Tuesday, August 07, 2012


Karen and I have just reissued a revised edition of our older Public Library Boards in Postwar Ontario, 1945-1985. It was originally published in 1988 as an occasional paper by the University of Dalhousie School of Library and Information Science. Long out of print. But now its back in print again with updated information for the original text and references plus a new chapter to continue the story from 1985 to just before 2010. Most of the original text has been retained.

Contemporary library boards in Ontario are mostly administrative entities, but this was not always the case. Local government today is very different from the pre-1945 era. Over the years, accountability has trumped representation (a political concept) in local government and provincial statutes controlling local agencies. The municipal government has overtaken many local bodies--clearly, elected local officials in larger government entities created after the 1960s in restructuring exercises now hold powerful positions in relation to other community agencies. But councils are by no means absolute. Local representative agencies, such as Ontario library boards, still possess interesting positions in local decision making and continue to exist through separate provincial legislation (for public libraries dating to 1882) and retain some influence over services.

The transformative period for Ontario library boards was no doubt framed by the remarkable growth and development of local government after 1945. By 1985, with the enactment of new library legislation, the issue of accountability for non-elective library boards was mostly resolved. Since that time, trustees and boards have accepted  new roles and power relationships alongside municipal councils. But the original sense of community representation still remains a strong element in thinking about library operations and administration.

You can get a free preview for this book on Google. The contents and paging for the new version of Public Library Boards is as follows:

1.  Introduction                                                                                                          1
2.  Library Boards Prior to 1945                                                                               3
3.  Political Representation and Responsibility                                                          15
4.  Influence, Power and Authority of Local Boards                                                   30
5.  Intergovernmental Planning for Public Libraries                                                    50
6.  Professionalism in Library Administration                                                            81
7.  Trusteeship, the Internet, and the Digital Library                                                   95
8.  Conclusion                                                                                                          128
Tables                                                                                                                      131

If you are interested in having a copy, you can get a preview and request a copy for $15.00 by going to http://www.uoguelph.ca/~lbruce/onthistories.shtml