Skip to content

Public library see increase in usage, programming and funding in 2022

Thunder Bay's public libraries saw notable increases in people attending programming, applying for library cards and using available services in 2022 compared to previous years.

THUNDER BAY — According to the annual report, even with all the consultations, meetings, and regular operational costs, the Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL) is still in the black. 

Speaking to Dr. Richard Togman, who is the CEO at TBPL, noted that while the budget is always tight, he was thankful that they didn't have to spend "a lot of the big dollars that really come with some of the larger scale work like for the master facilities."

He noted that some projects have been deferred or put on hold, "A lot of the larger maintenance projects at Brodie, especially given the uncertainty about everything that's happening with the building, are on a little bit of a deferral." 

Togman continued that it's a matter of prioritizing: "It's a matter of creating that hierarchy of needs and figuring out, what gets funding now, what do we schedule for funding next year or the year after, and what is essentially put on hold until we can get the proper level of funding to do it." 

The annual report states the Brodie Library location is tentatively slated to be closed. TBPL has promised to present the city council with the complete costing layout of the Master Facilities Plan no later than June 2024. 

How did the library fare regarding usage, new library cards issued, and programming attendance? Togman indicated that there has been a steady increase in library cards being given since 2018. 

While there was a pandemic in the middle, new cards issued went from 2,442 in 2019 to 3,074 being handed out in 2022. That works out to almost a 26 per cent increase compared to how many memberships were doled out in 2019. In total, there are approximately 30,000 active library cards. 

Programming attendance also saw an increase of 20 per cent across the library system as a whole, and the library's collection saw a 22 per cent increase in usage. 

Togman noted that these increases show a growing appetite for the library and the services it offers, "This shows increasing demand for library services and the early indications of success of the reforms that have been put into place over the last 12 months since I started as CEO."

He also indicated that fundraising efforts, donations and grants have all been prosperous for 2022, "From a fundraising perspective, we raised approximately $58,000 in 2022 from individual donations from community members. We got about $27,000 in grants and raised just over $9,000 from other sources."

Continuing, Togman said they have been effective in receiving grants, "We've been much more successful securing grants with a new strategic focus and effort. We've received $248,492 in grant funding from private organizations and higher levels of government over the past 12 months."

The full annual report from the Thunder Bay Public Library can be read here

Katie Nicholls, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Katie Nicholls, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Originally from central Ontario, Katie moved here to further her career in the media industry.
Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks