CULC/CBUC Toolkit on Recovery & Reimagined Public Library Services Post COVID-19



COVID-19 poses a range of governance challenges for public libraries. Libraries may need to develop new policies to manage work from home, customer and staff safety within the public space and virtual meetings. Libraries must also ensure a strong enterprise risk management framework, and clear roles of responsibility for the Board and the CEO to ensure stable governance. 

Governance Checklist

  • Is your corporate strategy still relevant? To what degree are you prepared to re-invent the library’s role in the community?
  • What policies and relationships need to be in place before the library re-open?
  • What needs to be ready for rapid decision making over the next 12-18 months? What decisions will be made by the Board; what authority will the CEO have?
  • Do you need to reassess your risk identification and mitigation plans?
  • Has your provincial government demonstrated a strong knowledge of public libraries? What advocacy is required?
  • Do your existing policies support vulnerable populations’ use of library services? (membership policy, longer loan periods, no overdue fines, use of cards or cash)
  • Is your library/community prepared to move away, even temporarily, from traditional public library openness to everyone, in favour of a preferential system that may first focus on vulnerable populations, supporting school children, etc.?

Governance Working Group

  • Jeff Barber, Library Director & Chief Executive Officer, Regina Public Library
  • Vickery Bowles, City Librarian, Toronto Public Library
  • Christina de Castell, Chief Librarian, Vancouver Public Library
  • Pilar Martinez, Chief Executive Officer, Edmonton Public Library
  • Paul Takala, Chief Librarian/Chief Executive Officer, Hamilton Public Library