OLA Poster: Public Library Volunteer Programs


Vaughan Public Libraries offers many volunteer programs for teens, ranging from Reading Buddies through to more unique opportunities like letter writing for Amnesty International. This poster shows how they have developed programs that cater to a range of tastes and abilities while still focusing on literacy and community service.

Library service models: a bank example


We in the library sector can always learn from other sectors, including banking. Banks have always needed to balance transactional and consulting services – just like libraries. And banks were early out of the gate in bringing in self-serve; at one point their pendulum had swung too far as they attempted to move everything to high-tech from high-touch. During the last couple of years they have been returning to a higher number of service associates “behind the counters”, plus a service point at which someone greets you and ensures you are headed in the right direction. Now the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has introduced its WaterPark Place store in Toronto with great fanfare. Libraries need to have a look at the branch service model and layout, and see what we can learn, adopt or avoid. Have a look at this video, and at the Toronto Star story on Dec 15, 2014: “Forget the bank. Welcome to the store.”

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Post by RBC.

“Libraries – Have a sense of urgency”


By now you’ve probably seen the TedX Charleston video of BibliLabs CEO Andrew Roskill talking about libraries. If not, here it is. Seeing libraries through the eyes of those in business is, and always has been critical. We look at libraries as libraries, as public institutions, as inherently beneficial for communities. Yet how easily the public positioning of libraries can – and IS – being corroded. Look no further than the UK and the US where funding has been severely cut. Severed, in fact. And while no public libraries have been closed here, we work in a vast array of libraries throughout Canada and see the constant negotiating for funding, especially in small or rural communities. Libraries compete every day for people’s attention. Jane and I have talked for years about the need for libraries to think, plan and act as businesses: in how they operate, build relationships, measure and report.

So does Roskill. He compares Publix to Whole Foods, pointing out that while Whole Foods does not have the selection or pricing of Publix, it does have the appeal, service and elegance that attracts and retains customers. “Be the Whole Foods” he says to libraries. YES! “Have a sense of urgency,” he encourages. YES! He then looks at how libraries can be an essential element in helping people cross the economic divide by building their digital skills – the digital literacy so important to work and live today.

How can libraries regain their prominence in communities and in people’s

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CLA Poster: Eureka! 2014 TD Summer Reading Club


Eureka! 2014 TD Summer Reading Club

Poster developed by: Lisa Heggum, Toronto Public Library

Stop by the TD Summer Reading Club poster and check out the resources that have been created to help your library offer the TD Summer Reading Club program to kids in your area. When you participate in the program you receive promotional materials, online resources for librarians and great materials and activities for kids!

Library CEO's Worry List


An impressive panel this morning at OLA: Rebecca Raven, CEO Brampton Public Library; Jeff Barber, CEO Regina Public Library, Rose Vespa, Director Library Services for Mississauga; Maureen Sawa, CEO Greater Victoria Public Library. They are addressing key questions that “keep them awake at night.”

Q: Are we wasting time & money building new physical libraries?

No, we need physical buildings, and we need to figure out: how do we plan for that space? how do we determine the square footage required. The # of ppl coming through the doors is increasing, not decreasing.

When talking with politicians, this question is very real. So what is it about the library that requires a physical space? We are carving out space as physical materials decline. But libraries are legislated to be a community place, and we are fewer community places for ppl (youth, seniors, students, etc.) to go. Libraries need to be careful about how they position themselves as community spaces — let’s be honest, there are much cheaper community spaces that don’t have the cost of digital and physical materials and staff.

Q: Are we really prepared for serious service disruptions (like the ice storm), and are virtual services sufficient?

The recent closures due to floods showed that it is the physical space that was really missed by the community. Our website, digital resources and e-books are important components but are in no way replacing the physical service spaces. The library is such a part of ppl’s routine — Library

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OLA Poster: Let’s Connect


Poster developed by: Karen Bisschop and Karen Clysedale; Peterborough Public Library

A summary and analysis of our Library Week campaign to promote the library’s social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. Our campaign aims to increase awareness and use of these tools in order to help us communicate with both current members and non-members in our community. We will use several strategies, including a Facebook trivia contest, and report on both quantitative and qualitative outcomes. Our campaign analysis will be highly relevant to the day-to-day needs of Ontario’s small-medium libraries that do not have specialised marketing staff.

Public Libraries: Core Capabilities


Thanks Halinet 2013 for asking me to keynote your incredible day discussing “It’s Okay – It Won’t Explode”! It was an honour. And it is a great topic for all those in public libraries. The Halinet organizers pulled together an incredible program for 170+ people from schools and public libraries.

The “it” that won’t explode is the technology, devices, and applications prevalent in our communities but not so prevalent in libraries or among library staff. Not only will “it” not explode, but the “it” is now your new favourite thing. Know about “it”. Experiment with “it”. Many public libraries have missions or brands about being places of discovery, for exploring, for creativity. And, yet, how many library staff see themselves as explorers? how many of the job descriptions or role descriptions outline that the incumbent’s role is to be an explorer or at the very least a “guide” for those who are exploring?

Those in public libraries must see their roles as that of guides, concierges and scouts. How would that impact what we see as the “core capabilities” for library staff? One of the most important capabilities is to be curious – to want to know about “it”, about the public you are working with, and the best way to help them solve their problems or accomplish their assignments. The “web” and e-resources are essential tools for public libraries. To keep current, follow @Infodocket and every presentation you can from Gary Price. Find out what Gary knows

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Birmingham's New Public Library


Europe’s youngest city is now home to Europe’s largest public library. With nearly 40% of its population under 25, the Library is designed to “deliver a learning & cultural experience in the 21st Century.” Take a look at this video on

Designing Sustainable Cities & Regions: Where are the Libraries?


Meeting of the Minds 2013 convenes in Toronto September 9 – 11. Haven’t heard about this conference? I encourage you, if you are involved in a public or academic library, to look at it. Actually, I encourage you to go. I follow Rick Huijbregts (VP Industry & Business Transformation; General Manager, Smart & Connected Communities for Cisco Canada). You might want to follow Rick’s LindedIn or Tweets as well. It is through Rick that I learn about the technologies and thinking that’s influencing community decision-makers.

For instance, there is a session at #MOTM2013 on “3-D Printing and Fabrication Labs – Revitalization Strategies for Sustainable Cities” given by the VP of Philips Lighting. I’ve seen the shock on the faces of librarian’s faces when I tell them that libraries are not alone in the community space vying to be innovation centre with 3D printers. Here’s some of the session abstract: “Fabrication Labs (FabLabs) will soon pop up all over cities and be fuelled by imaginative design. Together this will represent substantial economical value for cities seeking sustainable ways to revitalize. Certain cities may not be able to compete on labor costs but they can create tremendous value when design is more closely linked with the process of 3-D printing. Many examples of the makers economy already exist but one particularly exciting example in the lighting industry captures the spirit of this trend. Rogier will share a detailed model of how a 3D-printing based delivery model for luminaires would not

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