Community-Led Think Tank

The Community-Led Think Tank is held every one or two years. The program is developed by OPLA’s Community Led Committee and explores a different theme at each event. The community-led approach to libraries aims to create a library for the people, by the people. This event is a full day of collaborating, networking and learning about this approach to librarianship.

OPLA’s Community-Led Libraries Think Tank is for you whether you are just getting started with a community-led library approach or you’ve already embraced the concept. The day features an opportunity to discuss themes and issues related to community-led in small groups, to share ideas and best practices and to hear from experts in the field. 

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

Amy Solecki, Community Outreach Coordinator, Meaford Public 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

Brandi Gillett, Halton Hills Public Library

Julia Campbell, Ajax Public Library

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.

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.

October 3, 2019: London Public Library

October 1, 2018: North York Central Library

May 22, 2015: Western University