Staff Profile Series: Brandon Fratarcangeli

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 Brandon

Name: Brandon Fratarcangeli           

Position: Consultant

For the past seven years, I’ve worked as a consultant with Ontario Library Service, and previously Southern Ontario Library Service. My first library job was about 15 years ago at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Education Library, and there I realized for the first time that libraries are so much more than books and journal articles. I checked out puppets, toys, board games, teaching equipment for student teachers. It really helped shape my perspective of what a library can be. During my time at library school, I worked at the University of Toronto Libraries in Faculty & Student Engagement, gaining new perspectives on the community building, statistical reporting, and curriculum development. These experiences led me to my current position at Ontario Library Service, where I provide advice and guidance on numerous topics related to public library governance and service.

My favourite meal is…

Mushroom risotto.

A random and seldom known fact about me is…

My dream vacation to travel across North America with a teardrop trailer, and stopping at the best hiking trails. I especially want to visit the American Southwest.

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

I really enjoy working with library board members and on governance issues more generally. Before starting at OLS, I only had a very basic understanding of how libraries are overseen and governed. Through my experience at OLS, I gained tremendous insight into the importance of strong governance models for the continued success of libraries. I’ve met wonderful board members from across the province, and I’m truly heartened by volunteer community members willing to serve on their boards and strive to provide effective governance structures that support staff and let them excel at their jobs.


Leadership “Coach Approach” Program Wins ICF Prism Award

Ontario Library Service and Big Cheese Coaching Honoured Together with Tribute of Excellence

Image of PRISIM Award winners on screen

On June 14, 2023 the Ontario Library Service (OLS) with Eileen Chadnick, PCC, of Big Cheese Coaching were awarded winners of the annual International Coaching Federation Toronto Prism Awards, in recognition of a two-year “Coach Approach” integrated component of the Advancing Public Library Leaders Institute (APLL).  The Prism award, now in its 23rd year, celebrates excellence in organizational and leadership coaching.

Championed by Anne Marie Madziak (recently retired), the former APLL lead, and OLS executive recognized the potential to bring coaching skills into APLL’s leadership development curriculum.  Designed and facilitated by Eileen Chadnick, the multi-modality “Coach Approach” program was delivered with a hybrid of live workshops (virtual and in-person), videos with online discussion, peer practice, reflective assignments, and a plethora of resources.

41 emerging and aspiring leaders participated in the 2021-2022 cohort, representing 32 public libraries in Ontario. Focused on coaching in the library leadership context, the training highlighted the coaching mindset, and various coaching skills and approaches to amplify potential for collaboration, engagement, and capacity-building.

Image of Anne Marie Madziak at podium.Anne Marie Madziak (program champion) said she saw enormous synergy in the coach approach with the organization’s mandate: “The focus on coaching is well aligned with many of the Institute’s nine leadership practices, including developing individuals, embracing strategic change, reaching for exemplary service, and creating a learning environment. The Coach Approach initiative, with its sharp focus on practical coaching skills and a coaching mindset, is aligned with the learning objectives of the Institute, resulting in many current and future important coaching conversations across Ontario’s public library sector.

Image of Eileen Chadnick at podium.This is the second Prism award for Eileen Chadnick, who said: “It is an extraordinary honour to receive an ICF Prism award. Working with OLS and seeing the transformation amongst the 41 leaders was even more gratifying – seeing the leaders develop new coaching skills and approaches to inspire, empower, and catalyze potential with their people in their respective libraries and communities.”

Image of APLL instructors and Big Cheese Consulting OLS CEO and incoming APLL co-facilitator, Mellissa D’Onofrio-Jones said: “The Coach Approach had a demonstrably positive impact on aspiring leaders in the 2022 cohort. Our aim is to provide leaders at every level in the public library sector with tangible tools for having people centred conversations that develop not only staff but a positive work culture where psychological safety is valued.  Coaching skills will continue to be a significant part of the 2023-2024 curriculum.

Lead ICF Award Judge, Lucy Shenouda, said, “Your delivery of a diverse and comprehensive program in meeting the needs of different types of learners and honouring the ICF competencies is an outstanding achievement.”

We continue to incorporate coaching into the APLL Institute with the current cohort already expressing keen interest in learning more about and practicing coaching skills as a part of their leadership tools.

