RA in a Day: Past Event Details

RA in a Day is a one-day conference that brings some of the best readers’ advisory advocates together to share their knowledge and expertise on meeting the needs of adult readers. During the day, participants will learn about the latest RA trends and look at how to best serve those who visit our libraries every day, either in-person or virtually.

RA in a Day 2024 – Shaken, Not Stirred: Mixing Up Your Readers’ Advisory Practice (Virtual Event)

Join us for an engaging RA in a Day event designed to broaden your perspectives on current RA practices. Mix up your readers’ advisory approach by learning new skills, refreshing current practices and contributing to the RA discussion.

Event Highlights:

Panel Discussions: hear from library professionals, major publishers and authors about book recommendations that blur traditional genres.

Interactive sessions: Join us for two interactive sessions where your voice is part of the discussion. Learn from others and get tips and tricks to help your RA practice. 

Updated Skills: Be the first to see the newly updated RA Core Competencies and leave the event energized and ready to put your new skills to work.

Full program here

RA in a Day: Murders, Memoirs, and Mindfulness: Bridging the Gap between Fiction and Nonfiction

This year we’re heading into the rich world of nonfiction for an unforgettable day of recommendations, programming suggestions, and reading lists to take back to the readers in your library.  

Full Schedule


Members: $125 

Non Members $225 


RA in a Day 2021: Virtual Conference

Full Schedule here 


Actively Anti-Racist Library Service to Leisure Readers
Stop Scrolling! Level Up Your Library’s Social Engagement
Dewey Divas Best Bets
Live Chat: Collection Controversies
Live Chat: RA Open Forum
Not Just on Holidays: Diversity and Inclusion Titles for Your Library
Indigenous Representation and Critical Analysis in Literature
Family, Legacy and Blood Memory with David A. Robertson

Out of the Shadows: Taking the “Scary” out of Horror Readers’ Advisory


9:40- 9:45Introduction and Welcome (RA Committee Chair)
9:45 – 10:30Exploring the Dark Side: The What and Why of the Horror Genre
What is Horror, really? During this panel, learn about the genre from the ground up! Our panelists Amy Jane Vosper and James Grainger will help you make sense of who reads the genre and why. You may even find yourself turning to the dark side by picking up one of their recommended titles.
10:30 – 10:45Break
10:45 – 11:45What’s New on Horror Shelves, from A(liens) to Z(ombies)
Join the Dewey Divas and Dudes as they tell us about upcoming horror releases and dive into the cellar for noteworthy backlist titles.
11:45 – 1:00Luncheon Event – The Speaker is Calling from Inside the House: A Discussion of Horror in Films and Pop Culture
Our lunch speaker this year is journalist, author and horror expert Alexandra West.  Alexandra has written about horror films for the Toronto Star, Rue Morgue Magazine and Offscreen Film Journal. In 2012, she co-founded the Faculty of Horror podcast, exploring the films’ analytical side. She lives in Toronto, Ontario. Her latest book, The 1990s Teen Horror Cycle: Final Girls and a New Hollywood Formula, examines 1990s horror films within the context of the era’s youth subculture and politics, focusing on such films as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Scream (1996), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Idle Hands (1999) and Cherry Falls (2000). 
1:00 – 1:30Tours
1:30 – 2:30He’s Heeeeeeere. A Conversation with Horror Author Nick Cutter
Part Lord of the Flies and part 28 Days Later, Nick Cutter’s first horror novel, The Troop, received excellent reviews and scared readers everywhere. Join us for a conversation with Nick as we discuss inspirations for his works and find out what scares him most!

