Annual Institute on the Library as Place

What Is The Annual Institute on Library as Place?

The purpose of the Annual Institute on the Library as Place is to provide a learning opportunity for the library, municipal, design, and architect sectors to learn more about physical space (e.g., characteristics of great futureoriented spaces; advocacy for the library as physical space; effective collaboration with communities, architects, project managers, municipal officials, and builders) and to become equipped to plan and respond quickly to capitalize on opportunities for development and redevelopment for all types of libraries. Participants are from the public, school, special and academic library sectors, in addition to municipal decision makers, architects and designers. The event hosts approximately 150 delegates each year. While hosted in Ontario, delegates from any province/country are welcomed.

The Annual Institute is a great place to meet people who are also embarking on similar design and building projects. It’s always a good idea to bring your project drawings or schematics with you, so that you’re able to refer to them during the workshops or informal chats at your table. The people in the room come from libraries of varying sizes, architecture firms, design companies and furniture manufacturers – make sure to chat and make connections with as many people as possible!

Shop with us at The Library Marketplace

Grab fun bookish merchandise or browse professional resources in library design, construction, management, sustainability and more. Visit The Library Marketplace for all your library planning needs!

Stay tuned for opportunities to sponsor and exhibit at AILP 2025! 


Rochelle Mazar, Assistant Director, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, UBC Library

Aleksandra Dowiat-Vine, Vaughan Public Libraries
Chad Roglich, Hamilton Public Library
Dana Alexandrescu, Toronto Metropolitan University
Janna Levitt, Partner, LGA Architectural Partners
Ryan Myers, Schoolhouse Products Canada
Susan Martin
, Manager, Branch Capital Planning and Implementation, Toronto Public Library
Tarisha Dolyniuk, MJMA

OLA Staff Liaisons:
Emily Burns, Director of Education and Impact, Ontario Library Association
Gina Freitag, Training and Event Producer, Ontario Library Association


The OLA Library as Place Committee reports to the OLA Board of Directors to support initiatives on current issues and strategies related to library buildings and renovations in Ontario. The committee works to organize a networking and education event called the “Annual Institute on the Library as Place”.


The OLA Library as Place Committee will:

  • provide specialized expertise on the education programming for the event;
  • identify building issues and resources applicable to the audience;
  • identify opportunities for networking among the library building community.
  • draft and monitor the budget, ensuring revenues exceed expenses.
  • participate in the onsite logistics and management during the Library as Place conference;
  • communicate and promote the event to their professional networks;
  • invite and work with vendors in the architect/building/design community;
  • work with the OLA representative to book speakers and ensure expenses are within the allocated budget.


The goals of the OLA Library as Place Committee are to:

  • plan an education program offered to library staff and architects in Ontario;
  • market Library as Place event to professional networks;
  • deliver event, committee to participate in onsite logistics, speaker assistance and group facilitation;
  • provide event report and evaluation data to OLA Board of Directors.


Membership shall represent the diversity of the following sectors:  

  • Academic, ideally representing college and university;
  • Public, ideally representing diverse needs: rural/urban;
  • Architect/design professionals.
  • The committee is supported by the OLA Director, Member Engagement and Education and the OLA Education Co-ordinator.


  • OLA members who have an interest in a leadership role in library buildings and space planning.
  • Members will bring expertise from their own sectors.
  • Candidates should have building experience, which may include: knowledge of current and systemic issues that affect library builds; experience with architect relations; practical experience in the building and renovating of library spaces; an interest in the use and design of public spaces.

Resources and Budget:

Resources required for this committee include:

  • OLA office staff support for meeting arrangements and completion of meeting minutes, as needed; maintaining a event web page on the OLA website; posting/archiving of materials on OLA website
  • Meeting space at virtual meeting platform, as needed
  • Funds for expenses related to event programming
  • Funds for expenses related to travel during the event.


