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.

Who Does What? Delegation of Authority and the Public Libraries Act

Public libraries in Ontario have followed the same provincial legislation since 1984, with a few minor changes.  Our role at the Ontario Library Service is to help library board members and staff members sort out the framework for library service within this legislation.  Section 3 (3) of the Public Libraries Act states that “A public library shall be under the management and control of a board” (although with a few exceptions).  We know that Section 15(2) of the Public Libraries Act makes it clear that a library “board shall appoint a chief executive officer who shall have general supervision over and direction of the operations of the public library and its staff, shall attend all board meetings and shall have the other powers and duties that the board assigns to him or her from time to time.”  It seems to be the parts in between where things get a little less clear.

The pandemic, which began with a lockdown in March 2020, illustrated to us that the lines of authority were not as clear as everyone thought.  The COVID-19 pandemic brought forward some weaknesses in the delegation of authority for Ontario public libraries.  Observations include:

  • A Library CEO did not have the authority to execute a Pandemic Response Plan and had to wait for the next meeting of the library board so that the library board could approve the Plan before re-opening the spaces.
  • While the framework for reopening was provided by the provincial government and the local health unit, some library boards felt that, to ensure compliance with province guidance, it was their responsibility to write the re-opening procedures.

From those observations, we started to wonder:

  • Is each party (the library board and the CEO) clear on the framework for “who does what”?
  • Did the library board delegate authority to the library CEO?
  • Is this delegation of authority clearly expressed in the written library policies?

Over the years, we have included some phrasing in the sample Trillium Public Library policies to reflect these lines of authority.  For example, that the “library board directs the Library CEO through decisions made at board meeting” or that the CEO will “take actions consistent with the board’s mission, vision, values and policies”.  However, given our most recent experience with the pandemic, we have strengthened these three Trillium Policy samples to better illustrate how a library could specify responsibility:

  • Statement of Authority (BL-01)
  • Purpose and Duties of the Board (GOV-01)
  • Board-CEO Partnership (GOV-08)

In the Board-CEO Partnership policy (GOV-08), we structured it so that the Library Board approves the policy and then, using the guidance provided in policy, the CEO writes the operational plans (e.g. technology, collection, emergency preparedness) and shares those with the library board for information.  In the case of the emergency, our samples show that the CEO can modify the procedures or plans – including the emergency preparedness plan – but would always keep the library board informed of the situation and may ask the library board for direction on specific matters relating to budget, property or service levels.

In the Trillium policy examples, we use a traditional framework where the Board approves all policies and the library’s strategic plan and delegates authority to the Library CEO for the creation of procedures or actions to implement the policies or strategic plan.  We recognize that there are library boards across Ontario using the Policy Governance (Carver) Model whereby the Library Board sets certain policies and then delegates authority to the Library CEO to carry out library operations but also to create and implement specific operational policies AND plans.

Either way, we want to highlight the crucial step of ensuring a clear framework for ‘who does what’.  Using these samples, a library could decide for itself how the lines of authority will be established for their local situation.

Additional Resources

Copyright and Virtual Programs | Le droit d’auteur et la programmation virtuelle

Le français suit l’anglais.

It appears that library programs will continue to be offered in virtual formats for some time.  Virtual formats bring their own challenges, especially around copyright permissions.  A recent blog posted on the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) website, titled “Pausing to Talk about Copyright” got me thinking about virtual programs.  The author said:

“When using print or music resources in virtual storytime, it is critical to obtain permission from publishers or artists first (unless using original work or materials from the public domain). It is equally important to credit the publisher/artist appropriately.  Publishers, authors who hold sole publishing rights, and music creators understand the difficult circumstances during the current COVID-19 crisis. Many have released temporary, widespread, and limited permissions to use materials in virtual storytimes. These permissions vary widely and often come with requests to avoid specific platforms, remove videos after a certain time frame, and use specific verbiage to credit the copyright holders.”

The ALSC post links the reader to a list of children’s books that are now in the public domain, meaning that they are free of copyright restrictions.  Who knew that The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter is now in the public domain?  There is also a list of well-known songs in the public domain, and, thankfully, songs like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Baa Baa Black Sleep are included.

While the ALSC post primarily refers to American copyright laws, copyright permissions do carry equal importance for programs in Canadian libraries.  For Canadian readers, the post links to a helpful resource from the Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP).  ACP acknowledges that many publishers and authors received requests from library staff asking for permission to read a book, or part of a book, as part of an online storytime and then to be able to post that recording on the library website or Facebook page.  In response, ACP created the “Read Aloud Canadian Books Program” which allows, on a temporary basis, a waiver of licence fees related to the reading of all or part of select in-print books from participating publishers and authors, and the posting of the video recording online.

