May 26, 2022

Interview: “How Toronto’s Leading the Way in Library Innovation: A Conversation with Pam Ryan”

From Sidewalk Toronto:

If you still think of libraries as musty, quiet places filled with books and little else, then you likely haven’t been to one in quite some time. In cities around the world, as free public spaces become rarer, libraries have become critical pieces of what writer Eric Klinenberg calls “social infrastructure.” Families go there to play or do homework; seniors to take classes or send a vital fax; teenagers to hang out. And in the digital era, libraries are stepping up to provide critical digital infrastructure — free internet, access to software, digital literacy training — too.

The Toronto Public Library (TPL) has been at the forefront of this trend. From creating “innovation hubs” in its branches that provide access to cutting-edge technologies, to partnering with organizations around the city to start a conversation around responsible data use, to spearheading new models of learning, Toronto’s branch libraries are innovating and responding to the needs of the communities they serve. To learn more about the library’s successes — and where it could be headed in the future — we sat down to talk to one of the people at its helm: Pam Ryan, TPL’s Director of Service Development & Innovation.

Hat Tip: LorcanD

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.