James Bain Medallion

The James Bain Medallion is awarded to a library board member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in governing a public library in Ontario.  This annual province wide award recognizes and honours the best contributions and efforts of board members who govern public libraries. James Bain was the first President of the Ontario Library Association in 1901 and Chief Librarian of the Toronto Public Library.

To apply: Complete the online nomination form by November 1
For questions or more information, contact [email protected]

To view more information on eligibility and nomination procedures
To view past recipients 

2018 Award Recipient


Shelagh Harris

Richmond Hill Public Library Board
Shelagh Harris has served on Richmond Hill Public Library Board for nearly 20 years. She served as Board Chair from 1999 to 2007, a period of extensive growth for the library, including opening Richmond Green Branch, a joint facility between the library and the York Region District School Board. Shelagh is an inspiration to her fellow Board members, setting a fine example of commitment , engagement and responsibility, faithfully attending meetings and contributing informed discussion.  She encourages her fellow trustees to support the OLBA, and promotes the SuperConference offerings annually.  She is unfailingly eloquent when called upon to advocate for libraries as community hubs, as well as their role in cultural development, and has advanced partnerships with service groups that have enhanced library offerings. She truly deserves recognition as a exceptional Board member. Louise Procter Maio, Richmond Hill Public Library

2017 Award Recipient


 Donald Lynch

Six Nations Public Library Board
Don joined the Six Nations Public Library Board in 2007 during a time of flux. The library was without a CEO and needed to do a considerable amount of work before it could do any hiring. Within a matter of months Don, although new to library governance, became Chair. During his tenure, all policies for the library building were developed, a CEO was hired, and within three years, Six Nations became the first First Nation Public Library to become accredited. Don didn't just focus on his own library though; he dove into the library world. He is a regular face at OLA and the Trustee Boot Camp. Don reaches out to new trustees to ensure they understand their roles with respect to fiduciary oversight and governance, and ensure they have access to the resources they need. Don's leadership and passion for the values of inclusion and collective responsibility are truly an inspiration to all of us: Don believes our governments, politicians, and library organizations can change in his lifetime, if we all stand up together. Alexandra Yarrow, OPLA President 2016