“The Troop scared the hell out of me, and I couldn’t put it down. This is old-school horror at its best.” – Stephen King
2:30 – 3:15Get Out: Interactive Learning with Escape Boxes
Can you crack the code? Take some time with your tablemates to enjoy some entertaining and interactive Escape Boxes provided by Brampton Library! These escape boxes provide a 15-30 minute activity where players can search for hidden clues, solve puzzles and try to unlock the code. Do you have what it takes to escape?
3:15 – 4:00Sonic Scares: Engage Your Community with True Crime Podcasts
Wondering how you can program for the Horror genre in your library? Take a stab at hosting a true crime podcast program! In this session, participants will learn how to run catchy podcast programming from Toronto Public Library staff member Reagan Kapasi. Learn the format, technology requirements, and benefits of podcast programming. Participants will benefit from recommended listening guides from TPL’s “Talk About Podcasts” and have an opportunity to Ask A Podcast Expert during the break!
4:00Final Comments and Door Prizes

Taking Reading Online: #reading #socialmedia

9:00- 9:15  Welcoming Remarks
Grab a coffee and carbs! 

 9:15 – 10:30 Panel: Social Media and Libraries
Learn tips and tricks about how library systems like yours are featuring readers’ advisory on their social media sites. We’ll be discussing lessons learned, how to increase your follower count and engage with your audience more effectively. 
Panelists: Mallory Pierce, Jess Kovacs, St. Thomas Public Library; Charlotte Prong, Kitchener Public Library;  and Brendan Foster Algoo, Wendy Banks, Toronto Public Library.

10:30-11:00  Coffee Break
Feel free to refresh your coffee and meet the vendors at the exhibits. 

11:00-12:00  How To #Bookstagram Like a Pro
Join us for an interactive panel discussion with BiblioCommons, a publishing representative and an expert #bookstagrammer to discuss how they engage their audiences in readers’ advisory initiatives using social media. Questions will include preferred methods of reaching customer, best ways to promote user generated content, as well as ways to keep your customers engaged, and excited about new releases.
Panelists: Maxine Levine, BiblioCommons; Dina Pen, Bookstagrammer; Kaitlyn Vincent, HarperCollins

12:00-12:30 Lunch Break
Lunch will be provided to all attendees. Please inform the OLA office inform the OLA office if you have dietary issues. 

12:30-1:30 – Lunchtime Speaker: Susanne Kearsley, author of Belleweather
Beyond her status as a New York Times bestselling author, the list of Susanna Kearsley’s accomplishments is as impressive as it is long. With over a dozen books to her credit, she has twice won the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, as well as a RITA award, and the Catherine Cookson Literary Prize. She was also a finalist for the Arthur Ellis award and the UK’s Romantic Novel of the Year.
Her newest book Bellewether will be released on April 24, but thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada is available today for all RA in a Day attendees! Book sale and signing to follow. Already rated a 4.5 on Goodreads, this title is sure to be on all of your reader’s summer reading lists! 

1:30-2:30 – Social Media Tool Kit 
Take time with your table mates to enjoy some entertaining and interactive techniques to put into practice what we’ve learned about Social Media and RA so far. RA and Social Media tools will be shared with all tables, and expert facilitators will be roving to assist with the activities.

2:30-2:45   Coffee Break
Hydrate, caffeinate, go get a breath of fresh air. We still have one more amazing speaker to go! 

2:45-3:45 Keynote: Annie Spence, author, librarian, your smart and funny new best friend
Annie Spence is a librarian and author living in Detroit, Michigan. Her book, Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks, A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes for the Books in her Life, is a collection of letters Annie has composed to her most treasured and least loved titles. Annie will be reading to us from her book and answering questions, with a book sale and signing to follow.

3:45-4:00 Closing Remarks, Giveaways
You like free books, right? Well guess what, we’ve got stacks of free books with your name on them! Honestly, please take them, we don’t want to carry them home. 

Presented by the Ontario Library Association

Friday, April 21, 2017 | Faculty Club, University of Toronto
41 Willcocks Street
Toronto, ON, M5S 1C7
Member Rate $160 / Non-Member Rate $225
Student Rate (Must be a Member) $45

To Boldly Read Where No-one Has Read Before! – Science Fiction & Readers’ Advisory
RA in a Day is a one-day conference that brings some of the best readers’ advisory advocates together to share their knowledge and expertise on meeting the needs of adult readers. During the day, participants will learn about the latest RA trends and look at how to best serve those who visit our libraries every day, either in-person or virtually.

The 2017 program for RA in a Day will focus on the history of and current trends in Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction. All of the sessions will share tips and techniques aimed at increasing your knowledge of the genre and raising your comfort level in talking to patrons about both specific books and trends in this genre. 

