Canadian Urban Libraries Council/Conseil des Bibliothèques Urba

CULC in The News

Preparing to Write a New Chapter - Ken Robert's Retirement Announcement

Preparing to Write a New Chapter

Hamilton Public Library’s Chief Librarian Announces Retirement

After 18 years Ken Roberts, the highly respected Chief Librarian of Hamilton Public Library has announced his retirement effective May 31, 2012. There are so many words that come to mind to describe Ken’s remarkable career as a librarian – community builder, consummate administrator, mentor, award-winning author, story teller, teacher and lover of all things technology. He’s truly one for the “books”.

Ken joined the Hamilton Public Library system in 1994. Then Library Board Chairman, John Syko, indicated that Ken would have his work cut out for him managing a downsized operation at a time when major technological changes were taking place. Syko referred to Ken as “…a true renaissance man. He is a tremendously well-rounded and gifted individual. He possesses a keen mind and is very knowledgeable about current and emerging technologies. With Mr. Roberts, our system will be prepared for the next century.”

Accomplishing just that and so much more, Ken’s passion for technology has never changed. Embracing eAudio/eBook technology, when it was in its infancy, put HPL in a unique position as the first library system in Canada to do so. Under Ken’s leadership, technological solutions have been adopted to manage the library’s ever-growing circulation which surpassed the 6 million mark last year and shows no sign of slowing. This included RFID – Radio Frequency Identification – which has enabled the implementation of Self-Check terminals and Automatic Materials Return to free up staff time to do what they do best – serve our customers.

Ken helped steward the Hamilton Public Library through drastic changes and rose to the occasion when the former Dundas, Hamilton and Wentworth Public Library systems were amalgamated. Since amalgamation in 2001, Ken has built upon strong legacies and helped to shape one of the most respected library systems in North America. Technologically innovative, the library system has used community partnerships and a collaborative work culture to ensure that Hamilton residents receive superb library services.

Ken’s dedication to the librarian profession is unwavering as has been his support of professional associations as President of the Canadian Library Association (CLA) and Ontario Library Association (OLA) as well as significant involvement in the Canadian Urban Library Council (CULC). His passion for mentoring the next generation of library leaders has taken him to the Northern Exposure to Leadership a number of times.

Says former Board Chair, Jennifer Gautrey: “What stands out for me with Ken is that, in spite of all his accomplishments, he is a librarian first and foremost and a humble man. I really admire that about him. He has created a culture at HPL where collaboration is the key and leads by example. This has resulted in building a leading library system with a remarkably talented and passionate team, not to mention fostering City/community partnerships, all while demonstrating leadership beyond our city.”

Ken has reinvented Hamilton Public Library with a focus on renovating many of the 23 branch locations to better serve our customers. Building new locations like the Turner Park Branch through a unique partnership with the YMCA and City of Hamilton, created a destination for residents of the South Mountain.

The revitalization of Central Library was a labour of love for Ken and he is always happy to show off the new first floor. The impact of this project has provided another shot in the arm into Downtown renewal in conjunction with the Hamilton Farmers’ Market. That transformation continues as Central Library prepares to meet the needs of customers not only today but into the future. He has worked tirelessly to bring improved library service to the rural parts of the city with a new Lynden Branch going under construction next Spring. As well, the long-awaited Waterdown Branch is in the design, planning stage and will bring everything that HPL has to offer to that growing community.

George Geczy, the Hamilton Public Library Board’s current chair sums it up: "Ken has earned recognition for the Hamilton Public Library from all around the world for his innovations yet the real beneficiaries are the people of Hamilton. He has brought them new technologies, expanded choices, and is leaving us with a library system that is being used more than ever before in its history. There are some people that feel that libraries may be less relevant today, but Ken has shown that when the library pays attention to its community it will result not only in record circulation but also branches crowded with families, new Canadians, and an entire cross-section of our city."

About Hamilton Public Library
The Hamilton Public Library (HPL) serves the residents of the City of Hamilton with the Central Library, 23 branch locations and two Bookmobiles. With over 3 million in-person visits and 2.8 million on-line visits, Hamiltonians borrowed a record-breaking 6 million plus books, CDs and DVDs in 2010. For more information, visit, contact or call 905.546.3200.


Barbara Clubb Announces Retirement from Ottawa Public Library

La version française suit l’anglais

October 5, 2011

A Chapter Closes

City Librarian of the Ottawa Public Library, Barbara Clubb, has announced that she will retire from the position of City Librarian effective December 2011. Ms Clubb’s remarkable career as a librarian and library leader spans four decades. She has provided two major urban public libraries and three provincial library development agencies with her leadership and insights into the ever-changing world of library service.

