OLA 2012


Wednesday, February 1

Session P015 Ask a Business Expert - What do Entrepreneurs need from the Public Library?

OLA runs 'how to serve small business' sessions every year or so, but this one looked a little different in that they were bringing in an actual entrepreneur or two to tell us about the sorts of services they needed. There was a five-person panel - a Toronto librarian, two people from Toronto business incubators and entrepreneurial training organisations, a guy from the Stiller Centre for Technology Commercialization and an entrepreneur from a tech company. Each panelist spoke for a few minutes, describing their own experiences, followed by a 'conversation cafe.'

General points included the importance for entrepreneurs to gather data on their industry and market and the importance of time. The Toronto Business Development Centre sees TPL as a strategic resource and encourages their attendees to drop in to Toronto Reference. The entrepreneur on the panel said that market research gives entrepreneurs confidence in what they're doing. He also said we could improve in providing more global data.

Unfortunately, the entrepreneurs there weren't really the same type that we get here. They were more involved in high-tech areas that require research and access to academic articles. These aren't the sort of questions retail operators and home renovators ask. There was a lot of talk about high-end market research reports - Gardner, Forester, etc. that I haven't heard of. They also talked more about new entrepreneurs as opposed to established businesses.

As always, there were good reminders of the basics - getting involved with the local Chamber and business groups, asking businesses where they get the information they need, selling secondary research, etc.

One interesting idea was the need for whiteboards or something to write on for display in meeting areas. We could put up whiteboards (or plexiglass) in the group study rooms fairly easily, although vandalism could be a problem.

Studio Audience - Taping of the George Stroumboulopoulus Show

Tickets were offered by Beckie MacDonald, Member Services, OLA, but anyone can get an availbable ticket for future tapings at stombo.com/tickets.

I have always appreciated Strombo's choice of interview guests and style of interview. The studio audience participated in a typical working day/show taping. Fillers for previous tapings and two new interviews were taped. The guests were author Robert Harris and recording artist Carole Pope. Quite a contrast and both very interesting. I am now reading Harris' new thriller The Fear Index, a well researched novel about the inner workings of the financial markets, which he likened to casinos and are operated/manipulated by formulas crafted by scientists and mathematicians. When asked if he would put his money in the market today, his immediate response was, "No!". Put it in a roof over your head or some tangible asset. Carole Pope (Rough Trade) has a new album out, Landfall. No surprise, she was a bit cynical about today's pop culture music. Strombo closed, after the taping with lots of Q and A time with the audience. The personality he would most want to interview on his show, but has yet to book? Neil Young.



Thursday, February 2

Session 300: OPLA Spotlight: Nancy Pearl, Guy Gavriel Kay
Nancy Pearl was joined by bestselling Canadian author Guy Kay for a discussion about the power and passion of books. The conversation touched on many ideas and issues including how books can shape and define who and what we are; how the changing of society and technology might be undermining the likelihood of this happening for a younger generation; and how ‘the book’ itself is changing. They talked about different genres and how we organize books. They had an interesting discussion about how there is no such thing as re-reading the same book because each time you read it you have changed as a person so it is a completely different reading experience. Often, books reviews are more about the reviewer and less about the book because it is the reading experience not the book that we remember. When you review a book you need to step outside of your reading experiences. When we are reading for pleasure it is about us but when we are reading for others (such as for a book review), we have to separate ourselves from it to have a shift in perspective. I found it very interesting when they were talking about how risky it is to re-read books that you loved earlier in your life, especially ones that you read and loved as a child because you can lose books that defined your reading. These books are better remembered than re-read. They also talked about the power of the right book at the right time.
There was a discussion of e-books and e-readers and what these mean to writers and readers. There was the feeling that writers are now competing for peoples time much more than any other time in the past. There is so much available online now. Both Nancy Pearl and Guy Gavriel Kay both only use e-readers when they are on the road and travelling. At home they still prefer to read a traditional paper book. The sense of holding a book, the font, the creaminess of the page. The fight for decent paper and how you are reading a much different book if it is an elegantly produced hardcover book versus a mass market book.
**Sandra Walters

This session had the feel of Words in Whitby—like listening to a conversation between friends. This conversation is one of the great joys of reading. Books can be a powerful connector and catalyst to building relationships between ideas and other people as we share the stories and elements that have moved us. Kay observed, as a positive development, a convergence of books as entertainment and literature, where in the past they have been separated, with a resulting disdain for narrative and a devaluation of storytelling. Pearl used this point as a segue way to a discussion of genre, and how genre labels can have a ghettoizing affect on both author and reader. She reminded the audience that RA should not be sharing what a book is about, but should be what it is about the book that you loved (or rather that the reader will love). She also reminded us that "It's not about you"; to always keep front of mind that what we do is about the readers we serve. In relation to the shorter attention spans and longer narrative associated with books mentioned by Sandra, they suggested "The Shallows" as an exploration of the relationship between Internet use and brain function. They recommended Sherry Turkle's examination of the importance of place and face to face. They also described different roles books can play as mirror books, those causing us to reflect upon ourselves, or window books, those that cause us to look out for perspective on other times, places or peoples.

Session 313 Building Credibility & Value in the Municipal Environment
Anne-Marie Madziak, SOLS

Anne-Marie has been conducting interviews with CAOs, municipal managers and one Council rep (so far) to determine how they place value on libraries & library service. It is important to remember that "value that is not valued is not valuable.” There is no such thing as intrinsic value when it comes to decision-making, only perceived value. The work of making sure that the library is valued is jointly that of the Board and the CEO. (I would argue that all library staff have a role to play here.)

Public libraries in Ontario are victims of the “Autonomy Paradox” by being independent legal entities but totally financially dependent. Libraries often wave the red flag of autonomy and then only show up in front of council once a year to ask for money.

Haldimand County was presented as a best practices case:

Library is integrated into community services dept and the municipal structure (a legal option was sought and a Council motion was passed)
Regular 2-way communication has been established
Relationships are cultivated as the library CEO serves on municipal committees and appears before Council regularly
Library is viewed as a good news story for municipality
*The library and the municipality share a common philosophy: The Community Comes First.*

We need to contribute not only to our own library services but also to the big picture. Strategies for doing this:

Show up and be visible
Be a team player and contribute to the work
Know your own power
Cultivate relationships
Share good news and express gratitude to Council (and to Councillors)
Share the small stories – the ones that have an impact

There are many sources of power that one can have and while we don’t necessarily have control of the agenda, the position power or control of rewards we do have power that comes through information and expertise, reputation, personal power (having a vision) and alliances and networks.

Boards and CEOs need to understand that the municipal environment is necessarily political, community focused and under enormous pressures. The breadth and depth of the municipality’s responsibilities and obligations are immense. Councillors care about their community and we need to dig to find out what exactly they care about and make the links to the library.

Value is defined as “relative worth, merit or importance.” “Relative” is the key term here and we need to ensure that our value is defined in terms of being relative to municipal strategies. To do this:

Uncover the philosophy of the municipality and speak their language
Address community concerns: plug into municipal priorities
Celebrate local culture and identity: act as a community hub
Connect to the community’s aspirations: speak “possibility”
Put the numbers in context – make the library’s story about the community (e.g. what do libraries do for newcomers? – could be as simple as the community event boards)

“Libraries are well known, not known well.”

