Canadian Urban Libraries Council/Conseil des Bibliothèques Urba

CULC in The News

Ontario Provincial Election: Party Positions on Public and School Libraries

Thursday September 29, 2011


Dear Members, Colleagues, and Fellow Ontarians:

On Thursday October 6, 2011, we, the people of Ontario will go to the polls and elect the MPPs who will constitute the Legislative Assembly of the 40th Parliament of Ontario.

As members of the library profession ours is a double task. Not only must we balance our own personal and local interest when we cast our ballet, we must also ensure that the MPPs that are elected will protect and promote libraries within the province.

To assist each of us in our own personal decision on whom we vote for on October 6, I sent to each of the provincial parties two questions related to their party’s policy as they pertain to libraries within the province. The first asked what the party’s policy is regarding the existence of libraries in schools and their staffing by trained library professionals. The second was what the party’s policy is regarding keeping public libraries public, increasing funding for collection, be they physical or electronic, and staffing by trained library professionals. Please find attached to this letter the three responses I received from the Liberal, PC, and NDP parties.

Ultimately who you vote for on October 6 is your own personal decision. Previous generations of Canadians have fought both physically and socially for your right to vote. Let the material I provided along with your own research guide your decision for which candidate you cast your ballet on October 6.

I look forward to seeing you at the polls on October 6.


Michael David Reansbury
2011-2012 President, OALT/ABO

Liberal 2011 Election Response.pdf (207.22 kb)

NDP 2011 Election response.pdf (325.40 kb)

PC 2011 Election response.pdf (181.39 kb)



Well it began and it has been awesome. If this makes one person jealous then great, all 19 of us will be pleased. As ED I hoped for one “big win” per day. When on Day One somebody says it was already worth every nickel you know things can only get worse. But so far they have not.

I am going to get to perhaps the best first – at least from my perspective – we arrived at the Black Diamond on Monday morning to meet our tour guide and none other than world-renowned Architect Morten Schmidt appeared. We knew that Morten was joining us in the afternoon. Did we think we would be spending a day with this man – no way. He was as humble, interesting, and entertaining a person as you could ever want to meet and wait until you see the pictures and the presentations. Morten now has Canadian Groupies! He even took a band of those willing to step out of Susy’s tightly choreographed plan and went and saw one of his other daring projects called “The Crystal.” See Flickr account.

Some more random thoughts worth sharing:

  • Flickr- having some troubles. So far the only upload is by Ken Roberts of HPL (using the trip to do some HPL promotion too – I think I saw him doing some Hamilton promotion and library card sign ups in the airport today)
  • Black Diamond – let’s just use WOW!! Pictures tell the story.
  • Help. Architects and Architect Wannabe/Should-Bes (AAW/SB) may be hijacking the tour. Who knew that finding a cantilevered petrol station in a beach town north of Kobenhavn was part of the tour? It is when famed architect Arne Jacobsen designed it. We also tried to find his house, but failed. Another example would be a pilgrimage to the base of the “Twisted Torso” building designed by Santiago Calatrava.
  • Copenhagen’s Main Branch was cool. Lots of nuggets to be seen and emulated. Neat rock band set-up (not Wii) where folks can jam wearing headphones.
  • Malmö – their darling library – 300,000 people and a spectacle that every library lover needs to see. It has been widely known for some time about the power of this place, but it defied expectations. I would not exaggerate to say the 19 folks on the tour took more than 5,000 pics here alone.
  • Sleeping CEOs. Nobody is saying they are not leaders, but when more than one, at some point in the day, commandeered the back seat for a power nap, you have to know it is the “norm” for folks in this position. There might be some shots on Flickr or maybe you will need to wait until somebody else offers up names.
  • Pods of windmills. We took a 10 km bridge tunnel to Sweden and there was a symmetrical pod of at least 50 windmills out in the bay on the Swedish side. Lots of controvsy about these in Ontario for sure, but as a sight in the Baltic sea they were just beautiful performance art.

