I had the great opportunity for about the 20th year in a row of presenting at the OLA Super Conference in Toronto.
The first presentation – well you had to be there. I interviewed a group of newcomers to Canada about their immigration experience and how libraries could have helped. They were awesome. We also had a great introduction from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration about their services but the newcomers were just awesome and shared openly. I love this series that we’ve been doing for years to bring the voice of the user into the library conference. In the past I’ve interviewed – sort of a public focus group - which ends with great questions from the audience – panels of teens, seniors, college studients, and people with different abililties. They’re always standing room only and we learn a lot.
Anyway, my other presentation was about public relations for libraries and tools for same. My theme was to stop framing the task as public relations. We’re talking essentially about influence here and I presented on influencing strategies for getting people into our programs and libraries – virtually and in person. A secondary theme was choosing to target niches of users and not just ‘everyone’ – especially underserved populations like males or adding dimension to user groups like new moms, storytimes, or teens. I hope it was fun, at least folks laughed at my jokes.
Ontario libraries are making great progress!