2019 Ontario Public Library Service Awards Short List Nominees

The 2019 short list nominees for the Minister’s Award for Innovation and the Angus Mowat Award of Excellence are:

The Blue Mountains Public Library

Reel History

Reel History is a local short documentary film series produced by The Blue Mountains Public Library’s Craigleith Heritage Depot. This BMPL series adds new films annually on key local history topics. The 2019 films: Pathway and the Mary Ward are unique from the earlier series as they not only provide access to valuable local history, but through Virtual Reality (VR), provide access to places which most could not physically visit. These films are a key piece of the library alternative collections and are used in programs, on-site, and through circulation.

Brampton Public Library

Children’s Fine-Free Initiative

Brampton Public Library Board, in May 2018, voted unanimously to eliminate overdue fines on nearly all children’s materials. This decision has positioned Brampton Library as an organization committed to barrier-free access for all Brampton families, as well as a champion of early literacy. We have fostered a closer relationship with our local school boards and other child-centric organizations who are now able to advocate on our behalf for library membership. Brampton Library has received an outpouring of positive responses from Brampton residents and our professional colleagues.

Brighton Public Library

Brighton Pop Up Library

The Brighton Pop Up Library brings library service and library staff out into the community, reaching people who haven’t reached us and building rapport with those that have. This is a mobile version of the library (minus the bookmobile) that operates during summer months, popping up at community events, local businesses and parks. It fosters community partnerships, lifelong learning and inspires creativity and thinking outside the box.

Cambridge Public Library Idea Exchange

The Old Post Office

In this partnership between Cambridge Public Library’s Idea Exchange, the City of Cambridge, and Monogram Coffee Roaster, The Old Post Office project created a space for creative minds of all ages to gather, and learn – to tinker, code, play, sketch, fabricate and build. A place that inspires creativity and skills development through access to cutting-edge technologies for the whole community.

Hamilton Public Library

Extended Access Library Service

This innovative project uses integrated technology –open+ by bibliotheca – combined with real-time, virtual librarian support to allow a rural library branch (formerly open 17 hours/week) to open for 60 hours/week. The investment in this library community hub means vital resources are now easily accessible for greater periods of time, leading to increased community engagement as measured by number of visitors, increased computer use and greater program attendance. Extended Access serves as a model for library systems looking for new, efficient ways to extend services for their communities.

King Township Public Library


King Township Public Library’s Out-of-the-Box Collection has helped propel a new stage in the library’s service evolution. It offers materials beyond books and media, providing users with the opportunity to take their interest off the page. The collection includes telescopes, portable art easels, Wi-Fi hotspots, blood pressure monitors, drafting kits, a parachute, a weeklong temporary membership pass granting access to a Township Fitness Centre and much more.

This initiative was introduced in October 2017 and has delighted current users and brought in new users. Non-traditional library items have helped cultivate special community partnerships and programing opportunities. The collection has quickly become popular and the library continues to grow it. The collection helps change the public’s perception of what is available to borrow at the library, exposes the community to new technology, and try things they might otherwise have to purchase.

Niagara Falls Public Library

Lunch Bunch

The goal of the Lunch Bunch program was, and still is, to offer a safe space for teens to eat lunch, take a break from their day, and feel welcome to be themselves. Niagara Falls Public Library’s partnership with the Niagara Falls Community Health Centre allows the library to connect vulnerable teens with trained social services staff to help meet their needs, and grow their self-esteem as well as their self-confidence.

Norfolk County Public Library

Norfolk Remembers

Norfolk Remembers is a project that has demonstrated a positive impact on the community by bringing all citizens and organizations together to promote remembrance of fallen soldiers and veterans. The core of the project was developed around publishing letters written home by Norfolk men and women who served and died in the Great War. These letters are unique in that they convey their eyewitness accounts and personal stories.

Orangeville Public Library

Cultivating a Culture of Inclusion

The Orangeville Public Library has become a recognized leader in the community as a welcoming and inclusive environment where persons of all ages and all abilities come together and thrive! From the life skills development partnerships to the all-inclusive story times library staff work with community partners to ensure a public space free of discrimination or judgement. This application demonstrates excellence in cultivating a culture of inclusion by providing programing for socially excluded individuals and people who might potentially encounter barriers to library services.

On June 2, 2015 at Queen’s Park, Orangeville was one of four individuals/ organizations to receive the inaugural David C. Onley Award for leadership in accessibility and disability issues. As a public service institution within the Town of Orangeville, the Orangeville Public Library (OPL) is committed to helping Orangeville achieve its goal of being a barrier free community.

Pembroke Public Library

Newcomer Support and Multicultural Festival

Many new people from all over the world move to the Pembroke and surrounding areas who don't have a central place to network. To accommodate their needs, Pembroke Public Library began an English as a Second Language (ESL) chat group and organizes an annual Multicultural Festival that connects the community, small business owners and newcomers and this provides returns in social and economic development. Furthermore, the Library promotes an environment of respect and fellowship where differences are celebrated to foster a strong and vibrant community. For these reasons, we believe Pembroke Public Library is deserving of the Angus Mowat Award of Excellence.

Selwyn Public Library

Sharing Dance Seniors

Working with Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) the library provided an eight week Sharing Dance Seniors program. Sharing Dance Seniors is a safe and accessible dance program that engages older adults in meaningful dance activity that benefits physical, cognitive and overall health. This program would be provided via video stream: “With the goal of providing the highest quality dance programming for seniors, an instructor from NBS will teach a class via video streaming from the studio in Toronto”

St. Marys Public Library

St. Marys Public Library and Recreation Facility Aquatics Pass Initiative

The St. Marys Public Library and Recreation Facility Aquatics Pass Initiative, or ‘Aquatics Pass’, is an agreement between the St. Marys Public Library and the local Recreation Facility to enable barrier free access to all aquatic programs within the facility for patrons within the communities of St. Marys and Perth South. As a joint venture, it aims to foster awareness for the importance of healthy active living and personal learning, as well as providing opportunities for healthy activities (swimming and aqua-based classes) through a collaborative approach between the library and the recreation department. The Director of Community Services and the Chief Executive Officer of Library Services initiated this project in July 2018 to further break down barriers for individuals within these two communities. The Aquatics Pass presents an opportunity to unify many services that both the library and recreation facility offers around the benefits of health and wellness, promoting positive mental health and longevity, and appealing to a different demographic serviced within the community.

Trent Lakes Public Library

Q-munity Project

This project helps to promote inclusiveness while combatting homophobia. In small rural areas such as Trent Lakes, the LGBTQ community is often underserviced or neglected with limited access to resources and support. The Q-munity project at Trent Lakes Public Library not only helps LGBTQ members but also the rest of the patrons through education and awareness. The Q-munity project provides personalized knowledgeable service and credible information to help people through their journey.

Whitby Public Libraries

Bike Month Partnership

Whitby Public Library’s Bike Month Partnership showcases a mutually beneficial relationship with the municipality and demonstrates the ways in which public libraries can help their municipal councils achieve their goals and help advance government priorities such as economic viability, jobs and prosperity, better health, community building, and easing traffic congestion. The unique partnership between the library and active transportation can be replicated and scaled by libraries of any size.