January 2016 Board Meeting Highlights
The Toronto Public Library Board met on January 25, 2016 at the Toronto Reference Library. Key topics discussed include:
Election of Chair and Vice Chair
Ron Carinci was re-elected Chair of the Toronto Public Library Board. Mr. Carinci is Chief Operating Officer at the Urbacon Group of Companies and previously practiced corporate and commercial law for 15 years. This is his second term on the Toronto Public Library Board.
Lindsay Colley was re-elected to the position of Vice Chair. Ms Colley is a Director in the Thought Leadership group at the Canadian Public Accountability Board.This is also her second term on the Toronto Public Library Board.
2016 meeting dates and locations (PDF) were also confirmed.
Operating Budget Update
At its meeting on December 15, 2015, the City of Toronto’s Budget Committee considered the City staff’s preliminary budgets. Toronto Public Library’s preliminary budget (PDF) represents the Board-approved submission of a $3.127 million net or 1.8% increase, which has been reduced by $0.408 million or 0.2% through a one-time contribution of $0.418 million for the cost of an extra working day in 2016, which will be funded from a City reserve.
At a subsequent City of Toronto Budget Committee meeting on January 18, 2016, two motions were proposed that potentially impact the library’s 2016 operating budget.
One motion recommends funding for all requested budget enhancements totaling $958,000 gross and net. Budget enhancements support the City’s Poverty Reduction Strategy and are comprised of two Youth Hubs, Sunday service open hours enhancement, internet wifi hotspot lending enhancement and a Malvern digital innovation hub.
Another motion proposed a $1.249 million budget reduction to be allocated to City agencies including Toronto Public Library, but excluding the Toronto Police Services and Toronto Transit Commission.
While the City Manager has not yet determined the allocation of the budget reduction, Toronto Public Library would not be able to manage any significant budget reduction without impacting service.
The City of Toronto's Executive Committee will consider the budgets on February 9, 2016, followed by City Council on February 17 and 18, 2016.
Capital Budget Update
The City of Toronto’s Preliminary Capital Plan is funded by $15.575 million debt for 2016 and $159.507 million debt over 2016-2025, and includes $5.802 million of additional debt funding beyond the City debt targets.
The Library Board requested a further $63,267 million of debt funding (PDF) to help address the buildings state of good repair (SOGR) backlog, which is not included in the Preliminary Capital Plan.
While some progress has been made on increasing City funding, the Preliminary Capital Plan is inadequate to address the Library’s SOGR requirements over the next 10 years.
The City of Toronto's Executive Committee will also consider the capital budgets on February 9, 2016, followed by City Council on February 17 and 18, 2016.
Guildwood Branch Expansion
The Board approved a new lease agreement (PDF) for Guildwood branch, which includes expanded branch space after two years. The branch currently occupies 3,010 square feet and the proposed expansion will add 1,567 square feet at the end of 2018, bringing the branch up to the current space standard for neighbourhood branches.
Penguin Random House recently announced a new purchasing model for ebooks, featuring lower prices and permanent licenses. Prices are capped at $65 CAD for Canadian libraries and $65 USD for U.S. libraries in recognition of the impact of the low Canadian dollar. The move was welcomed by libraries as a positive step and it is hoped that other multinationals will follow suit.
The other Big 5 multinational publishers’ (Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan Publishers and Simon & Schuster) high ebook prices and restrictive terms cause significant budget pressures for Toronto Public Library. In 2015, the use of the library’s downloadable and streaming content grew by 26% to 4.4 million of 13.5% of total circulation.
With its partners, Toronto Public Library will continue to advocate for changes through Canadian Public Libraries for Fair Ebook Pricing.
Toronto Public Library is one of the world's busiest urban public library systems. Every year, 19 million people visit our branches in neighbourhoods across the city and borrow 32 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library, visit torontopubliclibrary.ca or call Answerline at 416-393-7131. To get the most current updates on what's happening at the library, follow us on Twitter @torontolibrary.
Ana-Maria Critchley, 416-393-7212, firstname.lastname@example.org