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Once Upon a Time: 2017 OCULA Spring Conference

The theme for this year’s OCULA Spring Conference is Storytime: Using narrative to represent ourselves, our work, and our library, but what is a story? According to YA author Scott Westerfeld:

Stories are a technology. They’re a tool, one invented to inform, persuade, and entertain other humans… Stories are also very powerful. Someone who remains unconvinced after a thousand pages of scientific data can often be swayed by just the right anecdote.

In academic libraries, we use stories every day, often without even noticing it. Whether we are creating instructional scenarios, contextualizing data, or networking with colleagues, narrative helps us connect with others and better understand our work and our world.


If you are unsure how to create a report that will “tell the library’s story” to upper administration, or you dread the “tell me about yourself” part of a job interview, then our keynote speaker Sage Tyrtle is here to help. A professional storyteller, she will be demonstrating the art of storytelling and providing us with some guidance in creating our own stories.

Lightning Talks

Everyone has a story, and during two sessions of lightning talks you will get to hear twelve of your colleagues tell theirs. Covering archives, metrics, marketing and much more, these talks will explore all aspects of library life.

Conversation and Creativity

An important part of this event is getting the opportunity to talk to people from other institutions. As usual, we will have some activities that will encourage you to work together and get a little creative as you develop new skills. This year, the activities will focus on telling your career story and using data visualization to bring numbers to life. There will be a little homework required to prepare for these activities, so keep an eye out for an email with instructions in early April.

Schedule and Food

For those of you who have been to an OCULA Spring Conference before, please note that this year we will be starting a little later in an effort to reduce traffic issues. A few breakfast snacks will be available from 9am, and the conference will start at 10am. As usual, a delicious lunch will be provided, and there will be an afternoon tea/coffee break.


After many years in Jordan, we are moving to a more urban environment this year: Mills Hardware in downtown Hamilton. We hope that the wider range of transit options to Hamilton will make it easier for people to get to this location. It also enables us to add in an optional post-conference social for those who would like to go out for a bite to eat or a drink while they wait for the rush-hour traffic to die down. A request for expressions of interest in this social event will be sent out just before the conference.

We are very excited about this year’s conference and hope that you will join us in Hamilton. More details about the conference, and a link to register, can be found at

Fiona Inglis is the Social Sciences and Humanities Liaison Librarian at Wilfrid Laurier University. She can be reached at finglis [at]

This Post Has One Comment

  1. […] This issue’s OCULA President’s message also highlights a current fundraising initiative supporting the OCULA New Librarian Residency Award, and two upcoming OCULA events, one later this month and another in June. This event coming up later this month is the OCULA Spring Conference. You can read more and watch a brief video about it in Fiona Inglis’ article Once Upon a Time: 2017 OCULA Spring Conference. […]

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