OLA 2009 Keynote Speakers

I had the opportunity at OLA 2009 to listen to several excellent keynote speeches.

The first was by Cynthia Nikitin who discussed “The Place of Libraries in Changing Times.” Cynthia Nikitin is Vice President for Public Buildings and Downtowns as well as the director of the Civic Centres Program at Project for Public Spaces Inc. (http://www.pps.org/)

Cynthia Nikitin provided numerous before-and-after photographs of public spaces around libraries. Two that stood out for me were the changes done at the Mississauga Public Library and Bryant Park at the New York Public Library. Since roads make up 80% of public space in communities, it is important for public libraries to take into account transportation routes. Cynthia showed several public libraries with poorly placed entrances against unused spaces or pedestrian-unfriendly zones.

Cynthia Nikitin

From www.pps.org I found this list of 14 lessons that make libraries great (http://www.pps.org/info/newsletter/april2007/library_attributes):

1. Great Libraries Offer a Broad Mix of Community Services
2. Great Libraries Foster Communication
3. Great Libraries Showcase History and Information
4. Great Libraries Build Capacity for Local Businesses
5. Great Libraries Become Public Gathering Places
6. Great Libraries Boost Local Retail and Public Markets
7. Great Libraries Offer Easy Access
8. Great Libraries Make the Surrounding Area Come Alive
9. Great Libraries Feature Multiple Attractions and Destinations
10. Great Libraries Are Designed to Support Function
11. Great Libraries Provide a Variety of Amenities
12. Great Libraries Change with the Calendar

13. Great Libraries Depend on Wise Management
14. Great Libraries Catalyze Community Revitalization

On Thursday, Richard Florida delivered a speech at a plenary session. The event was timely because of the release of the Martin Prosperity Institute’s report “Ontario in the Creative Age.” Richard Florida co-wrote the report with Roger Martin. The Martin Prosperity Institute is a part of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. The Ontario government had asked Richard Florida and Roger Martin to “undertake a study of the changing composition of Ontario’s economy and workforce, examine historical changes and projected future trends affecting Ontario, and provide recommendations to the Province for ensuring that Ontario’s economy and people remain globally competitive and prosperous.”

Richard Florida, author of Who’s Your City? and The Rise of the Creative Class

On Friday, Dr. Michael Bloom of the Conference Board of Canada, gave a talk about measuring the economic benefits of culture. Much of his presentation came from this 2008 report commissioned by the Conference Board of Canada, “Valuing Culture: Measuring and Understanding Canada’s Creative Economy.” One quote from the report caught my attention because it reflects on the motivation for my own blog:

Web 2.0 services are not neutral facilitators of interaction;
they are responses to a need to express creativity.

Also, I noticed Dr. Bloom used a lot of FRBR terminology when describing publications: “resource,” “manifestation,” and “expression.” Perhaps this is a sign that FRBR and RDA are being to seep into the public consciousness?

Dr. Michael Bloom, Vice-President, Organizational Effectiveness and Learning at The Conference Board of Canada

Later on Friday, Michael Enright, host of CBC Radio One’s The Sunday Edition, gave a speech at a plenary session. He made the point that e-books are gaining in popularity, but the lack of Canadian content is still a problem.

On Saturday, I heard from another CBC veteran, Eleanor Wachtel, host of Writers & Company. Her accounts of her many interviews with authors were inspiring. I haven’t been a regular listener of CBC Radio, but I feel a little more compelled to make it a part of my life (although TVO and PBS will likely continue to grab a fair chunk of my time).

Eleanor Wachtel

While looking for related links for this blog post, I came across Whitby Public Library’s wiki for OLA 2009: http://wpl.wikidot.com/ola-2009. What a great idea– a good use for wikis in libraries!

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