I attended my second OLA Super Conference in Toronto, ON earlier this month and once again walked away from the conference with the greatest feeling of having finally found my tribe. Attending the sessions and keynotes, mingling with fellow library workers, presenting work I really cared about, and watching my colleagues receive an award (!) all helped re-affirm my chosen profession.

So what has stuck with me from the conference, two weeks later?


Things got political. AKA: why I love libraries

I was so happy to find the OLASC as a space where library workers could talk about and demonstrate their support for a safer and better world for women, people of colour, and LGBTQ+ folks.

On the first day when I picked up some ribbons to jazz up my conference badge, I hesitated over the Black Lives Matter ribbon. I have been putting effort into making my politics and brand of feminism more intersectional, and I was excited for the opportunity to show my support for the BLM movement at the conference. However, as a current job seeker early in my career, I was also nervous to brand myself as somehow too political or too far to the left for some of the librarians from more conservative backgrounds or communities that I might meet. I quickly realized that this was a fear steeped in my own privilege–after all, it’s not exactly like black and brown folks can just remove the colour of their skin when it suits them best–and that it was more important to me to show my support for the movement. And I am glad I did.

Seeing the conferences (small, but noticed) efforts to promote gender neutral bathrooms, watching fired-up keynote presentations by Lindy West and Mohammed Fahmy, and being floored by gut-wrenching and talented young spoken word performers really reinforced the idea that librarians are invested in supporting marginalized groups, and that I have found good company in this profession.

Memorable sessions

Improving Access for Confined Populations

Presented by Jennifer Seper, Librarian,  Vancouver Island Regional Library

It was so great to hear the practical and insightful tips and advice that Jennifer Seper had for librarians interested in running similar programs at correctional and/or long-term care facilities. This session really spoke to my passion for providing service to under-served populations, and so I was eating up every second of it.

I, For One, Welcome Our New Robot Overlords: Coding and Robotics

Presented by Chad Whittington, Lee Martin, Ann Holmes, Sonja Upton, Dan Armstrong

The presenters did a great job providing some background on robotics in makerspaces–particularly in a school library setting–but the big highlight of this session was getting to hang out with Lee Martin’s students, who taught us how to use the different types of robots.

Baby’s first poster presentation!

I presented my first poster at this year’s OLASC, along with my co-authors from Western Libraries. We were very excited to share the results of our user experience testing, and even more thrilled that people were interested in it! Again, the kind and curious folks who work in libraries re-affirming my chosen position.

Librarians are lovely. Period.

Everyone I met or reunited with were all such kind and supportive people who really care about what they do. I am still feeling warm and fuzzy about it.