We need to be less focused on collections and we need to reach out to community groups and the municipality – serve on their committees, contribute to the work of the community.

Session #314 QR Codes: Linking Virtual and Real Worlds Krista Godfrey, Web Librarian, Memorial University.

This session provided a thorough overview of QR Codes (Quick Response codes). QR codes are a 2D barcode that can store information
such as text, URLs, phone numbers, etc.. These codes were created in 1994 for Toyota by subsidiary Denso Wave in order to track
vehicles during the manufacturing process. The codes are considered Open Source as no claim has been made on them, but
that could change.
They are cheap and easy to produce. They work well to hyperlink the real world and the virtual world.

How they work? With a smart phone or other smart device that has a camera, scan the code, the camera takes a picture
of the code and you are sent to a webpage or phone number, etc.. You need to install a QR Code reader on your device.
There are many to choose from (QuickMark, Paperlinks, Beetagg, NeoReader, etc.)

Jumpscan.com is a site where you can create an online profile complete with QR code so other people can easily connect
to you. Your profile also brings all your social sites together under one umbrella.

QRpeida.org is a system that can generate QR codes that point users to articles in any language. This is becoming popular
in museums and other institutions where guided tours are provided.

Security issues? There are risks with any online technology. QR codes can be altered on printed posters by the use
of magic marker or placing a new QR label on top of the original. If this is done in a public setting, risk of going
to a nefarious site is high with dire consequences for an organization such as a public library.

Beyond the risk, QR codes are good marketing tools for the smart device user. Examples of QR code use:
- You can have a dummy block on the book shelf with a QR code on the spine linking the library user to the electronic version of
the book.
- QR code on the desktop of a computer can let the user know what applications are available on that particular machine.
- QR code with a direct link to "AskaLibrarian" can get the user in touch with a library staff quickly either by email or phone.
- SOme libraries are adding a QR code right in the bibliographic detail on their OPACs.
- QR code on a public printer linking the user to a quick video on how to print double sided copies is a possible use.
The code is used at the point-of-need to provide the user (if they have a smart device) with a solution to their problem.
- Some libraries use QR codes at the end of stacks and will open up a subject guide for the user. These end of stack
codes have to be regularly monitored for vandalism.
- Some libraries have used QR codes as part of a scavenger hunt game

How to create a QR Code? There are many generators to choose from - Kaywa, Delivr, GoQR, Qrafter (Kerem Erkan), Google, etc.
It is recommended to shorten a very long URL with a URL shortener such as goo.gle or bit.ly before generating a QR Code.
Long URLs mean more data which translates to a dense QR code. Dense QR codes are harder for a reader to translate.

Alternatives to QR codes are Snaptags (company logo surrounded by a unique code ring) and Microsoft tags (high capacity colour barcode).

Issues and Advantages?
- QR codes provide a quick link to information but not everyone has a smartphone. Smartphone screens
are quite small for reading a lot of information.
- Accessibility issues - visually and mobility impaired individuals have difficulty using the small devices.
- Does this technology create a digital divide?? Not everyone has a smart device, not everyone knows how to download
an APP in order to read the QR codes, rural users may not have a good data plan or users may lack a dataplan and rely on
a wireless connection to read a QR code.
- Some wireless connections require authentication, do you want to authenticate to a service just to read a QR code?
- Altered codes can take you to a nefarious site.
- older smartphones with older camera technology find scanning codes challenging. Much slower to scan. Certain lighting can
affect the read of a QR code.
- stats show that people are aware of the codes but they aren't using them extensively.

Questions to consider when implementing - Why? Benefits? Contstraints? Evaluation?

- Be prepared to educate you user. Don't create a digital divide.
- Get outside of the library when using the codes. The codes should be bringing in your user (virtually).
- Link your code to mobile sites. Make it easy for the mobile device user to navigate once they arrive at your site.
- Size of code matters. Make sure it isn't too dense, make sure it isn't too small.
- Consider point of need, and don't over do it.
- Make sure you are adding value. The code should save the user time and give them something of value.


Krista Godfrey is the Web Librarian at Memorial University. She talked about how Libraries incorporate QR codes in to a library setting, the different types of QR code readers, and the pros and cons.

Libraries can use QR codes to link the print version of a book with an electronic version, for library marketing, in library catalogues, for audio tours of how to use the library (Ryerson already does this), or at the end of the stacks for subject guides. When libraries are deciding whether or not to use QR codes they should consider their audience as well as why they want to do this and what the benefits are. The use of statistics would help determine whether or not the QR codes are being used by tracking statistics using bit.ly and goo.gl.

If libraries use QR codes they should be prepared to educate their users on how to use them. If they are linking QR codes to their website they need to link to their mobile website so it displays properly on smartphones. They also need to consider where they are going to put QR codes. Essentially, don’t put them in an area where they won’t be seen. Also, don’t overdo it: if you put them everywhere, they become noise. They should add value to your library by providing extra information and make it easier for users to do and find things.

There are many different resources for generating QR codes. Some examples are Kaywa, Delivr, and GoQR. Some examples of QR code readers are Quickmark, paperlinks, Butag, and Neoreader. QR codes URL’s should be shortened versions because longer links make for a more condensed QR code and are therefore harder for smartphones to read properly.

The advantages for using QR codes are:
• speed
• are a value added service
• link patrons from the physical world to the virtual world in one snapshot

Disadvantages for using QR codes:
• not everyone has a smartphone
• the size of the phone screen can impact website visibility
• difficult to create as an accessible service for the visually and mobility impaired
• accessibility for the digital divide – not everyone has a data plan or knows how to connect to a wifi network with a phone

In regards to security, there is the possibility that QR codes can be altered. There have been instances (not in libraries) where individuals have taped a new QR code over an original on a poster and sent users to malicious websites. Staff would need to walk around the library to ensure the posters using QR codes have not been changed.

Megan P and Andrea B

Session 321 Libraries on the Other Side of the World
This session was one where I wasn't sure of the practical application, but was curious anyway. Some librarians from the University of Toronto spoke about their exchange programmes with universities in Berlin and Tokyo. All three U of T librarians on the panel spent time in either Germany or Japan and hosted librarians from the institutions there. The length was shorter than I thought - I was expecting six month or full year exchanges, but three months seemed to be the longest with most lasting a few weeks. The exchanges themselves were heavy on tours and presentations - one librarian had lived in Japan for five years, so he had enough of the language to work on a cataloguing project.

Naturally, most of the presentation centred around academic libraries. The libraries involved were facing many of the same challenges as U of T - digitisation of rare books, less print and the implementation of a catalogue discovery layer. There were also several differences. German university libraries are more open to the general public, subject librarians often have other advanced degrees (MLIS type degrees are rate in Germany) and they have enjoyed a great deal of funding from the government, EU and private sources. The private funding is considerable, but more subtle in that there aren't logos and corporate names all over the place. In Japan, there is a lot of emphasis on translation of materials, faculty are very involved in collection development and there is lots of HR mobility. Every five years or so, you'll be assigned a new job, possibly on a different campus or in a different library. Both institutions tend to have more formal relationships than we do here and enjoy nationally coordinated collection systems.

Overall, the librarians involved said the exchanges helped them see the big picture better and offered a fresh perspective. Tips included willingness to learn the language and culture, clear learning goals and general openness.