Final thought for this posting. Is it us or is it them? Our bus driver crunched a $100k Mercedes as he was moving out to make a turn. Pretty certain we heard and possibly learned some Danish profanity. We have photos. We were running late to see a library that has doubled it's open hours through staff-less automation, so the driver dealt with it all in less than 10 minutes. That earned him a tip.


Dispatch from Denmark #2 - Tour Start Date

After months of planning and replanning and correspondence from our global colleagues at the institutions we are visiting the tour is finally about to begin. I think only two people have not yet checked in. We know one is already here, but just can't find him. He will show. The weather continues to be great – as beautiful late summer or early autumn as we could ask for.

Those who arrived early have two stories in common, well actually four, but they are connected:

  1. Hotels in Copenhagen do not necessarily care if you have just flown transatlantic and are exhausted. Rooms are ready when they are ready. This is connected to point two:
  2. We do not walk enough back in Canada. I have not met anybody who hasn’t walked miles and miles and miles looking at things while their hotel rooms were being prepped. I had four hours yesterday and covered at least 10 km. It has me thinking about urban quality of life and some of the issues we face in Canada and how we might be addressing them or not.
  3. Cost – nobody expected Copenhagen to be cheap. However, you have to see it to believe it. I had a chat with our esteemed former Chair from Regina. He has the current story of highest paid sandwich. I thought he was talking 50DKK for an open face sandwich and tea (that is $10 CDN). Turns out he meant 250DKK or $50 CDN. I did find a grocery store and found the prices there are more in line with “normal” or at least what we know. The backside of this story is a number of folks who commented on their pre-tour hotel room being expensive and not so satisfying. There is everything here for sure.

What else happened today worth discussing:

  • Architects have cool cameras. David Premi (Hamilton) and James Youck (Regina) immediately connected and James was flashing photos from his tour around. I hope our guides here in Copenhagen are on their “A-Game”. These guys have done their homework and really, really are going to be a neat mind-stretching component.
  • Today was FREE public building Sunday I gather. Museums and other cultural institutions open up on Sundays.
  • Culture is Community. At least here in Copenhagen. Their public space abutts their cultural space and vice versa. There is a huge commercial component too. The pedestrian zones are animated by the private sector stores, but they bisect all the public squares. Doesn't hurt that in all of those squares are outdoor cafés eager to get you a beer or something to eat. Vancouver has the seawall, Toronto has parks everywhere, Oakville, Burlington, Whitby and others have great access to the waterfront; Halifax has the Harbour and the walkways along it. Copenhagen has tried for all right in the City Centre. Considering how old it is it does make you wonder why our young cities struggle with how to keep the public space, public.
  • Bikes. Let’s talk more about them. The spin-offs are obvious – little congestions; no vast parking lots above or below ground to handle the masses; and the huge one of health. People ride everywhere. They have simple locks on the back brake that just get “set” and they have a key to release. There is a mindset of respect and it all seems orderly. All the hotels rent them too. There are some paths; some are separated with a small cement barrier; and lots with a paint line too. It is a way of being and while our climates, in some cases, are not as conducive, I also know that theirs is not always either. But coupled with a good transit plan (looks like four times as many stops and lines as the TTC in Toronto) it sure makes for a Livable City.

Can't wait to finally meet Susy Tastesen from the Copenhagen Public Library. She has been endlessly patient with us and has handled all of the local logistics.



The Study Tour particpants are gathering in Copenhagen on a glorious Autumn Scandanavian Day. Tomorrow is the final day of the summer season at the world famous Tivoli Gardens and the first official day/evening of the Tour. Most are arriving tomorrow, but those with travel issues came a day early. Thank you Air Canada and their partner union for agreeing to terms earlier this week or many of us might be in Canada still.

