Staff Profile Series: Sue Walls

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: Sue Walls

Position: Human Resources Administrator

I’ve been with the OLS and its predecessor organizations since December 1981. My first position was working in Interlibrary Loan with the Central Ontario Regional Library System. I have had various positions through-out my career with the OLS and have enjoyed the experience and friendships that I have gained. It certainly has been a pleasure to work with such a great team. On a personal note, I enjoy reading, cooking, walks, and spending time with my fur baby, my wee man Sky, the cat who seems to think he’s a dog.


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

It is really hard to pick just one character, but I do love a good murder mystery so I would pick the Women’s Murder Club, Lindsay Boxer character written by James Patterson.  I enjoy how the women of the club interact with each other and put all the pieces together to solve the crime. The fact that the character has a border collie named Martha helps as well.

My favourite meal is…

Another hard one!  I love food but if I had to choose it would be scalloped potatoes and meatloaf. That was always my comfort food growing up, and it brings back fond memories cooking with my mom.

My desert island record is…

Anything by the Beach Boys 😎

Staff Profile Series: Bailey Urso-Mahy

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: Bailey Urso-Mahy

Position: JASI Support Analyst

I knew I wanted to work in libraries since I was about 16 years old – however I have never found myself in a public librarian role.  I completed my undergraduate degree in Archaeology, and my first job after my MLIS was with an Archaeology firm cataloguing artefacts and creating a staff resource library. I spent the next seven years working in hospital libraries, both as part of a team and as a solo librarian.  In that time, I worked with several ILSs, which is what brought me to the JASI team at OLS.  I have been on the library side of working with an ILS and needing support (and sometimes not getting it), so I want to use that experience to offer the best services I can to our JASI libraries.  Outside of work, I am a mom of two very energetic children.  I love being active, especially outside, drinking copious amounts of coffee (which is also great outside), and making things – food, crafts, etc.

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

Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter.  She is so authentic and unapologetically weird.  She is confident and unwavering in her beliefs.  I think those can be great qualities.  Plus, who doesn’t love radish earrings?

My favourite meal is…

Pork Vindaloo.  I have an uncle that introduced us to Indian cuisine at a young age and a few years back he gave me one of his cookbooks.  We have experimented with many of the recipes in that book, but our favourite is Pork Vindaloo with homemade Naan.  The Naan takes three days to make, but it is worth every minute of it.

A random and seldom known fact about me is…

I am a registered yoga instructor.  Ten years ago I went to North Goa, India and completed my training in Ashtanga Yoga.  Since then I have gone on to train in aerial yoga, fascial release, and pilates. I haven’t taught in two years, thanks to the pandemic and moving across the province, but I know I will get back into it one day. For now, I just enjoy “teaching” my kids (which mostly involves maybe two poses and then playing with cars on our yoga mats).

What was the most personally inspiring public library related work you’ve helped make a reality during your time with the OLS?

Working towards implementing the Connecting Public Libraries Initiative on behalf of the Province of Ontario has been a great experience.  I was the libraries’ point of contact for Site Assessment Surveys and I have continued to be the contact person as the initiative has advanced.  I have gotten to talk to a lot of libraries about internet-related things (the good and the bad) and it has been a wonderful experience to be able to offer them this opportunity to upgrade their internet options.

Staff Profile Series: Mellissa D’Onofrio-Jones

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.

Image of MellissaName: Mellissa D’Onofrio-Jones

Position: CEO

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.

Ontario Library Service Welcomes Lee Puddephatt

The Ontario Library Service is happy to announce that Lee Puddephatt will be joining the Ontario Library Service Team as Training and Events Coordinator effective November 8th 2021. 

Lee brings to our organization a variety of experiences from inside and outside the public library sector. Lee has served in a variety of public service roles in several provincial libraries, most recently with the Milton Public Library.

Lee has infectious energy, sharp wit wrapped in humour and precision focus for all the details which will bring an impeccable level of quality and care to this new position for the OLS. These strengths will serve her well as she begins her work in support of Public Libraries in Ontario as part of the OLS Consulting Team.    

Lee shared the following with us:  “If there is one thing that my career in public libraries has taught me, especially throughout this past year, it’s that managing continual change is the key to our ongoing prosperity. Actively listening to our communities, evaluating our successes and failures, and responding to the needs of the world around us will ensure that libraries remain essential in cultivating an inclusive, open, democratic society.” 

