Canadian Urban Libraries Council/Conseil des Bibliothèques Urba

CULC in The News

Christina de Castell is VPL's new CEO


June 5, 2018

Vancouver Public Library Welcomes Christina de Castell as New Chief Librarian

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Public Library (VPL) today announced the appointment of Christina de Castell as Chief Librarian. De Castell joined VPL in 2006, and has served in increasing senior roles, most recently as Acting Chief Librarian since March 2018.

De Castell brings a depth of knowledge and experience to the role. She is internationally recognized for her expertise in copyright and digital technologies and has led the promotion of ebook lending among libraries in Canada. As a result of her innovative approach and leadership, VPL is considered a leader in ebooks among public libraries worldwide.

“After conducting a comprehensive North American search, the VPL Board is thrilled to have Christina take on the role of Chief Librarian. We have the utmost confidence in her,” said VPL’s board chair Kyla Epstein. “Christina’s expertise, innovative thinking and collaborative leadership style will ensure that VPL continues to meet the changing needs of our community, while creating an organizational culture where staff can thrive.”

Vancouver’s City Manager Sadhu Johnston is also pleased to welcome de Castell in her new role with VPL. “Encouraging and retaining high-caliber employees is an important way to ensure continuity and collaboration in a high performing workplace,” says Johnston. “We look forward to seeing Vancouver's public libraries grow and thrive under her leadership.”

De Castell holds a master of library and information studies from the University of British Columbia. She is vice-chair of the copyright committee for the Canadian Federation of Library Associations, and has held board positions with the B.C. Library Association and the Special Libraries Association Western Canada Chapter.

After authoring the digital strategy and leading the opening of the Inspiration Lab for VPL, in 2015, she undertook a one year assignment representing libraries at UN and international forums as Manager, Policy and Advocacy for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) in The Hague, Netherlands.

“I’m honoured to take on this role and to work with our staff, stakeholders and Vancouver’s communities to reach our vision of an informed, engaged, and connected city,” says de Castell, who is also a frequent speaker on ebooks, reading, digital technologies and libraries. “As VPL continues to share the world’s ideas and stories through lending books, supporting literacy and providing great programs, I’m excited to explore together the possibilities that technology enables and the new ways that we can learn, create and collaborate.”

The leadership change takes place as VPL is about to unveil two new levels of vibrant community spaces in the downtown central branch, including a much-awaited public roof garden Anticipated opening of the new facilities is fall 2018.

De Castell succeeds Sandra Singh, who was appointed General Manager of Arts, Culture, and Community Services at the City of Vancouver.


Barrie Public Library appoints Lauren Jessop their new CEO

To whom it may concern:

Ms. Jessop is a professional Librarian with more than 10 years of experience in public libraries in Ontario and Alberta. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Guelph and earned her Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Western Ontario.

Ms. Jessop is an internal hire, having served as the Director, Customer Experience at the Barrie Public Library since December 2016.

Thank you,

Ray Duhamel

Board Chair, Barrie Public Library


Lita Barrie appointed new CEO of Burlington Public Library

News from Burlington Public Library

Library Board announces new chief executive officer

Burlington, ON – It is with great pleasure that Burlington Public Library Board Chair, Brian Kenny, announces the appointment of Lita Barrie to the position of Chief Executive Officer, effective June 4, 2018.

“Lita brings to Burlington a strong background in arts and cultural leadership, customer service excellence, and innovation in libraries,” says Kenny. “We are excited by her aspirations for the public library in our community and delighted that she accepted our offer to lead Burlington Public Library.”

The Burlington Public Library Board retained the professional services of Legacy Executive Search Partners to assist in a national search for the new Chief Executive Officer.

A lifelong lover of literature and reading, Ms Barrie welcomes this opportunity to serve the local community as part of the Library’s team of devoted staff and Board members.

“Burlington Public Library’s reputation for excellence and engagement is broadly known,” says Lita Barrie, in-coming chief executive officer. “I am so thrilled to continue the Library’s commitment to innovation and to providing stellar library services and programs to serve this wonderful city.”