There was no specific public library content, but they did mention that ALA has an international roundtable that looks for volunteers, exchanges and sister library programmes.

Session: #400 Thursday 10:40 AM
OCULA Spotlight Speaker(s) Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian and Founder of the Internet Archive

Kahle opened with the bold assertion that we are fortunate to be living in a time when universal access to all knowledge is possible, where information can easily be made free and accessible. As librarians he argued we have a legal right and civic responsibility to build the services ourselves rather than relying on vendors, and presented the Internet Archive as a viable way of doing so. He called upon the inscription on the lintel of the Boston Public Library, Free to all. With advances in computing and storage, the contents of the Library of Congress could be scanned and stored in a space smaller than a shopping cart. He argued that with physical books we purchase them, and lend them, and unless we migrate this model to incorporate ebooks "we're screwed". He argues that it can be done collectively and consortially, and pointed to Open Library as one model to consider.

I had heard of and used both the wayback machine and the Internet Archivea few times for looking at earlier versions of websites, but didn't realize the extent of the content covered there. If you haven't, check it out! 150 billion web sites, 650,166 movies, 101,860 concerts, 1,230,593 sound recordings, 3,375,767 texts, oh my!


Presenter Gail Hulnick talked about social media communication as being about a conversation and not about promotion. She talked about the need to make the user feel special and unique. She suggested that libraries develop a social media strategy to figure out what resources/people can be devoted to it. To identify one social media marketing tool and focus on it. To use the news media for features about your library and for raising your library’s profile. Set objectives that you can measure.

She suggested that using the news media is a good way to find topics to post about. Think about what you yourself read, what catches your attention in the news? Once you think of a story think about how we get it out to the public. When dealing with news media offer assistance regularly to them. Contact them frequently not just when you want something. Keep your name and library in front of them. Follow what the reporters are writing or posting and comment on it. This will help the reporter remember your name.

To find interesting news try checking Twitter, news is always breaking on it (whether it is true or not). Use this to find interesting trending items in social media. News stations are now using Facebook and Twitter to promote their own stations. Local stations are always looking for local news, so watch their websites to see what they are covering. Think about what you are doing in your library that looks like a good story. Monitor what other libraries are doing to see what they are saying on Facebook and Twitter. Watch what reporters post on Twitter.

You can use your own website for news items. Link to what the rest of the world thinks is news such as climate change and link to catalogue for books about climate change. Use the internet to find sources and locate experts i.e. Google to find social media experts.

Megan P

E-books and Libraries Take 2 – Session 404

There were three panelists presenting: Vickery Bowles from the Toronto Public Library, Christina de Castell from the Vancouver Public Library and Michael Ciccone from the Hamilton Public Library. They were building on the E-books in Libraries session from the Superconference in 2011.

Vickery touched on a myriad of issues that she has noticed in e-book acquisitions for the TPL. She noted that while several large publishers are still refusing to allow OverDrive to lend their books that a lot of smaller publishers are getting on board, allowing for a more diverse collection. She has noticed that there is a lack of good children’s fiction across genres and that series are often difficult to complete since not all of the books within a series are available for purchase as an e-book. Another frustration they are dealing with is the lag time between getting an e-book and getting the MARC record from OverDrive, so the catalogue is out of date.

As for circulation, the TPL has seen a 103% increase in the use of OverDrive in 2011, however in terms of overall circulation e-books are a very small percentage. They have seen the highest demand in fiction, especially genre fiction.

Christina noted that Canada is 6 months to 1 year behind the U.S. in regards to e-reader and tablet ownership. As such she is not surprised by the fact that at the VPL, e-book circulation constitutes only about 1% of overall circulation. She talked about the creation of eBOUND Canada, which is operated by the Association of Canadian Publishers. The purpose of eBOUND is to handle the negotiation of licensing agreements with digital distributors, and will likely become more and more involved with striking deals with OverDrive. eBOUND also assists with promoting digital content, which is something that Christina finds currently lacking among publishers, especially smaller publishers. She hopes that with eBOUND, these publishers will create better catalogues to select e-books from.

Christina’s presentation also encompassed the results of a study that the VPL commissioned to investigate the lending of e-books in libraries. The survey was done by the Public Lending Rights Comission (PLR), and the full report can be found here. The VPL understands the concerns publishers have about the perpetual access of e-content, and the study was commissioned to investigate a variety of issues that concern publishers and how the library is also affected. One of the key findings that Christina shared was that when patrons were asked about the book (either electronic or print) they were borrowing, the general response was that if the library didn’t have this book that the patron would go without. They wouldn’t go and purchase the book from the publisher, but they would instead forgo reading it altogether. She feels that this strengthens the positions of libraries not taking sales away from publishers, but rather exposing people to reading and potentially increasing future publisher sales.

Michael showed various charts concerning the e-book circulation increase at the HPL, which he understands is essentially happening at every public library. He talked about how Bibliocommons and OverDrive had successfully merged digital infrastructure so that patrons are not redirected from the HPL catalogue to the OverDrive catalogue. In other words, all e-books are not only in the HPL Bibliocommons catalogue, but patrons can log only once, can see whether an e-book version of a title is available, place a hold on that e-book title and do everything except for the final download stage within the Bibliocommons catalogue. This creates only one discovery layer for patrons, and allows for ease of browsing materials.

Michael also touched on some projects that other libraries are taking, particularly in the U.S., including the Open Library, which is an open, editable library catalogue that aims to create a web page for every book that has ever been published. He also talked about Douglas County Public Library that has opted to circumvent using OverDrive and is creating their own e-book lending platform. This allows them to negotiate directly with publishers and can thus potentially buy books from publishers that won’t license to OverDrive.

Andrea B

Session 412 Ontario’s Public Library Infrastructure Obligation
Steven Langlois, Monteith Brown

I am on the FOPL Research Task Force that served as the steering committee for this study. Libraries in Ontario are suffering a deficit of capital funds. Municipal funds and development charges can only go so far. The value that the public places in libraries is not being reflected in investments in public library buildings. Many of our facilities are not physically accessible and ½ of the libraries in Ont were built before 1976. Poorly designed libraries do not capture the imagination and they do not inspire our communities.

Public library buildings are in crisis because they cannot accommodate changing customer needs, technological advances and accessibility requirements. FOPL supports ongoing sustainable senior government funding programs designed for renewal and renovation of public libraries. The Capital Needs Analysis demonstrates that immediate and sustained action is required and FOPL is in the process of building the case.

This study is the first of its kind in Canada and the purpose was to place a dollar figure on the public library infrastructure obligation in Ontario. The obligation encompasses renewals of current buildings, meeting accessibility standards, and shortfalls in space provision. The by-product of the study is a province-wide inventory database that can be updated regularly.

We currently have 7.83 million square feet of library space in Ontario. That is equal to 130 full size soccer fields or 260 arenas or 2,250 Tim Horton’s. This translates to .58 square feet per capita – lower than the .6 provincial standard.

39% are in multi-use/shared facilities
13% are leased
3% are temporary
Median age is 36
64% are 25+ years old
29% are 50+
26% do not have an accessible washroom
17% do not have an accessible entrance
9% do not have access between levels
In 10% of the library systems, residents are required to travel more than 30 to reach their nearest library

The current capital costs obligation for Ontario libraries is calculated to be $1.4 billion. The figure is based on repair and replacement costs, accessibility costs and addressing the current space shortfall. By 2021, that cost will grow to 2.12 billion if the work is not done now.

