Join us on Twitter (#olitahangout) on May 12th for the OLITA Social Media Hangout

Continuing our tour of the Social Media Landscape, we’re travelling to the land of Twitter on May 12th with our host, OLITA Councillor, Jeff Toste. He writes:

Hi, I’m Jeff Toste, OLITA council member. Join me on Thursday May 12 to explore social media platform, Twitter.

If you want to learn about some terminology visit before the session!

We’ll be using the hashtag #olitahangout to keep track of our conversation. My twitter handle is @NotRobot_ca if you want to send a public tweet to me.

We’ll be discussing:

1.       Who are some top people in the tech/library industry you’re following?

2.       Let’s take a look at lists. Try creating a list and sharing with OLITA members

3.       Show everyone where you’re tweeting from, use the location feature!

4.       How do you create engagement with your staff and stakeholders (customers, patrons, managers etc)

5.       Tweet out a poll with the hashtag #olitahangout

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The OLITA Social Media Roundabout

It’s difficult to understand the nuances of a particular social media platform without a group of people you feel comfortable being social with. That’s why OLITA is organizing a ‘Social Media Roundabout’ over the next several months.

We want to provide an opportunity for OLITA members to get to know one another while trying out various social media platforms. This way, you and the rest of OLITA can try out some of the more daunting interfaces (*cough cough* Snapchat *cough cough*) among friends and with an OLITA host that you can call on to ask for help when you need it.

We’re going to start off our tour on Slack! And our tour guide will be OLITA Council’s own, Susanna Galbraith!

Hello! I’m Susanna Galbraith, your friendly Olita Councillor who’ll be providing you with a Slack tour May 2 – 4th. Not sure what all the Slack hype is all about? Curious to try but don’t have an opportunity? Join me and give it a whirl!

Not even sure what Slack is? Here’s a tour: 

  1. Beginning May 2, send an email to me at to get an invitation to our OLITA Hangout slack team.
  2. After you’ve received your email invitation, set up your account.
  3. Join all the channels you can see. 
  4. Introduce yourself in the #introductions channel.
  5. Make a giphy of your current mood in the #giphy channel. (Don’t worry, there’ll be instructions on how to do this.)
  6. Start a conversation in the #general channel.
  7. Share something random in the #random channel.
  8. For questions use the #help channel.
  9. Have fun and explore!

We’re hoping to try out a whole bunch of social media platforms over the next few months.

Is there one that you want us to go first? Please let us know!

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

OLA Superconference 2017: Call For Proposals

Ontario Library Information Technology Association (OLITA) stream

The theme of the 2017 Ontario Library Association (OLA) Super Conference is “All In”. The OLA’s Ontario Library Information Technology Association (OLITA) stream invites session proposals from all types of libraries and all kinds of staff.

“We are a profession that welcomes all, supports all, serves all. We’re techies, readers, curators, storytellers, humanitarians. Our doors are open, our lights are on, we believe in what we do, and we aren’t holding back. More than ever, our enthusiasm, passion, commitment, and courage are needed.

The chips are down, but we’re not shying away from risks.

We are all in.”


OLA Super Conference | February 1-4, 2017

Submission deadline is Monday, May 23.

Submit your proposal here (

This year OLA will be using ProposalSpace to help you keep track of the status of your proposal. Create a ProposalSpace account to get the process started.


Some topic suggestions:

These are only suggestions—please feel free to submit on any topic or innovative projects you think might be of interest to the OLITA community.

  • Homeless services
  • Healthy workplaces
  • Transferable skills and how to sell them
  • Library start-ups
  • Pop-up services
  • Dealing with precarious employment
  • New models of customer service
  • Approaches to rising journal pricing
  • Curing imposter syndrome
  • Surviving a zombie apocalypse

As always, if you’re interested in presenting on a topic but would like to share a slot, please indicate in your proposal that you’re interested in being matched up with another presenter.


Questions? Comments? Brilliant suggestions? Get in touch with the OLITA Planners! We’d be happy to discuss your proposal prior to submission.

Ana Vrana

Graham Lavender

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Access 2016: Call for proposals is live!


From time to time, OLITA Council receives announcements that may be of interest to our members. Please see below for a message from the Access 2016 planning team. Access Conference is a wonderful opportunity to meet library technologists from across Canada.

The Access 2016 Program Committee invites proposals for participation in this year’s Access Conference, which will be held on the beautiful campus of the University of New Brunswick in the hip city of Fredericton, New Brunswick from 4-7 October.