"Our award winning City Librarian is a champion, an educator, a leader, and a strategist” says Councillor Jan Harder, Chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board. “Working with Barb is immensely satisfying. Barbara Clubb leaves us having delivered to the citizens of Ottawa a top notch library. In fact, our system here in Ottawa is North America's largest bilingual system, one with leading edge technology, and growing every single month. On behalf of the Ottawa Public Library Board and Staff I offer sincere thanks to Barbara Clubb."

Barbara Clubb was appointed City Librarian and CEO of the amalgamated Ottawa Public Library on January 1, 2001. She arrived in Ottawa with well-honed skills as a leader and manager of public libraries and organizations through rapid change and challenging fiscal conditions. She is a passionate and articulate advocate for libraries and their role in literacy, life-long learning, community building and as a democratic forum for citizens. She has a keen interest in the use of social media to engage citizens and promote the public library and the communities it serves.

Under Ms Clubb’s leadership, the amalgamated Ottawa Public Library is one of the success stories of the 2001 creation of Ottawa as the second largest city in Ontario. Circulation alone is now 60% greater. The new library system and its employees have won many prizes and awards. She has overseen the opening of two new branches and has ensured that ten branches have received significant renovations. In the most recent City of Ottawa citizen satisfaction survey the OPL scored the highest satisfaction ratings of all city services. The OPL circulates more than 10.6 million items and citizens make more than 33.6 million uses of the library annually.

Ms Clubb is an active librarian. She has held, and continues to hold executive positions key library organizations. These include national, provincial and international associations: the Canadian Library Association, the Manitoba Library Association, the Canadian Association of Public Libraries, Canadian Urban Libraries Council, and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. She is currently a member of the external advisory committee to the University of Ottawa’s new School of Information Studies / École des sciences de l’information.

Ms Clubb is a Paul Harris Rotary Fellow, a member of the boards of the Ottawa Citizen Literacy Foundation and the Canadian Writers’ Foundation. She has served as an adjudicator for OCRI’s Capital Educator Awards. She is an ex-officio member of the boards of the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library and the Ottawa Public Library Foundation. Since 2007, she has served as the chief judge (regional) for the Post-Media’s National Spelling Bee. Many CBC listeners recall her broadcasts as a long-time member of CBC-Ottawa Radio 1’s All in a Day regular book panel.

Ottawa is not alone in recognizing the skills of its exceptional City Librarian, over the course of her career Ms Clubb has been the recipient of numerous awards including: Winnipeg’s St. Mary’s Academy Marian Award recognizing outstanding achievement by the school’s alumnae (2011); Canadian Library Association’s highest honour - the 2009 Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award; American Library Association’s Allie Beth Martin Award for extraordinary knowledge about books or other library materials and distinguished ability to share that knowledge (2009); Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for significant contribution to fellow citizens, community and Canada (2003).

And that’s not all, she is also the recipient of the Ontario Library Association W.J. Robertson Medallion as Librarian of the Year in recognition of her dynamic and innovative leadership in the advancement of public library service (2001); University of British Columbia Distinguished Alumna Award for outstanding contributions to library and information services in Canada (1997); Canadian Public Library Association’s Outstanding Public Library Service Award (1990).

When she arrived in Ottawa, Ms Clubb said that she looked forward to her time with the Ottawa Public Library board and serving the city of Ottawa. As she leaves this position she says that she sees it as the highlight of her library career. She thanks the board, staff and colleagues for the privilege of having the opportunity to serve her community in a job and profession that she loves.

OPL is the largest bilingual library system in North America. Serving over 900,000 residents, the Library helps build a strong, vibrant and sustainable community by supporting literacy and life-long learning, fostering inspiration and enjoyment, and connecting people to each other and the world.

Le 5 octobre 2011

Une page se tourne

La bibliothécaire municipale de la Bibliothèque publique d’Ottawa, Barbara Clubb, a annoncé qu’elle quittera ses fonctions en décembre 2011. La carrière remarquable de madame Clubb à titre de bibliothécaire et de chef de file s’étend sur quatre décennies. Elle a partagé ses connaissances et sa perspicacité avec deux grandes bibliothèques publiques urbaines et trois organismes de développement de bibliothèques provinciales, dans le monde en perpétuel mouvement des services de bibliothèque.

