Be a Hummingbird: Successful GLAM Partnerships in a Rapidly Changing World is a poster in the 2020 PNLA Virtual Poster Session. We encourage you to engage in discussion by leaving a comment on the page. The author of the poster will respond to comments the week of August 4-7, 2020.

Presenters: Devon Tatton & Caitlin Ottenbreit

Track: Public Library

Abstract: The Be a Hummingbird series was a curated collection of programs that explored the themes of environmentalism, responsibility and courage. Inspired by Haida author and artist Michael Nicholl Yahgulanaas’s book Flight of the Hummingbird, and in support of Pacific Opera Victoria’s original opera based on said book, this program series exemplifies GVPL’s pre-COVID-19 community arts partnerships. These partnerships remain a foundational element of GVPL’s programming, and this session seeks to share our experiences developing these programs, bolstering our partnerships throughout our mutual COVID-19 closures, and planning ways to take these relationships into the future.



About the Presenters: Devon Tatton & Caitlin Ottenbreit are Public Services Librarians who lead the Arts, Culture and Heritage programs and services (aka the fun stuff) in beautiful Victoria British Columbia.


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6 days ago

Love the relationships and connections this has built. Community-building at its finest. We have a very cool museum on our campus — and we are generally close and collaborate — but I still sometimes feel a disconnect. Any advice on sustaining the collaborations?

Reply to  Rick
6 days ago

Thanks for your comment Rick! It’s so great that you’re already collaborating with the museum on your campus, I’m sure some really cool stuff has come out of that. My biggest thing with partnerships is that they need to come out of real relationship. I’m pretty into the idea of working at the speed of trust, which means sometimes building partnership takes longer than you think it will, but it’s much better and stronger in the end. It’s easier to sustain a partnership that exists because you have an actual human connection with someone else (although of course there are layers of issues that arise with turnover, which is its own nightmare). Once that relationship and trust has been built, the other thing I think is that partnerships have to work for everyone – it’s not enough to just host a partner program, or to go out to a partner event, both parties need to benefit and get value from every shared interaction.

Reply to  Caitlin
5 days ago

That win-win of both getting value is an important point.

Kellian donna Clink
4 days ago

We could and should be doing so much more along these lines. We have an art department, music department, but the only thing we do is an international poetry reading down in the basement. Along those lines, more uni community than local community, I’ve proposed having a bank of larger computer monitors that we could fill up with posters. Many of the undergrads and grads do posters which are hanging in the hallways near where classes are taught. I suggested that the liaisons could be the conduit to capturing these student posters and having them in the library as a way of builiding community between nurses and automotive engineers, chemists and social workers, etc. I think a lot of students would profit by knowing the serious research performed by some of their other’s along the same lines but having a low threshold entree into the uni community instead of the local community.

Reply to  Kellian donna Clink
4 days ago

Thanks for your comment Kellian! That’s a great idea about sharing student research posters in the library; I remember as a student putting a tonne of work into projects that never really got shared so I can imagine that it’s pretty exciting for the students to get to do so.

One program I hosted in a previous position was in partnership with a local Suzuki music school – the students had to perform a certain number of times as part of their curriculum, and the library was a safe, comfortable space for them to do so. Which meant that we got to enjoy little concerts every few months, and we always got a lot of really positive comments from the public about the program. I wonder if there are any similar requirements for your music department that might make for easy partnerships?

Erin Hvizdak
4 days ago

This is so great and got me thinking about how our university might do some outreach to be able to offer our students opportunities to engage more with the arts community – I don’t think we consider things like museum passes, etc. in our collection development. I’m wondering: Do you ever deal with any disagreements with expectations between the library and the different programs/places in terms of what you can offer, what capacities you have, etc.?

Reply to  Erin Hvizdak
4 days ago

Thanks for your comment Erin! Arts and culture passes could work so well in an academic library, especially for new students who want to get out and explore their new community.

I would definitely say that there is potential for disagreements or tension between our expectations and our partner’s expectations. As we mentioned, a big one is that we can struggle with the difference in how nimble we can be with our long planning timelines versus our partners’ sometimes much shorter planning times. It can also be tricky to figure out the balance of how much of a shared endeavor each side is responsible for, whether that be staffing, funding, time commitments, or whatever else. I personally also struggle with getting over-excited about new ideas, which can easily lead to over commitment or over promising, so be careful with that too! It’s all totally worth it when a great, mutually supportive partnership comes together though.