Be Fearless

It’s almost time for librarians all over Ontario to descend upon Toronto for the Ontario Library Association Super Conference. This year’s theme is “Fearless by Design”, and it promises to be another very creative, inspiring, and educational workshop. (And no, it won’t be stuffy at all!)

There are featured speakers, like Naomi Klein, Jael Richardson, and Desmond Cole. For those of us who might not be able to hit the Toronto International Film Festival, they’ll be screening a film called “Call Me By My Name” at a greatly reduced price for attendees. There are the ever popular yours to various Toronto libraries, awards galas, meet and greets, and other social events outside of the daily workshops.

During the conference, librarians register for sessions taught by other librarians and experts in their fields, so that we can learn about new library technology, brush up on skills that might be fading, hear about great new concepts happening in libraries, and discover exciting new ways to keep our libraries relevant. These sessions are always interesting, always enlightening, and many of us come away from conferences not only feeling refreshed, but energized, and excited about implementing some of the things we’ve learned along the way.

One of the other exciting things about the conference in the Super Expo. Vendors from all over Canada bring displays, books, new technology, and library systems for all librarians to see and interact with. It’s an enormous Expo, and one could wander through several times and not see everything. Included in the Expo is possibly one of the best things ever–book signings! For many, this is the only opportunity to get up close and personal with Canadian and international authors. Often, the longest lines at the conference are for people waiting to have a book signed. The rule is, if you see a line, get in! This year, the registered authors include Barbara Fradkin, Phillipa Dowding, Terry Fan, and many more.

What new things will we bring back to our library? Only time will tell…



We’re Off to a Conference!

It’s that time of year…the Ontario Library Super Conference held in Toronto. (For any librarian who has attended in past years, this is also known as “Blizzard Week”.) Two of our library staff will be attending this year, and we’re looking forward to all the workshops, presentations, and networking!

jumbotron-foregroundThis year’s theme is “All In”, and it’s about doing everything we can to make libraries the spaces that patrons want, need, and don’t expect. We attend these conferences to get excited about programming, to learn from other libraries, and to just generally get inspired! Through daily workshops, visits with authors, a huge expo for all things library-related, and exciting speakers, we’ll bring back lots of new ideas to share with our library and our patrons.

Each year is a little different, and they’re always expanding the ways to keep us interested and enjoying the conference, and this year looks to be pretty special. Morning yoga classes, runs along the Harborfront, a special Storytelling event, a library “store”, ideahubs, speed networking, and a host of other fun daily events should get us up early and keep us going until we hit our pillows, exhausted.

Our attendance this year is extra special–we’re up for a special library award called the Angus Mowat Award for Excellence for library programming. It was super exciting just to make the short list, so while we’ll enjoy the whole dinner/presentation event, it was enough just to be asked.

If you’d like to know more about what’s going on this year, what authors will be attending, or what special speaking events we might be attending, drop by the website and browse. Next week, we’ll have a rundown of the best, and hopefully even a few photos to share.

Ontario Library Association Super Conference!

10394465_816745985028066_3840191653214263254_nWe just got back from the 2015 Ontario Library Association Super Conference in Toronto, and what a success it was! We heard authors speak, learned about new library initiatives, gained some program ideas, listened to guest speakers, and networked with other library staff from all across the province. Oh, and we had a bit of fun along the way, too!

10923282_816743921694939_1541340005862328297_nIt might be hard to imagine thousands of librarians in one place, but the OLA Super Conference is anything but glasses, shushing and Dewey Decimal talk. It’s an amazing mix of cultures, ages and ideas. This is an opportunity for library staff, board members and others associated with libraries to attend workshops geared toward things we need to know, want to know and never even knew we wanted to know!

10487339_817061101663221_5002178972509480186_nThe Super Conference took place from January 28-31 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. During that time, there was also an enormous library Expo which showcased a variety of library software, furniture, supplies, technology and much more geared toward all types of libraries. It gave us an opportunity to talk with industry professionals to see what’s coming for libraries in the future, and what’s available to make our libraries even better right now. Along with vendors, there were many author signings, and even a visit from Pete the Cat! I know I came away from there with an armload of posters, books, bookmarks, and information I could barely carry home. How exciting!

1798570_817069311662400_8982035548248608023_nThe information sessions were given by librarians, and other professionals who are experts on their subjects. I attended some fascinating sessions relating to Maker Spaces in libraries, reading suggestions for kids and teens, social media in libraries and the Forest of Reading. There were sessions geared toward creativity, management and library design, as well as so much more. Most of us attended a fascinating talk given by Sassy Magazine editor Jane Pratt, and the poster sessions which showcased exciting programs being used in libraries were also very well attended.

We’ll try to do a more in-depth discussion about a few of the sessions we attended, but for now, we’re back at work catching up on everything that happened right here in Carleton Place last week. Don’t worry, though, we came away with plenty of great ideas to make our library even better!


storytimereminderWe’re going to be away at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference for a few days, so storytime and babytime are cancelled this week.

Don’t worry, you can still sign up for next week by calling 257-2702. We’ll be excited to get back at it. As usual, however, if the buses are cancelled due to poor weather conditions, we don’t run programs. Please listen to your local radio station for more details, or watch here on Facebook for a post.

See you next week!

It’s Almost Time for OLA Super Conference!