FOPL will be using the report to inform funders and other stakeholders about the need for an ongoing, dedicated funding stream. They will be developing a communication strategy and lobbying the government. The key message is that public libraries are very valuable to the prosperity of communities.

Session 414 Meet Your Makers: Maker Culture for Librarians
Fiacre O'Duinn, Hamilton PL
Some time ago, I spotted a magazine called "Make: Technology on Your Time" at the Pickering Public Library. I thought this was a niche our magazine collection was missing, so I added it to the WPL collection. Several months later, the title was running some impressive circ stats. The magazine is quarterly, so there aren't very many copies on the shelf at any one time, but as of last summer, it ranked 21st in average circs per issue. This put it ahead of Martha Stewart, Yoga Journal and other staples that always move well. This kind of piqued my interest, as it indicated that there was an interest in backyard tinkering. I was reminded somewhat of Virginia's husband Jan, who built an electric car in his workshop.

Makers (also known as 'hackers,' but not in the same sense as computer hackers) are DIY creators who make hands-on stuff to fufill a need or desire. These amateur hobbyists build, solder and laser-cut things in their own garages and backyards. Maker culture is big on sharing access to equipment and ideas, so they've created co-ops ('Hackerspaces' or 'fab-labs') that allow access to machines that they can't afford individually and permit collaborative idea sharing.

The session provided background on maker culture, which had very subversive and activist roots in the 70s and 80s. They're big believers in democratising technology. Makers tend to be sort of insular, although they value openness. Still, the communities that host hackerspaces tend not to benefit much from the innovation happening therein. Some hacker groups are trying to correct this by allowing access to their equipment and encouraging people to get their hands dirty by taking apart and fixing appliances and computers.

Fiacre O'Duinn sees libraries as a natural conduit that would allow hackers to connect to the community. This isn't an everyday sort of thing that most libraries do - even he said that he hasn't created any hacker programmes at HPL, due in part to safety and liability issues. But one American library has created a fab-lab, while another allowed one to use library space in exchange for free access.

Session Notes

Session #415 Making Your Website Accessible: AODA Compliance Joanne Oud, Instructional Technology Librarian, Wilfred Laurier University.

This session provided a clear overview of the responsibilities Libraries have to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) as described in detail through the WCAG 2.0 Guidelines.

Libraries today are finding that more and more of their resources are being made available through their website (virtual presence). Statistics show that 15% of all Ontarians have some sort of disability - vision, mobility, cognitive. There are many assistive technologies out there such as Zoomtext, Kurzweil, and Jaws. These devices/programs help the user read or hear the content of a website. In order for these technologies to be effective, your website needs to be designed so that they can be read or interpreted properly. The end result should be that a person with any disability be able to use your website just as the 85% of the rest of the population does. Thus creating a level playing field for all.

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act's Information and Communications Standards section, outlines website and intranet web content conformity based on the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 (levels A to AAA). There is a schedule of compliance for each level of conformity. All new content on existing websites must conform to the Level A standard as of January 2012.

Vendor databases are a separate entity and not part of your website.

The WCAG 2.0 guidelines are the supporting documents for you to use to meet the accessibility standards of the AODA. The U.S. has a different standard with different rules. The WCAG 2.0 works by 4 major principles for your website design - Perceivalbe, Operable, Understandable, and Robust. The standards porvide clear instructions on what needs to be achieved as well as links to techniques on how to fix your issues. There are online website accessiblility tools such as Total Validator, Contrast Checker (Firefox add on), and AChecker.

Some of the most common markup errors are poor contrast, absolute units of measurements should not be in the coding, people should be abble to expand to meet their needs, missing ALT TEXT, bad heading structure, form control problems (need proper reading order if using the tab key), tables need captions or summaries in the tag if you are going to use them.

How to conform to the Standard? You need to follow the WCAG 2.0 guidelines to successfully need Level A through Level AAA standards. Constant monitoring, testing and ongoing adjustments are required. Compliance is not a one time thing - it is ongoing and forever. Test your site in a validator, test your site using Jaws or any other assistive technology, keep testing.

Session 421: MPL is Leading the Customer Service Revolution!
Speakers- Andrea Cecchetto, Manager, Learning and Growth, Markham PL; Moe Hosseini-Ara, Director, Service Excellence, Markham PL

MPL has moved beyond traditional library service and starting what they are calling the Customer Service Revolution. MPL has refocused all service policies, processes, staff roles, training, and services to create a customer focused service.
-started with 30 staff, looked at the proactive service model what they have been using for the last 5 years including roving in the stacks etc., looked at what's working with roving and what isn't, took a broad cross section of staff from all areas to look at it holistically. Staff were nominated by managers to look at what constitutes excellent service, all thought about excellent service they had received in their own experiences and what that meant for them, the critical elements of this. This was the first step on getting on the same page.
-looked at their library rules and what they say about you. Some are very ridiculous and this is the first thing that people see when they come into the library. Using policies to avoid having to talk to people and potential conflict. If there is a real reason for rules then it makes more sense. If staff don't know why they are imposing a certain rule or policy then we can't expect them to enforce things that don't make sense.
-do you make things easy for your customers or for yourself?
Create the experience + Build the relationship + Exceed their expectations= Excellent Customer Service
-what does the customer take away from their visit, what do they think when they hear the library's name?
-physical look and feel of the branch, everyone taking responsibility for the experience of the customer
-staff engagement and buy in= staff involved in developing everything- customer service promise, philosophy, focus groups, position staff to teach their colleagues- need to develop this in everyday service moments
-redefined staff roles and created new level of staff that could do both circulation and information fuctions and converted exisiting staff to this. Built team work and morale at the same time. This involved intensive peer to peer training. Everyone now has an important role in this from the Pages to the Managers. We are all in customer service, we're accountable to each other and our customers. Have changed recruitment practices as well, now looking for customer service attitude with focus on retail sector not as much emphasis on library experience.
**Sandra Walters

Session 608 What’s “Top-of-Mind” for CEOs of Large Urban Libraries?
A panel of CEOs from Toronto, Regina, Calgary and Hamilton shared their "view from the bridge" in our period of rapid transition and funding challenges. Among the common themes that emerged, are that our core mandate remains, despite changes in services and collections. They talked about the importance of making strategic change and reallocation, and of being selective in the services we offer. They stressed the need for meaningful performance measures, and evidence based practice, and the value of an institutional "story bank" to illustrate our impact. They encouraged us to create an environment where staff are free to experiment, to move from a "but it might fail" to "it might succeed". "A bold failure is better than an incremental improvement which no one notices". (I forget which panelist said that—I wish I could credit them). While saying this, they did distinguish between service risk and political risk, and that the latter should be undertaken much more carefully. The shared community place we offer in our increasingly virtual world creates an opportunity for civic ownership and engagement. When asked about leadership roles for Librarians, they said an MLS is helpful but not necessary for a CEOs, but if the CEO isn't the deputy should be to ensure that libary values are present at the top levels. The Regina CEO, in particular, discussed the need for Librarians to be more than "desk librarians". We need to "step up", (and be given the opportunity to step up) to lead projects and be involved in the design and evaluation of services.

