For the past eleven years, library staff from the Universities of Toronto, York and Ryerson have met to discuss new developments in library sciences in the Greater Toronto Area. This year, for the 12th annual conference, OCAD University Library was invited to participate.
The theme of this year's conference was: "The Responsive Library" and used the following mandate to structure its programming:
In academic libraries one thing is certain: change is inevitable. As educational and technological landscapes transform, driving new demands and expectations from user groups, libraries anticipate, evaluate, and react to change in order to best support the teaching, learning, and research missions of their university communities. From digital spaces to physical spaces, from preservation of data to personal assistance, academic libraries step up and deliver.
Almost thirty presentations were offered exploring aspects of collection development; archives and data management; reference and instructional services; digitization and much more. Guest speakers included:
Two special session this year we devoted to libraries and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission:
And, of course, our OCAD University Librarians contributed to the session offerings with a presentation on supporting studio-based learning in the academic library environment. See left-hand column for the presentation overview.
OCAD University is a studio-based learning environment that has been at the forefront of innovation in Canadian art and design education since 1876. The school’s transition to full university status in 2002 has advanced this tradition by exploring intersections between academic structures and the unique epistemologies of creative research. This process has required a re-thinking of goals and objectives in aesthetic education, as well as discovering commonalities between the two realms of scholarly and creative research; an integrative framework termed as scholartistry by researchers Knowles, Promislow, and Cole (2008). In response, the Dorothy H. Hoover Library has striven to participate in bridging these two domains at OCAD University by emulating studio-based learning methodologies within an academic library framework.
The conference session explored the library’s unique environment and how it has used new learning models in its daily operations from space planning, to enacting visual literacy standards, through to employing studio learning practices to provide information literacy support. As a forum for expressing new scholartistry goals, the library has become a partner in digital publishing through the Open Research Repository; a platform that seeks to collaborate with faculty to explore Open Journal Systems and Open Monographs as an ideal discursive forum for scholarly communication in a creative arts environment.
As a tangible manifestation of the library’s pedagogical goals, the session profiled the Learning Zone, a studio-based space that serves as a laboratory for the library in exploring new services to OCAD University students. It is an experimental, information-rich environment with both high-tech and low-tech options for students to pursue their research unfettered by the arbitrarily imposed division between analogue and digital materiality. This highly creative library environment at OCAD University facilitates proximal learning at various points in the creative process, serving as a site for case study research, display, studio-based exploration, and performance.
Overall, the session unpacked ideas of how libraries can activate studio-based learning, community development, and excellence in creative production through an ethos of flexibility, adaptability, and curiosity about the needs of researchers engaged in scholartistry.