Saturday, July 5, 2014

31: Public Library Scenario in Canada

इस ब्लॉग्स को सृजन करने में आप सभी से सादर सुझाव आमंत्रित हैं , कृपया अपने सुझाव और प्रविष्टियाँ प्रेषित करे , इसका संपूर्ण कार्य क्षेत्र विश्व ज्ञान समुदाय हैं , जो सभी प्रतियोगियों के कॅरिअर निर्माण महत्त्वपूर्ण योगदान देगा ,आप अपने सुझाव इस मेल पत्ते पर भेज सकते हैं -

31: Public Library Scenario in Canada

1. Objectives

After reading this module, you will be able to:

l  Trace the early development of public libraries in Canada.
l   Enumerate the scenario of public libraries in provinces and territories of Canada.
l  Discuss the role library associations in the promotion of public libraries in Canada.
l  Explain the Management of Public Libraries in the Canada.
l  Understand the challenges before public libraries in Canada.

2. Introduction

Public libraries are the outcome of modernization. As democratic values spread across the world and democracy strengthened, people centric developmental activities have taken precedence. As idea of equality gains ground, this has come to growing realization that equal access to information and knowledge is of crucial importance without any discrimination based on colour, creed, property, or gender. Besides providing universal access to sources of knowledge, education was conceived as a continuous process not limited to the span of formal education. Earlier formal education was limited to the formative age of people and it catered only to privileged sections of society. As learning was accepted as a continuous and never-ending process, so public libraries were construed as the place for learning and development. Canada being an advanced nation and society, state and local authorities there paid due attention for establishing and funding libraries. Before the advent of ICT era the public libraries were the main source of getting all types of information.

3. Early Developments :

In Canada the beginning of the public library system can be traced as back as to 1779, when Governor Fredrick Haldimand established a library in Quebec city. This library was the first  subscription library. This Haldimand’s library was merged with the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec. Some small libraries associated with religious institutions, rich and powerful families were there by that time but the concept of general  public libraries had not taken place. The concept of free public libraries came in to existence later and membership were given without consideration of class or religion. In Canada the first such public library was founded in 1796 in Montreal. Many libraries were established in 1800 like at King’s College, Nova Scotia and Niagara.

Canada is thinly populated by diverse peoples  across the vast spread of the country. Its provinces and territories have distinct demographic, cultural and economic charecteristics.The development of public libraries has been slow as a result of the vast spread and diversity of the country.

. Provincial and Territorial Public Libraries : a scenario

Public libraries of Canada’s ten provinces and three terriotories are  governed by a library act. Main funding sources are provincial governments, territorial governments and municipalities. Some municipalities levy a special library tax  (Wilson, Virginia). Most of the libraries are having library boards. Board members may comprise of representatives of government, voluntreers etc. Library boards are responsible for library planning whereas routine works are carried out by library staff. There  public library services are provided free of cost to the community members.

Types of Public Libraries : There are vaious types of libraries working in Canada, such as : public libraries, municipal libraries, library systems, regional libraries, community libraries and local libraries. In Canada, each province and territory has specific public library structure, funding pattern, governance system. Most of the  public libraries are governed by respective provincial public library act or terriotorial public library act.

4.1 Provincial Libraries

There are 10 provinces in Canada, namely : British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland/labrador. Following are brief introductions of the library systems in these provinces.

4.1.1. British Columbia (BC)

In this province, the library act  has six  parts : Introductory provisions, Municipal Libraries, Regional Library Districts, Public Library Associations, General and Transitional Provisions. British Columbia Library Act has five types of libraries, namely :Municipal Libraries, regional libraries districts, public libraries associations, integreted public library systems, and federated public library systems. The provincial government  provides per capita grants to  the public library systems as per municipal contribution. The grant  depends on municipal contribution.

A list of 71 public (local) libraries can be accessed at (><). Each local library has its own website and provides information about its collection and services. in 2004 a programme was launched with the slogan “Libraries Without Walls : The World Within Your Reach”. For implementing this goal an additional $12 million investment was made.The program incorporated :
  • Broadband access to each community;
  • Access to online journals;
  • Establish a one card system to provincewide; and
  • A virtual reference desk.(

In 1891, first library was established in BC. Now there are 243 public libraries in BC and 16 million items  are available in these public libraries.

4.1.2 Alberta

Alberta Public Libraries Act was passed in March 15, 1907.  This Act celebrated 100 years in March 2007. Under this Act, libraries may charge annual fee from users.There are Municipal Libraries, Community Libraries, Library Systems and Federations. Library Boards  receive community development grants and flat grants.The Government of Alberta provides grants to municipal and  library system boards. Alberta Municipal Affairs allocated $31 mullion to help the provincial public library network in 2013-14.(><). According to “Directory of Alberta Public Libraries, July 2013” (><accessed on November, 3, 2013), there are 7 library system boards and 225 municipal and intermunicipal library boards.These boards operate 317 public library service points in the province.