There’s no special theme to this year’s conference, but—in case you didn’t know—Access is Canada’s annual library technology conference, so … we’re looking for presentations about cutting-edge library technologies that would appeal to librarians, technicians, developers, programmers, and managers.

Access is a single-stream conference that will feature

  •  45-minute sessions,
  •  Lightning talks (speakers have five minutes to talk while slides—20 in total—automatically advance every 15 seconds),
  •  a half-day workshop on the last day of the conference,
  •  and maybe a surprise or two: if you have a bright idea for something different (panel, puppet show, etc.), we’d love to hear it

To submit your proposal, please fill out the form at by 15 April.

Please take a look at the Code of Conduct too:

If you have any questions, check out our site at or write to David Ross (Chair of the Program Committee) at


We’re looking forward to hearing from you!


Merle Steeves

On behalf of the Access 2016 Organizing Committee

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Save the Date for Digital Odyssey 2016: Privacy in Public: Implications for Libraries

Mark your calendars today! Digital Odyssey will take place on Friday June 10, 2016.

Technology has become an integral part of our lives, and has made it easier than ever to find and share information online. Ever wonder what this easy access means for your patrons’ privacy? What information is shared when we access online databases, collections, or install the latest app on our smartphones? Do you struggle to raise awareness about the importance of protecting your privacy? At this year’s Digital Odyssey, we’ll be tackling these issues and more. In addition to presentations from experts in the field, we’re thrilled to announce that Alison Macrina from the Library Freedom Project will be leading a hands on workshop to teach us about privacy tools. Come to Digital Odyssey to learn about the latest privacy issues and take away tips and tricks that you can put to work in your library, whether it’s an academic, public, school or special library.

This year we’ll be meeting at the beautiful Central Library branch of the Hamilton Public Library. The Central Library is easily accessed by public transit (it’s only a short walk from the Hamilton Go Station) and public parking is also available in the vicinity. We hope to see you there!

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Piwik: Breaking Away from Google Analytics

Many of us in the library community who have a responsibility to assess the usage of our library’s websites have become very familiar with the popular Google Analytics. Google Analytics is free and robust, and yet the data it collects belongs to Google and is housed on U.S. servers, where data may be subject to the legislation of that country.

While many may see this as inconsequential (hey, uses Google Analytics, why can’t we?), those of us in the library community who wish to uphold the longstanding tradition in our profession of protecting user privacy, may wish to seek other alternatives. The ALA LITA Patron Privacy Technologies Interest Group serves as an example of the librarian community’s increasing awareness and concern around patron privacy.

One viable alternative to Google Analytics is Piwik. Piwik is an open-source web analytics platform that allows for 100% data ownership and privacy protection. Read more on Open Shelf…

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Super Conference 2016: we need OLITA convenors!

SuperConference_headerThere are still a few open slots for convening OLA Super Conference Sessions. We need your help! Please see the original call for convenors. You can access the remaining Super Conference Sessions that need a convenor using this document.

Please email Stephanie Orfano, OLITA Co-Planner, with the session you are interested in or with any questions you might have. The deadline has been extended to December 17, 2015 at 4:00pm.

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The Techie in You

Hi, as part of the new Technology Lending Library team, I’d like to update OLA members on what’s happened over the last year with our library. At the beginning of this year we refreshed our library with 2 brand new Arduino starter kits, 2 Intel Edison and Grove Starter kits, a Raspberry Pi 2, a BKON and additional Makey Makeys.

Our team (Susanna Galbraith, Beth Mens and Beckie MacDonald) is now working on promotion. We’ve hit the road this past fall to spread the word on these great devices and we are beginning to collect feedback from all of you. Beth began the trek when she visited the First Nations Fall gathering, which you can read about here. Our next stop was the Child and Youth Expo in Toronto in November where we heard great feedback on what librarians would like included and why they would need to use our library. It was a very rewarding experience to share our love of tech with the library community and to answer your questions. We are also planning on being at Super Conference so stay tuned!

You may be wondering why you would need to borrow a tech device like a Makey Makey or an Arduino? And we’re here to tell you that besides being personally enjoyable and fun, borrowing and learning about these devices can assist you in creating maker programs, planning a maker space and developing your staff. You can borrow multiple devices at a time, which allows you to gauge which has the most interest and applicability in your community.

If you’re wondering how to incorporate devices like Makey Makeys or Arduino’s into your library programming – project based is one way to go. For example, the lending library’s Arduino starter kit comes with an instructional book with 15 projects, which is a great place to start to learn about their potential. If you need ideas on what to do with your Makey Makey watch the video below for 6 sample projects (in 2 minutes!).