« Notre bibliothécaire municipale, maintes fois primée, joue à la fois les rôles de partisane, éducatrice, chef de file et stratège, a déclaré la conseillère Jan Harder, présidente du conseil d’administration de la Bibliothèque publique d’Ottawa. Travailler avec Barb est infiniment satisfaisant. Barbara Clubb nous quitte en laissant aux résidents d’Ottawa une bibliothèque de premier ordre. En fait, nous bénéficions à Ottawa du plus vaste réseau bilingue de bibliothèques en Amérique du Nord, à la fine pointe de la technologie et qui ne cesse de prospérer mois après mois. Au nom des membres du C.A. et du personnel de la Bibliothèque publique d’Ottawa, je tiens à remercier sincèrement Barbara Clubb. »

Le 1er janvier 2001, Barbara Clubb était nommée bibliothécaire municipale et directrice générale du nouveau réseau fusionné de la Bibliothèque publique d’Ottawa. Elle arrivait à Ottawa forte de ses compétences pointues de chef de file et de gestionnaire de bibliothèques et d’organisations publiques, acquises dans des conditions de changement incessant et de crise financière. Douée d’une grande facilité d’expression, madame Clubb est une partisane passionnée des bibliothèques, de leur fonction de tribune démocratique des citoyens et de leur rôle dans l’alphabétisation, l’apprentissage permanent et la conscience communautaire. Elle manifeste un intérêt prononcé dans l’utilisation des médias sociaux pour éveiller l’attention de ses concitoyens et promouvoir la bibliothèque publique et les collectivités qu’elle dessert.

Sous la direction de madame Clubb, le réseau de la Bibliothèque publique d’Ottawa a été depuis 2001 l’une des réussites de la transformation d’Ottawa en deuxième plus grande ville d’Ontario. Le volume de mise en circulation à lui seul est aujourd’hui 60 pour cent plus important. Le nouveau réseau de bibliothèques et ses employés ont remporté un grand nombre de prix et récompenses. Madame Clubb a supervisé l’ouverture de deux nouvelles succursales et a fait en sorte que dix succursales fassent l’objet d’importants travaux de rénovation. Dans la plus récente enquête de la Ville d’Ottawa sur la satisfaction des résidents, la BPO a obtenu les résultats les plus élevés de tous les services municipaux. Chaque année, la BPO met en circulation plus de 10,6 millions d’articles et les résidents utilisent la bibliothèque plus de 33,6 millions de fois.

Bibliothécaire active, madame Clubb a tenu et continue d’occuper des fonctions de gestionnaire auprès d’organisations clés dans le domaine des bibliothèques, notamment des associations d’envergure nationale, provinciale et internationale : Association canadienne des bibliothèques, Manitoba Library Association, Canadian Association of Public Libraries, Conseil des bibliothèques urbaines du Canada et International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. Elle est actuellement membre du comité consultatif externe de la nouvelle School of Information Studies / École des sciences de l’information de l’Université d’Ottawa.

Madame Clubb est membre du Club Rotary Paul-Harris, membre des conseils d’administration de la Fondation d'alphabétisation du Ottawa Citizen et de la Fondation des écrivains canadiens. Elle a été membre du jury pour les Prix d’excellence en enseignement de la capitale du Centre de recherche et d’innovation d’Ottawa. Elle est membre d’office des conseils d’administration des Amis de la Bibliothèque publique d’Ottawa et de la Fondation de la Bibliothèque publique d’Ottawa. Depuis 2007, elle est juge en chef (niveau régional) du concours National Spelling Bee de Post-Media. Bon nombre d’auditeurs de CBC se rappelleront ses interventions comme membre de longue date du jury littéraire de l’émission All in a Day diffusée sur les ondes de CBC-Ottawa Radio 1.

Il n’y a pas qu’à Ottawa qu’on reconnaît les compétences de cette bibliothécaire d’exception. Au fil de sa carrière, madame Clubb a été lauréate de nombreux prix, notamment le St. Mary’s Academy Marian Award (2011) de Winnipeg, qui reconnaît les réalisations exceptionnelles des anciens de cet établissement; l’Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award (2009), plus haute distinction de l’Association canadienne des bibliothèques; le Prix Allie Beth Martin (2009) de l’American Library Association, pour sa connaissance exceptionnelle des livres et autres articles de bibliothèque et pour sa grande capacité à partager cette connaissance; la Médaille du jubilé d’or de la Reine, pour sa grande contribution envers ses concitoyens, la collectivité et le Canada (2003).

Et ce n’est pas tout, elle fut également lauréate du médaillon W.J. Robertson de l’Association des bibliothèques de l’Ontario, comme bibliothécaire de l’année, en reconnaissance de son dynamisme et son sens de l’innovation dans la promotion des services des bibliothèques publiques (2001). Elle a remporté le British Columbia Distinguished Alumna Award pour sa contribution exceptionnelle envers les services de bibliothèque et d’information au Canada (1997), ainsi que l’Outstanding Public Library Service Award de la Canadian Public Library Association (1990).