In the spirit of camaraderie, we asked Lee to share some insights from her librarian mind:  

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

Daisy Jones, from Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six, because it’s based on the mesmerizing relationship between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham… and who isn’t in love with Stevie Nicks?!? Fun fact… I just got a puppy and named her Stevie.

A random and seldom known fact about me is? 

My last name means “fat belly” 🙂  

What was the most personally inspiring event you’ve ever helped plan? 

While working as a volunteer with the Ontario Library and Information Technology Association (OLITA) to help plan the Ontario Library Association’s (OLA) Super Conference, I was very fortunate to meet and work with keynote speaker Dr. Safiya U. Noble, author of the best-selling book Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, exploring racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines. It was the most moving, impactful, eye-opening session I have ever attended, and I was gobsmacked by the positive response from the completely overpacked room.  

Who is your holy grail session presenter you one day hope to secure for an event?  

Michelle Obama. BOOM! 

What does engaged training look like and mean to you a librarian?  

To me as a librarian, and as a learner, engaged training means community-led, responsive training. For any initiative to be successful, it has to address an issue that is meaningful to those who will benefit from its implementation, and that means listening as much as talking. 

What does diversity, inclusion and connection mean to you?  

Diversity, inclusion, and connection means a mindful process of ongoing work to understand, reflect, and celebrate the commonalities and differences among us that foster collaboration and innovation.

Please join us in welcoming Lee to the Ontario Library Service team!

Blog Series: What can you do as a Library Board to improve the relationship between your municipal council and the public library? (Post #4 of 4)

In a series of guest blogs library board members Andrew Hallikas and Caroline Goulding will be exploring the question What can you do as a Library Board to improve the relationship between your municipal council and the public library? In this post we will be focusing on how some core responsibilities and philosophies that can help create and maintain your Library Board’s relationship with Municipal Council.

Be fiscally prudent.

Funding is always a problem area for municipalities, just as it is for Libraries. The Municipality provides the major part of the Library’s funding, and the Municipality is very aware of their obligation to provide taxpayers an accounting of where and how tax dollars are spent.  Library Boards need to be very hands on with their budget and to understand it well. Utilize the Municipal Treasurer in your budget discussions. Review your budget carefully at every Board meeting. Do a budget presentation to Council prior to their budget discussions. It is important that the Municipality understand that taxpayer dollars allocated to the Library are spent well and that the Library Board is fiscally responsible and good stewards of taxpayer money. It is essential that the Library Board adhere to their budget and keep budget increases to a bare minimum.

There will be occasions where budget increases are unavoidable, particularly in the cost of electricity, union wages, utilities, insurance etc. These are uncontrollable for the most part and will be increases that the municipality faces as well.

The Library itself will generate some income, be as efficient and creative as possible in the income that you generate. The Fort Frances Public Library reached out to surrounding townships that cannot afford to have a public library and have contracted to provide library services to them for a set annual amount. They have also reached out to area First Nations, Community College Satellite Campuses and the Local Law Library to provide contracted Library services. An active Friends of the Library group can also raise a significant amount of money for the Library.

Be Proactive and Cultivate a Positive relationship with Council

Every Library Board will have at least one or two members who are elected councillors assigned to it. These Board members can be invaluable allies when it comes to dealing with the Mayor and Municipal Council as a whole. They will have a much better understanding of the operation, programming and services of the Library than Council as a whole. They can be extremely helpful in educating Council, especially at budget time. As well when the Library does presentations to council, these Board members/Councillors can assist by asking prepared questions of the presenters as Council members. This can amplify or emphasize the message that the Library would like to get out to not only council but the public. Media usually pay attention to questions asked by councillors. As well Councillors can comment on any presentation to further illustrate or amplify an important point. Ensure that these valuable potential allies are educated about the Library and made to feel that they are not only welcome but invaluable Library Board Members. They should understand that while they are at Library Board meetings, they are Board Members first and Councillors second.

Succession Planning is Important

The make-up of your Library Board is extremely important. Ideally you want a mix of dedicated Library supporters with complimentary skills. Often you get whoever council appoints and sometimes there are not enough qualified applicants to completely fill all Board positions. Be aware of when Board members’ terms expire or if Board members are considering not letting their names stand for another term. Have on-going conversations about suitable replacement candidates based on requirements that fill a need for your board. Encourage these candidates to apply to be on the Library Board. Do not just leave these council appointments to chance. Work constantly to fill your Board with qualified members. You want strong community representation on your Board. Libraries can hold an open house to encourage those interested in serving on a Library Board to come out and meet and talk with existing Board members about the duties and time commitment of Library Board service.

