Happy New Year! Here’s hoping this one will be better than the last. These past few years have created many challenges for everyone, both personally and professionally, and the disruptions imposed by the COVID-19 global pandemic will continue to shape how we live for the foreseeable future.
As with all things, there is always some good that goes along with the bad and our current situation is no exception. Now is a great time to take a proactive look ahead and set, or reset, some new goals for the opportunities and challenges of the year ahead.
When looking back upon the main training topics and themes that seemed most relevant to Ontario public libraries in 2021, there are some definite trends that rise to the surface:
- Barriers to Service Created by Covid-19 Provincial Shutdowns and Re-openings
- Public Libraries Going Fine Free
- Community-led Public Service
- Virtual Programming
- Eresources and Accessibility
The Ontario Library Service is excited to move forward in 2022 with relevant, responsive, and impactful training initiatives that anticipate and meet the needs of public libraries serving unique local communities across the province.
From governance and leadership to management and frontline public service, here’s a brief list of the top five training topics we’ve identified…so far:
1. COVID-19 Response
It should come as no surprise that this topic tops the list… there isn’t a public library in Ontario that hasn’t had to pivot, adjust, and revise their service delivery models in response to changing local circumstances and provincial safety guidelines. From curbside pickup to virtual programming, staff shortages to reduced operating hours, the library community has developed innovative solutions to some unprecedented situations. As the world (hopefully!) starts upon its path back to “business-as-usual” this year, we look forward to the many ways in which we can help continue to support that transition.
2. Mental Health
Ontario’s public libraries have long been confronted with extraordinary situations that have only become exacerbated by the pandemic. For many at all levels of an organization that stress takes a toll and we have all seen the media attention on issues such as burnout, pandemic fatigue, and navigating the delicate balance shifting work and home environments. Training sessions that focus on managing mental health and building resiliency during times of change are paramount to a healthy, happy workplace.
Significant barriers to access caused by physical space restrictions for health and safety purposes and the move to delivering online programming, resources, and collections has led to an entirely new way of connecting with patrons and meeting them where they are. From diversifying collections to innovative programming and partnerships, a focus on accessibility in all areas of public service will continue to strengthen all public libraries in Ontario.
4. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Public libraries have always worked hard to address inequities in our communities and support their most vulnerable members. With the heightened public awareness and media publicity arising from the tragic events and atrocities occurring in Canada and abroad, we are in a unique position to champion and implement the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion into all facets of public library service provision.
5. Board Legacy
Municipal election day in Ontario is coming up on October 24, 2022! In addition to the resources offered on the Governance HUB, OLS will continue to provide training, resources, and guidance on how to make your board’s transition a smooth and successful experience for everyone.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, as libraries continue to serve their communities in exciting and inspiring ways. We’ll be keeping a close eye on developing topics and trends throughout the year and will do our best to provide responsive training opportunities that “empower Ontario’s public libraries to continuously adapt and improve services to their unique communities.”
Check out our Winter 2022 Training Bulletin and sign up for sessions today!