1.30.2014

i am really a librarian: in which i attend my first ola, and get paid for it, too

For the next three days, I'll be attending the Ontario Library Association's annual Superconference, always referred to simply as "OLA". As the name implies, this is a gigantic conference covering issues related to all three types of libraries - public, academic, and special. You can see a program here.

In library school, we were strongly encouraged to attend OLA. Students can volunteer to help run conference sessions in exchange for free attendance. I never did (honestly, I never even considered it), so now I attend my very first OLA, already a professional, and in place of three working days. Fun!

Here are the sessions I am hoping to attend:
- Creating an Accessible and Inclusive Library
- Young Adult Readers' Advisory: Create best practices today
- The Community-Led Library Model and How to Get Started
- The Tween Scene: A year of programming for ages 10-14
- Booktalking 3.0: Engaging and inspiring readers online
- Sub-Urban Beats: Hip-hop programming in the library (presented by two managers from Mississauga Library System, including the acting manager of my department)
- Maker Culture in Action
- Battle of the Books: It begins with co-operation and ends with competition
 - Plus a "gala luncheon" with special guest speaker Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut who lived on the International Space Station for five months and tweeted from space to more than one million followers.

I'm really looking forward to all the ideas I'll be exposed to, and being part of the Ontario library community. At the same time, events like these can be challenging for me, socially and in terms of physical energy. But I'm confident it will be more fun than not. 

19 comments:

James Redekop said...

Speaking of "Maker Culture in Action", I just came across an article on Maker spaces and libraries which you might find interesting.

I'm jealous of your luncheon -- I was one of Hadfield's followers from early in his mission, and several of his photos of Canadian cities from space are in my desktop wallpaper rotation.

laura k said...

Thanks for the article. Makerspaces are The Big Thing in libraries right now. MLS just got a nice grant specifically to develop some. Yay.

I would be very happy to give you my ticket to the luncheon! I have little to no interest in attending. I could give you my badge, and if you had it turned around so the name didn't show, you could waltz right in. If you're available on Saturday roughly 12-2, text me!

Amy said...

Have fun!

What is Maker Culture?

James Redekop said...

I won't be able to go; agility on Saturdays. :)

"Maker Culture", or the "Maker Movement", is a modern version of the Do-It-Yourself movement. It's a subculture which celebrates building and inventing, with a strong emphasis on the social side of creating things.

The two big public manifestations of maker culture are "hackerspaces" and "makerfairs". A hackerspace is a workshop equipped with tools and equipment (including traditional things like table saws, or modern things like 3D printers & CNC machines) which members can use for thier projects. "Makerfairs" are big gathering events -- like craft fairs -- where makers can show off / sell their creations.

laura k said...

Maker spaces are kind of like community centres with tools. In library maker spaces, people would come not to consume (media, information) but to create. But they don't have to invest in their own tools - they come and use ours.

It includes everything from Lego club and robotics to jewelry making, knitting, any kind of craft you can think of. Lots of techie stuff, too, often called hackerspaces. (Or so I'm told. I never hear anyone use that expression. I only hear people say "...often called hackerspaces".)

So Maker Culture is the whole culture around maker spaces and offering support for creativity.

laura k said...

I see James and I answered at the same time. A library maker space might be a recurring program like the monthly teen DIY program I'll be doing, or a physical space where people can use tools and equipment on a drop-in basis.

James Redekop said...

There's a Toronto Hackerspace Wiki which lists hackerspaces in Toronto -- and they do use the term "hackerspace".

impudent strumpet said...

Things They Should Invent: experts who come to the make spaces every once in a while (like have regular "office hours" once a month or so) and help people figure out how to do what they need to do.

For example, I want to learn how to fix my hand-knitted slippers. I don't want to learn all of knitting, I don't want to knit new slippers from scratch, I just want to fix this one thing. But I don't know enough about knitting to even know what to look up to find instructions.

