations students where many of them are also mature students, there is a strong emphasis on providing them with technology skills that they can apply to modern day life being mainly Microsoft Office Suite and social media. 

The YTC Library had a very humble beginning as a donation library due to the lack of a budget. Since then, through grant funding, the library has been able to organize and develop the collection to better suit its patrons. The catalogue is maintained through SirsiDynix, which has been kindly provided to them by the University of Alberta. 

The popular fiction stack is placed right by the entrance to entice passersby...

The popular fiction stack is placed right by the entrance to entice passersby...

The main collection is comprised of 5 main stacks of academic materials for use by students to support the college's programs in Management Studies, Social Work, Information Technology, among others.

The main collection is comprised of 5 main stacks of academic materials for use by students to support the college's programs in Management Studies, Social Work, Information Technology, among others.

The Aboriginal collection is vast and dedicated to Aboriginal writers and publishers especially those of local origin. Because the library does not use a collection management software, the librarians use other means to develop the Aboriginal collection - one of which is the  University of Toronto's First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Publishers and Distributors LibGuide . 

The Aboriginal collection is vast and dedicated to Aboriginal writers and publishers especially those of local origin. Because the library does not use a collection management software, the librarians use other means to develop the Aboriginal collection - one of which is the University of Toronto's First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Publishers and Distributors LibGuide

The children's stack. The fact that the collection includes a separate stack for children's materials is one of the features that makes the YTC Library somewhat like a public library. The library is looking to have the childrens books translated into Cree with the addition of translation tape underneath the English words. A possible project for the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta?

The children's stack. The fact that the collection includes a separate stack for children's materials is one of the features that makes the YTC Library somewhat like a public library. The library is looking to have the childrens books translated into Cree with the addition of translation tape underneath the English words. A possible project for the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta?

Many students at YTC have children, so the library facilitates a space where the children can read and play while their parents work on schoolwork. Sometimes, outreach librarians from the Edmonton Public Library will come in to do storytime for the kids. I suggested to possibly recruit volunteers from the U of A's School of Library and Information Studies to benefit both the library and the library students. A possible involvement opportunity...

Many students at YTC have children, so the library facilitates a space where the children can read and play while their parents work on schoolwork. Sometimes, outreach librarians from the Edmonton Public Library will come in to do storytime for the kids. I suggested to possibly recruit volunteers from the U of A's School of Library and Information Studies to benefit both the library and the library students. A possible involvement opportunity...

The library is very much a part of the YTC family, and has so much potential to grow and expand with its continued ambition to serve its First Nations student population. I love how closely knit the administration, faculty, and library staff are. Since YTC is a smaller institution, it doesn't have the intense level of bureaucracy that larger universities like the University of Alberta have, which lets the staff and students get to know each other better. I'm so excited to see what the YTC Library will accomplish next with their new Library Manager, Nicole!

A big thank you to Jordan, Ernestine, and Nicole for welcoming me!

Read more about the Yellowhead Tribal College on their website, and follow YTC library on Twitter!