Registration is now closed.

9:15 – 9:30Introduction and Welcome (RA Committee Chair)
9:30 – 10:15Defining the Science Fiction Tradition
Lorna Toolis, Head of the Merrill Collection, TPL, will be sharing must-know titles and subgenres, discussing elements of the science fiction and speculative tradition, and providing tips on how best to talk about science fiction with library patrons.
10:30 – 11:30Trends and themes in Science Fiction Panel Discussion
Chris Szego, Manager of Bakka-Phoenix Books and Julie Czerneda, author of The Gate to Futures Past join us to discuss their thoughts on Science Fiction, the growth of the genre, its past, present and future, trends in publishing, and the titles that best represent the genre.
12:00 – 2:00Luncheon Event 
Our lunch speaker this year is science fiction writer and self-proclaimed futurist, Madeline Ashby.  Madeline is the author of the Machine Dynasty series, as well as various short fiction and most recently the acclaimed Company Town.  Described as a “futuristic murder-mystery thriller”, Company Town, which was longlisted for Canada Reads 2017, is a unique blend of mystery, action and cyber-genetics.  Madeline will be speaking about her experiences writing science-fiction, and her unique twists on the genre, as well as reading from her work and signing books after lunch. 
2:00 – 2:45Interactive Session
Take some time with your tablemates to enjoy some entertaining and interactive techniques to put into practice what we’ve learned about science fiction so far. RA tools will be shared with all tables, and the RA Committee will be roving to assist with the activities.
3:00 – 4:00Keynote Presentation – Sam Maggs
End the day with a talk about science fiction and diversity. “Geek girl” Sam Maggs is the author of The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy and Wonder Women, and she is also an assistant writer for video game developer Bioware. Sam will be reading from her work, talking about science fiction, gaming and women, and signing her books at The Library Marketplace table afterward.
4:15Final Comments and Door Prizes

RA in a Day 2015
Red Hot RA: Demystifying the Romance Genre

Friday October 23, 2015


Hosted at the Faculty Club, University of Toronto   
41 Willcocks Street
Toronto, ON, M5S 1C7
Members: $155
Non Member: $185                                                  
Students $35 (limited spots)

Event cost includes conference, lunch, breaks, and handouts.
Doors open and refreshments: 8:30am.

In partnership with Library Bound, a scholarship  is available in memory of Joyce Kipps to help off-set costs for an OLA member to attend RA in a Day. The recipient will receive a one (1) year membership with OLA/OPLA, free registration to RA in a Day and a monetary award towards the cost of travel/accommodations to attend the event.

Program at a glance:


8:30 – 9:00Welcome All
9:15 – 10:30Romancing the Book with Harlequin
Dana Hopkins, Editorial Assistant, Harlequin Blaze and American Romance, and Karen Reid, Associate Editor, Harlequin Superromance, will be joining us for a panel discussion on all things romance related. Ever wondered why these romances have been so popular for more than sixty years? This is your chance to find out! Learn about the different series, what elements go into making a great romance novel, and a book’s journey from manuscript to printed copy on the shelves.
Dana Hopkins
Karen Reid
11:00 – 12:00Fun with the Romance Genre
Participants will have a little fun while discussing the romance genre and its appeal factors.  The committee will lead the session which will include the development of dating profiles for famous romance characters, creating titles for romance novels and reading romance novels in 5 minutes.
OLA’s Readers’ Advisory Committee
12:00 – 2:00Luncheon Event – “Love Between the Covers” documentary
Enjoy a teaser from the new documentary Love Between the Covers, which just had its world premiere at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto and has been picked up for world wide distribution. This documentary film takes its viewers into the multi-billion dollar romance fiction business and the remarkable worldwide community of women who create, consume, and love romance novels. It is brought to us by the Toronto Romance Writers, an official chapter of the Romance Writers of America.
 Film & Toronto Romance Writers
2:00 – 3:00Author Speaker: Maya Rodale, USA Today Bestselling Romance Writer
Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence. She is now the bestselling and award-winning author of numerous smart and sassy romance novels for Avon. A champion of the genre and its readers, she is also the author of the non-fiction book Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation Of Romance Novels, Explained and a frequent contributor to The Huffington PostBustle.com and more. Maya lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.
Maya Rodale,
USA Today Bestselling Romance Writer
3:00 – 4:00Keynote Speaker: Lisa Schimmer
Novelist cataloguer Lisa Schimmer is the Romance Writers of America’s Cathie Linz Librarian of the Year 2015, an award given to a librarian who excels in support and advocacy of romance authors, the romance genre, and romance readers.  