À son arrivée à Ottawa, madame Clubb s’était déclarée impatiente de consacrer son énergie au conseil d’administration de la Bibliothèque publique d’Ottawa et de se mettre au service des résidents d’Ottawa. Alors qu’elle quitte maintenant ce poste, elle affirme qu’il fut le point marquant de sa carrière de bibliothécaire. Elle remercie les membres du conseil d’administration, le personnel et ses collègues pour le privilège qu’ils lui ont fait en lui permettant de servir sa collectivité dans des fonctions et une profession qu’elle aime.

La BPO, à titre de plus grand réseau de bibliothèques bilingues en Amérique du Nord, dessert plus de 900 000 résidents. La Bibliothèque aide à créer une collectivité solide, vivante et durable en soutenant l’alphabétisation et l’apprentissage permanent, en favorisant l’inspiration et le plaisir, et en reliant les personnes les unes aux autres et au reste du monde.

For information contact
Councillor Jan Harder, Chair
Ottawa Public Library Board

Maureen McEvoy
Manager, OPL Communications and Community Relations
613-580-2424 x41240 or 613-222-9462


European Study Tour - Post No. 5

Well Hello! and Goodbye! to Helsinki. The weather is staying with us and the group continues to get along famously.

We arrived in Helsinki and we immediately knew we were not in Kobenhavn anymore. We felt special as our coach driver was standing at the gate with a CULC\CBUC sign. We were downtown in 30 minutes to find our hotel right on the town square. On one side was the train station and the other was the famed Helsinki 10 Music and Technology Library. 90 minutes after arriving we were at H10.

We were among the first to hear Helsinki's exciting news: it was announced that they would be getting a brand new central library right behind where we were staying, and more importantly, nestled between the Modern Art Museum and the brand new Music Centre. It is as prime a spot as you could ever want.

Here are some early thoughts on what we learned:

  • Flickr issues still, but if you can find Ken Roberts HPL then you will get a really good sense of what we are seeing.
  • Sunnivva Drake. If you have not met or heard of this woman you should get on a flight, fly to Helsinki, show up In the lobby of the Sello Library in Espoo and she will be there to greet you. The Regional Library Manager sits on a stage in the middle of the massive entrance way and directs the place. She knows eveybody by name, has more personality than a room full of extroverts and some really strong views about what and how libraries need to do business. Her staff knows she is in the House (what they call the building) because she turns on a salt lamp in the window of her actual office. However, if you want to find her, she sits with her laptop, funky socks (in sandals), on the stage where she conducts all her meetings including staff meetings. She has her kettle on the stage to make tea. People wave at her all day; she hollers if she wants to catch someone’s attention.
  • The Sello Library. Located across a courtyard from a huge shopping mall just outside of Helsinki is an amazing example of a library in action. They do two things one they describe as HAPPENING PLACE and the other is TRADITIONAL. Everybody but Fascists are welcome to use the space. Sunnivva fired the architect because he wouldn't listen and was a barrier to reaching their objectives. They have rooms where your piano teacher can teach you; your band can practice; you can play Wii; or play chess which is a popular teen game. They were having a library card throwing contest for prizes the day we were there. The places is animated by staff who wear these great vests (Ken Roberts has the sample) and they can personalize them to a certain extent. What a refreshing place.
  • Urban office. Literally in the middle of Helsinki a place dedicated to small biz owners who can go and be productive between meetings, meet a client, use a small meeting table. Tonnes of services and now they are trying to be an incubator for neat biz ideas that benefit society.
  • Reindeer soup. Ask Maureen Barry to invite you over and share her creamy Finnish soup. She didn’t get the chunky version though!
  • Architects and their groupies were working overtime seeing famous and not so famous sites.
  • Book talking gone high tech. Two young specialist library assistants blew us away with their big screen promotion of books to school groups. They work in threes in a tightly choreographed presentation set to music and visuals on a massive rear projection screen. They are hip and they connect instantly and really know their stuff.
  • Had a group dinner with traditional Finnish fare. Should have gone for Lapland food, but still had another great night of camaraderie.
  • On to our final stop of Amsterdam. It is Ken’s 55th birthday today so we may have to toast him on what's expected to be a summer weekend in Amsterdam. We are all looking forward to staying at the brand-new Mint hotel across the street from the Amsterdam Public Library.

    We are visiting DOK, Book Mountain, Almere and Amsterdam Public Library.