4.1.3 Saskatchewan

In Saskatchewan public libraries are established and controlled by the  Public Libraries Acts   and Libraries Cooperation Act. There are local libraries, regional library systems, the Northern Library System.There is a provision for a provincial funding pool. Public libraries receive funding from levies paid by municipalities and grants from the provincial government.There are ten public library systems. All these 10 public library systems and the provincial library system are the members of SILS Consortium(Saskatchewan Information and Library Services Consortium). It provides a platform to collaborate on joints projects and purchases in the province (><).

4.1.4 Manitoba

The Public Library Act provides a legal framework for libraries in the Manitoba Province. The Public Library Services ensure that all Manitobans should have access to the public library services(><). There are municipal libraries, regional libraries and federations.There is a provision of matching provincial per capita grants.

4.1.5 Ontario

Ontario Public Libraries Act provides a legal framework to ensure free and equitable access to public libraries in Ontario province (><).There are public libraries, union libraries and country libraries.There are provisions for provincial operating grants, municipal grants and first nation library grants. Public Library Act empowers the municipalities to establish public library boards. Public libraries are governed by these public library boards.

In 1983, Ontario’s first free public library was established in  the cities of Toronto and Guelph. Over 5 millions Ontarions  (means nearly 40 per cent of population), hold a public library card. It is notable that, between 1903-1922, 111 Ontarion libraries were established  with the financial help of  American businessman  and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.(><).

Toronto Public Library

This public library is the largest public library system in Canada and was   opened at Toronto, Ontario in Canada. City aldermen John Hallam was the person who campaigned for this library. James Bain was the first Chief Librarian, who took initiatives to collect a wide collection of Canadian history, culture and literature books. Carnegie grants helped in building construction. More than 18.5 million people visit this library every year. It has 98 branches with 11 million items. (><) and  (>>)

4.1.6 Quebec

There is no legislation in this province. There is no public library boards and trustees. Major libraries of Quebec province are : Bibliotheque de Laval, Grande Bibliotheque, Grande Bibliotheque du Quebec, Institute Canadian de Quebec, Longueuil Public libraries Network, Montreal Public Libraries Network.

4.1.7 New Brunswick

New Brunswick Public Libraries Act  regulates the library activities in province. There is  provision of 70% provincial funding and 30 % municipal funding. Public library services are regulated by the New Brunswick Public Library Act. New Brunswick Public Library Service (NBPLS) is responsible for management and public library services in New Brunswick. NBPLS has a provincial office and  5 Regional offices.  NBPLS provides  various services with the help of   63 public libraries and 3 bookmobiles.(>www.gnb.ca0003/who.asp<)

4.1.8 Prince Edward Island

In Prince Edward Island province , the   effective  public library services   are established under the authority of   Public Library Act.(><).  There are public libraries and district libraies.

4.1.9 Nova Scotia

An attempt has been made by Father James J. Tompkins to  establish public library services in Nova Scotia  Province.  Libraries Act (1937) was a milestone in the history of public library system in Nova Scotia. There are municipal libraries and regional library systems.There is a provision of provincial and municipal funding. Regional library boards look after the library services and responsible for making rules and regulations for  public library. Since 1996,  all  branch library provides internet access to the public.(

4.1.10 Newfoundland / Labrador

Under the Public Library Act, the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board is responsible for the services of all public libraries in Newfoundland and  Labrador. There is a provision of provincial funding. There is a network of 96 public libraries. These libraries are administered through four divisions, namely : Western Newfoundland and Labradore Division, Central Division, Eastern Division and Provincial Resource Division.(><) There are local libraries and regional libraries. Free public access to internet under the Community Access Programme (CAP) and Library Net   was made available in all  96 public  libraries by 1999.

4.2 Territory Libraries

There are three territories in Canada, viz., Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, Nunavut. Most of the  public libraries are governed by territory public library acts.

4.2.1 Yukon Territory

Yukon Public Libraries are units of the Department of Community  Services  of the Government of Yukon. Yukon Territory Public Libraries Act 1987 and Regulations 1988 discuss the powers and duties of community library boards.  There is a Central Library in Whitehorse and 14 community branches which fulfill the informational needs of the Yukoners.(><) There is the provision of per capita provincial funding,

4.2.2 Northwest Territories (NWT)

Northwest Territories Library Act (2009)  provides a legal framework to the rights of the library users and the powers of library authorities . Territorial and municipal governments jointly  provide funding to public library system in NWT. NWT Public Library Services are a unit of Education, Operations and Development under the Department of Education, Culture and Employment . In 2010, there were 15 public libraries.(>­_Report_to_PTPLC_09_10_EN.pdf<)  There are community libraries, virtual libraries Yellowknife Public Library.