From where I am staying tonight (Marriott Copenhagen) I overlook the Tivoli Amusement Park on one side and from this Internet station I can see the shipping channel and the container ships on the Baltic Sea. I can also see the spectacular BELLA SKY Hotel which is an architectural marvel. I couldn't resist an early peak (okay my room was three hours late being ready) and walked down the wharf and had my first look at the stunning Black Diamond – the Danish National Library. I can also see a 10 kayak/person game of “kayak-polo”. Also what I thought was a sculpture in the harbour is in fact a public swimming area. The jumping/diving board looks like the prow of a ship.

Maureen Barry (Burlington PL) has graciously offered to become an international mule. CULC/CBUC ED Jefferson Gilbert's best planning left a two hour gap between his departure and the new CULC/CBUC swag bags fresh from the printer. Luckly Maureen had extra room in her bag - sounds to me like she is planning a little shopping over here. Turns out that she is also carrying an unnamed 905 CEOs Euro Pass who made the mistake of leaving it on her desk before she left. I see a reciprocal card agreement being negotiated over that save. Thanks to my Associate Jennifer Marriott, who without a car, is figuring out how to do all this today while still finalizing some lunch and dinner details at the back end.

Checked out the first stop hotel and they are ready for us (though the back story will probably arrive back in Canada before the delegation does). Have not yet tracked down former CULC/CBUC Chair Jeff Barber who pre-tripped before the Study Tour to assist the Greek people with some of their economic issues. Greg Hayton is also in town already. I am sure he has done the Danish Design Institute and I hope the Louisiana Museum of Art which is 50 miles outside of town.

Early Urban Observations:

  • Any Cities considering bike lanes need to come and see how seamless they are here in CPH; bikes everywhere; few helmets in sight and fewer “cyclists” bent on using paths to pretend they are at the Tour of Italy or France. Also note, as I write Canadian Clara Hughes may win the ICU 140K+ women's race across town. Lots of riders are in the hotel, not sure about Canadian delegation. The town is cylce crazy this week. Very cool.
  • Mix of old and new. Here is a city much, much older than anything we have in Canada and they have beautifully justaposing traditional Modern Architecture side by side with their history. They seem to be supporting each other quite nicely and I am told with minimal conflict.
  • Vancouver figured it out, but not sure who else. Catherine Biss and I each paid the equivalent of $7.50 and waited 3 minutes (they come every ten minutes) and took a train from the Airport (the International one) right to the downtown station. I walked to my hotel which was 3 blocks; Catherine was less sure, but I suspct instead of a $60 cab it was less than $10. BTW - the train terminal is below the Arrivals level - less than 200M in total walking.e
  • No. 13 above the Danish Design Institute caught my eye immediately. I am paraphrasing, but what it said was "Libraries need to change and transform to stay relavant". 13 is an unfortunate number, because we have 19 people here from CULC/CBUC and Canadian libraries look at what other parts of the world have done.


Second Round of Lest We Forget Pilots to Begin Across Canada

CULC/CBUC is again pleased to be a program delivery partner with Library Archives Canada (LAC) in delivering series of workshops in CULC/CBUC member communities using the war records from the Library and Archives Canada. The first set of pilots took place in 2010 with the public libraries in Burlington (ON); Winnipeg (MB); Fraser Valley/Abbotsford (BC) and Toronto (ON) participating. The second round is going to be done in: Richmond (BC); Calgary (AB); London (ON) and Halifax (NS). The reasons these centres are good pilot sites is the availability of good digitized records; in some cases strong military roots in the community; good national geographic representation, and building on pre-existing initiatives. One of the major objectives of the pilots is to 'enter' new markets where the program has been underrepresented either by LAC or the earlier round of pilots. Training is going to commence shortly and the hope is to deliver the workshops to more than 1500 Grade 9-12 students across Canada. The round one pilot centres will also be continuing. A template for other libraries to follow in delivering will be developed by LAC-BAC following the current round of pilots.