Big Cheese Coaching Logo       Advancing Public Library Leadership Logo

Staff Profile Series: Dayna Lintner

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 Dayna Lintner

Name: Dayna Lintner

Position: Operations and Training Administrator

Since 1989, I have been fortunate to work for the Ontario Library Service in various administrative positions. In my spare time, I enjoy sports, travel, 🤩glamping🤩, woodworking, and painting.

My favourite meal is…

Homemade lasagna! 😋

My desert island record is…

🎵 Fleetwood Mac: Greatest Hits   

A random and seldom known fact about me is…

I hold a black belt in Taekwondo. 🥋

2023 Maanjidiwaad Annual Meeting of First Nation Public Libraries in Ontario (formerly called Spring Gathering)

Image of First Nation public librarians attending Spring Gathering in a classroom setting.

After a long gap, on-reserve public librarians gathered once again in person, to renew relationships and continue working towards our collective goals through self-curated professional development opportunities. This year, 17 on-reserve public librarians and 11 guests/speakers gathered on the traditional territory of Nipissing First Nation from May 31st to June 2nd.

We were fortunate to gather in the Thomson Reading Room at the Harris Learning Library, Nipissing University for two days. For our final day, we gathered in the Garden Village Hall in Nipissing First Nation.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Highlights from the 2023 Agenda:

Visiting Garden Village, Nipissing First Nation:

    • Tour of Nipissing First Nation Kendaaswin
    • GoodMinds and Indigenous Reflections vendor
    • Fish Fry catered by Tigaaning Fish Frys

Evening Events:

    • Craft Night sponsored by Kathleen Copegog, Beausoleil First Nation Public Library
    • Tour of the Indigenous Ingenuity exhibit at the North Bay Museum, sponsored by Science North

Gathering in Harris Learning Library at Nipissing University:

    • Treaty Reading Room designed for smudging and knowledge sharing!
    • The front-desk librarians also shared their shawls with guests when the building got too chilly! 😊

History of Maanjidiwaad

Since 2012, the on-reserve public librarians have been attending Maanjidiwaad to visit, learn, and share. Maanjidiwaad offers First Nation-centered training. The sessions are organized in response to the on-reserve public librarians needs and suggestions.

In 2020, the on-reserve public librarians recommended that the name “Spring Gathering” be changed to a name in an Indigenous language.

As Spring Gathering travels around the province, each host community will be asked to rename the gathering in their regional dialect.

Maanjidiwaad was the name chosen by the host community Nipissing First Nation to replace Spring Gathering. Maanjidiwaad means those who gather or gathering people. The Nipissing dialect is a unique subset amongst the larger Nishnaabemowin family.

Chi-miigwetch | Nia:wen to Randy, Niigaanzid Kendaaswin from Nipissing First Nation Kendaaswin for hosting such a wonderful event!

Upcoming First Nation Events:

  1. Thursday, June 8, 2023, from 2:00PM – 3:00PM EST

Partnerships and Consultations: Indigenous Approaches to Community Building

Robyn Medicine, Community Hub Librarian – Indigenous Relationships Supervisor, Thunder Bay Public Library

  1. Wednesday, June 21, 2023, from 2:00PM – 3:00PM EST

First Nation Communities READ Longlist Announcement

Nancy Cooper, First Nation Consultant, Ontario Library Service

Resources Available Year-Round:

Beausoleil First Nation sees improved internet through Connecting Public Libraries Initiative.

May 25, 2023

The Ontario Library Service continues to implement the Connecting Public Libraries Initiative, a $4.85M project investment made by the Province of Ontario to upgrade broadband internet service at approximately 50 public libraries in unserved and underserved communities across the province.  To date through the Connecting Public Libraries Initiative (CLI), 13 public library branches have been connected with improved speeds of at least 50/10mbps.  This improved connection reaches over 35,000 Ontarians providing more reliable connectivity through the local public library.  This will enable greater participation in critical services such as online health care, remote work, and online education.

Today, we share the exciting news that Beausoleil First Nation Public Library has been connected.  With funding from this project, a new tower was constructed, which will enable the entire community to access faster and more reliable internet, not just the library.

“Our government is proud to invest in Ontario’s libraries as a key pillar of building strong and vibrant communities that support lifelong learning and help develop the talent and skills of Ontarians,” said Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.  “A faster, more reliable internet connection will help the surrounding community access essential resources and services through the Beausoleil First Nation Public Library”

Beausoleil First Nation is located at the Southern tip of Georgian Bay on Christian Island Ontario.  There are approximately 800 year-round residents of this First Nation.  The Island’s main access is by ferry and by ice road or hover craft in the winter months.  Through participation in this project, the Beausoleil First Nation Public Library can now access internet speeds previously unattainable; enabling staff and patrons more reliable access to services and resources.  Additionally, this funding provides improved connection and a robust infrastructure to address the community’s broader needs.

