Shared Spaces: Funding and Managing Libraries and Parks in Tough Times Session 2

IMFG News, Urban and Regional Planning

March 01, 2012

Venue: Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility at the Munk School of Global Affairs

This series of three lectures explores the importance of shared public spaces such as libraries and parks to the health of our city. In an era of fiscal restraint, shared spaces are often vulnerable to funding cuts. To date, however, there has not been extensive public conversation on the long-term solutions to the funding problems. Are there new models of public, private, and hybrid funding to meet these challenges? What are the conditions for success, and what are the pitfalls? Where are innovative models being implemented, and are they viable in the GTA?

Session 2: Turning the Page: The Role of Libraries in the Digital Age

This session will examine the changing role of libraries in the digital age along with their role in the broader public learning continuum. In an era of fiscal austerity, are there new operating models for libraries which could prove more effective at responding to changing civic needs and rapid changes in information technology? These models might include, for example, partnerships with other cultural institutions, new business ventures, and strategic and financial partnerships across different sectors. Who are suitable partners, and what are key areas of decision-making? How can public support be mobilized?

Guest Speaker: Martín J. Gómez, City Librarian, Los Angeles Public Library

The Los Angeles Public Library serves over four million people—the largest population of any library in the United States. As City Librarian, Martín J. Gómez oversees the Central Library, 72 branches, 800 employees, and the library’s $130 million budget. Throughout his career, Gómez has championed expanded access to library resources in urban communities. Previously, he served as President and CEO of the Urban Libraries Council, which supports research, continuing education, and programs that strengthen the public library as an essential part of urban life. As director of the Oakland Public Library, Gómez led a successful effort to establish the African American Museum and Library at Oakland as a major division of the library. He also spearheaded a digital revolution at the Brooklyn Public Library, the country’s fourth largest library system, where he served as Executive Director. Currently, he is chairman of the board of the Poets House in New York City, and also serves on the board of the non-profit Sesame Workshop based in NYC. His honours include: 2001 Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of Arizona; 2000 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letter, St. Francis College, Brooklyn; 1999 New York City Council Man of Hope Award; and 1998 Honorary Doctor of Laws, St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn, among many others.

Moderated by: Gillian Mason, former chair, Toronto Public Library Board, and Executive Director, Centre for City Ecology

Sponsored by TD Bank Group

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