It’s not a conventional interlibrary loan, but librarian Dr. Judith Droessler lent her expertise to the Addictions Research Centre (ARC) in Montague, PEI, during a one-month secondment there in June.
The U of L addictions subject librarian was a visiting expert at the ARC, where approximately 20 researchers participate in research and program development related to substance abuse and corrections for Correctional Service Canada (CSC).
“Addictions pose a major challenge for CSC in light of the fact that substance abuse is identified as a contributing factor to the criminal behaviour of 70 per cent of offenders admitted to federal institutions,” says Droessler.
Her tightly booked schedule at the ARC included an assessment of its resource centre, workshops and individual consultations, and a collaborative research project with former U of L health sciences faculty member Dr. Virginia McGowan. (McGowan is now the director of special populations research for CSC.)
Droessler’s comprehensive assessment of the ARC resource centre included a staff survey and an evaluation of its resources and services. Her final report offered a strategic plan for the future development of the centre.
The audience for Droessler’s workshops on subjects like e-searching tips and tricks included ARC staff, University of Prince Edward Island graduate students and – via videoconferencing – CSC Research Branch employees in Ottawa, ON. Droessler also consulted with researchers on their individual projects.
“Addictions is a highly interdisciplinary subject area with a great deal of literature that is made public outside commercial publication channels, such as government reports. It takes some fairly specialized knowledge to do a thorough literature search,” says Droessler.
The research project that Droessler and McGowan began in June will require that specialized knowledge. They expect to search upwards of 40 databases and other information resources.
“We’re looking at the literature to see if there is evidence for the effectiveness of substance abuse treatment approaches grounded in traditional Aboriginal healing practices,” says Droessler.
In addition to increasing the potential for university-government partnerships, such as Droessler’s current collaborative research project, her work elevated the profile of the University of Lethbridge within the CSC.
In return, Droessler came away with an enhanced understanding of the issues of addiction in the correctional context as well as government and public policy.
“The more I know about the subject area, the better I can support the information needs of U of L students and faculty. I also became aware of quite a few publications that I have since added to our collection,” she says.
Droessler’s secondment was facilitated by the Interchange Canada Program, which promotes temporary assignments for staff in the federal public service and organizations in other sectors.
For more information on this “organization-to-organization exchange program,” please visit www.hrma-agrh.gc.ca.
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