There must be other people who have similar problems with other things they want to learn how to make or fix, and when this is your problem tools and equipment alone don't help.

Amy said...

Thanks, James and Laura. That's all new information for me. I've never heard the term nor experienced any aspect of this culture.

laura k said...

and they do use the term "hackerspace".

:) I was half-joking, but it's good to know.

Things They Should Invent: experts who come to the make spaces every once in a while (like have regular "office hours" once a month or so) and help people figure out how to do what they need to do.

People who are really into DIY culture would probably encourage you to stop by during program time, bring your questions to the whole group, and see what happened - a low-tech, in-person version of posting the question on your blog.

But it would be a very time-consuming and social method of learning any one thing.

James Redekop said...

You can get a feel for maker culture at Make Magazine, the premiere maker periodical, or at Instructables, a popular maker website.

Here's an Instructable page on how to fix socks (which should also work for knitted slippers): http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-mend-a-sock/

laura k said...

Amy, I was introduced to the idea in library school, and at the time it was completely foreign to me, too.

Earlier this year, I attended a "webinar" about how libraries can get started in this movement. Our library is behind the curve and wants to catch up.

The first thing the speaker suggested was to think of what your library is doing already that fits in the makerspace ethic.

We have our hugely popular Saturday morning Lego club, a partnership with a high school robotics program, and tons of drop-in craft programs. Many branches have knitting circles.

I'm also bringing digital storytelling to the library (more on that another time), where people create their own e-books, and to me that's a makerspace, too.

For libraries, it's another way to stay relevant, to show that we offer value to the community, something customers can't access at home.

laura k said...

We use Instructables a lot. Also don't forget... PINTEREST. Pinterest is library makerspace central.

James Redekop said...

Maker culture isn't really anything new, but the techy side of it is a new name for something which had been dying out -- hobbyists tinkering with cars / radios / computers / other consumer goods. As cars have gotten more computerized and consumer electronics have gotten more integrated and sealed away from the average person, things like crystal radio sets have all but disappeared. Maker culture is all about reviving that love of tinkering, and people have dealt with the increased inaccessibility of standard commercial gadgetry by creating a whole new line of gear for hobbyists -- things like the Arduino microcontroller, or the Raspberry Pi computer. Thanks to these things, you now have school groups launching orbital satellites! It's a really exciting time to be a tinkerer.

laura k said...

What would be new, in most communities anyway, would be public spaces where one could go to learn and try new hobbies and crafts, with no experience, and with no initial outlay in tools or materials.

Although I'm not a tinkerer, and have no confidence when it comes to creating anything with my hands, I grew up with a consummate tinkerer, my brother, and a consummate crafts person, my mother. I love that the culture has been revived. But even more, I love that the public, go-ahead-and-try-it aspect of the current incarnation.

James Redekop said...

What would be new, in most communities anyway, would be public spaces where one could go to learn and try new hobbies and crafts, with no experience, and with no initial outlay in tools or materials.

That's definitely a Maker kind of thing. A lot of hackerspaces have classes & seminars which are open to the general public. The Toronto group, MakerKids, is having an open shop for kids 3-18 today (and every Friday, I think). They do workshops, camps, and afterschool programs throughout the year.

James Redekop said...

Yeah, Pinterest as well. Instructables sticks in my head because it's actually purpose-built for passing on DIY info (I've used a few designs I've found there), while Pinterest was meant more generally; but it's a great place to see DIY projects.

Just poked around the MakerKids website some more, and found that they're going to be at the OLA today with a portable Makerspace on the show floor.

James Redekop said...

Here's a Boing Boing post on MakerKids and the Toronto Public Library at the OLA conference.

laura k said...

Just poked around the MakerKids website some more, and found that they're going to be at the OLA today with a portable Makerspace on the show floor.

Yup, it was *the* big thing today. I didn't have the patience to wait to use the 3D printers or the glue guns but throughout the day, lots of people were showing off what they made. It looked terrific.