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Library CEO adds voice for more funding

By Randy Thoms Jan 31, 2024 | 11:59 PM

Richard Togman, CEO, Thunder bay Public Library at pre-budget hearing in Thunder Bay, January 31, 2024

The Thunder Bay Public Library is arguing its case for more provincial funding.

Provincial funding accounts for about 15% of library budgets on average, but the support only represents 4% of local budgets.

Speaking at a provincial pre-budget hearing in Thunder Bay, Chief Executive Officer Richard Togman says users show value in libraries.

“Research also shows that over 80% of voters state that they’d be willing to pay more taxes if they knew those funds were going to their local library. Library funding unifies voters in a way that few issues do. The most passionate library supporters include seniors, parents with young children, and working-class families,” says Togman.

Togman says the development of a digital public library consortium would help libraries.

The Ontario Library Association and the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries advocate for the consortium.

Togman sees it as improving the library’s buying power.

“Bulk ordering and large purchase discounts are standard practice in the business world, and our government can take inspiration from the private sector and use collective buying power of Ontario libraries to bulk purchase digital education and skills training resources from private sector providers, we need the provincial government to lead the way,” says Togman.

Togman says with stronger leveraging abilities, libraries could see annual savings of as much as 40%.