4.2.3 Nunavut Northwest Territories

Northwest Territories Public Library Services is a unit of Education Operations and Development under the   Department  of Education, Culture and Employment, Government of Northwest Territories and under the direction of the  Territorial Librarian  provide public library  services to the all  residents of Northwest Territories.>< There is provision of territorial government funding  and community contribution.

Nunavut : Nunavut is the largest and newest territory in Canada. It was separated from Canada in 1999. Nunavut Public Library Services (NPLS) serves the community of  the territory of Nunavut. NPLS receives funding from Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth (CLEY). It also receives funding for projects from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Community Access Program, ABC Canada Literacy Foundation etc.(>< and ><). There are 11 communities libraries, which serve the people of Nunavut territory.

5. Library Associations and Public Libraries

There are several public library associations in Canada, which work for the development of the public libraries.  Associations promote activities of public libraries and enactment of laws for ensuring a legal foundation for libraries.

5.1 Canadian Library Association (CLA) (&amp;gt;;lt;)

Canadian Library Association (CLA)  was founded in 1946 and incorporated under the Companies Act  on November 26, 1947. It is a not- for –profit, voluntary and national organization for library community in Canada. Association is governed by an elected Council and Board of Directors. It promotes library activities in Canada, seeks for public support for the development of libraries. The mission of CLA are (><):
  • “Champion library values and value of libraries
  • Influence public policies impacting libraries
  • Inspire and support member learning
  • Collaborate to strengthen the library community.”
CLA has five divisions :
CACUL     -           Canadian Association of College and University Libraries
CASL        -          Canadian Association for School Libraries
CAPL        -           Canadian Association of Public Libraries
CASLIS     -           Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services
Clta            -           Canadian Library Trustees Association

Apart from these divisions, CLA also has various interest groups.There  are now 19 such interest groups working in the various fields to  interact on common issues. It organizes conferences, seminars,workshops and webinars to connect professionals for sharing their views.

5.2 Canadian Association of Public Libraries (CAPL)(&amp;gt;;lt;)

Canadian Association of Public Libraries (CAPL)  was founded in June 1972. A division of Canadian Library Association. CAPL has  various committees, such as : CAPL Nominating Committee, CAPL / Brodart Outstanding Public Library Service Award Committee,The Bursary Committee, Continuing  Education Committee, Public Libraries Building Capacity Committee, Communications Committee. CAPL works through these committees. CAPL  gives various awards, such as : CAPL/Brodart Outstanding Public Library Service Award, Book of the year for children Award and Amelia FrancesHoward- Gibbon Illustrators Award.
CAPL has  some notable publications to its credit. These are :
  • Careers in Public Libraries
  • CAPL Electronic List
  • Information Service  Training and Evaluation Kit
  • Getting Connected to the Information Highway Kit.
  • Dividends: The Value of Public Libraries in Canada
  • CLA and CAPL endorse UNESCO Public Library Manifesto

6. Library and Archives Canada (LAC) (National Library of Canada)

National Library of Canada was established in 1953 by an act of parliament and located at Ottawa. Later in 2004 it was merged with the National Archives of Canada and renamed as “Library and Archives Canada. It  ‘preserves and makes accessible the documentary heritage of Canada’. (><. ) The library has a vast collection of items including archival records of Government of Canadaand private archives  (><). The collection includes :
  • Over 20 million books
  • Over 71,000 hours films
  • Over 2.5 million drawing, maps and  plans.
  • About 3.18.million megabytes of information in electronic format.
  • Over 21.3 millionphotographs
  • Over 270,000hours of video and sound recordings
  • And many more. .(><. )

Facilities and services: LAC provides reference services, online services : blog, podcast, the twitter social network services,YouTube ,RSS feeds etc.Now LAC is facing the challenge of bodget cuts.Various associations and organizations are campaigning against reducing budgetary allocations.

7. Challenges before public libraries

The public library system in Canada faces a number of challenges such as:
  • Need for charging fees for library cards
  • Paucity of funds
  • Low population density
  • Non availability of internet in remote and rural areas.

8. Conclusion

In this module the present scenario of public libraries in Canada has been discussed. In a nutshell public libraries in Canada have special features. Distinct provincial and territorial public library scenarios have also been discussed. Some core issues have also been taken up. Public libraries are the backbone of democratic values. Public libraries are the institutions, which protect and enrich democratic processes in society. Public libraries today face challenges from different corners, such as  reduced funding, changes in taste of population, impact of ICT, socio-economic conditions etc.

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