Wednesday, February 5, 2014

OLA Super Conference 2014

Good morning, fair city

I had the great pleasure last week of attending the Ontario Library Association's Super Conference in Toronto. I was surprised to count on my hands and realise it's been three years since I've been to Super Conference - time flies!

In addition to re-uniting with friends far and wide, agonising over session choices with a highlighter, building my own, type-A personality schedule, and going on a road trip to Hamilton (deets below), I also:
  • Swam (man, I miss swimming in the winter. Just not enough to freeze my hair off).
  • Ate The Gabardine's fabled mac n' cheese (it's worth it!).
  • Didn't read a single page of a book except on the train, where I read Burial Rites by Hannah Kent on the way there, and Margaret Drabble's The Pure Gold Baby (my first Drabble, I'm embarrassed to say) on the way back.
  • Wow, that's pathetic. I didn't even go to any museums. Sigh. But MAC N' CHEESE, guys.
So here's my recap of events at the conference. I was sad to have to miss Saturday's sessions, as we had tickets to Swan Lake in Ottawa (booked a year ago, it's my favourite ballet, yada yada).

FYI some presenters' PPT slides will be on the OLA Super Conference Session Handouts and Materials webpage soon, so check that out, too.
  • "Creating an accessible and inclusive library" with Michele Chittenden from Queen’s University: Michele developed a diversity action plan to assist in better serving all their users and also to address increasing diversity and equity at Queen’s. Her advice: Do an environmental scan of your department and identify barriers. Know your organisation: how many students have an accommodation plan, how many have a disability, how many international students are there, know about the programs of study (new ones) and identify allies and resources who also contribute to advancement of diversity on campus. Michele spoke at length about a great diversity study completed by ARL: many responding libraries had diversity committees but these were often chaired by HR staff in academic libraries/institutions. Inclusion is a thread woven throughout different services: eg. in information literacy, ensure accessible format for screen readers, incorporate video tutorials that have close captioning or are transcripted, ensure tutorials in learning commons are accessible. Adapt to all different learning styles (auditory, etc) when teaching. Michele also highlighted two interesting initiatives Queen's is involved in: Mental health first aid, and the “Positive Space” program. She also recommended the website of the ALA Office for Diversity, especially their “6 elements of successful diversity plan.”
  • I attended the Library Settlement Partnership meeting, organised by Jackie, TPL’s Outreach Librarian, Library Settlement Partnerships. Attendees represented Hamilton, Toronto, Brampton, Windsor, Kitchener and London PLs. Great ideas: 
    • Brampton: Having a Citizenship judge as part of Human Library
    • Windsor: using an Espresso book machine to have newcomer teens write their stories o Hamilton: working with First Book Canada to obtain books free to give away for kids from low socio-economic backgrounds
    • Toronto: working with CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario).
    • Brampton: Two LSP workers in Brampton go to William Osler Health Center 2x week (they have a table at the entrance with an LSP banner) to give library and settlement info and make membership cards. This has also worked as education for hospital staff about library service. The focus of this outreach was on explaining to newcomers how to not use the emergency department all the time.
  • mk Road Trip: I was fortunate to travel with a group of Canadian librarians to visit the mk LibDispenser® installed at Hamilton’s Valley Park Arena and Recreation Centre. The dispenser, dubbed “Libby,” is located in the lobby of the recreation centre, which also contains the Stoney Creek Branch of HPL. We also visited an mk sorter located at Turner Park Branch. A picture of the kiosk exterior is at right. It was interesting to see how another library system manages changing service needs in busy shared spaces such as community centres. We're mulling over alternative services at OPL a lot these days, and we already have one kiosk (we were the first!). Check out the press about Libby, as she's called, here. Or, you know, you could watch this movie:

  • "Reading Groups For People with Dementia" with Gail Elliot, Gerontologist & Dementia Specialist, DementiAbility Enterprises Inc.: Gail emphasised how reading is an important piece in engaging people with dementia in life. She has seen numerous cases of success with older adults with dementia using an iPad to beep at times to take medications. Don’t always assume that seniors with dementia can’t learn new things. There are thus possibilities for library programs for people with dementia learning how to use computer apps to remember to take meds and other schedule/agenda items. The focus of this presentation was on abilities: abilities are spared in people with dementia. We just need to know how to use them. Procedural memory is spared in dementia, eg. our unconscious habits and overly learned rehearsed behaviours... for example, reading! Gail has written a book about using the Montessori Method with older adults, Montessori Methods for Dementia™ and has also developed both a series of skills workbooks and group reading kits for use with people with dementia. Her goal with this material is to enable people to be as independent as possible, to make meaningful contributions to community, to have high self-esteem, to have meaningful place in their community. Older adults living with dementia respond when meaning and purpose is added to their day: medications do not combat boredom and loneliness, and this is often why residences/facilities see “acting out” behaviour. I was thinking a lot about our Homebound Services during this presentation, trying to think about how we can best provide support for both individuals as their health status changes, and activities coordinators and other retirement home employees as they serve clients with increasing needs. No answers to some tough questions here...
  • "From Managing to Leading: Coaching Strategies for Success" with Kelley Marko, Learning Facilitator, Marko Consulting Services Inc., Rebecca Raven, CEO, Brampton Public Library: This was a fun, interactive session led by new CEO Rebecca and her coaching mentor, Kelley. It was interesting to hear about Kelley’s experiences coaching Rebecca through her career change (20+ years at Hamilton, then moved to Brampton to become CEO). Take-aways:
    • You may be a positional leader but may not exhibit leadership qualities. You can influence without formal authority. 
    •  Coaching is leadership in action – it’s a shift from “problem solver” to “question asker.” 
    • A coach-able moment is a moment in time when a person is open to taking information that might help them get unstuck. 
    • Coaching is the process of assisting others through questions for getting unstuck, aligning to their goals and objectives, and committing to action thorough powerful open-ended discovery questions. 
    •  Coaching is predicated on the assumption that the individual has the ability to get themselves unstuck, and the individual will be accountable for and move forward with addressing their own issues and challenges. 
    •  The person coaching must have faith and a belief in the person – that is key! 
    • We often jump towards interpretation before getting all the info. Ensure your coaching questions are not actually suggesting a solution but helping the “coachee” find their own way.
    • Good coaching questions: What would you like to change? What is missing? Who or what is standing in the way of your ability to achieve your goal? What do you want?
That's all for now! It was a fantastic conference, and I have to say the best parts were hanging out on the trade show floor, making connections and talking about the products that support our work (not to mention a long-overdue reunion with SERAH-MARIE! Now go pre-order this), and getting two see two of my dearest friends who are tragically (for me, not for them) now working in fantastic jobs at other public library systems.

1 comment:

  1. I love attending OLA Super Conference, this was my second year, (in a row), and I had a blast. Learning about Bibliotherapy and Speed Networking, meeting authors and getting free books, it is amazing.