“Our government is making significant progress in bringing high-speed internet access to every community across the province by the end of 2025,” said Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure.  “Through the Connecting Public Libraries initiative, the Beausoleil First Nation Public Library will now have access to reliable internet connections for their community.  Through this initiative, we are providing residents with access to digital supports and services they need to work, learn and connect with their loved ones.”

Jon D’Alessandro President of Community Network Partners said of the project “We are proud to support the OLS in their mission to improve internet services for libraries across the province.  Communities such as Beausoleil First Nation, who for far too long have remained underserved can now enjoy reliable access to essential resources.  Together, we are committed to continuing to work towards ensuring equal access to internet services through the Connecting Public Libraries Initiative.”

“It was quite an honour for me to be able to provide this updated connectivity service to the patrons of our library” said Kathleen Copegog CEO of Beausoliel First Nation Public Library.  “Our patrons are very happy with the higher internet speed that they are experiencing and coming out more to the library to access the information that they require.  Knowing that this helps our community as well brings me great pleasure as I know a lot of people suffer from very poor connectivity in their homes.  Thank you to Ontario Library Service for choosing Beausoleil First Nation Public Library to take part in the Connecting Public Libraries Initiative!”

The Connecting Public Libraries Initiative is administered by the Ontario Library Service on behalf of the Government of Ontario.  “This investment demonstrates a recognition of the important role Ontario’s First Nation Public Libraries play in providing reliable and effective internet access,” said Mellissa D’Onofrio-Jones CEO, Ontario Library Service. “This improvement means that not only do library patrons have access to improved connectivity, but the whole community can also benefit from the new infrastructure.”

Please contact Mellissa D’Onofrio-Jones at for further information.

(News release link)

We Need to Talk (about Strategic Planning)

Image of Strategic Planning wordcloud.

“Big problems can be solved by starting at the community level.” – Kate Graham, 2022

When was the last time you looked at your library’s strategic plan? If the answer is “not since we launched it”, we need to talk. Ideally, a strategic plan will guide the library board, management, and staff in making decisions about where the library is going and how it will get there within a set timeframe (typically 3-5 years). Unfortunately, it is often the case that the strategic plan is merely a showpiece document that fails to integrate itself into the regular and ongoing work of the public library.

A great place to start is to ask the question of what “strategic planning” means to you and your library. At its core, strategic planning is the process of determining an organization’s future direction and then identifying the best approach for successfully achieving that direction. While the process typically follows standard methods, the elements and results produced may be drastically different from one library/community to the next. No library is too small to have a strategic plan in place, especially when supported with the right resources.

For public libraries in Ontario, it is the Board who holds primary responsibility for the highest-level organizational planning. That role often develops in the form of strategic planning (and business planning, not addressed in this post), which requires a coordinated and organized approach that is separate from an annual report, which summarizes what your library has accomplished in the previous year. Strategic planning is all about looking ahead, dreaming big, and envisioning where the library is going and what it wants to become in the years ahead.

As you know, public library boards are comprised of community volunteers who may or may not bring expertise in this area and so for many, developing and maintaining a strategic plan can be a daunting, or frankly terrifying, task. This is why it is vital for libraries to determine early on who they will select to participate on a steering committee from among the Board, management, and staffing levels; as well as whether the Board intends to lead the process internally or bring in an external facilitator.

“A full understanding and analysis of the community allows you to uncover what the community needs, what they want, and what they aspire to be. The Strategic Plan outlines how the public library will meet the need, fulfill the want, and anticipate the aspirations.” – Ontario Library Service

Whether your library takes the route of contracting an external planning facilitator (such as the Ontario Library Service) or handles strategic planning internally, there are three primary concepts to keep in mind:

    1. Collective Intelligence – something as large and far reaching as a strategic  plan, something that will affect services and planning for an entire community, is a collaborative effort. Everyone involved is a representative of the community and therefore a valuable contributor.
    2. Strategic planning is part art AND part science – effective planning includes both standardized elements (research and information gathering) and more creative elements (thinking beyond what the library does now and really thinking about what the community is saying about its future through the data and input).
    3. Time to Think – between the necessary research, information and input gathering, community engagement, data analysis, debate and brainstorming, the strategic planning process deserves and requires time devoted to it. Planning the future direction of a cornerstone community organization such as the public library is not one to be rushed or hurried.

