Student Gabrielle Doyle Bases Conference Presentation on Course Paper

Community Profile

Student Gabrielle Doyle’s presentation at the 2011 Alberta Library Conference was inspired by an iSchool course paper she wrote on managing and supporting teen employees.

“In public libraries we’re always talking about how to invite young adults in, how to understand them, and how to encourage them to come and use the library,” said Doyle, who has worked with teen employees as a public library page supervisor. “What better way to do that than by nurturing them as workers, learning from them, and sending them out into the community as ambassadors?”

Doyle co-presented a session called “Teens in the Stacks” during the annual Alberta Library Conference (ALC), which was held in Jasper, Alberta from April 28-May 1, 2011. The session focused on the motivations and benefits of hiring teen employees and highlighted several teen pages from Doyle’s workplace.

As a first-time presenter and first-time conference attendee, “I had no idea what I was getting myself into!” said Doyle. The ALC attracts between 700-900 participants including library staff, library trustees, and library school students, and is the premier library conference in the province of Alberta. The packed audience at Doyle’s session included her library’s director and a LIS professor from the University of Alberta, who suggested the co-presenters write a paper for publication. “That was truly a great compliment,” said Doyle.

In spring 2010 Doyle was working as a Page Supervisor at one of the Calgary Public Library’s large branches while taking her INFO 204: Information Organizations and Management course. She was responsible for interviewing, hiring, training, and scheduling 20 pages between the ages of 14 and 18, and decided to write a paper on managing teen employees and understanding the unique influences of their development and generational culture.

A native of Ireland, Doyle earned both her BA and MA in economics from University College, Dublin. She immigrated to Canada to attend a PhD program but realized she wanted to be in a field that placed more emphasis on service and community. Doyle became an elementary school teacher in New York City before moving back to Canada with her husband to raise their two children.

“It was difficult to try to re-enter the workforce in a different country, and it was hard to transfer my New York teaching credential to Canada,” explained Doyle. “I was fortunate to find a job at my local public library about five years ago, and I really enjoy the work.”

Doyle currently works full-time as a Reference Assistant, providing reference services, scheduling support staff, and developing community programs. She is responsible for Baby Story Times and for her library’s Parent-Child Mother Goose program, which uses rhymes and songs to help parents interact with very young children. Doyle hopes to develop a public database using the PHP and MYSQL skills she learned in INFO 246 to help parents and storytellers search for rhyming materials to use at home.

Another iSchool class, INFO 250: Design and Implementation of Instructional Strategies for Information Professionals, with lecturer Mary Ann Harlan, also provided inspiration for Doyle. The course taught students how to design teaching plans by creating lessons based on desired outcomes. “I found that a very interesting course, and it’s probably changed the way I approach everything at the library, including story times, Parent-Child Mother Goose, and interacting with library patrons,” Doyle said.

Doyle takes a full course load while working full-time, and is planning to graduate in December 2011 or May 2012.