Community-Led Libraries Committee

A community-led approach to librarianship focuses on working collaboratively with community, including socially excluded individuals or those with barriers to library services, to understand the needs of the community and in turn, to inform the direction of the library’s work and policies.  By engaging with our community we ensure that our work reflects the local population and ensures that services are relevant to members of the community. A community-led approach puts community members in the position of being the “experts” regarding their own needs and encourages them to realize their potential. Libraries can play a significant role in creating the right conditions and opportunities to allow everyone the ability to pursue a better future.

Mandate and Terms of Reference

1.  Mandate

To develop a vision and set of best practices for Ontario public library systems to engage the community and develop a set of criteria to effectively measure those efforts.

2.  Terms of Reference

  a.    Committee
The committee will consist of five to eight members representing small, medium and large library systems as well as northern and aboriginal interests. Of the committee members, two will act as co-chairs. The committee will report to the OPLA Council.

  b.    Commitment
Committee members can expect to participate in a minimum of three to five meetings per year (combination of teleconference and in-person). The combined meeting and workload time is estimated at up to six days per year on average spread out over the course of the year. Each member will serve a three year term. OPLA will cover meeting expenses within the approved annual budget.

  c.    Benefits
Volunteers serving on this committee will have the opportunity to work with a diverse group of individuals, all of whom have an interest in or experience with community-led library service models. Committee members will have input and access to best practices and templates which may be implemented in individual workplaces.

  d.    Qualifications
OPLA seeks members who have interest in helping to establish this new committee and define the community-led service model. Interested individuals should have experience in community engagement, relationship building and thinking outside of the box. The committee shall be comprised of current OPLA members in good standing.

3.    Goals and Activities   

   a. Annual Community-Led Think Tank
   b. FIMS case studies that can be shared with Ontario library systems
   c. Community-Led sessions as part of the annual OLA Super Conference
   d. Establish an interactive best practices database
   e. Development of measurement criteria that accurately reflects community-led efforts focusing on outcomes  
   f.  Provincial focus and operationalization of the Community-Led Libraries Toolkit.

Community-Led Libraries Resources

Working Together Project
Edmonton Public Library Community-led Service Philosophy
CLA Community-Led Library Service Network
Developing Community-Led Public Libraries by John Pateman and Ken Williment (2013)

Current Committee Membership

Tracy Munusami (Chair)
Manager, Service Excellence, Oshawa Public Libraries

Amy Solecki 
Community Outreach Coordinator, Meaford Public Library

Beverly King 
Manager of Adult and Community Services Librarian, Halton Hills Public Library 

Lindsey Long 
Community Hub Librarian, Thunder Bay Public Library 

Laura Shtern
Information Services Librarian - Collections, Wellington County Library

Loretta Tang 
Senior Services Specialist, Community Outreach & Engagement, Toronto Public Library 

Diana Krawczyk
Manager, Children, Youth, and Popular Collections, Mississauga Library System

Emily Thompson
Community-Led Librarian, Milton Public Library

Anne O'Sullivan
Manager, Customer Services and Branch Operations, London Public Library

Douglas Davey
Manager of Children's and Youth Services, Halton Hills Public Library (OPLA Liaison)