The Ontario Library Association is Canada’s largest library organization and OLA’s Super Conference is Canada’s largest continuing education event in librarianship. Within the Super Conference event is the country’s largest library tradeshow. The program is a tribute to the ability of OLA members to balance the cutting edge and the practical in a way that can satisfy an increasingly diverse number of member interests and needs.
While this is a very big event, it is also a very good event with exceptionally high scores in delegate evaluations. With each passing year, OLA members surpass themselves in the breadth and excellence of what they produce in this program. They succeed because, more and more, they are willing to take risks, to raise their sights in identifying what is needed, what is possible and what will move themselves and their peers forward.
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. 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.
Super Conference plays host to some of the country’s and the world’s leading speakers, both from inside the library world and outside. Over the years, our guests have included Michael E. Usland, Susan Cain, Steven Page, Chantal Hebert, George Stromboulopoulos, Atom Egoyan, Michael Wesch, Justin Trudeau, Richard Florida, Roméo Dallaire, Cory Doctorow, Daniel Pink, Glen Murray, Stephen Lewis, Craig Kielburger, Thomas Homer-Dixon, Adrienne Clarkson, John Ralston Saul, John Polanyi, David Suzuki, Kaycee Hale, Buckminster Fuller, Don Tapscott, to name but a few.
Internationally prominent library specialists have been a feature of every conference the Association has ever held. Each year, internationally famous library leaders and advocates like Michael Stephens, Alison Head, Nancy Pearl, Brewster Kahle, Stephen Abram, Joseph Janes, Joan Frye Williams, George Needham, Ken Haycock, Gary Price, Clifford Lynch, Roy Tennant, Charles McClure, Patricia Glass Schuman, Ross Todd, Doug Johnson, David Loertscher, Keith Curry Lance and join hundreds of other speakers to share their experience and expertise.
The world of writers and publishers has been well represented with leaders such as Neil Pasricha, Louise Penny, Catherine Gildiner, Anna Porter, Lawrence Hill, Steven Galloway, Richard B. Wright, Margaret Atwood, Farley Mowat, Nino Ricci, Robert J. Sawyer and others. The winning authors from the OLA’s Forest of Reading® program each year are showcased, along with dozens of authors autographing their books during the tradeshow. All in all, the participation of the Canadian literary world is a tribute to the contribution libraries, librarians and the OLA make to the publishing world and its success.