FOPL ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)

Important Links Summary for Library Boards and Management

We have been pretty active here at FOPL for the over hundred days of lockdown and gradual re-opening of our physical spaces and services.  As you can see from our many postings at and FOPL’s OpenMediaDesk project page on Facebook there were a lot of questions and answers to address.

However, we know you have been pretty busy too and that is a big understatement!  So, just ICYMI, here is a summary of some useful links and readings that we have found that are of particular interest to Ontario public library boards and CEOs/management teams.  Please feel encouraged to share some or all of this message.  I have tried to make it scannable so please don’t get overwhelmed by this long message.  Consider it your summer reading list. (

Broadly, as of today, nearly all of Ontario public libraries are in Stage 2, Phase 1 of physical facilities re-opening.  We expect to see some regional Stage 3 re-opening guidance from the Ontario government in the coming few weeks.

Some Need-To-Know Links for Library Boards and CEOs/Management Teams

Public Libraries are Part of the Solution.

Remarks Before the Ontario Legislature Standing Committee on Finance and the Economy: June 25, 2020

FOPL and OLA were invited to share our sector’s experience with the lockdown as well as three important recommendations about how we would like to see the economy re-build.

COVID-19 & Municipal Fiscal Impacts on Ontario’s Public Libraries: Letter to Minister Clark (MMAH) and Minister MacLeod (MHSTCI)

FOPL and OLA sent this letter to highlight the critical situation for Ontario’s municipalities and our concerns about our funding from this major source.

We have also worked closely with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for almost a year.  We expect the new regulations arising out of Bill 108 related to development charges (DC) and community benefit charges (CBC) to be released this summer.  We are assured that our voice and recommendations have been heard and that these new frameworks will be good for Ontario’s public libraries.

Stage 3 of Ontario’s COVID-19 reopening plan looms nearer

Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to July 10 as more communities enter Stage 2, maintaining health and safety protocols remains a top priority

2020-21 Public Library Operating Grants (PLOG) program information

FOPL and OLA actively approached the government for early release of the provincial funding for public libraries.  Our Ministry listened and this has been done.  SOLS has many resources available if you have any questions and this and the Annual data collection deadline extension.

SOLS Resources on PLOG and Annual Survey

Ontario Government Survey: Economic impacts of COVID-19: DEADLINE August 31, 2020

Please endeavour to fill out this survey with your local library’s experiences – both positive and challenging.

Anniversaries including the Ontario Public Library Lockdown

Pick-Up and Delivery Services: Guidance for Ontario Public Libraries is now available

FOPL and OLA with support from SOLS and OLS-North worked with the province on re-opening strategies.  Our first initiative was the advisory on curb-side services followed by Stage 2 conversations on your behalf.

The following links are organized around critical issues and cover:

  1. Re-Opening Physically
  2. Going Fine-Free
  3. Staff Management & Development
  4. COVID-19
  5. Understanding Our Partners (Schools, Daycares, Museums, etc.)
  6. CEO & Board Development
  7. Understanding the Municipal Challenges
  8. Going Fine-Free
  9. Staff Management & Development
  10. Advocacy, Communication, & Funding
  11. Completing Hi-speed Broadband in Ontario
  12. Library Programming
  13. Current Events About Inclusion and the Public Library: Anti-Racism, LGBTQ, First Nations, BIPOC, #BLM, Anti-Trans, Anti-Semitism, & differently abled.
  14. Technology – The New Normal Meeting


Re-Opening Physically

Library management teams have been doing a fantastic job by doing the research, planning, training, and engaging with their communities – first by upping their digital game and then progressively and safely re-introducing services.

