New Year, New Training Trends: 5 Key Topics in 2022

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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:

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.

3. Accessibility

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!

Don’t forget to visit our website and learn all about the networking meetings and webinars, and professional resources available to you.

Five Ontario Libraries awarded the Kimberley Foundation’s Caring for Communities: Pandemic Flash Fund.

SOLS and OLS-North would like to congratulate the following recipients of the Kimberley Foundation’s Caring for Communities: Pandemic Flash Fund grants:

Lanark Highlands PL Home Delivery Services
Magnetawan FNPL Bike Bookmobile
Temagami FNPL Delivering Safe & Healthy Services through E-books
Township of Cavan Monaghan PL Learning Trails
Tweed PL Take Home Activity Packs

In early August, the Kimberley Foundation invited small libraries in Canada to apply for one-time grants of up to $1,000 to serve their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resources to follow on the scientific understanding of SARS-CoV-2

As public libraries across Ontario begin to reopen, procedures are being put into place to minimize risks to staff and patrons. A big part of the reopening plans is implementing a safe way to accept library materials returned by patrons and bring them back into circulation.

Throughout Ontario, many libraries are quarantining returned materials for an average of 72 hours (3 days). The establishment of this quarantine period of 72 hours is based on a scientific study of the survivability of the SARS-Cov-2 virus (which causes COVID-19) on surfaces, and has been widely used as the acceptable time period in library literature.

With any novel infectious disease, scientific understanding will change over time as more experiments take place and new conclusions are drawn.  Library-specific materials are being tested in experiments under the REALM project, a collaboration between the OCLC, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Battelle. Over the course of several months, the tests conducted by REALM provide further consideration for quarantine periods of materials.  For instance, Test 4 Results highlight that the virus is still detectable on after 6 days when quarantine items are stacked, whereas Test 1 Results showed that  the virus is not detectable after 3 days on items that are unstacked.

As the evidence of how the virus is spread continues to be refined and understood, projects such as REALM offer important resources for decision-making on health and safety procedures. We encourage you to continue checking the REALM website, in addition to Ontario government updates.

Further Reading:

          This table is for quick reference purposes. Please visit the links to the Tests for complete results.

REALM Test Materials Tested Results (Quoted from the REALM website)
Test 1 1.   Hardback book cover (buckram cloth)

2.   Softback book cover

3.   Plain paper pages inside a closed book

4.   Plastic book covering (biaxially oriented polyester film)

5.   DVD case

“Results show that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was not detectable on the materials after three days of quarantine.” (not stacked)
Test 2 1.   Braille paper pages

2.   Glossy paper pages from a coffee table books

3.   Magazine pages

4.   Children’s board book

5.   Archival folders

“The evaluation demonstrates that standard office temperature (68°F to 75°F) and relative humidity conditions (30 to 50 percent) provide an environment that allows for the natural attenuation of SARS-CoV-2 present on these materials after two days of quarantine for archival folders and four days of quarantine for the book pages.”
Test 3 1.    Talking book, USB cassette

2.    DVD

3.    Storage bag (flexible plastic)

4.    Storage container (rigid plastic)

5.    Plexiglass

“Results show that after five days of quarantine in an unstacked configuration, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was not detected on the storage bag (flexible plastic) or the DVD. The storage container (rigid plastic), plexiglass, and the USB cassette all showed detectable virus at five days. Day five was the final timepoint tested.”
Test 4 1.    Hardback book cover

2.    Softcover book cover

3.    Plastic protective cover

4.    DVD case

5.    Expanded polyethylene foam

“Results show that after six days of quarantine the SARS-CoV-2 virus was still detected on all five materials tested. When compared to Test 1, which resulted in nondetectable virus after three days on an unstacked hardcover book, softcover book, plastic protective cover, and DVD case, the results of Test 4 highlight the effect of stacking and its ability to prolong the survivability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”