Libraries are generally loved by the Public, use this

Libraries tend to have a much higher approval rating than Municipal Councils. You want to cultivate this. Keep your patrons informed. Be very visible on social media. Use the Media wisely in getting your message out. The Fort Frances Public Library has an excellent relationship with local media and consequently gets strong positive coverage on most issues. We constantly inform the media regarding our events and for the most part they are well covered.  You can also leverage the Libraries position as a trusted community organization in helping the municipality get their own messaging out.

Remember: Creating and maintaining this relationship is one of the most important issues that almost all Ontario Libraries face. We hope you are able to utilize some of the strategies that we have outlined. We would love to hear about how your Library Board has worked to build its relationship with Council, let’s start the discussion!


Andrew Hallikas is the Deputy Mayor and a three term Municipal Councillor for the Town of Fort Frances. He is a Board Member of the Fort Frances Public Library Board and the Past Chair. This is his fourth term as a member of the Fort Frances Library Board. He also serves on the Board of OLS-North. He is been an avid reader and a strong patron and supporter of Libraries since he got his first Library card at the age of eight. As a Teacher and politically active union member, he advocated for both School Libraries and Municipal Libraries over his professional career.

Caroline Goulding is a member of the Dryden Public Library Board and the former CEO of the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre. She is the 2021 Ontario Library Board Association President and also serves as a board or council member of the Ontario Library Association, Federation of Ontario Public Libraries, and the Ontario Public Library Monitoring, Guidelines, and Accreditation Council. She is the Executive Director of Patricia Area Community Endeavours, a Community Futures Development Corporation.

Blog Series: What can you do as a Library Board to improve the relationship between your municipal council and the public library? (Post #3 of 4)

In a series of guest blogs library board members Andrew Hallikas and Caroline Goulding will be exploring the question What can you do as a Library Board to improve the relationship between your municipal council and the public library? In this post we will be focusing on the external tools you can use to help build your relationship with Municipal Council. Read Post 1 and Post 2 on the SOLS Blog.

Form Partnerships

Many Libraries are taking the approach that they are a community hub. As part of this, reach out and form partnerships with a wide variety of community groups. Many of these groups have budgets and will either split the cost or pay the cost of additional programming that the Library could not afford to provide on its own. Individuals with skills are often very willing to teach or provide lessons at the Library for patrons. Try and get some of your Municipal Councillors involved in some of these activities. Always let the media know about the wonderful partnerships that your have formed and how they allow the library to provide varied programming at minimal cost. Your Municipal Council will appreciate this, and they love hearing how all this wonderful programming is costing their budget nothing.

Support your Local Friends of the Library Group

A vibrant Friends of the Library group is essential to a well functioning Library, not just for fund raising, but also as a political entity. They can mobilize library supporters to attend crucial council meetings, where you would like council to see a show of support for the Library on a particular issue. Have them, along with other library supporters, attend any presentation that you do before council, so that council notes that your local Library is popular and has support among taxpayers and voters. Councillors are political animals and always will take note of community support and interests. Friends of the Library can also mobilize and write letters to the editor on Library issues. Councillors tend to be cognizant of a large audience at a council meeting and more cautious in their speech. Friends of the Library can be remarkably effective at generating funding for Library projects that your Budget might not normally provide for. Always thank them on a regular basis and show your appreciation for them with some sort of formal event like a luncheon or Tea.

Develop strong positive working relationships with Municipal Employees

The Library CEO (and sometimes the Board Chair) should actively work to develop positive relationships with Key Municipal Employees; in particular, the CAO, the Municipal Clerk, the Treasurer, the Human Resources Manager, and various department managers. These people all interact directly with Mayor and Council and have the ability to provide them with positive information about your library. Many of them are essential in assisting with Library operations and providing invaluable support both directly and indirectly to the operation of the Library. Don’t forget to invite some of these good folks to Library functions and do not forget to thank them on a regular basis for all the good things that they do for your library.

If there is any turnover in these key roles, consider having the Board send a welcome letter or email. Congratulate the person in their new role, express that you are looking forward to working with them and outline how the Library normally interacts with their role. The last part is key, different communities have different relationships with their municipal staff. By outlining how the Library normally works with that particular role at the outset you can ensure that everyone has the same expectations.

Blog Series: What can you do as a Library Board to improve the relationship between your municipal council and the public library? (Post #2 of 4)

In a series of guest blogs library board members Andrew Hallikas and Caroline Goulding will be exploring the question What can you do as a Library Board to improve the relationship between your municipal council and the public library? In this post we will be focusing on politics. Read Part One.

