OLA 2010

OLA Tradeshow

Wednesday, 24 February

Session 101 - Opening Plenary - Extraordinary Canadians
What an amazing session. John Ralston Saul facilitated the discussion between Adrienne Clarkson, Nino Ricci, Jane Urquhart and Mark Kingwell. They left a seat empty in tribute to an imprisoned writer. There was mention of the disapperance of aboriginal langauages. The Extraordinary Canadaians series are small biographies at a high literacy level. They are about Canadians who have changed the country and made Canadians who we are. The panel had very interesting banterings back and forth about their various characters. The discussion really made one want to get a copy and read about the person. - Susan C.

I attended this session with Susan. I really enjoyed the discussions they had about each of the biographies they had written. I agree with Susan, after the session finished I really wanted to read all of the biographies on the Extraordinary Canadians. All through out the discussion John Ralston Saul's phone kept beeping, he was being sent updates of the Canada/US men's hockey game and he kept us up to date on the score. - Megan

Thursday, 25 February

Session #311: Digging Ourselves Up

I was disappointed with this session. The blurb described it as a session that would focus on using local history and archives to encourage students to develop an understanding and appreciation for history but the speaker mostly talked about a course she developed for the Ontario high school curriculum. The speaker did make some interesting points on the value of interdisciplinary studies and using archives and local history to engage students. Her course has students discover the history of their school and students research the land, the buildings, and the people who attended the school. In another part of the course they write up the history of their houses. - Sarah

I thought the session would focus more on HOW to engage students and researchers.

Session #321 : Summer Reading 2.0

The Hamilton Public Library used free web 2.0 applications to run their very popular Teen Summer Reading Club. They outlined four steps:

1. Find a space: they used blogger
2. Add a program to write book reviews: they used Wufoo
3. Add a web pool: they used polldaddy
4. add a shoutbox: they use shoutmix

They went through each step in a detailed using a PowerPoint presentation. We were able to see how they designed their program each step of the way.

I found this session to be very beneficial. I found out about new Web 2.0 applications that I can use at the library to promote existing library programs or to create new ones. - Megan

Session #325 Library Service Meets Brain Research

I was skeptical going into this session. It was meant to be filler for the time slot that there was nothing of interest in. However, it ended up being very thought provoking with lots of things to keep in mind when dealing with patrons.

“Strong libraries for a better world” – libraries can change lives and make the world better
“Libraries are too good an opportunity to waste”

What are the unique contributions that libraries make? We are a safe place; we meet patrons where they are at and help clarify their thinking; we have a user-centric approach and all interactions are human to human.

At the information desk we must remember to make people feel safe so they can then open up, relax and then they are open to listening. Which part of the brain being used determines if we react or respond – fight or flight? One negative interaction has more impact than many positive interactions. Try to determine how to teach without disrespecting who the learner is.

Points to remember:
- other patrons watch what is happening and will react accordingly.
- treat each interaction as unique. You may be asked the same question 15 times but remember the person asking is doing it for the first time.
- graciousness in communication
- “Imperfect actions beat perfect plans.”

Librarians do well in retirement since they have interests in a lot of things and they have spent time in a learning environment. - Susan C

Session #404: Do you have the skills for tomorrow’s library skills

I was not sure what to expect when I attended this session. At the beginning we had to introduce ourselves and say where we worked. The room was filled with people from different backgrounds such as government libraries, university libraries and public libraries.

Pam Casey was the presenter and she has a Library Technician diploma plus a few other diplomas/certificates. She outlined many different jobs a Library Technician could hold and then went through the skills needed for those positions. She also discussed how to use the skills you already have to apply for jobs. Some of the positions she talked about were Knowledge Managers, Taxonomy Specialists, Website Specialists, and Data Initiatives.

She also talked about joining different organizations such as the Special libraries Association and CIPS (Computer Information Professionals) to gain contacts and increase your knowledge. This is what she does and she reads anything she can about the information industry. She provided a list of resources to check out. If anyone is interested in some of the suggestions please let me know. - Megan

Session #414 Public Libraries and Newcomer Settlement: Initiatives and potential

Library Settlement Partnerships (LSP) came out of the need for a new settlement service delivery model to ensure better coordination among partners. The government policy of “social inclusion” is to remove barriers to full participation in all aspects of society. The objective is to think, plan and deliver more collaboratively and to share good practices more effectively while meeting the diverse needs among newcomers.

It was suggested that works by Nadia Caidi (u of T) were something worth looking at.

OCASI - Ontario Council Agencies Serving Immigrants
SWIS – Settlement Workers in Schools

Libraries bring people together in the context of community interaction, provide access, are gateways to knowledge, are community assets, provide skills development, and are connectors to resources and people.