A primary benefit of strategic planning for public libraries is the opportunity to test your individual or group assumptions and constructively question what you think to be true about the library and its place in the community. The library’s strategic plan should reflect the needs and priorities of its community and ideally align with those of its municipality, county, or Band Council. Think about themes, ideas, and language that will resonate with your library and community.

On the flip side, a primary challenge of strategic planning for public libraries is often that of balancing the work involved with the competing demands of daily activity at the library. Scheduling time for meetings, let alone for new tasks, can be a significant barrier. But keep in mind the purpose of this type of planning and the organizational value to be gained from striking the right balance between a visually appealing document and one that is highly effective in guiding the organization forward. The strategic plan can help focus energy and resources, support clear communication, and lead to a stronger understanding of the library’s purpose.

Once your strategic plan is in place, be sure to allow room for it to grow and adapt alongside the library. Tracking progress, adjusting workplans as circumstances shift (and they will!), and assessing performance measure will ensure the plan remains a living document that helps the library meet and exceed its goals.

For anyone looking for more content and resources on strategic planning for public libraries in Ontario, and to learn more about how the OLS team can provide support, check out the OLS Strategic Planning Resource Guide.

Perspectives and Policies of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Image of three people looking at a wall of photographs depicting diversity.

“What’s the number one thing we need to remember? Be a GOOD HUMAN.
~ Auntie Plum, Haliburton County

Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.” The topic at hand for this post is to consider how Ontario’s public libraries support those freedoms in relation to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and Intellectual Freedom. Every community is different and unique; therefore the application of EDI may vary slightly from one library to the next. It is important to regularly reflect on and review the library’s position and communication about EDI as understanding develops and new information is presented.

EDI work within the public library reaches every level of the organization including the Board and its policies and planning, HR practices, programming, collection development, customer service, spaces, online activity, and much more. This can lead to uncertainty about where to begin this work and what processes to follow. Consider starting with a critical review of the Library’s mission, vision, and values statements. Do they represent the Library’s commitment to Intellectual Freedom and EDI? Do they represent all of the Library’s users and community members?

“Some of the books we read have some very important topics that some parents or kids may not know how to talk about; gender, race, bullying, the importance of protecting water, being kind to one another, the list goes on.  We read the stories, but the adults take the kids home, and then the conversations happen, or they don’t.  But for one hour we plant seeds of inclusion, acceptance and freedom to be yourself. Those seeds go on and perhaps spread and open the mind and hearts of those who need it and help keep open the ones of those who already get it.”
~ Fantasia LaPremiere, Thunder Bay

Next up are the Library’s policies – there is great value in having a foundational policy that establishes and communicates the Library’s position BUT it is important to also review all other policies to determine how Intellectual Freedom and EDI can be incorporated within policies related to programming, collection development, meeting room use, HR, social media and communications, and more. There are implications to be considered at every level and up to date policies provide library leaders / staff with solid support during the delivery of service.

Providing talking points or key messaging notes for staff and library leadership will also help to support the library in maintaining a safe and welcoming environment. Consider the ways in which the library’s EDI work will be shared online through the library’s website or social media and how staff will interact with comments or questions. Effective communication about programming, collections, and other library services supports strong relationships with local media and individuals when discussing these nuanced and sometimes challenging topics.

Ontario Library Service (OLS) recently had an opportunity to deliver a live webinar on the topic in partnership with the Haliburton County Public Library focusing on the public library experience in hosting and delivering Drag Storytime programs (you can access the recorded webinar on LearnHQ). Some of the most valuable resources to help your library’s development can be gained through talking with colleagues at other libraries, borrowing or adapting effective practices and procedures, bringing questions to networking events, and of course the OLS Consulting Team is always available for questions and support.

For anyone looking for more context and resources for Ontario public libraries incorporating EDI practices into their organizations, the OLS has released a new professional resource guide on this topic. This guide includes lists of further resources and a link to the recording of the live webinar mentioned earlier in this post.

Staff Profile Series: Peggy Malcolm

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.