Her expertise in cataloguing romance novels, and increasing access through subject headings and appeal factors, tipped off the award committee that she was doing something special in connecting readers and books through libraries across North America. 

Lisa will be sharing how it is easier and faster to use these expanded appeal factors in Novelist to help our readers, and how to think about the romance genre in terms that are helpful when we’re faced with an RA request.
Lisa Schimmer,
Romance Writers of America 
2015 Cathie Linz Librarian of the Year
4:15Final Comments and Door PrizesAll

Exhibitor Displays:
Library Bound
OLA Store
Penguin Random House
Simon & Schuster Canada

The 2014 program for RA in a Day focused on the reading experience to honour the work of Catherine Sheldrick Ross to understand and celebrate the reader.  All of the sessions focused on the personal reading experience and the impact that reading has in our lives. 

Reading Practices of Older Adults – Presentation slides and follow-up reading

During the day, participants will learn about the latest RA trends and look at how to best serve those who visit our libraries every day, either in-person or virtually. RA in a Day 2012 looked at ways in which libraries could build community through reading and readers’ services.  From virtual to in-person, readers’ services can forge a connection with our community that benefits the reader and the library.  This year, we look at the different communities that libraries serve and present unique and informed strategies for making direct connections with diverse readers.

In 2011, we looked at the changing patterns of usage and the way virtual visits are changing service models; the speakers and panellists discussed strategies that enable library staff to take what we know about face to face readers’ advisory and take it where readers are, as this key library service moves into the virtual world. In 2012, we continued that conversation, understanding that more than ever reading builds community and libraries have a vital role to play in this development. We heard from the Globe and Mail and Toronto Public Library about online book clubs attracting diverse audiences, we shared ideas about great reading-based programs at our libraries in a round table, we were captivated by lunchtime author Deborah Harkness‘s stories about research into medieval manuscripts, witches and vampires, we received an update on Dr. Mar’s research, and learned about the great GoodReads features for libraries from Patrick Brown.

Focusing on reaching virtual readers our opening keynote was delivered by Duncan Smith, creator of NoveList. He spoke about RA as a Transformative Act. A morning panel assembled a group of thinkers around the idea of how we deliver our RA services and reach out to virtual patrons. Dr. Keith Oatley explored the psychological reasons for reading fiction. Throughout the afternoon several Ontario libraries showcased their merchandising and space planning efforts in patron reading areas. Over the lunch hour we were dazzled by the characters and stories of the brilliant Charlotte Gray.

Speakers included Rachel Van Riel talking about “Putting Readers First: An introduction to the reader-centred approach,” Dr. Raymond A. Mar talking about empirical research on reading, and its implications for advising readers, the committee members giving a talk about book trailers, and author Terry Fallis (replacing Andrew Pyper).

Speakers included George Murray and Jackie Sasaki talking about “Blogging books and blogging at your library,” Heather Booth talking about “Serving Teens Through Readers’ Advisory,” the committee members giving genre talks about narrative non-fiction, and author Kelley Armstrong.

Speakers included Laura Calderone talking about RA 2.0, Diana Tixier Herald talking about “Book Buzz: RA for YAs,” and author Helen Humphreys.

Speakers included David Wright talking about “Literature 2.0: Keeping Your Cool While Meeting the Reading Needs of the Twenty-something Reader,” Neal Wyatt talking about “Reading Maps: Charting Itineraries Through Books,” the Dewey Divas and the Dudes presenting Fall 2007 selections, and author Robert J. Sawyer.

A mystery-themed year with author Mary Jane Maffini.