As public libraries in Ontario reflect on possibilities for virtual children’s programs, they might focus on using links that other organizations, publishers, or authors have already shared.   One option this summer is to tap into the TD Summer Reading Club (TDSRC) work.

  • Select short films from the National Film Board (NFB) collection which fit the TDSRC theme are available to participating libraries, via free online access at or shared with your library patrons for home viewing, including on social media.
  • The TDSRC Creative Team hired 10 authors to do story times for kids. All 10 books are available on the TDSRC Kids Site in ebook format so kids can revisit the book that was read to them.  Five English and two French storytimes will be on the Kids Site starting June 15th with three additional French story times set for broadcast on Facebook in July.  They will be recorded and available on the website afterwards. The copyright permissions for these recordings allow for you to link them to your library’s website.
  • All these TDSRC recordings will also be available on the TDSRC playlist within the new Bibliovideo YouTube Channel, hosted by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Bibliovideo is building this channel to offer a range of videos in English, French and Indigenous languages, including author interviews, read-alongs, how-to demos and book reviews.

There are plenty of choices for virtual storytimes but do remember to double-check on copyright.  When in doubt, you might want to turn to the creative folks in your circle who just might have an original story or song that they would be happy to share with you at the library.  Then again, this could be your chance to shine with stories already on your mind!


Il semblerait que les bibliothèques continueront à offrir leurs programmes virtuellement. Les formats virtuels présentent des défis uniques, surtout dans le domaine des droits d’auteur . Un blogue récent publié au site Web de l’Association pour les services de bibliothèques pour enfants (ALSC), intitulé Pausing to Talk about Copyright m’a fait réfléchir au sujet des programmes virtuels. L’auteur nous dit :

« Lorsqu’on utilise des ressources imprimées ou musicales dans le cadre de l’heure du conte virtuelle, il est essentiel tout d’abord d’obtenir l’autorisation de l’éditeur ou de l’artiste, sauf si on utilise des œuvres ou des matériaux originaux du domaine public. Il est tout aussi important de créditer l’éditeur ou l’artiste de façon appropriée. Les éditeurs et les artistes que détiennent les droits d’édition exclusifs et les créateurs de musique comprennent les circonstances difficiles engendrées par la crise du COVID-19. Plusieurs ont accordé des autorisations temporaires, étendues et limitées pour l’utilisation dans les heures du conte virtuelles. Ces autorisations varient grandement et sont souvent accompagnées de demandes d’éviter certaines plateformes, de retirer des vidéos après un certain délai et d’utiliser un langage précis pour créditer les titulaires de droits d’auteur. »

L’article de l’ALSC dirige le lecteur vers une liste de livres pour enfants qui appartiennent maintenant au domaine public, c’est-à-dire qu’ils ne sont pas protégés par les droits d’auteur. Qui d’entre nous savait que The Tale of Peter Rabbit de Beatrix Potter appartient maintenant au domaine public ? Il y a aussi une liste de chansons bien connues dans le domaine public. Heureusement, on peut y trouver Frère Jacques et Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Alors que l’article de l’ALSC porte surtout sur les lois américaines sur le droit d’auteur, les licences sont aussi importantes pour les bibliothèques canadiennes. L’article affiche un lien à une ressource très utile de l’Association des éditeurs canadiens (ACP). L’ACP avoue que plusieurs éditeurs et auteurs ont reçu des demandes d’employés de bibliothèques voulant leur permission de lire un livre ou une partie d’un livre dans le cadre d’une heure du conte virtuelle et ensuite d’afficher son enregistrement soit au site Web de la bibliothèque ou à sa page Facebook. En réponse, l’ACP a créé le programme Read Aloud Canadian Books. Le programme permet temporairement l’exonération des droits de licences liés à la lecture de tout ou d’une partie de certains livres imprimés d’éditeurs et d’auteurs participants, et à la mise en ligne de l’enregistrement vidéo.

En réfléchissant aux possibilités de programmation virtuelle pour les enfants, les bibliothèques publiques pourraient tourner leur attention vers les liens déjà partagés par d’autres organisations, éditeurs et auteurs. Une bonne option pour cet été serait d’exploiter le travail du Club d’été TD (CLÉ TD).