With LSP there is 1 on 1 service and there is cross referral between the library and settlement service. The LSP worker also does group programs such as general community information, workplace training, job search workshops, computer training and parenting. Everyone is eligible for help through LSP as opposed to CIC which has eligibility requirements so the program extends the reach to non-documented newcomers.

There is no planned expansion until at least March 2011 as CIC is restructuring and the delivery of newcomer services is moving toward the provinces. In the past, each participating LSP library was also given $20,000 for collection development.

For newcomers at your library some suggestions were: dual language book writing clubs for children, conversation circles, homework clubs, media awareness sessions, book reading clubs that could be part of the conversation circle, financial literacy programs and getting to know your library sessions.

Libraries need to go from welcoming to inclusive to full participation/engagement of newcomers.

Susan C

Session #416: Archives Association of Ontario

This session was insightful. Each of the three speakers discussed their role in the Archives Association of Ontario and how they can help libraries with archives and/or special collections. The Archives Advisor is a full time position and she conducts site visits to determine the steps that need to be taken by a library to ensure their collections are cared for and organized properly. She is available to help libraries develop policies and mandates for archival collections. Her services are offered to both established and newly founded archives.

The Preservation Consultant is available to AAO member institutions only. She provides advice with regards to storage, pests, environmental concerns, and digitization standards. She is also available to help an archive develop an emergency response plan in case of floods, fires, etc. in archival storage areas. The Preservation Consultant also arranges for equipment loans (hydrothermographs, data loggers) to institutions looking to monitor the relative humidity and temperature in archival environments.

The ARCHEION Advisor spoke briefly about ARCHEION an online catalogue of archival holdings and repositories throughout Canada. Whitby currently has its location information on ARCHEION but it does not have anything with regards to collection content. The database is similar to Our Ontario. I will look into this. - Sarah

Session #618: Pleasure Reading for Adult Learners

Key criteria to use when selecting materials for Adult Learners:

  • # of pages should be less than 200
  • Size of font should be 12 minimum and plain type, no bold or italics. Graphic novels can work but be careful.
  • Should be of adult interest with a straight forward story and have an initial hook to engage the reader.
  • Have an attractive cover, not too childish.
  • Contain no comprehension exercises because people want to read for pleasure.
  • Have no levels (for readers) indicated on the title page or the front cover.

General Criteria:

  • No more than 15 words in a sentence and not too complex of sentences.
  • Paragraphs should not be too long.
  • Chapters or sections should have clear headings and contain no more than 6 or 7 pages.
  • Interest factor could be TV personality, movie star, radio personality or someone who is in the headlines.
  • Structure should be of low complexity.
  • Illustrations if the have pictures of maps or other visual aids they should be age appropriate.

Popular Categories:
1. Family relationships both good & bad.
2. Sports
3. Mystery/Adventure
4. History
5. Biographies/Memoirs/Diaries
6. Action
7. Lifestyle
8. Humour (difficult to determine)
9. Cultural Diversity
10. Series
11. Short Stories
12. Canadiana
13. Folktales
14. Read-a-longs - Megan

Other
In the session, we were told of specific books that are good for adult learners. After checking our catalogue, we did have a number but some we did not. A list of those we did not have has been passed on to Donna. Great sources for material are Golden Oak awards, Quick Reads (British), Good Reads (to be launched 2010) with ABC Canada and Grass Roots Press, Orca Raven Reads or Rapid Reads (coming in April).
TPL has a list on their website of literacy material http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/mul_esl_index.jsp
Susan C

Session #623: Community Digitization Projects with Our Ontario

This session outlined the current CDP that Our Ontario is funding for a number of different regions in Ontario. For example, various heritage institutions in Haldimand County have joined together to digitize their collections on a joint website. I learned about the successes and difficulties experienced by each region and learned more about Digitization Days, a program Whitby plans to organize for this fall. I met with Jess Posgate, our contact at Our Ontario. The biggest theme in this session was the idea of community building through shared memorabilia and making information available to a larger audience. I plan to upload some of our artifacts to the Our Ontario site as objects have tended to draw people into the collection and the archives. - Sarah

Friday, 26 February

1015 Designing Spaces for Older Adults
Allan M Kleiman, Library Consultant(s)-on-Call; Past Chair and Member, ALA RUSA RSS Library Service to an Aging Population Committee

We have done a great job in public libraries of designing spaces for kids and teens but not so much with older adults (the term preferred to "seniors"). While we have developed great collections for this user group, they tend to be forgotten when it comes to space planning. We're about to hit the "silver tsunami" and we want to ensure that they feel that the public library is a place for them not just "for the kids." We need to look at local data and pay mind to the three generations of older adults - do outreach with local service providers and put together focus groups. Do an inventory of current services, ensure seniors are included in strategic planning and we may even want to put together an advisory group like we do for teens. Keep universal design principles in mind - good accessible design works for everyone. RJ

1021 Digital Strategies: Practices & Services
Rebecca Jones, Dysart & Jones Associates; Amanda Etches-Johnson, McMaster University; Daniel Lee, Research Librarian, Navigator Ltd.