Session 616 Who's Asking What at your Info Desk?
This session was divided into three parts. The first was a broad and somewhat depressing sketch of the future of libraries - libraries pushed aside by commercial aggregators and book/information leasing. Reference services are taking a particular hit - the presenter pointed out that while use of 'ask an expert' sites is rising, use of 'ask a librarian' sites is flat.

The second portion of the presentation involved a study and results. Taking this environment into consideration, the Hamilton Public Library decided to observe the use of the information desks in some of their branches. They wanted to record some basic demographic data, duration of questions and types of questions for in-person and phone transactions. Observers were only interested in the questions, not the quality of the answers. Not surprisingly, based on our own experience, the vast majority of questions were 'non-reference' - that is, directional (where's the….) and technical (how do you work the…).

Finally, the presenters outlined how HPL used the results to transform their service. They created more single-service customer service desks - the public doesn't differentiate between desks and departments, so the idea was to centralise services into fewer points. Physically, desks were transformed into less imposing, more collaborative workspaces. At their Central Library, an entire floor was cleared of material and turned into a giant (and very popular) study space. Professionally, librarian duties changed considerably. There was less emphasis on traditional roles like reference and collection development/maintenance and more on staff training, community liaison and one-on-one personal service (their 'book a librarian' service is very popular). Overall, feedback has been positive.


Brian Bell, Gail Richardson, Rebecca Raven

This session was about changes to the Reference services at the Hamilton Public Library. They conducted a survey to find out what types of questions were being asked at the Reference Desks and by whom. They noticed between 2005-2010 there had been an increase in the number of online reference questions. They also noticed that although the online reference questions increased the popularity of their askalibrarian sites, this only translated to a slight overall increased in reference questions by 5-7%. Research at the library and use of reference books were down and fewer people were asking for help, so they decided to complete a study to find out what is being asked at the library.

Brain and Gail observed, described and summarized Reference Services at the Hamilton Public Library. The entire study is available on the Hamilton Public Libraries website.

From this study the Hamilton Public Library decided to redesign their customer service desks at their branches to a single customer service desk. From the smaller customer service desk patrons could access their own holds and check items out themselves. They also created more study space by eliminating a stacks area on the top floor. They did not have any patron complaints about this.

The roles of the Professional staff changed as well. They did not lose jobs but they redefined the roles of their librarians to be community librarians and community youth librarians who spent more time out in the community.

Megan P and Andrea B

Rhythm and Rhyme in Storytime

This was a very inspiring presentation by Kathy Reid- Naiman. She is a singer/songwriter/children’s performer who led us through a fun hour and a half of songs, rhymes and musical instruments. Many of the songs were recognized favourites that have new life when they are used with music makers. Bells for instance work well for Frere Jacques, Pass One Window Tidy-Oh, and John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.
Rhythm sticks were fun too. We made bunny ears with them, then floppy dog ears and then an elephant snout – Great ideas to play an imagination game. We learned My Grandfather Clock, When You’re One and then a simple, Tap and Stop song.
We also leaned songs for drums (Aiken Drum) and Shakers (Going to the market). We did a band too but a roomful of grown-ups was a little different (not much mind you) than a storytime group of three year olds. She didn’t recommend starting out with a band until everyone was comfortable with the other instruments first.
She gave out a handout with some song suggestions to use with each instrument. If people are interested, I can photocopy and share. She also planned to post on the OLA Superconference site.


Storytime for Children with Special Needs

This session involved learning about a pilot program TPL initiated that looked at different ways to adapt storytimes to be more inclusive for children with special needs and their families. The group from TPL participating worked with a range of children that included children who were developmentally delayed, were on the autistic disorder spectrum, children who had down syndrome as well as a group of high school students who had preschool cognitive ability with different verbal abilities.
They spoke about the research they undertook before the program, the partnerships in the community they created to be able to do this as well as the challenges they met in the programs.
One thing common with the preschool program was the use of fidget toys. They found that since there are various types of learners, including tactile and kinestic learners, the fidget toys helps to keep us alert and paying attention. The toys were fun. They ranged in type from hard links to soft stress balls to sand filled dinosaurs. Most of them were quiet toys as well. The key to using them was to have a bucket with the toys to allow anyone to get the toys and to have two buckets at the end for ones that made it into the mouth and needed to be washed to the ones that didn’t.
The three programs they discussed (teens, a school I think it was where children had autism and down syndrome, and a dad and child program) were places where staff went rather than in the library.
Community partnerships were important to the success of the programs (the number being offered within the library system has grown in the past year) as well as staff training.


This session was really informative, and served as a good reminder about how important it is for library staff to look for ways to meet the needs of our users, rather than just expect people to conform to the programs that we are already providing. The presenters talked about the importance of going out into the community, and it was clear that this was a good way of reaching people who might not normally come to the library. I was particularly interested in the program that reached out to high school students, and will keep it in mind when organizing school visits in the future.


Using a Blog As Your Library Website - Session 327

This was presented by Teacher-Librarian Ross Thompson of the Halton District School Board using the Google product Blogger to present his library website and demonstrate construction of such a website. I have been advised that blog site builder WordPress gets better results. I do remember this in our 25 Things experience. So this was a good comparison experience.

What I most liked about the session is that Ross encouraged and expected the audience to be actively involved, using their devices during the session. As he demonstrated, I was able to create my own blog simultaneously, on my iPad. It's called Idea Factory, and I was able to get it initiated within the hour of the presentation. Ross took the audience way beyond the inclusion of text, showing image and video upload, for example. I would like to repeat the exercise in WordPress and then decide on best product for my purposes.

I left with some inspiration and motivation. Rated a good experience for me.


E-Books for Student Learning - Session 423

Presented by Kelly and Bruce of the Niagara District School Board. Since public and school libraries share patrons, I was interested in where and how school libraries are moving in eBook collections.

To make eBook collection possible, Kelly and Bruce approach it district-wide, pooling funding. As individual schools would find acquiring an eBook collection outside their financial capabilities, an integrated library system brings eBooks to students affordably.

The eBook products are made available to school libraries by Follett. Go to [http://www.aboutfollettebooks.com]

Students can borrow titles for a set circulation period. They can search within the text, highlight and note, copy and paste. Whatever digital work they perform on a particular title is saved for future reference using their personal username and password . The eBooks can be used individually at school or remotely (great for homework if the hardcopy is not available), in peer groups or for whole class instruction/demonstration on Interactive Whiteboards. Now one copy of a title can be shared by multiple readers!!

You can sample the collection by clicking "Try the FollettShelf" on the website, though personal features like checkouts, highlighting, notes and printing will not be available for unregistered users.


Plenary Speaker Johah Lehrer

I found this neuroscientist and author very engaging. I am now reading his latest "How We Decide". Again, I'm hearing from a learned scientist that test scores have little or no correlation to future success. Though skill and talent cannot be underestimated, research shows that emotion and grit ultimately make the difference. I hope our Boards of Education, now spending huge financial resources on standardized testing in grades 3, 6, and 10, are becoming aware of this as they set policy and practice for the future. I could really get on a soapbox about this topic. So I will leave it saying that I hope our advances in brain studies and neuroscience continue to influence practices in education. These studies and revelations have in the past. I'm sure they will continue to do so.

