It’s a few days after the Ontario Library Association’s annual Super Conference for 2014, and time to reflect on my conference experiences. It was a spectacular conference, with a really positive buzz. The conference planning team and OLA staff have outdone themselves. The theme, A Universe of Possibilities, was very apt. Thanks to OLA’s 2013 president Susanna Hubbard Krimmer for her leadership in setting the direction for this great conference.
While I’m a longtime conference veteran, this Super Conference was a completely new experience for me. It coincided with my retirement as library consultant for the Waterloo Region District School Board and personal re-invention as an independent consultant, and the beginning of my term as OLA President for 2014. I couldn’t have wished for a better way to immerse myself in this significant personal transition. Here are some of my personal conference highlights.
Working with TALCO colleague Ruth Hall, this session gathered student and educator input on creating a made in Ontario resource for integrating digital citizenship into meaningful learning experiences for today’s highly-connected students. The session was very well-attended and very energetic, and will certainly inform TALCO’s project for creating an online resource. You can find out more about the session and access materials on this page.
OSLA Awards Reception and Annual General Meeting
I was very honoured to present OSLA’s Award for Special Achievement to my friend and colleague Phillip Jeffrey of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board. Phillip’s persistent advocacy at the board, provincial and national level and his ability to make connections with decision-makers has advanced school libraries, and the support he provides for his district’s teacher-librarians is exemplary.
Speaking of decision-makers, we were extremely honoured that Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals attended and addressed the meeting. Her message was specific to the role of school libraries and very positive. Our hope is that this may be an indication of future directions as the Ministry of Education considers the next phase of Ontario’s education strategy. We were particularly pleased that Minister Sandals stayed to see the awards presentations, where she may have gained further insight into school library programs. Kudos to OSLA President Isabelle Hobbs for her remarks to the Minister, which consolidated key messages about how school library programs are critical for advancing current Ontario educational priorities.
Other Duties As Assigned
The conference was a bit of a whirlwind for me. I was honoured to variously introduce and/or thank plenary speakers Nina Simon, Jennifer Keesmaat, David Usher, and Chris Hadfield! They all shared amazing insights on which I am sure I will be reflecting in future posts. If I were to pick out a common thread, it would be the hard work of creativity – five percent inspiration and ninety-five percent hard work, as David Usher put it.
Behind the scenes there were meetings and receptions – all very productive, and a great start to my term as president. One of the key meetings was with the planning committee for next year’s conference. We’re already considering the conference theme and speakers, and contemplating potential new directions for the conference. Stay tuned!