The OLA Super Conference will be held January 24-27, 2024 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto, Ontario. This annual conference is designed to motivate, inspire and spark conversations and ideas that will help those working within the library sector to feel more engaged in their work and prepared to face the challenges within the industry. The conference programming is a tribute to the ability of OLA members to balance the cutting edge and the practical in a way that can satisfy the increasingly diverse number of member interests and needs.
The program is built brick-by-brick, time slot by time slot, by some twenty co-ordinators working with dozens more to identify the needs to be addressed in this time and this place. Through the Call for Proposals, hundreds of people are then identified to speak, convene, manage, volunteer and in many other ways execute the program that these people envisage. This is a program driven by OLA members and a program that drives OLA members to professional achievement of remarkable and ever-increasing heights.
Learning formats provide a variety of conference session types that allow attendees to make their own choices and set priorities around the way that they want to learn and engage with others during their time at the conference.
1. Conversations (45 minutes)
Are you interested in a specific issue or service within library land? Are you looking to connect with others and share your ideas around that topic? The Conversations format is the ability to connect via a peer-to-peer discussion on a topic of importance to the library sector.
Audience Engagement: High
Length: 45 minutes
Format: Attendee conversation framed around sharing best practices, learning about trends and improvements, and developing a community of practice. 1-2 Facilitators.
2. Shop Talk (15-20 minutes)
Shop Talks are mini presentations on timely topics and tools. These are practical talks with tangible learning objectives that will improve the audience’s everyday work, and ability to achieve or improve upon a task. Presenters should be able to quickly and concisely communicate their idea through storytelling and use of graphics.
Audience Engagement: Low
Length: 15-20 minutes, including Q&A
Format: Short, engaging presentations that focus on practical tools or strategies for daily work. One speaker per talk.
3. Learning Lab (60-75 minutes)
Learning Labs are intended to guide attendees through important issues or topics within the library sector. These sessions should demonstrate and share evidence-based practices but this is not a show and tell session – this is a chance to demonstrate how another library system can learn from something you have done, and apply it themselves.
Audience Engagement: Optional. Low: No interaction, a panel or lecture style session. Medium: Polling / audience Q&A. High: Small group conversations, working through case studies or games.
Length: 60-75 minutes total; presenters should adjust presentation time in order to accommodate questions.
Format: Multiple speakers (max 4 plus one moderator). Presenters asked to share presentation materials via conference app.
4. Poster Presentation (60 minute Q&A)
Poster presentations demonstrate a tangible activity, project or concept. They do not need to follow formal research poster protocols, but should be engaging, informative and concise.
Presenters are responsible for their own printed poster. Poster board dimensions 37’’ x 70’’.
Audience Engagement: High
Length: Audience Q&A is 60-minutes, poster will remain on display for the duration of the conference day. Posters will be presented within the Expo Hall.
Format: Maximum 2 presenters per poster, multiple authors can be credited in program. Presenters will also have the opportunity to upload a short audio track to the mobile app, giving context to their poster. Poster can be printed in one large-scale format, or presenters can make use of the poster board using multiple pieces of printed paper.
5. Pre-Conference Workshop (2-6 hours)
Pre-Conference workshops are engaging learning sessions led by expert facilitators, and have the opportunity to use blended learning techniques. These workshops are designed to get people thinking about how to make changes within their organizations, or within their work. They should encourage creative and innovative thinking or apply approaches from diverse disciplines.
Audience Engagement: Medium-High
Length: 2, 2.5, or 3 hours
Format: In-depth, interactive workshop led by 1-3 facilitators.
Proposal Review & Selection Criteria
The curation of the OLA Super Conference program is managed by the Super Conference Planning Team, members of the Ontario Library Association. This is a very competitive process, as we receive proposals from across the country on a wide range of topics. The Planning Team anonymously reviews each proposal based on set criteria, and also gather feedback and guidance where applicable from a number of committees within the OLA.
All proposals will be evaluated on the following:
- Proposal Title & Description
- Learning Objectives
- Relevance to Target Audience
- Timeliness and demand for the topic
- Inclusion of Relevant Perspectives
- Presentation content focused on new approaches to work, and driving change in the library sector.
Submission Process Breakdown
In order to be considered by the programming team, your proposal must be submitted through the online form. You must complete all necessary fields and hit the submit button in order to finalize your submission. Once your submission is complete you will receive confirmation via email.
The individual who creates the proposal and enters the descriptive fields becomes the main point of contact for the submission and OLA will communicate final decisions to that person. The main point of contact will be responsible for reaching out to any co-speakers.
Title & Description
Proposal titles should be engaging, descriptive and to the point; avoid unnecessarily long or jargon-filled titles. This field has the capacity for 15 words maximum. Please avoid using the name of a library system in your title – explain to people what they will get from your session, not just what you’ve done in your system.
Descriptions should speak directly to what makes your session interesting to the library sector – what are you talking about that people need to hear? How will this information make a difference to someone’s work? What does this session mean within the sector at large?
- Learning outcomes should focus on the outcomes for the attendees – how will your submission help them?
- Avoid generalizations and filler words. Be specific, be concise.
- Sell your session! You’ve done important work, necessary work, work that makes your system and the sector better. So tell us about that, and more importantly, show us how we can achieve that work ourselves.
OLA retains the right to modify titles and descriptions for brevity and clarity.
Your learning objectives tell your audience in clear language how your session will affect their behaviours, skills, knowledge or attitudes. Each proposal needs to include 2-3 clear and achievable learning objectives.
Choose from the list the audience who will most benefit from attending your session. Please choose only the most relevant audiences, the more specific the better. If your submission is accepted, your chosen audience type will be published to help attendees in creating their schedules.
Inclusion of Perspectives
In developing the conference program, OLA is committed to prioritizing equitable participation, and holding space for community members who are Indigenous, Black, Brown, racialized, 2SLGBTQIA+, living with disabilities, and others who are marginalized. While the review process will be anonymous, the review panel will give preference to submissions from members of these groups to ensure an authentic representation is present.
OLA is actively committed to diversity and inclusion, encouraging and pursuing own-voice presenters who bring unique, vibrant and new perspectives to OLA Super Conference. We will prioritize presenters with lived experience.If your session addresses a topic that represents a specific community, the OLA Super Conference planning team will contact you to learn more about your personal experience with that topic. You will be asked during the submission process to identify if you belong to any of these equity-deserving groups. You will also be asked if your proposed session addresses a topic that is specific to a particular community.
You may choose not to answer either of these questions, but your answers will help the planning committee in their decision making process.
All accepted proposals must adhere to published deadlines. As a speaker, you are expected to be mindful of all timelines, and to work with the OLA to deliver an exceptional attendee experience.
Event Format and Accessibility
OLA Super Conference will be held in person and will offer a streaming ticket to a virtual audience. The majority of in person sessions will be included in the stream, and your session will likely be audio recorded. Speakers should be prepared to present to both audiences, to be accessible in their language and presentation style, and consent to audio and/or video recording as needed.
Intellectual Property Rights
All speakers retain the authority and rights over their presented work, ownership does not transfer to the OLA. Speakers must ensure that their presentations are following copyright guidelines, and that permissions are in place for the display of any information, images, or content within their presentations.
OLA encourages all Super Conference submitters to be members of the Association. Speakers who are also members will receive a reduction in their conference registration fee.
All accepted speakers must register for the conference by the stated deadline. Speakers must be confirmed to speak for a minimum of 15 minutes in order to qualify for the speaker rate. Please keep this in mind when assembling your panelists.
For general questions regarding the proposal review or submission process please contact OLA Help Line at firstname.lastname@example.org