(Image courtesy of Jay Silver,

Use the Intel Edison to keep tabs on your mischievous cat! As one of the newest added items, you can borrow this device to develop for the Internet of Things.


(Image courtesy of Matt Stultz from

As you can probably tell, different devices will apply to different user skill levels and age groups. Your library could host a petting zoo that demonstrates one fun project on each device to a multigenerational audience!

When borrowing the Technology Lending Library’s devices, you may want not want to do hands-on programming but instead might do a simple demonstration that at minimum creates awareness needed for buy-in and support from colleagues and other stakeholders like your Board. These devices are typically low cost and so adding them to your collection is possible.

In the new year we’ll be working with the OLITA team to determine ways we can improve, be it by incorporating new devices like wearables or child-focused tech or buying more of what we already own, improving our marketing and outreach program and web presence.

You can request items, free of charge from OLITA online.


This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

OLITA’s Lending Library On the Road

In 2010, a few intrepid OLITA councilors outlined a strategic plan to match OLA’s. They set a number of goals, including:

“OLITA will foster and promote innovation in library information technology in Ontario.”

To accomplish this, the councilors established the OLITA lending library. They wanted to make new devices more accessible – to libraries and to individual members. Gadgets can be expensive. The idea was to give library staff a chance to play with some of the tools. The opportunity to run a test drive or two with patrons without worrying about project plans and budgets is an added bonus.

We know: we’re fantastic. But we’ve found that not all OLA members know we’re here! So this year, the OLITA council has made an effort to get out and spread the word.

When I’m not volunteering for OLITA or experimenting in the kitchen, I work for the Southern Ontario Library Service as a Technology Consultant. One of my favourite aspects of this job is that I get to go out to groups of library staff and talk to them about trends in tech and libraries. We chat about everything you’d expect: internet access policies, wifi security, devices. More unexpectedly, the #freethenipple movement on instagram. Inevitably, makerspaces come up.

Makerspaces can be hard to explain. At the First Nations Fall Gathering SOLS ran this year, I spoke about them briefly. I explained that they are spaces people come together to collaborate and to share. Often, individuals will come away with a completed project, or ideas for a new one. Then we got our hands dirty.

The playdough came out, and small groups formed. Squishy circuits taught two the basics of circuitry. Another two used the Arduino Starter Kit to run a basic circuit and create a light switch. Another connected the Makey Makey to conductive TTC tokens and playdough and spent a little while playing pacman. A few more used the Flip video camera to record a 7min. short film. At the end of the hour, most had a chance to see what other groups were working on, and to share the bits of knowledge gained. We held a screening at the end of the session. The improvisation skills were impressive, to say the least.

I’d hazard a guess that the library staff enjoyed what I called playtime much more than they did my presentation. I wandered around the room and helped troubleshoot. Just the week before, I was learning the basics of the Makey Makey and the Arduino. At the end of the session, Karen Lewis, from the Tyendinaga Public Library pointed out that First Nations libraries have run low tech maker spaces for years, working on moccasins, quilts and other traditional crafts. In these – the library staff weren’t always the experts and they didn’t have to be. The community is a resource we can tap like any other.

If there were one message I could leave with the library staff, it would be that we don’t have to be the experts. We can help others get started with gadgets and tools. We can use our investigative skills to help patrons answer the questions that arise when their knowledge eclipses our own.

Borrow from our collection, and learn how to get started. Pass on the skills. Maker culture is about sharing and collaborating. You don’t need a brand new space, or even any space at all.

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

OLITA Project Award: Nominations are now open!

Each year, the Ontario Library and Information Technology Association (OLITA) Project Award is awarded to a project that demonstrates leadership in the application of technology to:

  • benefit library users,
  • enhance library operations, and
  • extend partnerships.

In addition to the recognition of their peers, the recipient of the award also enjoys an expenses-paid trip to the annual CLA conference, courtesy of OCLC Canada, where they will present the project at the annual OCLC / CLA symposium. A list of our previous award winners is available here.

Last year’s award winners, Innisfil Public Library, shared their nomination package for other project teams to use as inspiration for their own submissions. We’re excited to hear about how your projects, big or small, are using technology in transformative ways!

Have you previously submitted an application that wasn’t selected? Don’t fret, we’d love to hear from you again.


  • Nominations must be for a project and not an individual.
  • Nominations may be made by the library representative or by others.
  • All projects must be operational by the close of the nomination period.
  • Libraries must be operating within the province of Ontario.

If you are participating in, or know of a project that you think is worthy of consideration for the OLITA Project Award (to be presented at the OLITA annual general meeting during the OLA SuperConference 2016), please submit a nomination by November 1, 2015.

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.