As you are no doubt aware, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport released the First Culture Strategy in Ontario this year.  It contains a large number of recommendations including this specific recommendation:

Goal 2: Strengthen culture in communities, Strategy 1: Help build strong community-based culture organizations:

  • Review and update provincial funding programs for public libraries to build the capacity of libraries serving rural and remote communities, improve digital services and support leadership and innovation.”

We have been working on our members’ and communities’ behalf for a few months meeting with Ministry staff and creating the frameworks for a healthy and productive discussion with the review team.

We now have a Discussion Document created by a strong collaboration within Ontario’s library community.  Represented in this discussion paper were writing and review teams from:

  • Federation of Ontario Public Libraries (FOPL)
  • Ontario Library Association (OLA and including its divisions: the Ontario Public Library Association (OPLA) and the Ontario Library Boards Association (OLBA))
  • Chief Executives of Large Urban Public Libraries (CELUPL)
  • Administrators of Medium-sized Public Libraries of Ontario (AMPLO)
  • Administrators of Rural and Urban Public Libraries of Ontario (ARUPLO)
  • Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC)

In consultation with:

  • Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS)
  • Ontario Library Service – North (OLS-North)

The goal of our sector is to speak with one voice about our recommendations as a public library community. We support ongoing consultation and engagement with the public library community and municipalities.

This discussion paper presents principles for consideration and discussion in response to the recommendation in The Ontario Culture Strategy – Telling our stories, growing our economy (2016).

At this point we are not taking strong positions but engaging in good discussion as well as research tasks to present our community well.  The time-frame for this funding review is likely 18-24 months and may have an impact in the 2018 provincial budget although there are no guarantees.

We expect to confirm a public forum about the funding review  at OLA Super Conference on the afternoon of Wednesday Feb. 1, 2017.  We highly recommend your attendance and that you bring short, positive stories of your library’s impact on your community aligned with the provincial goals and priorities.

This is our opportunity to shine!  And share positive stories about the value and impact of public libraries.

If you’d like to read the discussion paper.  This is a living document and will be provided to the review team in good time.  Here it is: CultureStrategyFundingReview V11

Any constructive comments can be sent to FOPL’s Stephen Abram ( and OLA’s Shelagh Paterson (