Leslie Weir honoured with CARL Award for Distinguished Service to Research Librarianship

ProQuest representatives Tiny Brown & Emmanuel Axais, with Leslie Weir, and CARL President, Donna Bourne-Tyson.

Montreal, November 7, 2018 – The Canadian Association of Research Libraries honoured Leslie Weir today with its Award for Distinguished Service to Research Librarianship. This award is conferred annually to an individual at a CARL member institution who has made a substantial local, national or international contribution to research librarianship.

Ms. Weir has been widely recognized in a number of contexts for her substantial and lasting impact on Canadian and international librarianship over her more than three decades as a professional librarian. Following her early career at the National Library of Canada and the Statistics Canada Library, she joined the University of Ottawa library as Associate University Librarian prior to serving as University Librarian for three terms.

As University Librarian, Weir oversaw the first strategic plan for the library and used that plan to help position the library as a strategic partner within the larger research ecosystem. Weir was recently named as the first University Librarian to chair the Dean’s table at the University of Ottawa, a testament to how well respected she is by the university leaders who are most engaged in fostering research. She also played an instrumental role in establishing the University of Ottawa’s bilingual School of Information Studies, where she teaches.

In his nomination letter, Larry Alford, Chief Librarian at the University of Toronto, described how Weir’s “colleagues in the library at Ottawa say that she has transformed the culture of the library from a more process and rules-focused organization to an engaged, forward-thinking and service-oriented unit. I believe she has done the same for many higher education and library organizations in Canada.”

Ms. Weir has made many provincial and national contributions to research libraries as well. She played a seminal role in the establishment of Scholars Portal in 2002, serving as Chair of the Scholars Portal Operations and Development Committee (SPOD) from its inception until 2010. She was elected Chair of OCUL from 2010 to 2012, President of Canadiana.org from 2012 to 2016 (overseeing the introduction of the Heritage Project, in collaboration with Library and Archives Canada), and was President of the Ontario Library Association in 2017.

One of the founders of the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), she was a Board member from 2001-2009, and again from 2011-2015, and was the principal investigator on the CRKN CFI-funded project, the Digital Content Initiative. She also served on the original CNSLP Steering Committee and on the Boards of the Centre for Research Libraries, the Council on Library and Information Services, the Association of Research Libraries, and the International Federation of Library Associations.

Ms. Weir served as President of CARL from 2007 to 2009 and has been an active member of the CARL Copyright Committee, the CARL Policy Committee and many other committees over the years.

Jonathan Bengtson, University Librarian at the University of Victoria, noted that Ms. Weir “has a refined ability to network, which she often uses to gently guide and mentor numerous colleagues – connecting individuals together. CARL is one of the organizations that has benefited from her beneficent machinations.”

In the numerous letters received in support of her nomination, Weir’s colleagues were also quick to point out her many personal qualities.  Dr. Colleen Cook, Trenholme Dean of Libraries at McGill, reflected on her first encounters with Ms. Weir, and how struck she initially was by Leslie’s intellect, warmth, and trustworthiness, noting that “when she talks, people listen because they trust what she says.”

In reference to her longstanding mentorship at the Northern Exposure to Leadership Institute (NELI), Mary-Jo Romaniuk, University Librarian at the University of Manitoba, noted, “Leslie has given her time freely, providing wise counsel, sage advice, empathy and ongoing professional support to hundreds of aspiring leaders and in doing so no doubt positively influenced the careers of all those who were fortunate to have come in contact with her.” She adds that, “Leslie has truly exemplified all of the characteristics and behaviours that we associate with a true leader: visioning, identifying opportunities, leading change, communicating and motivating, channeling influence, professional networking, and being engaged in professional service.”

During the presentation, Dalhousie University Librarian and CARL President Donna Bourne-Tyson noted that Weir has also been awarded the Canadian Library Association Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship, the CRKN Ron MacDonald Distinguished Service Award and the Ontario Council of University Libraries’ Lifetime achievement award.

In recognition of her many contributions, CARL is very pleased to give Leslie Weir the 2018 CARL Award for Distinguished Service to Research Librarianship.

We thank ProQuest for their generous ongoing support to the CARL Award.


For more information:
Susan Haigh, Executive Director
613.482.9344 ext. 101