The OLBA W.J. Robertson Medallion

The W.J. Robertson Medallion is presented by the Ontario Library Boards' Association to a public librarian who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the advancement of public library service in Ontario.

William John Robertson was a founding member of the Ontario Library Association. The thirty three "originals" that established the first constitution at the first Annual meeting of the Association in April, 1901, were a very distinguished and active group and W.J. Robertson was among the most prominent.

Robertson became the fourth President of the Association in 1905 - the first trustee to be elected into the position. Robertson was twice chair of the St. Catharines Free Library Board.

This provincial award recognizes and honours significant contributions to the library profession. The President of the Ontario Library Boards Association presents the medallion at the annual Public Library Awards dinner held in conjunction with the Ontario Library Association’s annual Super Conference.

Note: The James Bain Medallion is presented by the Ontario Public Library Association and awarded to a library board member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in governing a public library in Ontario. 

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

To view more information on eligibility and nomination procedures
To view past recipients
2019 Award Recipient


 Cathy Grant

Pickering Public Library
Under Cathy's guidance, the Library has moved from a traditional organization to a workplace with a culture that supports innovation and learning at every level.  She worked with staff to design the framework in which we operate:  the strategic plans developed with strong community input and then given staff the freedom to find creative ways to meet our community's needs.  Cathy's leadership has led to many Library awards, including current nominations for both the Minister's Award for Innovation for our digital outreach program, PPL Connect and the Angus Mowat Award of Excellence for the Library's Learning Organization model.  Over the past year, Pickering Public Library staff have presented at OLA, PLA and ALA on work related to mental health, the learning organization and digital outreach.  Today, Pickering Public Library embraces Library design thinking, has developed a thriving Maker Space, operate a psychologically safe workplace proudly operate as a Learning Organization. This is all possible because of Cathy's strong leadership and support. Kathy Williams and Elaine Bird, Pickering Public Library


2018 Award Recipient


Catherine Biss 

Markham Public Library
Under Catherine’s leadership, Markham Public Library has grown from a decentralized system of branches to an award-winning sophisticated urban library.  Catherine’s vision for innovative and collaborative library service has resulted in a number of innovations at Markham Public Library, focused on customer experience and community engagement. A former chair of CULC and the current chair of CELA, Catherine has served on numerous boards and professional committees. Her work with NELI as a professional mentor has inspired new generations of leaders, as has her internal leadership of her own staff. Michelle Sawh and Andrea Cecchetto, Markham Public Library