Picture of Peggy Malcolm

Name: Peggy Malcolm              

Position: Consultant

As many of you know, I have worked for the OLS and its predecessor for many years.  In fact, I started working at the Ottawa office of the Southern Ontario Library Service in early 1991, and was hired to write for the EXCEL distance education program and to create resource books called Sourcebooks for Small Public Libraries.  We have come a long way from those green-covered printed booklets – but I am quite proud of the fact that the Ontario Library Service continues to provide resource materials for staff, volunteers, and board members at Ontario public libraries through the OLS website.

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

Throughout my life, diversity, inclusion, and connections have played a significant role. A little-known fact is that I was born in Taiwan and lived the first few years of my life in a village called Miaoli. Back in Canada, our home always had a steady stream of visitors from around the world, and at the time, I thought everyone had overnight visitors from New Hebrides and dinners with Hakka-speaking international students from McMaster University to name a few. Reflecting, I realize that these experiences shaped my understanding of diversity, inclusion, and connections especially as I listened, observed, and absorbed everything I could.

I got another chance to experience this after university (undergrad in Geography at Laurier; graduate library degree at Western; HR at Toronto Metropolitan U) and a few years at the Pickering, Ajax, and Whitby Public Libraries. In the late 1980s, through CUSO, I accepted a job in the Library at a United Nations Agricultural Research Station in Bogor, Indonesia (the photo above is of the Centre’s two librarians – Yuni and myself). While interesting work, this location allowed me to be surrounded by a different culture and language (after 2 months of language training, I was better, but always humbled in speaking Indonesian). Several times throughout the three years, we travelled through Indonesia and Southeast Asia, always finding our way by local bus, on foot, boat… meeting people, asking questions, visiting sites, listening, and learning.

I believe that the tone was set for my understanding of diversity but also of inclusion and connections to others. In everything I write or create for the Ontario Library Service, I consider whether the reader would understand the words, especially if English was not a first language or literacy skills are not strong. I am very proud of my 25 years working on the EXCEL distance education program. I know that the explanatory notes and information pieces have helped to shape many working in Ontario’s public libraries. I am proud of the years of consulting work helping people to navigate through legislation, operational questions and personnel issues.

As a side note, while I was in Indonesia, I hit several items on my bucket list including a visit to the fabled Spice Islands, famed for nutmeg. To explain, you might want to read: Nathaniel’s Nutmeg: Or the True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed the Course of History by Giles Milton. In 1993, Canadian author, Ernest Hillen wrote a memoir called The Way of Boy: A Memoir of Java, and we were so fortunate to be a part of the book as we sent a package via Ernest to Indonesian friends who turned out to be key to unlocking his past.

One never knows what will happen when you listen carefully, observe, and make connections.

Board Self-Evaluations and Assessment

Board Self-Evaluations and Assessment

The final calendar year of the current board term is underway, and it’s an ideal time to undertake a board self-evaluation and assessment. One of the most common questions to follow this suggestion is: “What? Why does the Library Board need to conduct a self-evaluation and assessment?” Think of a self-evaluation like a performance review for the board; the self-evaluation and assessment process allows the Board to objectively examine how it is supporting and enabling the library in achieving its mandate. As we move closer to the appointment of boards for a new four-year term following the Fall municipal elections, the self-evaluation and assessment process also adds value in the development of any Board Legacy documents.

“I recommend that Boards have annual, or term work plans and check their progress and performance periodically against the plans.  A good way to deconstruct assessment is to see if the Board is doing what it said it will do (or supposed to do) by examining if it’s providing oversight, foresight, and insight.  And then, the examination and evaluation process begins from there in earnest.” – S. S. Ahmad, OLBA President

It is important to have regular check-ups for your governance practices. The self-evaluation and assessment process is a good indicator of your health as a board and organization. To do this, you need to have different strategies in place for improving your performance and for ongoing assessment. A properly constructed evaluation tool identifies what you should know, helps measure how well you know it, and, more importantly, how to apply it.​

Additional value-added elements to an ongoing practice of board self-evaluation and assessment include:

  • making it easier to plan for the next board term or planning for succession of the board
  • providing start-up support for new board members
  • identifying gaps in skill and experience levels
  • ensuring board alignment with the library’s strategic plan and action plans

Now for the details and specifics of key procedural elements…


It is most common to do an evaluation and assessment once or twice during the board term. For some Boards, the first assessment experience feels awkward and somewhat daunting. However, if the process and outcomes are accepted, the Board can learn and improve its performance based on the assessment. Embarking on a second assessment proves that the Board has learned the importance of monitoring its own effectiveness. Assessment is about the future and ensuring that the Board’s contribution to the organization maintains ongoing excellence.


