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OLA Day 1: Where’s your brain?

I go to Toronto around noon and checked into my room here. It has internet (I’ll ignore the fact that I somehow managed to mess with my connection so had to call tech support and although I could find no clue anywhere as to fees for help service, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did show up) which means I can blog at night.

So after checking some email I went to the on-site office around 1pm to help stuff bags. They make us earn our keep! So I did that for a few hours, taking a break to get a turkey sandwich around 2:30. It’s good interacting with the rest of the team.

After that I went out to dinner with the two OCULA program planners. We wandered around til we found a place that was acceptable. It was okay – definitely not worth the price though.

Went back and caught my supervisor, along with the rest of the folks from my workplace on their way out to dinner. I had no idea so many people fom work were going – I figured the CEO and marketing, but there’s also a couple from IT and my supervisor’s suervisor. I guess nine in all, plus me, and on friday two other cataloguers are coming. It feels odd not being included with work people, but besides the fact that I have other things to look into, they are here to work for work, whereas I’m here to work for OLA out of the goodness of my heart.

First-timer’s reception was not as well attended as last year, but still okay. [Devon, I have something for you – yes we were handing out makepovertyhistory bracelets]. I also got a superconference t-shirt (free!). I think I’ll wear it tomorrow. After the reception was the first plenary. We have brain and feet buttons to hand out and so I found myself asking folks if they had a brain. “Do you have a brain? Would you like one?”

Dan Pink was the speaker this evening. The theme of the conference is “the right brain of librarianship”, so Dan was talking about right brain stuff and why our society and economy is changing that requires us to use our right brain more. He attributed the change to 3 factors: abundance, Asia and automation. There’s no way I could possible explain that on here, so go buy his book instead (I did, and I hope to get it autographed tomorrow). So due to our need to work with the right brain, Dan gives us six concepts to dwell on: design, story, symphony, empathy, play, meaning. Again, there’s too much to discuss about all of these (go read his book), but I will say that this has given me a lot to think about. It’s a perspective I never really explored because frankly I’m a little bit more left-brain than I am right-brain, i.e. I would rarely call myself creative or innovative, however I am realizing there is certainly more right-brain qualities than what I imagined.

I found the session to really stir up my thinking which is good, because sometimes my thoughts get stagnant. I didn’t find that the speaker really connected these concepts to libraries, although he did seem to make a few examples, yet most of us know that his 6 key concepts (or 6 senses as he calls them in the book) really do apply to librarianship.

After the plenary there was the all-conference reception, but I wasn’t feeling well so I didn’t stick around long. So far I’ve only run into one former classmate. I’ve also seen some Windsor folks. That’s pretty much it. I’m not really a social person. Okay, I know a lot of people who would disagree with that, but really, I’m not a mingler – or at least not a very good one.

Now it’s bedtime although it’s nice staying in the hotel attached to the MTCC. I’m up on the 22nd floor so I have a pretty nice view (though my ears pop on the elevator ride).


About Jen

An instructor, a reader, a dog-owner, and advocate; that's how I define myself and these aspects directly impact my interests and conversations.


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