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Expanding library boundaries: OCULA Spring Conference

The 2016 OCULA Spring Conference is just around the corner! As lead planner for this year’s event (along with co-planners Fiona Inglis and Chris Landry), I am pleased to provide a sneak peak at the exciting day we have in store:

Creating Space: Expanding the Physical, Digital, and Mental Boundaries of the Academic Library

This year’s theme spotlights innovative uses of library space, drawing inspiration from individuals and organizations working to re-organize, re-imagine, and re-define space for an increasingly crowded world.

Space is a flexible concept for libraries, capable of describing everything from the tiniest gap on the shelf to the virtually endless expanse of the web.  It’s also a term we use metaphorically to describe the mental or emotional space necessary to manage stress and achieve a productive work/life balance.

Instead of trying to pin down one definitive description, this conference intends to explore space from a variety of different perspectives: surveying its boundaries, plumbing its depths and coming to a more holistic understanding of library space by examining its component parts.


We are thrilled to have Jutta Treviranus as our keynote speaker.

Jutta Treviranus
Jutta Treviranus

As the founder and Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University, Jutta has led a number of influential projects addressing the inclusivity and accessibility of digital spaces.  As our user-base diversifies and our presence in virtual space increases, Ontario’s academic libraries will benefit from keeping the experiences and ideas of experts such as Jutta in the front of our minds.

The conference will also feature an impressive line-up of Lightning Talk presenters.  Learn how your colleagues around the province are engaging with library space: 7 minutes…Go!


This year’s speakers won’t be the only ones exploring the concept of space.  We have a number of engaging activities planned that will give all attendees an opportunity to participate.

Physical Space – Employ teamwork, problem solving, and design skills to complete a series of fun and challenging tasks aimed at increasing your awareness of physical space.

Digital Space – Take inspiration from the awesome technology available from the OLITA Tech Lending Library and propose some new digital spaces to solve old library problems.

Mental Space – Wrap up the day with a short, meditative exercise that will put you in the right headspace to tackle any workplace challenges that come your way!


We can’t think of a more appropriate venue to host a conference celebrating space than the Inn on the Twenty in Jordan, ON.  Featuring a beautiful conference room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the scenic Jordan Valley, the Inn on the Twenty exemplifies the inspiration and creativity that can be drawn from a striking physical space.

Dining room at Inn on the Twenty
The dining room at Inn on the Twenty

And make sure you arrive with plenty of space in your belly.  The Inn’s delicious lunch service is sure to have you going back for seconds.

For carpooling opportunities, please add your information here.

The OCULA Spring Conference takes place Friday, April 29 at the Inn on the Twenty in Jordan, ON.  Visit the conference website for full schedule and details. Space is limited, so register today. And be sure to use the conference hashtag, #OCULA2016.

Jack Young is Digital Projects Librarian at McMaster’s Health Sciences Library. Jack’s work includes research support, e-learning, impact metrics, and staff training and development.  He is a councillor-at-large on OCULA council and is the lead planner of the 2016 OCULA Spring Conference.  Jack can be reached at jkyoung[at]   

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