November 24, 2020

Canada: An Interview with Toronto’s New City Librarian, Vickery Bowles

A new q&A style interview with Toronto’s new City Librarian was published today in the Toronto Star. Here’s one of the five questions and answers.

This week Vickery Bowles, 58, became Toronto’s new city librarian, succeeding Jane Pyper, who was lauded for pushing the system into the digital age. The Star sat down with Bowles, a 32-year Toronto Public Library veteran, in her office.

Q. With digital information swirling everywhere, what’s the library’s role?

The way people consume information is changing, but the role of the library remains constant: children’s literacy; preserving the past; offering opportunities for lifelong learning; equitable access to information; providing welcoming, safe public space in 100 different communities across Toronto. Libraries are not book repositories — they are literary and cultural destinations. An author reading, a puppet performance, story time for children, a session with teens about life-skills — all of those kinds of programs are happening in different communities across the city.

We had over 18 million people visit libraries in 2014, over 32 million items borrowed, including electronic items. In a world with this huge explosion of information, it is more important than ever that the library is a place to go to get the facts. We have professional staff who can guide people and point them to reliable sources of information, and help filter through what are the facts, what is opinion and what is speculation.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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