Federation of Ontario Public Libraries

Thank you to everyone who engaged with candidates during this year’s provincial election – whether in person, virtually, by email, on social media or with candidates at your door. Since last fall, FOPL and OLA staff and members have been diligently engaging with every political party and with local candidates and MPPs seeking re-election to share and amplify our joint library asks.

As we welcome new and re-elected MPPs and cabinet members, the work of advocating for libraries continues.

FOPL and OLA’s next steps will be to build relationships with the incoming Ministers. We expect that the government’s new cabinet will be sworn in over the coming weeks. We will be connecting directly with the new Minister of Education, Minister of Heritage Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, and Minister of Infrastructure – among others – to coordinate a meeting with their office to continue the important dialogue about the impact of public and school libraries and the ways that our provincial government can best support them and the people and communities they serve.

There are next steps for you as well! Send a letter of congratulations in the next 60 days to your new or re-elected MPP. You may have met your MPP in the past or engaged with them as a candidate during the campaign. Now is the time to connect again to offer your best wishes as they begin their mandate, and to invite them to visit their local libraries to learn more about your important impact on the community and the critical role of the provincial government in supporting local libraries. If your library is in a riding with multiple library systems, connect with your neighbours to send a joint letter. In the next 6 months, follow up to set up a meeting or invite them to the library.  If you don’t hear back after the first outreach, don’t be dissuaded. Follow up with your MPP’s office – patiently and consistently – to coordinate a meeting. Invest the time now developing a personal relationship with local MPP, so they don’t only hear from you when you need something or are facing a crisis. Introduce or re-introduce the library to them, and invite them to tour the library or participate in a storytime or an event.

FOPL will be attending the AMCTO conference from June 12th to June 14th. If you plan to attend, please stop by our exhibitor’s booth! I’m looking forward to sharing photos and updates.