Be Proactive and Be Politically Active

The best possible situation is to have a Municipal council that supports and values its Public Library. To that end work to elect individuals who value Libraries.

This process starts during the campaign period leading up to the Municipal Election and even before. Ensure that Library Issues become campaign issues. Mobilize Library Board Members, your Friends of the Library Group, and Library patrons to ensure that Library issues are raised in public meetings and by the media. Attend meet the candidate nights and ask questions of potential candidates regarding their view of Public Libraries. Be organized in this; plan and create a list of pertinent questions, then have several different Library supporters ask the questions. The media will pick up on this and Library issues become amplified. Support Candidates who are sympathetic to library issues.

We should insert a note of caution here. Be careful in how you support candidates. It is important that the Library not run afoul of election laws and Municipal by-laws around elections. Board members can as individuals involve themselves in elections, but be careful not to act in the name of your Library.

Encourage library users and supporters to run for council and support them when they do.  Although be careful that you do not run “one issue” candidates.

Municipal Councillors, like all politicians respond to publicity and public pressure. Well timed and well written letters to the Editor can be highly effective in keeping Library issues in the minds of the public and politicians. This is something that the Library Board Chair can and should do, as can library patrons or members of Friends of the Library. Keep your community constantly informed of library issues. Social media works well for this.

Be organized, consistent and politically aware. Only the Library CEO or Board Chair should speak for the Library unless another Board Member is specifically delegated to be spokesperson on a particular matter. All Board members when out in the community should speak with one voice and should have ready “elevator” speeches made up on a topic. Generally, the Board Chair speaks on political issues and the Library CEO speaks on Library issues, although the line on this can become blurred at times. Councillors will often say all sorts of things to the media, do not let negative or inaccurate comments about the Library go unchallenged.

Cultivate good relationships with local media

Local Media are essential to Public Libraries for a variety of reasons. The media like most of the general public tend to view Libraries favourably. Libraries provide many and varied newsworthy stories. Always ensure that all local media, newspaper or radio, is invited to all significant Library events. Feed them. Get to know local media personalities and reporters. Send them personal invitations to attend events and particularly events where Municipal Councillors are invited. Send out regular press releases.

Our Library keeps press clippings and posts them on a bulletin board. Patrons enjoy reading them. Politicians are always aware of press coverage and will notice if your Library is getting a lot of positive media coverage.

Blog Series: What can you do as a Library Board to improve the relationship between your municipal council and the public library? (Post #1 of 4)

In a series of guest blogs, Fort Frances Public Library board member Andrew Hallikas and Ontario Library Boards’ Association President Caroline Goulding will be exploring the question: What can you do as a Library Board to improve the relationship between your municipal council and the public library? Posts will be published every two weeks. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Blog (to the right of the screen) for notifications.

In this post we will be focusing on how to build a foundation for a great relationship. It is vitally important for public library boards to build solid, trusting relationships with their municipal council. Creating and maintaining this relationship is one of the most important issues that almost all Ontario Libraries face!

Some may argue that other problems such as finances, drug addiction, safety are more pressing. However, it is the Municipal Council that provides most of the funding for Libraries, appoints Board Members, and provides support. We would argue that the ability of Libraries to deal with all these other issues begins with this.

Andrew first became aware of the divide between some Municipal Councils and their Library Boards when he was elected to his first term of Council and appointed to the local Library Board.  He found that very few of his fellow councillors visited the library or were aware of the extensive community demographic that used the local Library.  Despite the creative and varied programming and services, that the Fort Frances Public Library offered, very few councillors saw the value it provided the community.

One counsellor proudly informed Andrew that Libraries were an anachronism and had outlived their usefulness.

Another Councillor during a budget meeting where cuts to the Library budget were proposed, asked the question, “What’s so special about the Library?”. In response the library posted the quote prominently and asked patrons to answer it. Patrons responded overwhelmingly with their answers, many of which were written about in local and social media and the Library got excellent positive coverage.

This friction between a Municipal Council and their public library is not unique to Fort Frances. In many communities there exists a divide between Municipal Councillors and the Library.

We are here to tell you that that does not have to be the case.

These posts are based on our general observations and are meant to help start a discussion.