Committee members can expect a minimum of 5 meetings per year, which will be a predominantly virtually.  The combined meeting and workload time (i.e. developing program focus, creating plans, attending meetings, building networks, etc.) is estimated to be approximately 6 days per year. OLA covers meeting expenses.

The OLA Library as Place Committee will report to the OLA Board at least once per year.

The Meeting Agenda should be available to members at least 2 days prior to meetings. Minutes will be completed by OLA staff or committee designate and made available as soon as possible following meetings. These items will be distributed to committee members through email and also archived. Communication between meetings will usually be conducted through email.

Quorum for committee meetings will be in effect when a majority of committee members are in attendance for a meeting.

Type of Committee:

          Standing Committee (responsible for a specific program or function)

         Task Forces (time-limited tasks on a specific topic)

         Action Groups (development of a limited program or activity)

Term of Appointment:

The term for OLA Library as Place Committee members generally runs for a period of 3 years, with the option to extend up to an additional 2 years at the discretion of the OLA Board. Member terms overlap to ensure knowledge transfer and consistency. Committee members are recruited from the OLA membership and architecture/design community at large, as required.

Chair will be appointed annually from within the committee. Terms of 2 years. Chairs are responsible for coordinating the agenda, facilitating meetings, ensuring portfolios are assigned, liaising with OLA staff and reporting to the OLA Board.

2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 20162017 | 2018 | 2019| 2021 | 2022 | 2023 | 2024

2024 Annual Institute on the Library as Place: Tools of Engagement

Keynote: Dawn T. Maracle

The theme of this year’s Annual Institute on Library as Place is Tools of Engagement, focusing on community engagement challenges and successes in library building and renovation projects of all sizes.

2023 Annual Institute on the Library as Place – Designing Sustainable and Resilient Libraries in Accelerating Times 

Libraries have a unique opportunity to create spaces that reflect and respond to the needs and aspirations of the people who use them. Moreover, building resilient library spaces is essential for ensuring that these institutions can weather the various challenges and disruptions that communities are likely to face over time. From economic shifts to natural disasters, libraries must be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances. But resilience isn’t just about being prepared for the worst – it’s also about building strength and capacity in all forms, and helping communities to thrive and grow over the long term. 

We’ll also explore the benefits of outdoor programming, and utilizing nature to create dynamic and engaging programs and experiences that are not confined by traditional library walls. 

2022 Annual Institute on the Library as Place – Libraries that Work 

Keynote: Designing Inclusive Workspaces with Kay Sargent, HOK 

The 2022 conference focused on the evolution of both front and back of house spaces. How have our work-from-home communities shifted expectations of space and services? What changes have been made to accommodate virtual meeting setups? How are we improving the space and onsite experience of library staff? 

2021 Annual Institute on the Library as Place 
Keynote: Future of Public Space with Shawn Micallef

The 2021 Library as Place event focused on the innovative solutions and problem solving efforts of libraries during the pandemic and explored how these efforts informed the planning of future library spaces. Library teams from across the country shared the ways that they adapted their buildings to meet the needs of their community.

2020 Conversation Series 
The Annual Institute on Library as Place could not take place in person during summer 2020 as planned; however, a series of conversations and virtual events helped us put our heads together and problem-solve. Here is the list of conversations along with supplementary materials where available.

Past Sessions:
Return to the Academic Library Space: What Is Your Scenario?  : Thursday July 9, 2020 at 3:30pm EST
– De-escalation Policies to Support Inclusion  : Monday June 22, 2020 at 1pm EST
– Curbside Pickup at Academic Libraries : Friday May 15, 2020 at 1pm EST. [Materials from this session]
– Public Library Curbside Pickup Plans: Learning from BC : Wednesday May 20, 2020 at 1pm EST [Materials from this session ]
– Curbside Pickup at Academic Libraries: Continuing the Conversation : Friday May 22, 2020 at 1pm EST
– Adaptive Re-Use of Space: Toronto Public Library & Pop-Up Food Banks During COVID-19 : Tuesday June 2, 2020 at 2pm EST