With so much focus in libraries on digital strategies, it is key to stay mindful of the people side of our practices and services. This panel looked at working approaches, competencies, and digital models with users in mind.

RJ emphasized that strategies must actually be conscious decisions that are measurable shifts, rather than incremental adjustments. Staff who will be implementing digital strategy must be involved in planning them. She reminded us that libraries only matter if they are used, and to that end, staff and users are equally important sides of the equation.

AEJ shared her practice of rapid prototyping (launch early, launch often) which sometimes involves a retreat—something those of us in the library world tend to be less comfortable with, as we tend to want perfection before we move forward. She referred us to Jacob Nielson's views on iterative design, and reminded us that in our time and resource strapped libraries that we must prioritize based on user needs. She urged us to look ahead at to what users want, to help them get what they need, and to be open to what is possible.

DL echoed the above points by encouraging "progress not perfection". He shared some of the challenges he has faced such as "learned helplessness" (love that term!) When implementing new strategies, he suggested presenting your plan in writing and having someone in authority sign off on it, enlisting the help of an engaged champion in your organization, and developing your own skills as a renegade.
dbs

#1029 Continuing Education Certification for Canadian Library Staff

In collaboration with the Australian Library Association the University of Alberta was testing a pilot project for certification for library staff as a way of keeping up to date. They believe learning is whatever works for you. It is a way to encourage library staff to find things they would like to learn about and use this towards earning certification.

The vision of the project is for all library staff to have a flexible way of earning certification that is participation centered. It would be inexpensive so cost would not be an issue, simple so that the association could operate the program easily and portable so the certification could be transferred from province to province.

The benefits of the project are that it gives structure for development of a continuing education plan and it provides a goal/motivation for library staff as a certificate would be given upon completion.

Session # 1221: iHelp: Tech support as the evolution of reference

One of the goals of the Pickering Public Library is to teach community digital literacy skills - to achieve this goal they created an iHelp program. This program established an iHelp desk that focuses strictly on digital reference. The iHelp staff help clients with audio, video, photo & other digital requests. PPL believes that this type of service draws people in to the library.

The cost to set up the iHelp program was significant. They bought 2 Apple flat screen TV’s for in house training and advertising, 9 shuffles and a downloadable collection for their iPods through iTunes. They bought iPods because Apple holds 80% of the portable player market. They soon realized that 9 shuffles were not enough, so they bought more and now they have 36 shuffles (popular iPhones have increased the numbers).

They had to establish a check in/check out process and decided on a one for one relationship to stay legitimate -one book for one person. They had a good start up collection of 200+ books and the collection grew to 1000 by the end of the year. They wanted their collection to appeal to those who do not come in to the library – the Zoomer generation and business people. Their collection includes adult non-fiction and fiction. They will be adding a children’s collection in the fall.

Advertising was important because they wanted to generate buzz about the iHelp desk. They accomplished this through ads on buses, business cards, press releases and a launch party.
- Megan

Session # 1228 Service Lifecycle Management: Pruning gives other services room to grow,
Rebecca Jones, Managing Partner, Dysart & Jones Associates

Like a garden, libraries need to prune their offerings that no longer produce the desired results in order to make room for new plantings (new programs & services.) We plant without thinning, with the result of leggy rather than lush growth. The result is staff under stress and too little focus on what’s really important for users and for the library. RJ introduced a portfolio management process used in the service industry as a model for evaluating new and existing services.
dbs
I really liked the forest metaphor she used and also compared the process to your financial portfolio management -what is giving you good return, what isn't? It provides the capability of viewing and managing your high risk/high growth services with our conservative offerings and helps determine which services may or may not be on track and need to be pulled. She noted that libraries are much better at addition and multiplication but need to get better at subtracting and dividing. She stressed too that it is important that those impacted by the decision must be part of the discussion. RJ

OLBA SPOTLIGHT Christopher Hume Architecture Critic and Urban Issues Columnist, The Toronto Star

CH talked about the evolving role of libraries as the living rooms of our communities. With urban growth moving upwards, rather than outwards, and with the cost of housing resulting in an increasingly smaller private space, shared public spaces are increasingly important, and should be planned and funded carefully.
dbs
Don't have much to add to DBS' comments. Hume was both thoughtful and entertaining and I liked his metaphor of the local restaurant being your kitchen, the public library as your living room and your local park as your backyard. Especially when you might be living in a 500 sq ft condo. RJ

Saturday, 27 February

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