Brock University librarians and staff recently shared their knowledge and experiences at Canada’s largest continuing education event in librarianship.
The Ontario Library Association’s (OLA) annual Super Conference took place online last week and was attended by thousands of p eople who work in academic and public libraries across the province.
University Librarian Mark Robertson said Brock Library staff and librarians regularly contribute to the conference and are often active in organizing it.
“The OLA conference is one of the best library-related showcases in Canada,” he said. “It’s a highlight of the professional calendar and a great place to seek inspiration and network with colleagues from across all library sectors.”
Associate University Librarian Andrew Colgoni has been helping to organize the event for the past three years as the co-planner for the Ontario College and University Library Association, a division of the OLA. The Super Conference planners, including Colgoni, were honoured with the OLA President’s award this year for their work to pivot Canada’s largest library conference to a virtual format, which happened for the first time in 2021.
This year, six Brock Library employees also led presentations or discussions as part of the five-day conference, which began on Feb. 2.
Four Brock Library representatives co-presented on Brock’s Digital Scholarship Institute, a three-day immersive workshop experience for instructors held last spring that promoted digital scholarship and open pedagogy. Librarians Cal Murgu and Tim Ribaric as well as Library staff members Daniel Brett and Sharon Janzen discussed the institute’s inception and curriculum design, including creating faculty cohorts and streams of learning.
Murgu said grouping instructors into cohorts was a key factor to the institute’s success.
“Faculty are experts in their field and are often the ones teaching,” he said. “The institute required faculty to agree to be students together for three days and shift their mindset. As a result, they were more open to learning from institute facilitators — and each other. They shared perspectives and experiences from different departments and collaborated to come up with unique ways to use the tools and technology in their pedagogy.”
Although not new, faculty cohorts can be tough to start, said Ribaric. It’s why the team decided to present at OLA about their experiences.
“Showing a successful example from a smaller academic institution could motivate others to create their own,” he said.
Monica Rettig, Head of Access Services, presented with representatives from Huron University College and Queen’s University about finding respite during the pandemic through a spontaneous community of practice. The community consisted of public service managers in academic libraries who were also parents of school-aged children.
“We talked about how our small network worked together to support each other in absorbing chaos, projecting calm and providing hope, while also providing a safe space to vent, strategize and gather information,” Rettig said.
Robertson and a colleague from the University of Calgary facilitated an informal discussion on the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) Library Impact Framework, which is a project he’s been leading for more than two years. The CARL framework uses logic models to visualize the arc of influence of libraries’ programs, resources and services.
For more information on the Ontario Library Association and its annual conference, visit the OLA website.
Brock University’s Digital Scholarship Institute will return in Spring 2022. More information will be available in the near future.