Federation of Ontario Public Libraries

FOPL members (CEO’s, Management, Library Board members.)

We’re entering the very busy period for provincial budget and policy influence.  We care about library funding (it’s our top priority) and public policy affecting our public libraries and our communities, cardholders, and members.

Here’s how you can help!

Across Ontario we have a fairly new provincial government preparing their first full provincial budget.  We are also orienting new Library Board members and newly re-appointed Boards.  And, of course, we have newly elected Councils just starting their four-year term.  It is a little overwhelming!  There are, however, several small actions you can take that will build a stronger foundation for the next four years.

Here is what FOPL (and OLA/OPLA/OLBA) are asking you to consider:

1. Now is the BEST time to invite local MPP’s  to your library.  Many libraries have had great success by inviting MPP’s to the library because, of course, “A Visit Will Get You Thinking” / “Une visite: ça fait réfléchir.”!  FOPL and OLA can provide you with information if you need it.  You can accomplish this by:

  • Inviting them to read a book to your kids (with parents/caregivers present).  It’s a photo-op and they always love it!
  • Asking them to a library tour with your Board Chair and CEO.
  • Inviting them to make a visit to your library Board meeting as a special public event.
  • Always inviting them to new branch openings, celebration, and special events while giving them a few moments to welcome people.

At this point the key issues we’re trying to influence are related to provincial investments aimed to benefit the people of Ontario using  public libraries in Ontario.  We will have talking points ready for you soon but the top lines are:

  • Ensuring equitable treatment for rural, northern, small town, francophone and indigenous public libraries.
  • Increasing the PLOG – Provincial Public Library Operating Grant
  • Connectivity – ensuring all communities and Ontarians have advanced broadband access
  • Investing in digital skills development for all
  • Investing in a Digital Public Library for all Ontarians

2. Additionally now is also the BEST time to invite local Mayor(s) and Councillors to your library.  Many libraries have had great success by inviting MPP’s to the library because, of course, “A Visit Will Get You Thinking” / “Une visite: ça fait réfléchir.”!  FOPL and OLA can provide you with information if you need it.  You can accomplish this by:

  • Inviting them to read a book to your kids (with parents/caregivers present).  It’s a photo-op and they always love it! (Some libraries make social media and print Library READ posters with the ALA Software and others make trading cards.
  • Inviting them to make a visit to your library Board meeting as a special public event.
  • Inviting them to hold a special Council meeting at one of your branches.
  • Always inviting them to new branch openings, celebration, and special events while giving them a few moments to welcome people.

3. FOPL, OLA, SOLS and OLS-North have invest a lot over the last four years to improve the resources available to you to orient and support your Board members.  You have a more to use now:

4. FOPL has published a powerful welcome gift for you to give your new Trustees, Mayors, and Councillors.  This book generally costs under the gift policies of municipalities (check your local policies) and serves to orient them to the value and impact of library membership in Ontario and our role as community hubs and powerful, inclusive, cost-effective, and efficient public institutions serving everyone.  You can find out more about “Art in Your Wallet” at:

Exciting News: FOPL Book on Libraries, Library Cards and Our Value is AVAILABLE NOW

We expect that you can use this in many ways!

  1. Add it to your library’s collections and feature it prominently.
  2. Feature it on your website, social media, and blog.
  3. Purchase copies as welcoming gifts for your newly elected Councillors!
  4. Purchase copies as welcoming gifts for your newly appointed library trustees.

If you need a template welcome letter for your new councilors you’ll find one at the blog posting.

More to come.  However there is a lot our public library community can do to influence funding and public policy.  With this current provincial government we need to promote and empower the voices in our communities and emphasize the roles and impact of 21st Century public libraries.

Stephen Abram

sabram@fopl.ca