New Projects

The $15 million investment's Future Plans budget was established to address recommendations arising from the Library Technology Trends Study and the Libraries 2020 Symposium. These recommendations include:

  • Distance Education & Integrated approach to information and referral for Ontario Public Library Staff – SOLS, in collaboration with OLS-North and OLA, is leading the project for the ongoing development of a library training portal. The portal provides a single access point for discovering training opportunities offered by partner organizations. Searchable by various means, it allows the user to register and track his/her training and progress via an ePortfolio.

    Overlap Associates Inc. was retained to develop a business plan for the training portal. An RFP in Fall 2012 led to the selection of a preferred vendor, Intrafinity.  The portal, LearnHQ, was launched in April 2015.

    The project is under the direction of an advisory committee with representatives from SOLS, OLS-North, OLA, OALT and public libraries. Any questions about LearnHQ may be directed to Rosanne Renzetti at 1-800-387-5765 x 5145.
  • Provincial Integrated Library System (ILS) - OLS-North is investigating the feasibility of a single ILS system incorporating libraries serving populations under 50,000. There are 269 libraries in this category (122 in the north and 147 in the south). Of these, 122 are already members of a consortium, with the balance either not automated or using smaller, stand-alone system.

    ILS Consultant, Cheryl MacLennan and her team were retained for this project. Libraries were asked to complete an online needs assessment survey and vendors were asked to respond to an RFI. The results of the survey indicates that there are insufficient numbers of Ontario public libraries ready to move forward today in order to justify the creation of a consortium. However, the results also show that the vast majority of respondents, irrespective of their lack of immediate interest in the consortium, are not opposed to the idea itself. The RFI revealed that there are vendors capable of providing a product/service that can fulfill the requirements of a provincial ILS. The Consultant found that economic sustainability, collaboration and a common vision are key factors in determining the success of a province-wide ILS.

    Next Steps: Firstly, Ontario public libraries should build on the current consortia community. Based on the results of the survey, the Needs Assessment recommended promoting, to non- consortia members, the opportunity of joining an existing ILS consortium. Consortia membership should be promoted at events and special venues. Secondly, we should build on existing interest in a Provincial ILS via an OLS – North led Summit of Consortia looking for opportunities to share resources and services amongst consortia.

    For further information contact Leanne Clendening-Purpur, CEO, OLS-North at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 705-675-6467 x209. Final reports and deliverables from the consultant can be found on the OLS-North web site.
  • Library Branding and Promotion - Creating a distinct identity with local and provincial messages – FOPL has submitted a proposal to develop a brand strategy for Ontario Public Libraries which will lay the groundwork for a branding campaign. This project is funded from the $15M investment and is expected to be completed over the winter.

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