FOPL summarization of links about quarantining books and materials, sanitizing them, disinfection procedures

Ontario libraries responding to COVID-19: Checklist for reopening libraries

SOLS: Covid-19: Informational Resources for Public Libraries: Boards, Staff Development and Re-Opening

LJ: Security Experts on How To Reopen Safely

Your Library is Reopening: How to Communicate New Rules to Your Staff and the Public During a Pandemic


Don’t Stop Communicating! Tips for Handling Library Promotion Overload During a Crisis

SirsiDynix Webinar: COVID-19: Preparing and Implementing Tools to Reopen Post Stay-At-Home-Order – Part 1

SirsiDynix Webinar: COVID-19: Preparing and Implementing Tools to Reopen Post Stay-At-Home-Order – Part 2

REALM (The REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project)Project: Systematic Literature Review

EveryLibrary is Partnering with Counting Opinions for an eMeasures Snapshot COVID Survey

IFLA Key Resources for Libraries in responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic including re-opening

Recent Leger Canadian Poll Results and Webinars: COVID-19 and Re-opening

A Michigan library had to issue a public statement telling people not to microwave their books

COVID-19 Reboarding Checklist: Six best practices to consider before reopening.

How to Tackle Library Signage in a Pandemic and Make Visitors Feel Comfortable With Your New Rules

Customize 320+ hand washing poster templates

We really need some great library-oriented physical distancing signage (humour would be a plus!).

How many books or words are there in 2 metres (about 6.5 feet)?

After the Lockdown: Pandemic Marketing 2.0

Re-Opening and Building Occupancy 

PPE and Ontario Public Libraries

CULC: Toolkit Webinar Presentations on Recovery & Reimagined Public Library Service Post COVID-19

Redesigning Libraries, Archives & Museums Post-COVID-19

Webinar Recording: COVID-19: Safety Tips for Reopening Your Library


Going Fine-Free

A few leading library systems in Ontario are going fine-free – some forever and some through the end of the year.  Some are ending fines for kids and teens.  The New Normal can be a better normal!

Is it time to re-open Ontario’s Public Libraries as Fine-free Public Institutions?

Vaughan Public Libraries is pleased to announce that we are going fine-free.

Oakville PL goes fine-free on all library materials for the rest of 2020

Why Brampton joined libraries across North America in getting rid of some or all library fines


Staff Management & Development

Our first priority is to the well-being of our staff and community residents.  As with any management issue it is always more complicated than it looks at first glance.

Canada: Feds release guidebook on return of public servants to worksites

Video: COVID-19 is STRESSFUL for Library Workers. Here Are Tips to Help You Feel Better.


Prioritizing Staff Mental Health When Reopening

To Be Human in a Pandemic

VIDEO: Tips for Dealing With Angry Patrons When Your Library Reopens

A tip sheet for non-profits and charities: Communications during COVID-19

Here’s What Libraries In Canada Will Look Like When They Re-Open


COVID-19: Quality Information for Management

The CDC expands its list of coronavirus symptoms

A guide to COVID-19 social circles and Ontario guidelines on physical distancing

US CDC posts COVID-19 safety tips to minimize everyday risk of reopening: Includes Libraries

A second wave of COVID-19 is likely… but unpredictable

Should you do it? Toronto experts rank 29 once-mundane activities by their COVID-19 risk

List of Free Online Resources for Canadians During the COVID-19 Pandemic

University of Toronto Libraries: How can I spot misinformation about the coronavirus and COVID-19?

Coronavirus Print & Social Media Resources to help #StopTheSpread


Understanding Our Partners (Schools, Daycares, Museums, etc.)

One of our biggest challenges is working with our partners.  They are also struggling with re-opening safely and serving their users.  Public Libraries must keep well-informed about how school and day-care re-openings and the predicted differences from the past, will affect our operations.  We are also an important part of the social (museums, galleries, events) and economic (business, employment, government, etc.) infrastructure of our communities and can be a positive force for growth and safety as a New Normal emerges.

