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InsideOCULA Newsletter: February 2018

By Rob Makinson

February is upon us once more, and so another Super Conference has come and gone. I hope everyone who attended feels re-energized, because 2018 will undoubtedly bring its own challenges that will require us to work together. It is that theme—of connecting and collaborating in the face of change—that we tackle this issue, and we hope you will find some inspiration for the coming year.

In her final OCULA President’s message, Sarah Shujah reflects on how change can be inevitable, and stresses the importance of collaboration and advocacy—lobbying events like November’s Library Day are central to ensuring our academic libraries can weather the fast pace of change. She also reflects on her personal journey as President, thankful for the many people that have made the last year a successful one.

Keeping your social media accounts active and engaging can be a real challenge, but Jillian Sparks has you covered! In Instastacks: Promoting Collections and Community Through Instagram, you will learn how to use the photo-sharing site not just to promote, but to collaborate, engage, and even to provide reference services to your users.

Artificial intelligence can almost seem old hat these days: we all know our computers are smarter than us. But what happens when we ask machines to show their work? In Explainable Artifical Intelligence (AI), Mike Ridley talks about how this might happen, and how it could change library service models. Is your interest piqued? You will have to read on to find out more!

Now, to switch gears: Helen Power and Sharon Munro give us a glimpse into a library-turned-gym in Exercise Bikes at the Library: We Can Work it Out! Read more to hear about health benefits, safety concerns, a promotional campaign, and next steps for the exercise bikes at the University of Windsor’s Leddy Library.

Finally, we have two shorter articles with updates from around the province:

  • Ten weeks since faculty were legislated back to work, the spectre of the college strike still looms. In Freedom and Fake News: The College Faculty Strike, Eva McDonald shares some stories from the front lines, highlighting the role that librarians played in fighting ‘fake news’ and the importance of academic freedom in the college sector.
  • There is a major expansion to U of T’s Robarts Library underway. Jesse Carliner tells us about the process of planning a major library expansion with a focus on student study space: conversations with donors, consultation with the community, and anticipated usage are all featured.

We hope you find something here to spark your interest, and maybe to inspire your next great idea. In the meantime: keep yourself warm, remember that the days are getting longer, and we will see you again in April!

Rob Makinson is Communications and Engagement Librarian at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. You can reach him at rob.makinson [at]

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