Ms Barrie has progressively advanced in senior positions since starting her professional librarian career as a bilingual inquiries officer with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and serving as a youth services librarian at Hamilton Public Library. She became the manager of children’s services at Brantford Public Library in 2007, and the chief librarian and chief executive officer of Grimsby Public Library in 2010. Since joining Hamilton Public Library as a director in 2013, she has been responsible for the library’s digital technology, youth services, collections, and program development.

She holds a Master of Library & Information Studies from McGill University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Art History) from Concordia University, and certificates in leadership from McMaster University, University of Toronto, and University of Victoria. Ms Barrie is active in the library profession as a frequent presenter at conferences and as a sessional lecturer at University of Toronto, Faculty of Information, where she also co-founded the Public Library Leaders Program offered through the iSchool Institute. She has also served in many senior volunteer roles with the Ontario Library Association.

Ms Barrie is a keen community volunteer and is currently vice chair of the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee and president of the Hamilton Arts Council Board.


UPDATE: Digital Literacy Exchange Program

A small working group is working on the very complex application of 24 questions. There is quite limited space in the initial application (sometimes only 250 words) making it a challenge. That said we have had a very productive call with the people at ISED about the National Approach and MAJOR request we are suggesting for the public library community.

In Year One we have (at this stage) allocated about 350 projects that range in dollar size and reach from about $1,500 (expectation of project to reach 40 participants from the under represented groups that ISED has identified) up to $100,000 (expectation to reach 5,000 participants). We have also created a separate pot of money to support the Far North and Indigenous communities where a train-the-trainer strategy could be effective. Another small packet that is being requested to actually develop a National Digital Strategy – using evaluation and research with a partner like a University.

The core belief is that public libraries know their communities, so within the framework of what the government hopes to achieve it will be the libraries that suggest projects they feel are priorities for their communities. Not dissimilar from programs like CAP back in the late 90s, early 2000s where similar training was quite successful (albeit with a much broader group of Canadians who simply did not have connectivity).

If you are willing to complete the short survey that will provide us with some examples we can cite. I mention the word limitation, but it is super important that we use examples from all parts of the country and many different library types.  Thanks in advance.


Deadline: Friday, March 23rd @ 12:00 noon.


CULC/CBUC to lead a National Application to Digital Literacy Exchange

The Canadian Urban Libraries Council / Conseil des bibliothèques urbaines du Canada is submitting a national strategy for public library digital literacy training as an application for the recently announced Digital Literacy Exchange program. It will be a partner-based application that will engage library organizations to ensure all libraries, regardless of whether they are CULC/CBUC members, have access to this program.

The purpose of the program is to support the development and delivery of fundamental digital literacy skills training to Canadians who would benefit from increased participation in the digital economy. This is foundational work that public libraries are doing every single day in every part of Canada. Funding under this program can expand this service delivery and ensure no Canadian is left out of the digital economy for lack of fundamental skills.

The program is here:

If you are interested in being included in the application as a supporter (ideally organizations that represent multiple public library groups) please submit information here:

Le Canadian Urban Libraries Council / Conseil des bibliothèques urbaines du Canada ( met sur pied une stratégie nationale de demande, au nom des bibliothèques publiques, de participation au Programme d'échange en matière de littératie numérique, dont la mise en place a été annoncée récemment. Ce type de demande en partenariat avec des organisations de bibliothèques devrait permettre à toutes les bibliothèques, qu'elles soient ou non membres du CULC/CBUC, d'accéder à ce programme.

Ce programme a pour objet de soutenir l'élaboration et la prestation de formations sur les compétences numériques de base à l'intention des Canadiens qui auraient avantage à mieux participer à l'économie numérique. C'est le genre de tâche qu'effectuent les bibliothèques publiques chaque jour partout au Canada. Le financement obtenu grâce à ce programme peut favoriser ces efforts et faire en sorte qu'aucun Canadien n'est exclu de l'économie numérique par manque de compétences fondamentales.

On peut consulter les détails de ce programme sur les pages suivantes :

Si vous souhaitez être inclus dans la demande en tant que partenaire (idéalement, les organisations qui représentent plusieurs groupes de bibliothèques publiques), veuillez soumettre des informations ici: