Serving communities on Giving Day

Students enjoy the library at SAIT.

One of the earliest memories Debbi-Lynn Bateson (Library Operations ’15) has is of riding the bus past the University of Calgary with her mother and sisters, and her mom telling them about the importance of education.

“She believed in the value of process, the skills one builds during that process, and the benefit of spending a lifetime in continuous learning,” she remembers.

Bateson’s mother was the first in her family to attend university, and her lesson on the value of education stuck — all of her daughters would graduate from the University of Regina following the family’s move there. Bateson graduated with a degree in Political Science and History but was undecided about where to start her career. A lifelong passion for libraries, research and reading compelled her to dive into library sciences.

“My fondest memories of growing up centre around the Thornhill Branch of the Calgary Public Library, and I still have my certificate from my first summer reading program in 1978 when I was six years old,” she shares. “I spent many long hours at the Sherwood Village Library researching all the references made in Billy Joel’s song We Didn’t Start the Fire, as well as the Provincial Archives in Regina doing research for a university paper.”

Dedication to continual learning 

Fast forward nearly two decades and Bateson has enjoyed an exciting career working as a Reference and Program Assistant at the Regina Public Library and a Resource Centre Assistant for the Regina Board of Education. Inspired by her mother’s dedication to continual learning, in 2014 Bateson decided to further her skills by enrolling in SAIT’s Library Operations certificate program online.

“I wanted to have the opportunity to apply for other jobs in the public library system that required further library education.  I also wanted to learn more about libraries in order to become better skilled at my job.” she shares.

Bateson’s decision to return meant she would attend exclusively online from her home in Regina.

“I was nervous about learning exclusively online,” she says, “but it fit in really well with where I was as a mature student. I completed my Library Operations certificate when I was 42 years old, as a single parent of a pre-teen and working almost full-time.  I had a much greater understanding of not only the responsibility of being a student but also the privilege.”

A welcoming space

Bateson now works for the Regina Board of Education as a high school Resource Centre Assistant where her responsibilities involve ensuring the needs of teachers and students are met through the physical operations of the library. But her main priority each day is making sure students feel the library is a space where they feel welcomed, supported, encouraged and safe.

Bateson has been a monthly supporter of SAIT for several years, but when she heard about further opportunities to help students, she decided to do more.

“I spent time thinking about how I could make a more impactful contribution,” she shares. “I really enjoyed my experience at SAIT and feel strongly about putting committed, dedicated and inspiring people in all kinds of libraries so that they can support their communities.”

Enriching communities

With that decision, she decided to establish the Knee Family Enrichment Award for students studying in the Library Information Technology program. Bateson hopes the award can help remove financial burdens for students who can then go on to serve and enrich their communities.

“I was privileged to have the opportunity to not only go to post-secondary but to always feel encouraged to continue learning … I hope that the award recipients can take their education and experiences in ways that will serve the communities in which they choose to work.”

Interested in supporting future communities? Find out how you can get involved in Giving Day this year at