I learned something today

Each session at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2009 was geared toward different groups.  There were three sessions each day and about 30 sessions in each time slot that you could attend.  You can imagine how difficult this would make it to choose what to attend.  Of course, some sessions were clearly not for everyone, but there were always many that sounded interesting and it was difficult to choose which one to attend.  As I just completed my first year as a children’s librarian, I thought that I might be slightly intimidated by the speakers and their ideas, but I was pleasantly surprised. I found each session had a few ideas that I could use and many of the sessions were really thought provoking.

The first session that I attended was called ” TD Summer Reading Club : Reaching Out to Children in Your Community” and it was led by Children & Youth advocate Ken Setterington.  The session was to help libraries promote the summer reading club in our communities with thoughts and suggestions from librarians at the Toronto Public Library and Ottawa Public Library.  They began by telling us about the upcoming summer program which has a theme this year of detectives and will be called “Secret Agent 009”.  After last summer’s difficult theme of “Laugh Out Loud”, I know that more than one of us attending this session were happy with the new theme.  You can find out more information about last year’s theme on the TD Summer Reading Program website.  The 2009 program will not be available until a little later this spring, so check back.

I found this session to be somewhat disappointing, although I didn’t realize it until after I had attended other sessions.  The speakers were good and the ideas that they gave us were useful in some ways, but there weren’t really a lot of new ideas to help us get into the community better with our reading program.  The statistics they gave about last year’s program stated that almost half a million children participated in the reading program, which is amazing!  Our numbers were definitely up as well and we hope to attract even more readers this year.

One interesting thing that came up was the idea of the TD Summer Reading website for kids.  We often get emails telling us about the website and how we as librarians can access it to find out information regarding the program, but they never really stressed the fact that the children’s side of the site was going to be so exciting! (And it wasn’t just me who didn’t know about this.  Other librarians who attended the session were also surprised.)  I guess the fact that the librarian portion of the site is so technical, we just assumed that the site for kids would have limited interest and so it was not something any of us really looked at.  This year, however, I will make sure that our kids know about it!  So, at least I gained an idea or two from this session.

On the way out of the conference center, there is a great sculpture of two giant woodpeckers  which intrigued all of us as we rode the escalators.

picture-103

picture-104I found out a bit more about these birds on the City of Toronto Art Walk : Toronto’s Outdoor Art Gallery’s site.

Woodpecker Column
Fastwürms, 1997

Dominating the south entrance to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is Woodpecker Column by artists Dai Skuse and Kim Kozzi working collaboratively under the name Fastwürms. This 30-metre tall column rises from the concrete in unexpectedly stark but delightful contrast to the geometric regularity of the building, appearing to be pecked by a pileated woodpecker and yellow-bellied sapsucker. References to nature frequently occur in the art of Fastwürms and in this case it is specific to the site’s history as a swamp where waterlogged and decaying trees would have attracted indigenous woodpeckers.”

More to come on the conference later….


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