  • L’Office national du film (ONF) a sélectionné des vidéos courts liés au thème du CLÉ TD 2020 qui sont offerts aux bibliothèques participantes. Elles ont accès aux vidéos en ligne à et peuvent les partager avec les usagers afin qu’ils puissent les écouter à la maison.
  • L’équipe créative du CLÉ TD a engagé 10 auteurs à faire l’heure du conte pour enfants. Les 10 livres sont tous disponibles en format numérisé au Site pour les enfants du CLÉ TD afin que les enfants puissent revoir les livres qu’on leur a lus. À compter du 15 juin, il y aura cinq heures du conte en anglais et deux heures du conte en français au site pour les enfants. Trois autres heures du conte en français seront diffusées sur Facebook en juillet. Elles seront enregistrées et, par la suite, disponibles au site Web. Les droits de licence pour ces enregistrements vous permettent aux bibliothèques de les lier à leur propre site Web.
  • Tous ces enregistrements seront aussi disponibles sur la liste de sélection du CLÉ TD à la chaîne YouTube Bibliovidéo, hébergée par le Centre du livre jeunesse canadien. Bibliovidéo développe cette chaîne afin d’offrir un large éventail de vidéos en français, en anglais et en langues autochtones. Vous y trouverez des entrevues avec les auteurs, les lectures à voix haute, des démonstrations de techniques de travail et des critiques de livres.

Il ne manque pas de choix pour l’heure du conte virtuelle. Mais n’oubliez pas de vérifier les droits de l’auteur. Si vous n’êtes pas certain, pourquoi ne pas approcher les créatifs de votre milieu qui se feraient un plaisir de partager une histoire ou une chanson originale.  Ou bien encore, ça pourrait être votre chance de briller avec des histoires que vous avez déjà en tête.

Information and Referral Story Time

Hello library world,

Ever stop to think about the local community information referrals you have readily at your fingertips? Have you ever wondered – where does this amazing information come from? Well, welcome to Information and Referral (I&R) story time – so get comfy, grab your cup of coffee/tea, gather your fellow library workers and let’s talk about local community information data and its importance in your work. And, what better time than now since November 16th, is Information and Referral Day in Ontario.

InformOntario is the provincial association representing over 40 Community Information Centres and associated I&R providers in Ontario and in parts of Canada. As the president of InformOntario, I am honored to be invited to share with  SOLS on the I&R sector. I wear many hats as I am also a board member with Inform Canada and the Manager, Community Development & Engagement for the Oakville Public Library (OPL). OPL is the lead agency in a 30+ year community collaboration we call Halton Information Providers or HIP. Yes I said HIP! We are HIP, we are cool, we dance in the stacks with our librarians when one is watching… just like you do, right?!  More importantly, we play a vital role in our communities’ safety and well-being. When I combine my OPL community engagement, InformOntario and Inform Canada roles, it becomes the most amazing way to support community, provincial library systems, and community data providers in making a real impact on the individuals we serve every day.

Thousands of people find local programs and services they need quickly, conveniently and free of charge because of Information and Referral (I&R) services like mine and those that InformOntario represents. Local data is collected by certified I&R specialists with long standing community knowledge and relationships. As local experts who know their communities inside and out, they are able to curate information that leads to useful referrals that are relevant and culturally appropriate to respective customers.

Similar to our library sector, the I&R sector is feeling financial pressures that are out of our control. Recently, we have seen the closing of two major Information Centres in the province. This was a devastating blow to those communities, the staff and the I&R sector as a whole. All of us in the I&R community wondered, how would all the community information be maintained, how will the loss of this information affect the provincial 211 system – (each community information center gathers and curates a local collection of community services information and gives it into the provincial 211 system. – so when a call comes into a 211 call center it is the local information that the person receives). I am pleased to say that it is the library systems who stepped up to keep the information curated and available to the community. Libraries ROCK!! Many rural information centers are located in a library and many, like HIP, are a part of the local library system. Community Information and Libraries are natural partners in serving the public and both contribute to a healthy community.

Referring the right book and referring the right community support is the same in my books (pun intended)…imagine the impact you have on a queer or trans youth in a small rural (and urban – don’t kid yourself – isolation is real in our urban communities too) community who loves reading and you refer a book that has characters and real life examples that mirror their identity. Now imagine an I&R professional referring the same youth to a program and space that accepts them for all of who they are! I know the impact because a librarian changed my world not once, but twice with a book and a referral to a community resource…both saved my life.

I&R specialists do amazing things. Libraries do amazing things, too! Together, we have the ability to help our communities and continue to do that amazing work! Thank you!

On November 16th, please help me celebrate I&R day. Check in with your local community information center and thank them for their work.

Marcus Logan is Manager, Community Development & Engagement at Oakville Public Library and President at InformOntario.

I would like to share the following information from an organization we have worked with in the past. CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario) has launched a specially designed website, CLEO Connect, to support community workers, including library staff, with public legal education, and information.