News Release: Ontario Prepares for the Safe Reopening of Schools: Province Releases School Safety Plan for the 2020-21 School Year

SickKids Release Guidelines for School Re-Openings

Ontario Develops Additional Learning Materials for Students and Teachers

CBC: What might K-12 schools look like in the fall? Depends where you are, educators say

7 Steps for Sending Kids Back to School

CBC: Virtual school is almost out for summer. So how well did distance learning work in the GTA?

Federal Guidance for School Bus Operations during the COVID-19 Pandemic:

News Release Ontario Makes Historic Investment in Public Education June 19, 2020

Every School Board to Receive Funding Increase to Ensure Student Success

Ontario Makes Major Investment in Mental Health and Technology to Support Students

Ontario Museum Association (OMA) Reopening Guidance

Childcare centres in Ontario can re-open on June 12 with some restrictions, Ford says

The Ontario daycare reopening plan is a hot mess

What will Ontario daycares look like when they reopen?

Canadians’ Attitudes on Returning to Indoor and Outdoor Arts and Cultural Events

Resources on Reopening Museums


CEO & Board Development

As you will have already surmised, your library’s strategic plan has been disrupted.  It is likely   that your vision and mission are mostly fine, but your ‘old’ goals to support community vitality, learning, engagement, and economic health may be off for the next few years.  It is probably time for a review with an eye to helping Ontario’s communities re-build, get back to work, and have some (safe) fun.

Lastly, these last few months have proven the wisdom of FOPL’s investments with our partnerships and government relationship building.  A thorough review of your library’s partnership health and municipal relationships is in order as well as some advocacy training and strategies to prepare for any new waves of pandemic or other disruptions.

OLBA Trustee Webinar Conversation: Referenced Resources from FOPL

EveryLibrary Institute: Library Advocacy and Funding Conference September 14-16th

Canadian Bar Assn: Getting back to work Sorting through the many privacy issues as businesses get their workplaces ready

How Libraries Are Stepping Up as a Front Line of Resilience

Experts Weigh In: When Will Life Return to Normal?

Now is a great time survey your users!

Who’s responsible if I catch COVID-19 at a restaurant or other private business? A lawyer answers

Free CFLA-CARL Webinar: Privacy, Libraries and COVID-19 / Free webinar presented by the FCAB and CARL: Respect for privacy, libraries, and COVID-19

New Infectious Disease Emergency Leave Provides Relief to Ontario Employers

“Can my employer force me to wear PPE?

Amendments to the Employment Standards Act

TorStar: What are your rights as you return to work in the middle of a pandemic? We asked two employment lawyers

The new normal? Canadians say they don’t want it to look much like the old one


Understanding the Municipal Challenges

Our major funding source by far in Ontario is our municipal governments.  And they are struggling a lot around tax and fee losses as well as sash-flow issues.  The best first rule of library advocacy is to seek to understand your target funder.  Here are some links to the sources that municipal mayors, CAOs and councillors listen to.

Table of Contents: July 2020 issue of Municipal World

Municipal World MW Shares Podcast: Threats to social cohesion, budget cuts, and virtual Canada Day – in this week’s COVID-19 recap

Municipal World: MW Shares Podcast: Digital transformation in the face of a pandemic – Part 1

FCM: Municipalities say financial relief urgently needed or safe restart efforts could be derailed

Municipal World Podcast: MW SHARES: MUNICIPAL PANDEMIC RESPONSE: The long-term financial impacts of COVID-19 – Part 1

Municipal World MW SHARES PODCAST: MUNICIPAL PANDEMIC RESPONSE: The long-term financial impacts of COVID-19 – Part 2

Municipal World Podcast: Municipal challenges ahead – latest episode of MW Shares

Municipal World Podcast: MW Shares: Liminality: Preparing communities for new world ahead – Parts 1 & 2

Municipal World: Five strategic planning challenges – and how to overcome them

Municipal World: MW Shares Podcast: Virtual conferencing, public service, and the lasting impacts of COVID-19 on municipalities – Part 1