Engaging (and so I assume readable) science-I was captivated; he's on my holds list.
Lehrer discussed Grit as a key determinant in success, beyond natural talent and disciplined practice. He also talked about how the friction of disparate ideas (sounds like a library, no?) is a catalyst for creativity. He also talked about "work through it" creativity, and "inspirational" creativity, and how variations in conditions can influence the way the brain solves problems. As an example, he shared results of an experiment where subjects were given similar tasks in a blue and a red room, and how their approach to solving their problems varied depending in which room they were situated. See more at http://www.jonahlehrer.com/

Productivity In the Cloud - Session 612

There was a team of speakers for this one, presenting Cloud products available for collaborative and individual work - Dropbox, Evernote, Doodle and others. I stayed for the Dropbox and Evernote presentations. Though I don't have a lot of insight to share from watching the presentation, there are excellent Cloud Computing services for professional community sharing in a way that is faster, lower cost and doesn't use up IT resources. This is the first thing to understand. It is not computing software (traditional computing), it is a computing service that externalizes IT to the internet (new computing). It is also an emerging technology motivated by the growing need for mobility and remote participation. Goodbye office space?


Session 621: Reading for the Health of It
Speakers Anne Marie Heckman, Community Services Librarian, Stratford PL; Melanie Kindrachuk, Library Technician/Programmer, Stratford PL

This session focused on the health benefits of reading and how this can be tied into library advocacy. Reading is good for all of us and scientific medical studies have shown that there is a positive relationship between reading and good health.
There is the opportunity for libraries to form partnerships with health organizations such as: family literacy groups, local health units, Canadian Pediatric Association, Seniors' Organizations, Family Doctors/Pediatricians, government departments, mental health organizations etc.
-there are 5 domains of health: mental, physical, spiritual, social, and emotional.
-the positive effects of reading on depressed patients have shown to be amazing, many studies online
-social aspects eg. One Book, One Community Programs like Pass the Book
-higher levels of emotional empathy after reading
-increased confidence and social behaviour from reading
-programs that promote more than one domain are even better eg. physical and social
-storytimes that use both literacy and social and emotional development are ideal
-narrative and storytelling are inherent part of human mind
-reading gives a boost and supports health and well being in all areas of life
**Sandra Walters

Friday, February 3

Session 1001 Library Planning for a Creative City
Gord Hume, Author of Taking Back Our Cities; Brendan Howley, Executive Director, Institute for Collective Intelligence, Stratford, Ontario; Sam Coghlan, CEO, Stratford PL

Stratford Public Library took the traditional library strategic planning process up a notch to become a true community engagement process, in a way aligns with that city's strategic directions, including their Intelligent City designation. SPLs process capitalized on the image of Libraries as a "hubs of credibility" to encourage meaningful input from citizens to "imagine the future" of the Library in their community. They used social media, town halls led by big name moderators like Norah Young, and decidedly low-tech techniques. Their "May we have a word" campaign involved 2 boxes at various community locations. Citizens were encouraged to write one word for each box, one for how they see the library today and one word describing what they would like the library to be. They also contracted Brendan Howley to do "community mapping" to help them get to the "data with soul". As we enter our SP process in 2013, I hope we consider his organization in our RFP process. His approach was community led; he and Sam reminded the audience, once again, of the bleedingly obvious that we sometimes have trouble seeing in the library world, it's not about us, it's about the communities we serve. They let the community lead the direction of their investigation. They used creative engaging ways to share their results, including an art installation built from the feedback. Gord Hume discussed the more political implications of community engagement, and encouraged succinct action plans, and tools like "value calculators" on PL websites to highlight the return on investment we provide.

Getting Gov Docs to the People - Session 1006

This session was about the Information Resource Centre of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and the digitization project they embarked on to have their documents digitized. They partnered with Our Ontario to get the digitized documents out to the public. Simone O-Byrne was the MOE speaker, and Loren Fantin was the Knowledge Ontario representative/speaker.

At one point the MOE had 6 catalogues that contained different cataloguing styles as MARC records were created by different cataloguers over a span of many years. These catalogues were eventually amalgamated into one index for internal staff use. Within this index, digitized documents were added since there was greater demand for information in this format. This eventually lead to the digitization project, which aimed to digitize as many MOE publications as possible, taking into account copyright. The Internet Archive handled the scanning, and OCUL funded the pilot project. Once the project is finished, more than 7,000 publications will be available and searchable online, which is about 90% of MOE publications.

The biggest difficulty experienced in the process was with the metadata. With 6 catalogues, manual review of metadata for each publication was necessary; a time-consuming and frustrating task. However they had an extremely capable summer student who undertook the process and the results were excellent. If there is anything that Simone stressed is that the review of metadata is essential: once the information is put online, it is even more time consuming to edit and amend the metadata. As such, she suggests cleaning up the metadata first before scanning anything. Going through it with a copyeditors eye is essential.

Loren talked about the Our Ontario Portal containing government documents. You can take a look at it here. The portal can be searched or browsed, and it is possible to browse multiple ministries at one time. It is also possible to keyword search within results. There is shareability with social networking, and libraries are able to put a direct search wigit on their website as the code is available openly. Currently there are over 3,000 documents available on the portal, and the Hansards are to come. Within results, links to other document formats (such as Daisy and Kindle) are available, the formats of which are provided by the Internet Archive. Loren closed by sharing that Knowledge Ontario is trying to entice other ministries to put their digitized documents into the portal for increased accessibility.

Andrea B

Ruth Berry suggested different ways to engage patrons online through social media such as free photo caption services, Twitter and YouTube. She gave examples of how to engage patrons by inviting them to create promotional videos about the library. This is a way to get your message out and to be seen. When J.D. Salinger died the New York Public Library tweeted quotes by him and then linked it to their collection. Another example of a tweet was “if you can’t make it to the library today check out our eBooks and electronic resources…..” and linked it to the eBooks and electronic databases. Whatever we post should link back to the library somehow. We should let our patrons know that their suggestions and comments help us to improve our library and that we want to hear from them.

The library should measure our social media efforts through a social media policy. A policy that outlines what employees can and can’t say and how to respond in certain situations. This policy could be used to address different types of applications. It should also include when an employee is posting a disclaimer should be included stating that the opinion that is being stating is the employees and the employees alone. That the comments are review before posting. Don’t make the policy too lengthy and filled with too many rules.

How to use some of the social media tools:
Facebook – announce a new stack of fresh books before they go on the shelves
- Book reviews- ask patrons what 3 books they would bring to a desert island.
- Pose questions so patrons respond back
Twitter – use hashtags and retweets and post at least one message a day.
- Retweet other authors quotes and link to your collection
- Tweet news stories about literacy and libraries
- Kansas public library did a contest on Twitter. They posted trivia questions each day.
YouTube – do the dewey video
- Videos of book clubs and storytimes.
- Post how to videos such as how to use the catalogue

Megan P

SESION 1100 : Neil Pasricha

Neil talked about his life and how he needed to make a change. He talked about his 4 A’s of awesomeness – attitude, awareness, authenticity and alignment.
1. Attitude is important and that although life may not always be perfect, take the bad, deal with it and choose to move forward.
2. Awareness – he talked about how he loved to watch children see things for the first time. For us to remember what it was like to see something or do something for the first time. How it felt.
3. Authenticity - he said we should embrace being ourselves and being cool being ourselves. That being comfortable with who we are and following our heart can help us to meet new people and do new things.
4. Alignment – act according to your values.