At, community workers can find training, tools, resources, and connections to help them help their clients and patrons with legal problems. We know that library staff are approached so often to help people find legal information and to be referred for more legal help. This website was developed to offer support to library staff so they can get some resources and training to do this important work.

Read more from CLEO’s news release.

If you have any questions at all, please contact Michelle Cader:

Michelle Cader
Community Outreach Manager
CLEO Connect
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
T: 416-408-4420 ext.826

“Ask Me” – Hamilton Public Library speaks your language

We’re pleased to repost an article from Hamilton Public Library about their “Ask Me” translation service, which offers help to customers in more than 180 languages!

Buttons for Hamilton Public Library's Ask me program

Demande-moi. Chiedimi. Frag Mich.

If Hamilton Public Library staff don’t speak your language, we’ll find someone who can, in a hurry.

Collectively, HPL staff fluently speak 21 languages, from Arabic to Italian to Punjabi. The blue and white Ask Me buttons these multi-lingual staff members wear let customers know there is an instant resource available on site.

And now, with the push of a few buttons on a phone, staff have easy access to translators of more than 180 languages off site, thanks to a recent partnership with Remote Interpretation Ontario (RIO).

Staff simply call RIO’s toll-free phone number and then key in the three first letters of the requested language to connect to an interpreter. A three-way phone feature also allows staff to help customers who call HPL requesting help. The translation service is available at each of HPL’s 22 branches.

“Library customers and residents of Hamilton now access information in their own language, on their own terms” says Shelley McKay, Manager of Communications at HPL. “The translation service contributes to the City of Hamilton’s mandate to be the best place to raise a child and age successfully. We’re happy to be a part of that.”

The Ask Me button and translation service rolled out in January.


Hamilton's Ask Me Program
Tony Del Monaco, HPL Director of Finance & Facilities, is happy to take your questions in Italian!

ESL with Mango Languages at Wellington County Library

We’re starting the year off by sharing an article that originally appeared in Hoopla .  Rosie Krul, Palmerston Branch Supervisor at the Wellington County Library, writes about using Mango Languages as an ESL tool, in partnership with Settlement Services.  Mango is one of many popular items in our Provincial E-resources licensing collection.

Over the past year, there has been a welcome increase of newcomers to our rural community. However, in our small town there are not many supports available for English as Second Language. Working with the Settlement Services team in Wellington County, we have devised a way to fulfill this need. Available through SOLS Provincial Licensing, Mango Languages is an online learning tool that provides our patrons access to instruction in over 70 languages, including ESL. It can be used on any device, including the computers and tablets that we loan, and allows people to start at the appropriate level and to learn at their own pace. This is extremely beneficial for newcomers with varying proficiencies in English.

Our partnership with Settlement Services started with a few of their clients who had accessed library services on their own. Settlement Services then reached out to ask us to run a Mango Languages course. Library staff created an introductory workshop with a focus on ESL and a member of Settlement Services staff translated for us as we demonstrated. At the end of the workshop, we registered everyone with a library card so they could create their own account. This partnership has been invaluable in getting more newcomers into the library, especially since some of them cannot speak any English. Our mandates include matching patrons with resources and removing barriers to service, which these workshops are achieving with great success.

Announcement from the LAC Library System Renewal Team

We're pleased to feature a guest blog post from the Library System Renewal Team, Library and Archives Canada, describing their new catalogue(s) debuting in 2018!

LAC is actually launching two new catalogues next year; a new National Union Catalogue, which will appear on our website in February 2018, and the new catalogue of LAC’s collection, which will be ready in the fall of 2018.

AMICUS (including current ILL and copy cataloguing functions) will remain available until after the new LAC catalogue launches in fall 2018, although as Rosanne notes it will become increasingly out of date for union catalogue holdings.  It will be the most up-to-date place to check for LAC holdings, though, as well as for alternate format libraries, until the new LAC catalogue is launched.    After the new LAC catalogue launches, AMICUS decommissioning will begin and AMICUS will be permanently taken offline.  When LAC has determined the date for AMICUS to be taken offline, it will be shared broadly (and in advance) with the library community. 

So the key dates are:

  • February 2018 – new National Union Catalogue launches
  • Fall 2018 – new LAC Catalogue launches, AMICUS  decommissioning begins.

We’d also like to clarify one thing about Z39.50 access; the new National Union Catalogue will be Z39.50-compliant, and it will be freely available to anyone who uses Z39.50 to search for locations for ILL.  However, a library will need a cataloguing subscription to download records from the new catalogue for copy cataloguing.

We’re happy to respond to your questions at .  Please also visit our Questions and Answers page for further information.