Educate, Entertain, Empower!


In the last part of January, we’re off to Super Conference 2013 in Toronto, the annual conference for all things librarian! We spend three days going to workshops, listening to amazing speakers, and visiting the country’s largest library trade show. It’s a lot of fun and we come away with plenty of great new ideas for programs, policies and most importantly…our patrons. It helps us make our library better, stronger and more relevant in our community, so we’re lucky to be able to attend year after year.

And while the conference is still over a month away, we are busy choosing which workshops we want to attend. And believe me, it’s difficult to choose; there are SO many exciting options. If the events aren’t cancelled or too full, I’m looking forward to attending a Forest of Reading® winners showcase where authors talk about their experiences with the program, and another one called Confessions of a Social Media Librarian. And Janet is thrilled to be able to hear her favourite author, Louise Penny, speak. Maybe she’ll even get an autograph! (I’m bringing my camera, Janet, so we’ll get a picture if that happens!)

You can drop by the website and see all of the wonderful things happening during our stay in Toronto.  We’ll post lots on our Facebook page as it happens and then do a recap when we get back in February, but you might find it interesting to see everything we’ll be up to.  And mark your calendars, because if past years are any indication, there will be a massive snowstorm here in Carleton Place that Wednesday, January 30th morning.



Super Conference 2012!

Shirley and Janet are on their way to Toronto today to take part in the Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2012!! 

It’ll be close to four days of workshops, speakers, browsing at the Expo, special events and probably lots of fun in between.  It’s a wonderful place for librarians from all over Ontario to gather, compare and learn about other libraries, find out what’s new in software and library programs and even make some new friends.  You can’t imagine what thousands of librarians in one place looks like until you attend one of these conferences. (And let me say, it’s far from a sea of buns, glasses and quiet corners!!  Picture wacky outfits, lots of crazy antics and much, much more.  These librarians know how to let loose!)

This year, there are some wonderful speakers and I know each presentation will be well attended. There’s the ultimate librarian’s heroine herself, Nancy Pearl,

….a presentation by George Strombolopolous (we went to a taping of his show last year and he was fabulous!)…..

…..and even a presentation by Neil Pasricha, the author of The Book of Awesome…which is, of course, awesome!

I don’t know which workshops Janet and Shirley will be attending, but I know they’ll come away with lots of fresh and exciting information to help make your library experience even better in the future. Stop by the Super Conference 2012 website to learn more about this event.  They’ll even have some live updates so those of us at home can see all the excitement. Have fun, ladies!

We’re getting ready for the Super Conference 2011!

Every year at this time, we’re getting ready to go off to Toronto for the Ontario Library Association’s Super Conference.  It is a four day event filled with workshops, demonstrations, author readings and shopping (for library items, of course!).  The Metro Toronto Convention Center will be overrun with librarians from all across the province, excited about going through the winding displays set up by software developers, library suppliers, booksellers and much more.  In between all of that, we’ll attend a variety of free workshops and events, some of which are meant for fun, many which will help us to expand our library services. All of it will be interesting, without a doubt!

This year, the theme of the conference is The Power of Collaboration. The events will serve to help us all realize the importance of collaborating not only with other libraries, but with resources and people in our communities and within our libraries themselves in order to provide the best resources for our patrons.  We’ll learn how to provide better summer programs, offer more services for our patrons who enjoy a virtual library community and power our library catalogs so that we can offer the largest number of reading resources to our patrons.

There are always special events and exciting keynote speakers.  This year is no exception.  We’ll be able to attend lectures by cultural anthropologist Michael WelshCanadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan and broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi, amongst others! Plus, there are expected to be over 30 authors attending the Expo (we’ll be in lineups to get signatures, for sure!).

We always come away with plenty of ideas to be implemented in our own library, and it is a great place to meet up with other librarians from our local communities as well as from further away. It is a refreshing way to start the month of February (although Toronto always seems to be in the middle of a blizzard) and a great way to kick off the New Year. You can visit the Super Conference 2011 website to see more of the event and get a feel for what we might be doing. February can’t get here fast enough……….

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-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….

Where did you get that bag?

