Municipal Relations

While the Public Libraries Act makes public library boards independent corporations, the reality is that library boards are entirely dependent upon their municipality for funding.  This paradox makes the governance and management of public libraries complex, requiring diplomacy, collaboration skills and political savvy on the part of the CEO and the library board.  A respectful, collaborative relationship with the municipality is crucial to the success of the library.  

Last updated: July 21, 2014

Competency: Cultivates a good working relationship with municipal staff

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Understands the municipal environment and municipal priorities
  • Understands the roles and responsibilities of the Library CEO and the municipal administration, especially in terms of library funding
  • Positions the library as a valued community service that contributes to municipal priorities and community well-being
  • Works to develop mutual respect and trust, and a desire to work together
  • Recognizes how the library can support the work of the municipality and offers the library’s help where feasible
  • Asks questions and shows genuine interest in municipal issues
  • Maintains ongoing communication about the library’s planning process and evolving goals and needs.


Competency: Cultivates a presence and relationship with municipal council

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Understands the roles and responsibilities of the library board and municipal council, especially in terms of library funding
  • Guides the board to build a collaborative relationship with municipal council
  • Facilitates regular communication between the library board and council
  • Works closely with council representatives on the library board to ensure good two-way communication
  • Invites Council to participate in library events and opportunities to better understand the ways in which the library makes a difference
  • Links the library to the keen interests of individual councillors where feasible  
  • Presents to Council good news stories, highlighting community outcomes and expresses gratitude to Council for library successes.


Competency:  Seeks to expand and deepen municipal leaders' awareness and understanding of the public library 

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Speaks of library use in terms of community outcomes
  • Tells stories that illustrate the library's capacity to change lives
  • Positions the library as a community leader and partner, ready to participate in community initiatives  
  • Ensures the library is on the radar of municipal council and municipal staff by advocating the library's capacity to contribute to community resilience and well-being 
  • Shares local and provincial library news and trends as they arise
  • Particpates in the muncipality's strategic and master planning processes, ensuring the library's future needs are understood 
  • Integrates the library into municipal structures and processes in those instances where it meets the needs of the library and the municipality, especially when efficiencies and/or expertise are gained. 

Please review's Terms of Use. For questions, comments and suggestions regarding this website, please Contact SOLS Helpdesk.

The Southern Ontario Library Service  is working to make our website accessible to all. We welcome comments and suggestions on access improvements and encourage you to take a look at our updated Accessibility Policy. If you require a particular PDF or word document in an accessible format, please do not hesitate to contact us. We also offer BrowseAloud reading support - click on the orange graphic to the right to launch.  Learn more about BrowseAloud.

The support of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is gratefully acknowledged.