Okay, so Super Conference 2015 is more than a month away, but you can bet that librarians all over Ontario are already gearing up for it. It’s going to be a really interesting one this year, too, with a new schedule and lots of interesting speakers and attendees. It follows our TD Summer Reading Club® theme of maker culture, and will center around the idea “Think It, Do It.” Libraries are all about being creative and working toward new ways of doing things, so this conference should be filled with all sorts of great inspiration.

Not only will there be fascinating workshops to help us do more in our libraries, but we’ll have a chance to talk with library staff from all across Ontario to see what they’re doing and maybe make a few new connections. Super Conference also gives us a chance to see vendors and new products, as well as purchase books and (hopefully) meet some of our favourite authors. I’m looking forward to standing in lines to get a few good books signed, I can tell you that!

Right now, we’re pouring through the events program trying to pick out which sessions we want to attend from “Differing Approaches to Makerspaces”, to “Spine Tingling, Hair Raising, Bone Chilling Horror for Teens”, to “Digital Literacy for Babes and Boomers: What Can a Public Library Do?”.  As you can see, there are programs for improving the library space, to book recommendations, to the challenges of managing a public library. It’s difficult to decide what to pick, and sometimes, it depends on when the sessions are offered. Conflicting schedules are the norm!

Once we return, we’re usually pretty fired up about all the exciting ideas presented during the conference, and we’ll start trying to implement things as soon as possible. If you want to know more about the Super Conference 2015, you can visit this link. Take a look around. We might even decide to live blog or Tweet about a session when the time comes. It’s going to be SUPER!


Off to Toronto!

It’s that time of year again…the Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2014!


Meriah and Shirley are bustling off to Toronto to attend this year, and we’re all excited to see what exciting and new information they’ll come back with. As usual, there will be plenty of fabulous workshops, poster sessions, book signings and plenary sessions (which means AMAZING speakers!).  And this year, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is going to do the closing session, so that should be great!

Super Conference is billed as Canada’s largest continuing education event in librarianship. If you happen to be anywhere near the Toronto Conference Center this week, it’s the largest gathering of librarians you could ever imagine. You might be surprised that you’ll hardly see a tight bun or glasses anywhere, and expect to see more than a few young people . Libraries are a great career choice, full of exciting change and expansion. And mixed into all this is an enormous trade show, where vendors come from all over to display their newest fare with regards to books, libraries, technology and much more. There will even be dozens of authors on hand to sign books and do a few talks.  It’s going to be amazing!

The theme this year is “A Universe of Possibilities”, and OLA invites everyone attending to explore, collaborate, connect and inspire…..things we aim to do everyday at our very own library. 2014 is a year of possibilities, and we hope you’ll partake in library events as well as make regular library visits to see what we have to offer.

So, safe travels to Meriah and Shirley, and we’ll see you back here in Carleton Place next week!  Have fun!



The best thing about going away to a library conference is that we come back so inspired! While we choose the sessions we’d like to attend–many of which apply to the job we do in our own library–we’re also free to go to sessions that are just plain interesting. Often, it’s a tough choice, as there are so many sessions going on at one time, but we manage. (Some people even slip out of a session midway through in order to pop into another one so as not to miss out completely.) Most of the sessions are available online after the conference (handouts, at the very least), but nothing compares to attending the sessions live. It’s the people who make the topics vibrant and interesting.

I attended a variety of workshops. Since my job here in Carleton Place is a combination of technical work and children’s programs, I went to a nice mix of both. I sat in on a session called “The Creative Library”, which had all of us playing silly drawing, word and problem solving games.  The idea is to create a library environment where the staff have great morale and problem solving abilities, as well as being able to foster creative thinking in all areas of librarianship.  What does that boil down to? Well, the examples had library staff playing Wii games every morning together to help bolster team building skills (I can’t imagine having time to do that here, but it was an interesting idea), and staff rooms set up with puzzles and modeling clay in order to allow staff to de-stress when needed.  When tracking productivity and the impact happy staff had on patrons, the results were amazing. While we might not adopt these specific ideas, the creative library approach is something every library could benefit from in some manner.


I also listened to a fascinating talk called “Confessions of a Social Media Librarian.”  At first, I couldn’t imagine that there could be a position devoted entirely to tweeting and posting on Facebook, but in a large university environment, it made perfect sense. While we often center our social media approach around events that take place in the library, she took a very different approach. Instead of tweeting that the library was going to have different hours, let’s say…she focused on tweeting to actual library/university members about things they were already talking about. Engaging the students in dialog about what they were doing at the library and what they needed to know about (for instance, free tables for study space), she got them talking about the library as a positive experience.  I’m not sure how we’ll apply that approach here, but I’d love to have more dialogue with people who USE the library, rather than just tweeting between town facilities.

One of the most fascinating presentations occurred on the final day of the conference. It was titled “Why Libraries Should Emulate Apple Stores”.  The presentation focused on the idea that Apple stores are all about providing superior service and products to its customers.  If libraries could emulate the practice of making each patron feel like the center of the universe, then they’d keep coming back and rave about the services the library provides. Not everyone agreed with the presenter’s claim that Apple wasn’t just out to make money (she was a certified Apple trainer, so apparently, she knew all about the ins and outs of the company), but whether or not they thought the reason behind superior service was wrong, no one could argue with the fact that listening to your customers/patrons is THE way to keep them coming back.

Now  I just have to sit down and figure out how to implement some of these great ideas into my programs and service at the Carleton Place Public Library.