Know your Municipal Council

In Northern Ontario, municipal councils can have a pretty homogeneous demographic of primarily older, conservative white males. Most councils are fiscally prudent, and they pay particular attention to roads, sewers, and water.  They will describe community services such as museums, libraries, day care, and festivals as “soft services”. If this is a description of your municipal council, you need to work towards making your council more diverse and representative of the community. We need to educate and change the mind set of councillors who think that Libraries are less worthy of attention and funding because they are “soft services”. Councillors need to believe that libraries are essential community services.

Regardless of the composition of your Municipal Council, all Councils have the same financial restraints that Libraries have, and they will appreciate fiscal prudence. They will also appreciate anything that casts their community in a positive light or provides favourable publicity.

As Library supporters you see the value that your local Library offers its community, but what does your local Council value? What do individual Councillors value? It is very easy to think of Councillors as being hard hearted and unfeeling when they do not support the same causes that you do.

It is important to remember that your local Councillors will have projects that they are passionate about. Is there a way that your Library could support these goals? The Library mandate is wonderfully broad and if you can demonstrate to even just one Councillor that the Library can play a role outside the bookshelves, that the Library is a value added service not a  “soft service”, you can start to change how Council as a whole sees the Library over time.

It is important for the local Library Board to know and build relationships and trust with individual Councillors. It is easy to rely on formal presentations to try and maintain a relationship, but you cannot develop a strong relationship inside the Council Chambers. While making formal presentations is important to accountability, the informal connection Board members develop with Councillors are important for relationship building.

Board members should meet with Councillors, sometimes over coffee and talk not about the Library’s budget ask, or building projects, but about the community and what the Library is doing and can to do help.

As Board members you cannot simply tell your CEO in a meeting that “We need to have a better relationship with our Municipality.” It is not something that can be delegated.  Library staff can develop and improve relationships with Municipal Staff, but the relationship with Council needs to be developed by the Board, out in the community you both serve.

Get Your Municipal Councillors into the Library

You need to get Municipal Councillors into your Library to see firsthand all the innovative and creative things that go on there, for people of all ages. One of the first things that a newly appointed Library Board should do is to hold an open house for the newly elected Mayor and Council. This is an important opportunity for the Library Board and CEO to meet and mingle with the Mayor and Council and to show off the Library, its staff, its programing, and its services. Have a short program focusing on one or two things that you want your municipal council to know. It is important to get council members into the library frequently. Serve refreshments so that Councillors and Library Board members can mingle informally. During the rest of the evening, take the opportunity to speak one on one with individual members of council. Have an elevator speech ready to be presented by experienced Library Board members and the Library CEO. Be organized so that there are several different elevator speeches. This should be the first of many invitations that Mayor and Council receive to visit your Library. Invite them every time you host a significant event at the Library. Ensure that the media is present at all Library events.

Wherever possible inform and educate your municipal council, see above

Most libraries do an outstanding job providing services and programming. Many councillors are not aware of how creative, versatile, and efficient their libraries are in using public tax dollars to benefit the community.  While it is important to get Municipal Politicians into the Library, it is equally important for the Library to go to the politicians and do presentations to council.

The Board Chair and the Library CEO should be appearing regularly before council. Many Library boards will do a presentation at budget time. We would recommend at least quarterly presentations on a variety of topics. Imagine what you would think of a relative who only visited once a year to ask for money. Your Council delegations need to happen regularly and focus on topics beyond just the budget. For example, appearing before council to remind them of all the wonderful things that the Library continued to do during COVID-19 when the Library was physically closed to patrons, but continued to have a large virtual presence. Talk to your Council about the positive impact that the Library has on the community.

Sometimes mistrust can develop between a Municipal Council and the Library. The autonomy provided to a Public Library Board by the Public Library Act can be double edged sword. It allows the Board to act in the Library’s best interest, but it also means that the Library is quite different to many of the other Boards a Councillor may participate in and to municipal departments. The education piece around ensuring a Council understands that the Library is not a municipal department is important, but to build trust the Board needs to be accountable to all its stakeholders including Municipal Council. Make sure your local Council is kept up to date on the Library’s performance and goals. These updates can include:

  • Keep council informed of all the innovative and creative things that you are doing.
  • Do a formal presentation to council when your annual report is prepared.
  • Present your Strategic plan to Council.
  • Report newsworthy achievements and feel good stories. For example, when the Library receives awards, is accredited, etc.

Keep presentations short and focused (no more than ten minutes), always provide a brief and concise written report ahead of time. Let the media know when you will be doing a presentation. The media covers Council meetings and generally welcome matters that are not routine, so Delegations to Council usually get good Media coverage.

