OLA President's Award for Exceptional Achievement

The President's Award for Exceptional Achievement acknowledges an outstanding action or contribution that has in a major or unique way enhanced or furthered librarianship in Ontario. The selection is at the full discretion of the President of the OLA. Awards are only given if there is something of true historic significance to recognize.

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2019 Award Recipient


Mary Lou Souter

Mississippi Mills Public Library Board
Mary Lou Souter was chosen to represent more than 2,200 Ontario Public Library trustees who volunteer to bring efficient and effective library service to their communities. During her 25+ years as a board member, Mary Lou clearly understood the need for collaboration to accomplish this goal. Since she has become Board Chair in 2012, the Mississippi Mills Public Library Board has obtained accessibility funding for its main branch, expanded and renovated its Pakenham Branch, completed a 10-year strategic plan, rewritten its policy document and achieved provincial accreditation. None of that could have happened without the cooperation of the municipality and the hard work of both staff and Board members. Mary Lou would like to thank the OLBA and SOLS for providing excellent training and operational resources which are indispensable to small library boards. Kerry Badgley, 2018 OLA President

2018 Award Recipient


Dr. Guy Berthiaume

Library and Archives Canada/Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
Since Guy Berthiaume became our Librarian and Archivist of Canada, in June 2014, we have seen a remarkable transformation at Library and Archives Canada.  He began by being present and engaged in the Library information and Archival communities.  In his first year, he attended every possible event, regionally, nationally and internationally, to listen and to get to know the stakeholders and members of our communities.  M. Berthiaume moved quickly to build internal capacity by creating a supportive, respectful and innovative culture within LAC, developing his leadership team and restructuring to serve the needs of the organization while empowering the members of the team at all levels of the organization. Under his watch, LAC is becoming a destination, both physically and virtually.  M. Berthiaume is all about partnerships, developing strategic initiatives with Pier 21 and Vancouver Public Library, making regional LAC services more accessible and integrated into their communities, as well as strategic partnerships with universities. For these reasons and so many more, it is my great pleasure to award Guy Berthiaume the OLA 2018 President’s Award. Leslie Weir, 2017 OLA President