Ontario Library Association Les Fowlie Intellectual Freedom Award
Vickery Bowles, Toronto Public Library
In July 2017 Ms. Bowles defended Toronto Public Library’s stance on a library room booking for Barbara Kulaszka’s memorial service. Ms. Kulaszka was a lawyer who had represented Holocaust deniers in her practice, and the booking was seen by many as allowing Nazi rhetoric to enter the library space. Ms. Bowles insisted that denying access to these library services contravened the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the principles of intellectual freedom and the cornerstone of the library’s mission and values.
Despite mounting political pressure from the Mayor of Toronto, and intense scrutiny from national and international media, Ms. Bowles remained steadfast to the values of librarianship and was able to maintain a respectful dialogue throughout the situation. Her efforts have gone on to encourage more library systems to reflect on their policies, and to remind librarians of their professional values and principles.
The Ontario Library Association Board of Directors established the Award for Intellectual Freedom in 1997 to recognize the courage shown by individuals and organizations in defending the rights of library patrons to full access to information. In 2000, the Award was renamed the Les Fowlie Intellectual Freedom Award in memory of the former Chief Librarian of Toronto Public Library whose efforts on behalf of intellectual freedom in Canada are legendary.
Ken Haycock Award For Promoting Librarianship
Sandra Singh, Vancouver Public Library
The Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship is awarded to a candidate who has demonstrated exceptional success in enhancing the public recognition and appreciation of librarianship. This may have been accomplished through:
- Exceptional practice as a librarian;
- Teaching the profession in formal and informal settings: or
Selection will also be based on the nominee’s demonstrated actions as an Ambassador and role model for librarianship.
Ontario Library Association President’s Award
Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Library and Archives Canada
The President’s Award for Exceptional Achievement acknowledges an outstanding action or contribution that has in a major or unique way enhanced or furthered librarianship in Ontario. The selection is at the full discretion of the President of the OLA. Awards are only given if there is something of true historic significance to recognize.
Ontario Library Boards’ Association (OLBA) W.J. Robertson Medallion
Catherine Biss, Markham Public Library
Under Catherine’s leadership, Markham Public Library has grown from a decentralized system of branches to an award-winning sophisticated urban library. Catherine’s vision for innovative and collaborative library service has resulted in a number of innovations at Markham Public Library, focused on customer experience and community engagement. A former chair of CULC and the current chair of CELA, Catherine has served on numerous boards and professional committees. Her work with NELI as a professional mentor has inspired new generations of leaders, as has her internal leadership of her own staff.
The W.J. Robertson Medallion is presented by the Ontario Library Boards’ Association to a public librarian who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the advancement of public library service in Ontario.
William John Robertson was a founding member of the Ontario Library Association. The thirty three “originals” that established the first constitution at the first Annual meeting of the Association in April, 1901, were a very distinguished and active group and W.J. Robertson was among the most prominent.
Ontario Public Library Association (OPLA) Lifetime Achievement Award
Susanna Hubbard Krimmer, London Public Library
Susanna’s vision for libraries extends beyond traditional library services and includes the enhancement and expansion of library services to all areas and users in the community – in an effort to serve identified community needs. Susanna recognizes the need for libraries to be innovative in their use of tools and information to achieve great results for users. Susanna’s strong grasp of industry standards and her participation in province-wide committees (former President, OLA) and associations have inspired the progressive direction of London Public Library and by extension, libraries across the province. Susanna takes the time to develop other leaders in the library community, taking the time to engage coworkers, fellow colleagues, and the community.
The Ontario Public Library Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a library staff member who has given life long service to the profession and has contributed significantly to the growth and innovation of public libraries in Ontario. The President of the Ontario Public Library Association presents the award at the annual Public Library Awards Gala held at the Ontario Library Association’s annual Super Conference.