The Federation of Ontario Public Libraries offers an array of services to our Library members. These include but are not limited to:



Advocacy Training for Library Boards

FOPL provides presentations to your library boards regarding municipal advocacy efforts and how your board can represent your library’s interests. Also includes strategy for municipal elections to raise awareness of public library issues with local officials.

Members: $50 – $750, price scaled to membership fees bands
Non-Members: $350 – $2550



Individual consultation for any local advocacy related issues.

Members: Free
Non-Members: $75/hour



FOPL Raw Dataset

Access to unmanipulated FOPL Dataset with all variables ranging from the year 2000 to current published data from the MHSTCI. To be manipulated and interpreted as you see fit.

Library Members: Free
Association Members: $250
Non-Members: $850


Peer Comparison Report

The peer comparison reports are based on the data from the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries published for the last two consecutive years.  This includes an analysis of your library’s data dating from 2000 and three years of trending data for your comparators.

The comparisons take these data, sort them into 16 separate variables and organize them in five “dimensions:” Service, Usage, Community Engagement, Efficiency, and Development. This design is discussed in some detail but, simply, it is based on a study of four well-known public library assessment efforts: the BIX, HAPLR, the IMLS US state ranking tables, and the LJ Index. These all use ratios of different reported variables—rather than the raw data—and then assign ranks to the calculated ratios. Those ranks are in order by which numbers are “better.” Lower number ranks are better because 1 is the top rank.


The first dimension has 4 variables.

Collection units per capita. “Units” is defined broadly. This is a measure of how big the collections are for the size of the libraries’ resident populations. Higher is better. This is one of the two variables affected by the 2016 change in the reported variables used to estimate the size of collections.

Employees per capita times 1,000. This measure tells us how big the staff is to service the population. Higher is better. The calculation gives a small number and to make it

easier to understand, we multiplied by 1,000. It can be thought of as so many people for each 1,000 in the resident population.

Population per workstation. This measure tells us how many workstations the library has. By dividing the population by the count of workstations, we have a number which indicates, how likely a library user is to find an empty workstation. Here, a lower ratio is better. Consider: is it better to have 10,000 people per public workstation or 100?

Population per service point. Service points are broadly defined to include places where people will have physical access to the library. They can include bookmobiles, branches, and deposit stations. Again, a lower is better. Is it better to have 10,000 users per service point or 100?


This dimension has three variables related to the actual use of the library.

Stock turnover is a traditional measure: how many times is each item (on average) checked out? Here total annual circulations are divided by a count of circulating items held. Higher is generally better. This variable is the second affected by the change in the calculation of collection size in 2016 the data.

Circulations per capita is another well-known calculation. Annual circulations divided by resident population. Higher is better.

Program attendance per registered borrower. How many of the libraries’ cardholders attend the libraries’ programs? The reported number in the detailed tables is 100 times the raw calculation. Total annual program attendance divided by the reported number of library cardholders. Higher is better.

Community Engagement:

This dimension is new to the world of library assessment and it was created to get a handle on an important set of changes occurring in the library world: the modern library is not a passive organization waiting patiently for people to appear but one increasingly looking for opportunities to meet its public wherever they are and wherever they have information needs. The four measures in this dimension are an attempt to measure how libraries are adapting.

Programs offered per capita. The higher ratio is better.

Registered borrowers per capita. What percentage of the libraries’ resident populations have library cards? Higher is better but we have documented how this percentage has been declining in Ontario’s libraries.

Hours open per capita times 100. Hours open includes not just buildings but bookmobile and deposit station hours. More hours open per person although as we know, a library’s electronic presence is open for business at all hours. Higher is better.

Estimated Annual Visits per capita. This ratio is the result of a complex calculation. Visits are tracked as “Typical Week” data so the data presumably re for one week. The population is an annual figure so the visits were summed and then multiplied by 50 and that product divided by the resident population. Visits are of three types: In person, electronic (to the libraries’ Websites,) and electronic (to the libraries’ social media sites.)


This dimension occasionally works against the others. Service is better with more staff, money, and service points but more economical if these are balanced by care in allocating resources. It is always a matter of balance and by looking at your peer libraries, you can see how they made the same kinds of balancing decisions your library must.

Collection expenditures per circulation. Lower is better. That is, more circulations per dollar spent is better than spending many dollars per circulation.

Estimated Visits per open hour. Visits, again, come from “Typical Week” data and given that these figures and the open hour figure are both weekly figures, there is no need to do more than sum the number of visits and divide by the number of open hours. Higher is better: more people visiting is better than fewer people. Note that electronic visits are included and that these can occur when the library’s buildings are not open.

Total Expenditures per estimated annual visit. Total operating expenditures of the libraries divided by the annualized visit figure to give an imputed cost per visit. Lower is better. It is better to have more visits per dollar spent.


The attempt here is future oriented.

Staff Training as a % of Total Operating Expenditures. This number is times 100 so these are the percentage figures. Staff training in this day and time is important but with library budgets being stretched, helping staff keep up with new developments by training or conference attendance is a difficult thing. But: higher is better.

Total Operating Expenditures per capita. This is an important number and one that affects the whole operation of the library including what it does and can do to prepare for the future. Higher is better.

This Dimension is likely to be made more robust with a new variable or two. This year’s FOPL report was larger than those in the past because several “new” variables had passed the three-year threshold, that is, they had been collected and reported for three years and much experience has shown that it takes about three years for new variables to mature as people reporting the new variables exchange information with others about what they are measuring and, as has been observed: “what is measured improves.”

Trends Report, using 3 years of data and rankings:
Members: Starting at $1050
Non-Members: Starting at $2500

Please email for more information or if you are interested in a sample comparison report.