I thought that a response to Ken Whyte’s opinion column was needed from FOPL.  It was published today!

I decided to target the audience of authors, publishers, readers, and librarians rather than the general public that many others have done good work for. (See: https://fopl.ca/news/libraries-publishing-and-bookselling-responses-to-globe-and-mail-op-ed/)

Lend Me Your Ear: In defence of public libraries


I feel qualified to comment because:

Some background about me.  I am a professional librarian and have worked in all sectors of libraries and publishing.  I have held titles like publisher or vice president in 5 different publishing groups, internationally.  I work with Canadian and international copyright and licensing as well as book and electronic innovations and sales.  I have been president of my local, provincial, national, and international library associations.  I have authored or co-authored over 10 books and my wife has authored over 40.  I have written hundreds of articles and book chapters.  I consult with cultural organizations like libraries, museums, vendors, consortia, and associations.  I have been around a while and consider myself well-informed on the issues referenced in the debate.

A small, selected List of Public Library initiatives to build readers and markets

And purchase hoards of books to boot.

Combined, TD Summer Reading and Forest of Trees, are one of the largest Canadian book purchasing forums in Canada.

  • TD Summer Reading Program

TD Summer Reading Club is Canada’s biggest, bilingual summer reading program for kids of all ages, all interests, and all abilities. This free Club celebrates Canadian authors, illustrators, and stories, and inspires kids to explore the fun and love of reading their way. This is key to building a lifelong love of reading and combats the ‘summer slide’.

  • The OLA Ontario Forest of Trees Reading Program

The Forest of Reading® is Canada’s largest recreational reading program! This initiative of the Ontario Library Association (OLA) offers ten reading programs to encourage a love of readin g in people of all ages. The Forest helps celebrate Canadian books, publishers, authors, and illustrators. More than 270,000 readers participate annually from their school and/or public library. All Canadians are invited to participate via their local public library, school library, or individually.  Large regional events and a partnership in 2020 with the CBC promote authors and reading for all highlight the authors.

In addition, there are two many author and books programs to list but hey include hundreds of Author Visits, Podcasts, Book trailers, Web Events, One Book, One City/Town programs, Book Clubs, Book Fairs (like Scholar) and more.  On a national and provincial scale Library Book Awards are known sales drivers.  Each year libraries plan author events especially during Ontario Public Library Week, First Nations Library Week, and Canadian Library Month.

Lastly, smart publishers share their title discovery tools with libraries to ensure that they are part of the reader discovery eco-system.  This includes digital and advance CIP (Cataloguing in Publication), Book Covers, reviews, ARC’s (Advance Reader Copies), reading lists, funding Author Tours, and More.  This is how Canadian publishers participate with libraries to build awareness of their authors and titles – frontlist and backlist.

There’s this issues’ overview.  I know there is a lot more to say and look forward to sharing my knowledge with you – including the issues around digital licensing and e-books in libraries!  Until then, like any good librarian, here is a reading link list (a webliography), if you want to explore the roles of libraries with publishers and authors further.


This recent editorial opinion in the Globe & Mail has ignited another debate about the impact of public libraries sales.  It is ‘opinion’ since it remains remarkably biased and fact-free.  However, it does deserve a research-based response.

Overdue: Throwing the book at libraries by Ken Whyte in the Globe and Mail.


Michael Geist:  A Quarter-Billion Dollar Bag of Beans: Responding to Ken Whyte’s Attack on Library Book Loans


Brewster Kahle: Libraries vs Bookstores? No, False dichotomy. They are different Animals


How Libraries Help Authors Boost Book Sales

Libraries help increase book sales by stocking new titles, partnering with local bookstores for author events, promoting those events locally, hosting podcasts and other methods.


Public Libraries: How Authors Can Increase Both Discoverability and Earnings


The Case For Libraries: When it comes to books, libraries and publishers should be in it together, argues a leading marketing expert


Replacing the Myths About Marketing To Libraries


How libraries boost author book sales!


Pew FactTank Research: 7 surprises about libraries in our surveys


“One of the big concerns in the publishing industry about selling e-books to libraries is that allowing free access to e-books through libraries might eat into book sales. In fact, Pew Research data show that those who use libraries are more likely than others to be book buyers and actually prefer to buy books, rather than borrow them. Among the 78% of Americans 16 years and older who had read a book in the previous year, according to a survey we did in 2011, a majority of print readers (54%) and readers of e-books (61%) said they prefer to purchase their own copies of these books rather than borrow them from somewhere else.”

How You Can Tap into the $1.22 Billion Librarians Spend on Books Each Year


Our book sales: Three years in (Authors partnering with libraries)


Reading List: How Libraries Help Authors and Publishers Boost Book Sales


CULC/CBUC Response to Globe & Mail article


How libraries play a vital role in restoring the economy


Independent bookstores in Canada’s post-Covid cultural landscape

Prepared by the More Canada think tank project steering committee 21 July 2020


Covid-19 and the challenge to chain retail bookstores in Canada’s cultural landscape

A discussion paper prepared by the More Canada think tank project steering committee 17 June 2020


Important Ontario Public Library Social ROI Reports


Selected Economic ROI -Return on Investment – Current Studies for Canadian Public Libraries


Study Year Published 2011 Census Population No. of Branches ROI
Toronto Public Library 2013 2,615,060 98 $5.63
Halton Hills Public Library 2014 59,008 2 $3.96
Milton Public Library 2014 84,362 2 $5.67
Pickering Public Library 2014 88,721 3 $5.85
Stratford Public Library 2015 30,886 1 $5.63
Sault Ste. Marie Public Library 2015 75,000 3 $2.36
Kawartha Lakes Public Library 2015 73,214 15 $7.05
London Public Library 2015 366,151 16 $6.68
Vancouver Island Regional Library 2016 430,000 38 $5.36
Ottawa Public Library 2016 883,391 33 $5.17
Newmarket Public Library 2016 79,978 1 $7.85
Edmonton Public Library 2016 812,200 22 $3.11
Hamilton Public Library 2017 519,950 22 $5.59
Vaughan Public Library 2017 288,300 9 $5.57

Source: Creating a Culture of Evaluation: Taking Your Library From Talk to Action, edited by Bill Irwin and Kimberly Silk, OLA Press, 2017

Valuing Northern Libraries Summary Report


Summary Table

(Detailed statistics are available in the published community reports)

Library Funding Per-resident economic benefit Per-household economic benefit Economic Impact per open hour EROI & SROI



Per dollar



Dryden PL $301,347 $1,590.00 $726.78 $931.80 $5,631,828 $18.68 1,868%
Kenora PL $614,634 $972.00 $1,988 $2,331 $14,665,861 $23.86 2,386%
Powassan & District Union PL $151,930 $361.09 $694.05 $344.45 $2,494,398 $16.42 1,642%
Rainy River PL $35,002 $505.36 $678.60 $276.23 $1,003,440 $17.16 3,474%
Temiskaming Shores PL $392,262 $400.00 $858 $436 $4,680,190 $11.93 2,867%
Wikwemikong FN PL $15,000 $259.45 $714.08 $80.05 $844,753 $56.32 5,632%
Fort Frances PL $484,216 $969.00 $2,269.00 $1,303 $17.16 632%


IFLA: Library Return on Investment: Reviewing the Evidence from the Last 10 Years


Toronto Public Library Study released: So Much More: The Economic Impact of the Toronto Public Library System on the City of Toronto


The Forest of Reading Program


TD Summer Reading Club