He showed that the simple things in life can be awesome. In fact, it is usually the simple things that people appreciate most and find most fulfilling.

In regards to customer service, Neil showed us two videos on how attitude is so important to how to do our jobs and how we serve others. Below are the YouTube links to the videos that he showed. The first is of a Southwest Airlines flight attendant using an unconventional way of informing customers of the safety precautions to take while on board the plane. The second is of a young girl who does nightly affirmations. Doing this sort of thing impacts who we are, what we value, and how we treat others.



Megan P and Andrea B

Session 1209 Top Ten Management Tips (apologies to David Letterman)
Wendy Hicks, Deputy Director, Stratford PL interviewed leaders from and beyond the library world to ask them "What is their #1 rule for managing others and how was it learned?" She filmed the interviews and shared the video results in this session. (As an aside, her CEO was in the audience, and he shared his advice: "I don't have a smart phone, I have smart people". Good advice.)
One line summaries for her interview subjects follow:

  • list item David Chilton, The Wealthy Barber: Keep operations small so you have time to think and get to the front line.

*Wendy Newman, Senior Fellow, I-School: Be a proficient advocate.

  • Rob Tait, President, Fresh Baked Entertainment: Manage yourself first to be the calm in the centre of the storm.
  • Nic Vanderkamp, Physican: maintain flexibility so that "leading by example" does not lead to you doing all the work.
  • Cathy Matyas, CEO Brampton PL: push up toward a common goal.
  • Jim Cooper, President & CEO, Maplesoft: Have a clear organizational chart so there "is only one neck to choke".
  • Anita Gaffney, Administrative Director, Stratford Shakespeare Festival: Love what you do, and give away credit and take on blame.
  • Shauna Thomas, Sunday Services Specialist, Stratford PL, and a Gen "Y" Millennial: Work for your staff, leart what they know and trust them to do a great job.
  • Maddie Lafleur, High School Student and Camp Counsellor: Be respectful of those you manage and recognize their success.
  • Cindy McNair, Director of Human Resources & Deputy CEO , City of Stratford: Make the complicated simple, so that "what is the issue we need to resolve" is always clear.


Session 1220: Training for Everything E from Books to Readers
Speaker- Megan Garza Ruest, Children‘s Librarian, Markham PL

Megan Garza Ruest from Markham Public Library discussed her experience training staff about e-books and e-readers. As e-books and e-readers become more popular library staff encounter more and more questions about them. Markham is not currently lending e-readers but they definitely will be in the future. When developing their e-books and e-reader training they followed the ADDIE model: analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation.

For analysis they looked at what devices are out there before the training. They used Kobo, Sony, and iPad. They checked with staff to see who had e-readers already and what they were familiar with. They provided staff with a survey and found that staff were least comfortable with e-readers out of all of the technology e.g. smart phones, touch screens etc. They talked about where to draw the line with this kind of service because often spend huge amounts of time with these things but decided ultimately that the library is responsible for their products and how they work and these are included in that.

There was the general consensus that hands on learning would be best. Came up with a list of common questions and answers. Read instruction manuals and downloaded a book to each device.

Held a technology petting zoo where staff could try out all of the devices. Developed an iPad training checklist. Had everything at a branch and had staff go into the room 10 people at a time to try everything out. Let staff borrow the devices to get a better feel for them.

Advice: allow staff to use the devices on their own for 2 weeks minimum at a time each, be conservative in terms of training content (don't have pages and pages of technical information, keep it simple), train staff in groups by comfort level, train for most common customer issues not just what are in the FAQ. And most importantly evaluate.
**Sandra Walters

Roll Your Own EPUB - Session 1303

This was an interesting session, however I didn’t have the technical knowledge to understand everything in the seminar. Nonetheless, I will share what I got out of it.

Creating an EPUB is a good option for libraries that are looking to digitize documents. With the rise of tablets and e-readers, more and more people are reading things digitally, and it can be beneficial for libraries to publish some of their documents in EPUB format. A great example that was given was taking things within a local history section (documents that are often past copyright) and digitizing them in an EPUB format for patrons to read on their devices.

Creating an EPUB document is the same concept as creating a PDF document. However, for those without a Mac computer, there are some more steps involved. With Apple’s Pages software, it is possible to simply save a document with the EPUB file extension. For those using the Windows OS, the process is more complicated.

In the latter case, you start with a Word document. Then, you need to save it as an HTML document. The important part is to ensure that the HTML is as clean as possible, since this will make it easier to convert it into an EPUB document. The presenters have found that creating a document in Open Office (a free, web version of MS Office) results in the cleanest HTML. Then, you need to download an EPUB converting software. Calibre is a free option, and was generally recommended. Using Calibre, you import the file, and follow the instructions to convert to an EPUB.

If one wanted to forgo using Word, since the HTML is often very long and often too dense for a nice looking EPUB, the presenters suggested downloading Sigil, which is a free software, to type the document in. It is actually a book editor that will create an EPUB document. It has HTML Tidy embedded, so you won’t have unwieldy HTML code to clean up.

Generally, the presenters suggested using Mac software if possible, since it is easiest to use. They also touched on the new EPUB version 3 that is coming out, based on the new HTML5. EPUB 3 documents can have high resolution images , videos and audio embedded into them so that books end up more like offline websites. They see this as the future of e-books, especially when it comes to textbooks. There are more layout options (including sidebars, headers, footers, etc.), which current “one-trick pony” e-readers such as the Kindle, Sony Reader and Kobo will not be able to support. Once EPUB 3 has been fully created, they feel that these aforementioned e-readers will become obsolete and HTML5 supported tablets will be the next big thing.

Andrea B


This session talked how Bibliocommons can make the catalogue more user friendly and interactive. Three different libraries presented how they changed the use of the website and online catalogue. The Ottawa public library has made their website more interactive for patrons and their patrons now can request ILLO’s and submit recommendation for purchases online as well as e-payment for fines. The New York and Boston Public libraries used Bibliocommons to make searches easier and provide more customer interaction because they can now comment on books, “share” through social media and tag items.

The New York Public Library gave $1 million to Bibliocommons to help integrate of OverDrive and Bibliocommons so that they work together and are not separate catalogues.

Megan P and Andrea B

Session 1317: Using Local Media to Promote Your Library
Bessie Sullivan, CEO, Haliburton County PL; Roxanne Casey, Station Co-ordinator, 100.9 Canoe FM; Sharron Smith, Manager of Readers‘ Advisory Services, Kitchener PL

Media- print, radio, and television is an innovative, imaginative, and far reaching way to promote your collections and services. This session looked at how to approach media outlets with your ideas and then work with them to a maximum benefit of both the library and the media outlet. Led by a community radio station co-ordinator and librarians active in media promotion from both urban and rural settings.

Connecting the library requires effort but results are lasting. Sell the idea of reading for pleasure. Different avenues for connecting with the media including: local papers, radio, and local television.

Making the pitch: just ask! If you don't ask then the answer is always no.

Getting ideas: calendar (holidays etc.), newspaper RSS feeds, book blogs, library websites, publisher websites.

