Staff Profile Series: Beth Harding

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.

Beth Harding

Name: Beth Harding             

Position: Digital Licensing Coordinator

After saying that I would never live in Toronto, I moved here to take a position with the OLS (at that time SOLS) in 2010 and it was a very good decision! As the Digital Licensing Coordinator, I work with libraries and vendors to secure licensing for digital content through discounted purchasing programs and shared collections.

If you could become a character from any book who would you pick and why?

It’s hard to pick just one! When I read Less by Andrew Sean Greer I was very envious of Arthur Less’s worldwide travels, even though he had the worst luck (at first anyway… you’ll have to read it to see what I mean!).

My desert island record is…

Fleet Foxes’ self-titled album. It’s also my go-to cottage album.

A random and seldom known fact about me is…

I grew up Lewisporte, a small town in central Newfoundland not far from Gander. Last month I went back for the first time in over two years and had the best time!

Do you have a favourite task or project in your OLS work role? Tell us a bit about it…

I LOVE selecting and curating titles for the OLS Download Centre site (an OverDrive collection shared by over 190 Ontario public libraries… learn more here). It’s fascinating to see which titles become the most popular over time – Booktok has really changed the game and renewed the popularity of some less recent titles.

What do diversity, inclusivity, and connection mean to you?

I believe that reading is a great way to explore the experiences of people from cultures and backgrounds that may be different from our own. Research has found that fiction reading can foster empathy for others and help us to understand their feelings and reactions. I keep this in mind when I’m selecting titles and building curated lists. I also think that we’re lucky to live in a country where authors have the right to express their thoughts publicly and are protected by free expression legislation. It’s important to protect works from censorship by supporting the universal principles of intellectual freedom.

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