In addition to evaluating the whole Board, it is equally important for members to conduct a self-assessment of their individual performance. The purpose here is for individuals to be honest with themselves about how active, prepared, and effective they have been in fulfilling their responsibilities as a member of the Library Board. Individual assessment also provides a valuable opportunity to identify gaps in knowledge or a need for additional training.  ​

Also consider including the Library’s CEO in board evaluation activities. They are a key player on your governance team and can provide an important perspective within the process.


  1. Develop a policy – you can’t govern without policy and so having a policy for this process provides structure and continuity.
  2. Demonstrate accountability – assessment shows that you believe in the values of transparency, accountability, learning, and development; and establishes credibility with those who fund and support the library.
  3. Reflect on priorities – identify the issues that have occupied most of the board’s time and ask yourself if those were a good use of time/energy. Key areas to consider include:
    • Organizational mission and values
    • Strategic planning
    • Policies
    • Financials
    • Relationships with the CEO, Council, and Community
  1. Be specific – make use of open-ended questions to gather more specific, detailed results and understanding.
  2. Follow-Up – discuss the assessment results together and address issues that get uncovered. Information gleaned from evaluations can be used in developing or revising recruitment, orientation, and training policies, procedures, and strategic plans. ​

“I very much support the process of board self-evaluation. Throughout the year [my] Board does self-evaluations through questionnaires about the CEO, Performance of Individual Board Members, Conduct of the Board, and Feedback to the Chair…Regular check-ins on different areas of Board activities/interactions is critical to avoid entrenchment of behaviours or conduct that is not helpful to the Board. Also, Board self-evaluations can highlight areas that may have gotten overlooked or missed throughout the year and give a Board the chance to review and reflect as they plan for the year ahead.” – Ben Hendricks, past president OLBA

The commitment to conducting a board self-evaluation and assessment is a means by which the Board can hold itself accountable for the performance of the organization and the state of its governance. It is a commitment to having candid, maybe even difficult, conversations about the extent to which the Board is measuring up to its own policies, codes of conduct, standards, and expectations. A board assessment is connected to the success of the organization and how the Board is contributing to effective governance of the library.

Pro Tip – aim to establish a realistic and meaningful process that works for YOUR board structure and library.

Additional Resources:

Signs, Signs, Everywhere…


In 1970, the Canadian rock group Five Man Electrical Band released the song “Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign”… I guarantee you’re singing it in your head right now!

Now this post is not about whether hippies with long hair should apply for work, but about the vast array of signs that I have noticed at various places in my community.

In the library world, even before the pandemic, I had noticed that some had signs everywhere whereas some just had a few.  My favourite was the library that took down ALL of their signs and then each sign had to EARN its way back into the library.  That library also took the opportunity to create a style guide and template and purchase standardized holders for every sign.

But the pandemic changed the world of signage.

From the beginning of the pandemic, businesses and organizations were required to post specific signs covering various topics.  The government website titled COVID-19 and workplace health and safety, has more than 30 poster choices covering situations from cleaning, equipment, retail transactions to workplace safety – and in at least five different languages.

March 1st, 2022 brought another round of changes.  The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health released a document called COVID-19 Signage Questions for Businesses and Organizations which provides this instruction:

“Under O. Reg. 364/20, the person responsible for a business or organization that is open must operate that business or organization in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health or another public health official on screening individuals. This applies whether or not the individuals are fully vaccinated.

“This requirement includes posting signs at all entrances to the premises of the business or organization in a conspicuous location visible to the public that inform individuals on how to screen themselves for COVID-19 prior to entering the premises.”

So really, this is the one remaining sign that is required by pandemic-related legislation, by regulation, or at the instruction of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

But what I have noticed is that rather than replacing signs with this one requirement, some businesses and organizations are just adding to the volume of signs.  Obsolete signs are still posted on the entrance doors, on washroom doors, on chairs, on computers, on shelf ends.  Some of these signs are very negative – for example, ‘don’t do that’ or ‘don’t touch that’; often leaving a less than welcoming or friendly feel.

The pandemic has not been easy.  Instructions on what to do and what not to do have come at you from every angle.  The changes set on March 1st provide a great opportunity to look at your signage – and make sure that you only have what is still needed.  It is time to welcome the public back to your library, without obsolete signs blocking their view and telling them what to do!