What to say/do: talk about what you know, offer variety of connections
Writing your script: keep it short, find the hook, leave them wanting more

Focus on reading experience not plot when doing book talks.
Why be proactive? Provides an opportunity to promote the library, recognizes libraries are in competition for leisure time

Outcomes: staff knowledge is enhanced; wider promotion of new services, formats, collections; partnerships and relationships are created or enhanced.
**Sandra Walters

Session 1327 From Features to Benefits: Challenges in Telling the Whole Story of Libraries and Library Users Alvin M Schrader, Director of Research, University of Alberta Libraries
"…not everything that counts can be counted". Einstein
This sums up the difficulty that libraries have moving beyond registrations, program attendance and circulations to meaningful qualitative measures that reflect the benefits of what we have to offer in terms of a social return on investment. Schrader reminded us that our users are co-creators and partners in Library service, and that the public has a different experience and perception than "those who toil within" (Drucker). (There's that theme again, it's not about us!)
Schrader is searching for a way to move beyond the depersonalizing language of transactions to a user centred vision, so that we present the benefit of our collections rather than the number of items in a collection, and each library "use" as an "experience". He encouraged us to be mindful of the impact and transformation we can have:

  • each use is a moment of truth
  • each use is about perception and image
  • each use is about shared values
  • each use is a shared story

His research is investigating how to create user centred metrics based on visibility, usability, awarness and impact. He shared the observation of Vancouver PL CEO, Sandra Singh, that on person's testimonial is work 1000 gate counts.

FRIDAY POSTER SESSION Ebooks for everyone

The Pickering Public Library discussed how they set up an e-reader collection for loan. We talked to their librarians about the pros and cons of setting this loan system. They formed partnerships with teens and seniors groups and asked them to try out different e-readers and to talk about what they liked and didn’t like. We found it interesting that the teenagers preferred to hold a book rather than the e-reader.

We also looked at the various handouts that they had to inform the public on how to download an ebook to their portable device, and a librarian explained to us how they have implemented a download station at their library to be able to take patrons through the first download.
Megan P and Andrea B

Saturday, February 4

Session 1702 Beyond Literacy: Reading & Writing are Doomed

My notes on this session aren’t great because it was just too entertaining to listen to the debate between John Miedema and Michael Ridley. Are reading & writing over? And should we just get over it? Ridley thinks so. He feels that there is a much better world ahead and this post-literacy world is full of opportunity. The alphabet is a tool that we invented and it is showing its age. As McLuhan said, “First we shape our tools thereafter our tools shape us.” The alphabet has shaped us to use literacy but it just isn’t good enough to solve today’s problems. There is too much information; we can’t understand it and we can’t aggregate it. We had to invent the alphabet because our memories could not hold all of the information. We don’t know what post literacy is yet but it will likely come through biochemistry, neural enhancements, telepathy and pharmacology.

Miedema thinks this is bunk. Every generation has found it necessary to defend literacy. Literacy does indeed offer the answers to the big problems of the day. We may have invented writing 5000 years ago and it had a profound impact on oral culture but that culture still exists. We learn to read by listing to people read to us. Literacy will persist because our brains are wired that way. Our brain is encoded with the shapes and sounds of words. Futurism may be good entertainment but a lousy prognosticator.

Ridley countered that we are only hard-wired for literacy because we invented it. We can reverse engineer what we know and are already doing that through pharmaceuticals. What if we could do that with knowledge? Take a pill and learn French, for example.

Both agreed that libraries are not about content but are an idea, a philosophy and a way of looking at the world. And as such, there will always be a place for libraries.

I am sure I have over-simplified much of what was discussed but do visit the blog: http://michaelridley.ca/ to learn more.

Session # 1706 Innovation and the Future of Libraries

This was actually my favourite session, although I decided to attend it at the very last minute. The session was led by a group of architects and librarians who had taken a tour of a number of European libraries in September of 2011. They shared pictures of the different libraries that they had visited, and it was fascinating to see what librarians in other countries are doing. One of the trends that they noticed was that many of the libraries that they visited are much more flexible in the way they arrange their furniture. Items, such as shelving, are designed so that they can be easily moved, which makes it easy to rearrange the set-up, or to push things out of the way to make room for performances, concerts, etc. Many libraries are also recognizing the important role that music plays in the lives of their users, and thus some libraies now have recording studios that patrons can use, and instruments that they can actually check out.

This session was a reminder of how important it is for library staff to be aware of what is happening in other libraries, whether they be nearby or in other parts of the world. By sharing our ideas and practices with others, we can learn from each others' successes (and failures).


Session #1805 Ford vs. Atwood: Reshaping the Advocacy Debate for Stronger Communities

This discussion with Ken Haycock and Wendy Newman very much echoed the themes presented in Anne Marie Madziak’s session on Thursday. Haycock pointed out that public libraries don’t really have a compelling message. Our mission is indistinguishable from that of the Hard Rock Café – “Love all, Serve All, Save the Planet.” We don’t have common success factors in our profession as other professions (medicine, law, teaching) do.

Funding is attitudinal and solid commitment on the ground is thin. Only 7% of the American population are firm supporters of the library; i.e., they would support the library no matter what. Support is almost unrelated to use and our biggest users are not necessarily our supporters. Our biggest supporters are often the movers & shakers in the community and those that are well-connected, but they are not necessarily users. Community connections with the library are inexorably linked to support. And “transformation” is the key to support – believing that libraries transform lives. Library leaders are seen positive but not generally perceived to be working with politicians and community leaders for community development or betterment.

Key messages:
Transformation not information
Infrastructure not institution
Necessity not “nice to have”
Future rather than the past
ROI not altruism for others (what’s in it for me?)

Scan for threats
Align with municipal priorities
Outcomes not outputs

Other municipal services are finding ways to demonstrate their effect on the community

Advocacy Rules:
People do things for their own reasons, not ours
The problem isn’t getting the message out but that it doesn’t resonate
Advocacy is out relationships and respect – it’s like going to the bank: we need to make deposits (goodwill, respect) before we can make withdrawals

Conspicuous disrespect does not serve you. Think hard about what you respect about elected officials because they do deserve respect, even if just for the fact that they are the people who ultimately decide our budgets. We need to keep in mind that they do have support in their communities. Trust is critical and the relationship is the message. Coalitions are important. Library CEOs need to learn to count; e.g. TPL is in a city with 44 councillors – the library only needs 23 of them. Find those 23 and find out what they value.

What doesn’t work:
Demand for service
Pleas from patrons
Effectiveness of service
Hard sell
Unwillingness to compromise

What does work:
Stories – what we’re doing makes an impact

Session 1805: Ford vs. Atwood: Reshaping the Advocacy Debate for Stronger Communities
Ken Haycock, Haycock & Associates; Wendy Newman , Senior Fellow, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto

I attended the same session and found it to be an interesting discussion about how important it is to get the message of the importance of libraries out there. In non-profit sectors success is measured by how we fulfill our mission. In the for-profit sector success is measured by profit, therefore we need to ensure we are achieving what we set forth in our library mission statements. Funding depends on attitudes towards the library, it is important for people to understand everything we have to offer, an example was given about electronic databases and how most people don't even know we have them. The bedrock of library support is the belief and support of the library as an important institution. Importance of being proactive. It comes down to advocacy and leadership, there is no right answer- we need to be more action based, we need leaders who understand.
**Sandra Walters

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