MUNICIPAL WORLD PODCAST: MW SHARES: Masks and the role of Canadian Municipalities

Municipal World: Communicating with employees during COVID-19

Municipal World Podcast: MW SHARES: MUNICIPAL PANDEMIC RESPONSE The Second Wave is Coming

Municipal World Podcast: MW SHARES: MUNICIPAL WORLD PODCAST: Launching an economic development strategy during a pandemic

Municipal World Podcast: MW SHARES: MUNICIPAL PANDEMIC RESPONSE: Tough decisions ahead for Canadian municipalities – Parts 1&2

Municipal World: Big consulting firms’ toolbox for achieving efficiency & savings


Advocacy, Communication, & Funding

There are some early funding sources that are emerging that we track and share at  All involve us and our partners like CFLA being at the table to influence their creation.  That said, local applications are in your purview so here’s a summary of recent links around advocacy and funding.

Advocating for fundraising during emergencies: How to respond to arguments that fundraising is ‘inappropriate’ during the Coronavirus pandemic

If we want to reform police departments, put money into libraries

Why infrastructure funding is a top stimulus tool

Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) Funding is available to improve accessibility and safety in your community spaces and workplaces.

The 3 steps to getting government grants: Fundingportal analysis

Ontario Supporting Indigenous-Owned Businesses During COVID-19

EveryLibrary Institute: Library Advocacy and Funding Conference September 14-16th

Fundraising Idea with Humour

What Fundraising Needs Most: A Better Grasp on Reality

VIA ONN: COVID-19 Community Grant Opportunities

Library explains new curbside book pickup with “Ice Ice Baby” parody LAUNCHED! by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries

Ottawa announces additional $75M in pandemic funding for Indigenous people living off-reserve: Funds will go to community groups providing ‘crucial’ services


Completing Hi-speed Broadband in Ontario

In May, the Ontario Government announced a new, $150 million investment to expand broadband and cell service in rural, remote, and underserved parts of the province. Successful applicants to the Improving Connectivity in Ontario (ICON) program will receive funding for a portion of the costs for projects to improve connectivity. Many of you have already contacted us about whether public libraries will be able to access this funding program, as public libraries were not specifically identified on the list of eligible organizations. It is our understanding that public libraries are not part of the focus of this program.

We are confident that the Ministry of Infrastructure recognizes the essential role that public libraries perform as broadband connectivity hubs in communities across the province. Prior to this announcement, the Ministry initiated an active dialogue with both OLA & FOPL to better understand the current state of broadband connectivity in Ontario’s public libraries. We are closely engaged with the Ministry of Infrastructure as it examines potential options to support enhanced broadband connectivity and capacity in Ontario’s public libraries, particularly in rural and Northern communities.

Grey County issues ‘call to action’ to expand broadband to under-served areas

Ontario Improving Broadband and Cell Service for Rural Communities

Federal Minister of rural development ‘open’ to internet access becoming public utility

Universal Broadband: The Time Has Come

Seven Cheap and Clever Ways to Bridge the Digital Divide and Promote Your Library to People Who Don’t Have Internet Access

CBC: We need to get all Canadian students online quickly in the face of pandemic uncertainty

In rural Ontario, the internet barely allows kids to learn and adults to work. Here’s a $1.2-billion pitch to fix it

Survey Shows Big Remote Learning Gaps For Low-Income And Special Needs Children

Have libraries provide wifi, devices to workers, small businesses, Liberal MPPs urge



We offer a lot of ideas for digital programming on the FOPL OpenMediaDesk Facebook Group.  Here are a few regular news items just to whet your palate.  Most libraries are doing a great job pivoting our programs this summer with the Forest of Reading and TD Summer Reading Program as well as hundreds of other creative and innovative programs meeting the needs of their local communities.