If your news is brief and might not need a full presentation, consider having the Board Chair send correspondence to Council on behalf of the Board. The key is to ensure that the lines of communication are open and regularly utilized.

Educate, Educate, Educate

It is essential that all Board Members are familiar with the Public Library Act, it is also essential that Council Members are familiar not only with the broad strokes of the act and but also the operation of their public library. Take every opportunity to educate your new Board and Municipal Council. Board professional development is much easier than educating your council. But informing your council about all things Library on a regular basis will pay dividends.

It is important that your Board and Municipal Council understands the distinction that the Library Board is governed by the Ontario Public Libraries Act. That they can hire and fire their CEO, that the Library CEO is not a Municipal employee, but a Library Board employee and the Library is not simply another department of the Municipality. That while the Municipality sets the amount of funding that the Library will receive from the Municipality. The Library Board sets its own budget and decides how that money will be spent.

Five Ontario Libraries awarded the Kimberley Foundation’s Caring for Communities: Pandemic Flash Fund.

SOLS and OLS-North would like to congratulate the following recipients of the Kimberley Foundation’s Caring for Communities: Pandemic Flash Fund grants:

Lanark Highlands PL Home Delivery Services
Magnetawan FNPL Bike Bookmobile
Temagami FNPL Delivering Safe & Healthy Services through E-books
Township of Cavan Monaghan PL Learning Trails
Tweed PL Take Home Activity Packs

In early August, the Kimberley Foundation invited small libraries in Canada to apply for one-time grants of up to $1,000 to serve their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resources to follow on the scientific understanding of SARS-CoV-2

As public libraries across Ontario begin to reopen, procedures are being put into place to minimize risks to staff and patrons. A big part of the reopening plans is implementing a safe way to accept library materials returned by patrons and bring them back into circulation.

Throughout Ontario, many libraries are quarantining returned materials for an average of 72 hours (3 days). The establishment of this quarantine period of 72 hours is based on a scientific study of the survivability of the SARS-Cov-2 virus (which causes COVID-19) on surfaces, and has been widely used as the acceptable time period in library literature.

With any novel infectious disease, scientific understanding will change over time as more experiments take place and new conclusions are drawn.  Library-specific materials are being tested in experiments under the REALM project, a collaboration between the OCLC, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Battelle. Over the course of several months, the tests conducted by REALM provide further consideration for quarantine periods of materials.  For instance, Test 4 Results highlight that the virus is still detectable on after 6 days when quarantine items are stacked, whereas Test 1 Results showed that  the virus is not detectable after 3 days on items that are unstacked.

As the evidence of how the virus is spread continues to be refined and understood, projects such as REALM offer important resources for decision-making on health and safety procedures. We encourage you to continue checking the REALM website, in addition to Ontario government updates.

Further Reading:

          This table is for quick reference purposes. Please visit the links to the Tests for complete results.

REALM Test Materials Tested Results (Quoted from the REALM website)
Test 1 1.   Hardback book cover (buckram cloth)

2.   Softback book cover

3.   Plain paper pages inside a closed book

4.   Plastic book covering (biaxially oriented polyester film)

5.   DVD case

“Results show that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was not detectable on the materials after three days of quarantine.” (not stacked)
Test 2 1.   Braille paper pages

2.   Glossy paper pages from a coffee table books

3.   Magazine pages

4.   Children’s board book

5.   Archival folders

“The evaluation demonstrates that standard office temperature (68°F to 75°F) and relative humidity conditions (30 to 50 percent) provide an environment that allows for the natural attenuation of SARS-CoV-2 present on these materials after two days of quarantine for archival folders and four days of quarantine for the book pages.”
Test 3 1.    Talking book, USB cassette

2.    DVD

3.    Storage bag (flexible plastic)

4.    Storage container (rigid plastic)

5.    Plexiglass

“Results show that after five days of quarantine in an unstacked configuration, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was not detected on the storage bag (flexible plastic) or the DVD. The storage container (rigid plastic), plexiglass, and the USB cassette all showed detectable virus at five days. Day five was the final timepoint tested.”
Test 4 1.    Hardback book cover

2.    Softcover book cover

3.    Plastic protective cover

4.    DVD case

5.    Expanded polyethylene foam

“Results show that after six days of quarantine the SARS-CoV-2 virus was still detected on all five materials tested. When compared to Test 1, which resulted in nondetectable virus after three days on an unstacked hardcover book, softcover book, plastic protective cover, and DVD case, the results of Test 4 highlight the effect of stacking and its ability to prolong the survivability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”