Day one of the Ontario Library Association  Super Conference 2009 turned out to be exhausting, exhilarating, educational and enjoyable!  We managed to pull ourselves out of bed early to stop in the restaurant in our hotel for a great buffet breakfast before making the longish trek to the convention center. Since the snowstorm the day before, we were happy to be able to walk  completely indoors, which also let us leave our coats back at the hotel.  We were in for some interesting sessions and we were also going to attend the  Expo 2009 Tradeshow.


Expo 2009 Tradeshowpicture-112

The tradeshow was pretty exciting.  We watched everyone setting up the day before, thinking that there weren’t very many complete displays, so the people working each booth must have arrived quite early on Thursday morning to complete everything.  There were booths dedicated to computer equipment, library software and hardware, furniture, electronics and of course, books.  There were many author signings taking place all day and through Friday as well.  If w saw a line up, we’d just get in line. Most times, there would be a give-away like a great bag or some free books and you could stop and talk with an author for a few moments, which was interesting.  We picked up lots of information, brochures, bookmarks and free bookbags, like the one you see here:

picture-128This one seemed to be a conference favourite, given out by Kids Can Press. A few of my favourite characters like Scaredy Squirrel and Stanley adorn the bag and many people stopped to ask where we got the bag.  (This was one we lined up for without really knowing what they were giving out at the booth, but we were excited once we got ours)!

The expo was a great way to meet vendors that we might not normally encounter and we had quite a few great discussions about some new products. The fabulous microfilm scanner and the Playaway audio books were the highlight for us that day.  We also made a few purchases for our children’s area, but you’ll have to pop in to see them in a few weeks once they arrive.  They’ll stay a surprise until then!

The Expo people had a cafe set up so that all of us could get a little something to eat or drink (although we found the line ups a bit long and didn’t try anything), and this year, internet computers were arranged so that we could stop and check email.   It was  great to be able to keep in touch and check up to see what we might be missing while at the conference. And let me just say that I have decided that you can make any event extra special with a live jazz band!

Janet and I spent a couple of hours just wandering around from booth to booth talking with authors, vendors and old friends.  We also filled out a million entry forms for the great prizes that were being offered, but sadly, we weren’t any of the lucky winners this year.  Congratulations to Debra and Karen from Smiths Falls Public Library though!  Out of the 5000+ librarians attending, they both won a prize! (At least they didn’t have to lug anything really heavy back on the train. Although one of the coveted prizes was a Wii, I couldn’t imagine having to sit with that for three hours on a crowded train!)

I’ll let you in on the great sessions I attended later!

OLA Super Conference 2009


A couple of us at the Carleton Place Public Library are getting ready to travel to Toronto this week to attend the Ontario Library Association’s Super Conference 2009. This is my first year to attend the conference and I’m really looking forward to it.  The Super Conference is a gathering of all things library: librarians, library technicians, publishers, authors, students, vendors, information technologists and just anyone who is interested in  learning more about the role of libraries in our communities.  There are seminars, blogs, technology, and lots of fun promised in the three day event and I can’t wait to see what it is all about.

I visited the Super Conference website and found the welcoming letter by OLA president Sam Coghlan to be very inspiring.  As he says:

Libraries command the capacity to lead the
learning revolution!

However, in order to do so: You must learn.

Your library must learn. You must transform your
library into a nimble–almost alive–organism that
can dance with the dragons of accelerating change.
Our communities must learn to learn.

That is just such a great concept…..that people must learn to learn.  We see it more and more these days in the library. People need to be taught how to search for information.  I think ages ago, people were used to coming in and just looking through encyclopedias to find out information on a topic, but now, we have everything at our fingertips on the web, and we must adapt to being able to find the information we need and sort out what is true and what is not. (Shirley and I just had this conversation earlier this week about encyclopedias.  We are going to bookmark the Internet Public Library site on all of our front desk computers to help us all search for information for our patrons when they need it.)

We have really been adapting this year to keep up with everything our patrons are using right now.  It isn’t just about having an online catalog or providing internet stations for public use.  It is now about being able to help people set up their own email accounts, understanding current social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook so that we can help with problems accessing or making their way around sites, and knowing how to access our wireless internet on iPhones and laptops.  Our patrons seem to think we know everything, and so we really must keep up with technology so that we really do know everything (to a point, of course). I’m hoping this conference will give me a few new ideas to help us bring our library even further forward.

I’ll keep you posted on the seminars I attend and let you know what the whole conference was like when we get back. Cross your fingers for good weather!