Meet the team! Check back each month to learn more about the people who help the Ontario Library Service provide seamless access to programs and services that strengthen all public libraries in Ontario.
Name: Mellissa D’Onofrio-Jones
I have worked in libraries in both Alberta and Ontario in a variety of positions, starting my career as a casual library clerk for the London Public Library. Librarianship always felt like the right fit making the most of my English and Women’s Studies degree as well as my background in education. I have held a number of library leadership positions, led two library renovations and expansions and absolutely love my job as CEO of the OLS and seeing the incredibly valuable impact our work has on the library sector for the province and beyond. I am an avid library user – just ask the library staff at Greater Sudbury PL. Curbside pickup was an absolute life saver during the lockdowns and my family and I love visiting the library, checking out mountains of books and devouring them at home on the couch. As a parent of three children under 11 and CEO I relate to the struggle of balancing career, leadership and home – and I do not have all the answers, but I do find listening to audio books while folding mountains of laundry helps!
If you could become a character from any book who would you pick and why? Mary Poppins – practically perfect in every way! Not to mention she has magic powers and can sing, dance, has lots of fun but puts up with no nonsense.
My favourite meal is…Soup – seriously its soup! All the delicious hearty soups: minestrone, Italian wedding, chicken noodle, split pea. Even better with warm homemade bread and butter for dipping!
A random and seldom known fact about me is… I always dreamt of being an elementary school teacher, I even have my Bachelor of Education and Early Childhood Education Diploma. I’ve been happy in librarianship but like many came to discover it through a meandering path.
What was the most personally inspiring public library related work you’ve helped make a reality during your time with the OLS? The most personally inspiring work during my time with the OLS was the amalgamation. Working with a truly incredible leader Barbara Franchetto to reimagine a way to continue to serve Ontario’s Public Libraries in a new fiscal reality for both the former SOLS and OLS – North was inspiring. Being a part of the OLS from the very first day, and seeing how OLS staff have supported library clients throughout the changing COIVD mandates with resources and updates, hosting a virtual conference with an over 300% increase in participation and helping libraries realize savings through consortia purchasing so that they can best serve their unique communities has been tremendous. Working with amazing staff that are incredibly dedicated to empowering Ontario’s public libraries to continuously adapt to best serve their local communities makes it so rewarding to come to work each and every day.