User Behaviour Change: Quarantine has changed us — and it’s not all bad

19 Positive Summer Reading Activities During COVID

OLA: Forest of Reading Festival Partners with CBC to Launch a Virtual Edition of the annual event

Drone and Robot Book Delivery

5 Tips for Filming Virtual Storytime

Tips for Recording Digital Book Talks

Homelessness and Public Libraries

U of T librarian creates online resource to fight COVID-19 misinformation

Library Author Visits Podcast

PLA Webinar July 22, 2020: Transition Planned In-Person Adult Programs to a Virtual Environment

CAMH survey shows pandemic affecting mental health, but anxiety levels may be easing

Think Outside the Library with a Sidewalk Obstacle Course

Storywalk Inspiration: Libraries Storywalk Programs

LJ: Through COVID-19 Closures, Libraries Take Book Clubs Virtual

How to Make Videos People Will Watch on Social Media

Forest of Reading: Announcing the Kid and Teen Committee Summer Reading Lists

COVID-19 poll: Canadian youth the most impacted by pandemic lockdown

Tamarack: Empowering Youth During a Pandemic

National TD Summer Reading Club (TDSRC) Re-Imagined and Starting June 15th, 2020


Current Events About Inclusion and the Public Library: Anti-Racism, LGBTQ, First Nations, BIPOC, #BLM, & differently abled.

You would have to be a hermit to have missed the global conversation on the systemic issues affecting the success of our Ontario residents.  FOPL’s board approved our statement which now joins our statement on Truth & Reconciliation.  It is a journey of self-review and action which we are committed to.  We encourage all members to join us on this journey.

FOPL Statement of Solidarity with Black Community Against Systemic Racism

Some library boards have endorsed this statement.

Statements and Commitments from the Canadian Library and GLAM Community On Racism, Injustice, and Violence 

Current Events: GUIDE TO ALLYSHIP: An evolving open-source guide to help you become a more thoughtful and effective ally


5 Tips For Being An Ally

Systemic Discrimination Remediation in Ontario’s Public Libraries

Anti-Racist Resource Guide

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has officially changed the definition of “racism.”

Serving the Transgender Community: It’s More Than Just Bathrooms!

Webliography: Anti-Racism Resources

Statements From Libraries and Library Organizations Re: Racism and Increased Violence

IFLA Responds to UN Questionnaire on Human Rights and COVID-19

How are genealogy companies addressing racism?

“I’ve worked for years on anti-racism training. Here’s what I’ve learned about how Canadians can take the next steps”

CBC: Canadian publisher creates Google map charting Black-owned bookstores across North America

Webinar Recording: How do we respond to anti-Black racism in urbanist practices and conversations? Canadian Urban Institute

Canadians shocked by George Floyd’s death should face up to the Indigenous struggle here at home

Archives as resources for revitalizing First Nations languages

National Survey results Canadian Museum Association’s Reconciliation Program

June marks National Indigenous History Month: TPL Indigenous Month Resources

The One World free posters featured for free download in Teaching Tolerance magazine

Pandemic worsens Canada’s deadly opioid overdose epidemic

Why everyone should learn how to administer naloxone

OCLC: Research findings published from public libraries and the opioid crisis study

OMA Ontario Museum Association: Inclusion 2025: A Practitioner’s Guide to Inclusive Museums

CFLA: Canadian version of Getting Started: Implementing the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities: A practical guide for librarians

The future is boundless: Learning about dyslexia provides an opportunity for educators and parents to positively shift the entire curve.

Is Your Online Library for Everyone? 5 Disability Myths

Centre for Equitable Library Access…SOLS Update


Technology – The New Normal Meeting

Clearly, nearly everyone’s digital skills have grown and gotten better with so much practice!

What it feels like to experience Zoom burnout and how to avoid it

Zoom now plans to offer end-to-end encryption to free users, not just paying customers

Microsoft Teams will show 49 video call participants, matching Zoom

Video: Here are 5 ways to improve your Google Meet video calls

My Videoconference Is Not Working. What Can I Do?