All stories relating to Toronto Public Library
In October, the Toronto Public Library launched a public-transit advertising campaign for “free ebooks and e-magazines.” According to a TPL press release, borrowing rates have doubled since September, when the library began actively promoting its digital magazine service.
Like many libraries across Canada, TPL partners with Zinio, touted as “the world’s largest newsstand,” to deliver e-magazines to readers, but the service’s future in Canada is uncertain. Last week, The Globe and Mail reported that Rogers Media has removed all its titles from Zinio, including Maclean’s, Canadian Business, Chatelaine, Flare, Flare Trend Report, L’actualité, Loulou, Maclean’s University Guide, MoneySense, and Today’s Parent. A note on the TPL website says, “We were disappointed to learn about Rogers Publishing Group’s decision, and regret that we cannot offer access to these Canadian digital publications.”
According to the Globe, Rogers’ decision came on the advice of the trade association Magazines Canada, which warned about technical problems with Zinio. Magazines Canada CEO Mark Jamison told the newspaper: “The association recommended that its members withdraw from the program due to software technical issues that meant digital magazines were not being delivered in a way that is consistent with content delivery expectations and restrictions.”
On his industry blog Canadian Magazines, D.B. Scott says “it can’t be a complete coincidence” that Rogers is preparing to launch its own digital media service. In January, Magazines Canada is also rolling out Canada’s Magazine Store, promoted on its website as a “one-stop shop for all member titles.” The association states that its “relationship with digital circulation suppliers is changing, including our Zinio-based program.”
Although the absent Rogers Media titles leave a gap in the TPL’s offerings, the library’s top downloaded titles so far this year are The Economist, House & Home, Us Weekly, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone.
Patrons can now purchase ebooks directly from Kobo through linked pages on torontopubliclibrary.ca. For each ebook purchased, TPL receives a portion of sales, which goes toward funding special collections and services.
In March, TPL launched an affiliate program for print books with Indigo Books & Music. According to TPL communications spokesperson Ana-Maria Critchley, 509 items have been purchased to date. Although the idea of libraries selling books is controversial, Critchley says social-media response has been “largely positive” and no formal complaints have been filed.
TPL is the only library in Canada that currently supports bookselling. Future plans for the program, which will be evaluated in a year, include a partnership with Victoria’s AbeBooks.
In the June issue of Q&Q, Vancouver librarians Shirley Lew and Baharak Yousef argue that libraries should get directly into the business of selling books. Read the guest opinion piece here.
By next month, Toronto Public Library users will begin noticing advertisements on the backs of their date-due slips. The announcement comes a little more than a year after the TPL started looking into selling ads to make up a $3.9-million budget shortfall.
The new advertising program will be run by Receipt Media, a Toronto-based company mainly involved in soliciting ads for supermarket receipts. The company’s TPL campaign states that advertisers will be charged $8,000 for six months of full-colour, business card-sized messages, and $15,000 for a year.
The Toronto Star reports that Receipt Media will pay for the library’s slip paper in exchange for the right to sell ads, generating $40,000* annually for the TPL.
The idea resulted from a November 2011 meeting in which the TPL explored money-making options. In February 2012, the library board approved two requests for proposals: one to search for a company to sell ads; another to find a consultant to come up with other advertising opportunities.
Previously, the TPL has run ads in its What’s On publication — generating $30,000 in 2012 — in addition to sponsored* programs such as the TD Summer Reading Club.
The library also announced last week the launch of a Retail Affiliate Program, allowing customers to purchase books via its website, with the TPL retaining a portion of sales.
Correction, March 12: A previous version of this article stated the revenues for the six-month pilot period. In addition, the TD Summer Reading Club is a sponsored program, not “ad-supported,” as previously reported.
The Toronto Public Library announced on Wednesday that library users now have the option of purchasing books via its website. Through the new Retail Affiliate Program, customers will see a “buy now” option when they search for a book. The button links them to the Indigo Books & Music website if there is a copy available.
A portion of sales made via the TPL website will support the library’s special collections and services. Going forward, the program will be expanded to include additional retailers.
The Ottawa Public Library has an affiliate plan in the works that would allow users to purchase ebooks through their website. Endorsed by the library board in February, an agreement with publishers and booksellers is still being negotiated.
The TPL’s “buy now” option is currently only available for books in print format.
The Toronto Public Library is hoping to get readers fired up this spring with Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (Ballantine Books), which has been chosen for the 2013 One Book community reading event.
“We decided to go with a classic this year,” says Jane Pyper, the city’s head librarian. “Even though Bradbury wrote it years ago … the themes of this novel remain relevant to the media- and tech-saturated world we live in.”
The selection is a deviation from the TPL’s usual focus on a Canadian novel set in Toronto. Published in 1953, the American science fiction and fantasy writer’s dystopian novel takes place in a world where firemen are charged with facilitating institutionalized book burning, all as a result of humanity’s fascination with television.
Pyper made the announcement this morning alongside Toronto fire chief Jim Sales at a fitting location: the Yorkville fire hall.
The partnership between the TPL and Toronto fire services grew from a “natural connection” based on the book’s subject, says Pyper. “We asked if they would [join] us and they were on board immediately.”
The One Book event, an initiative that seeks to get Torontonians discussing a single book, is part of the TPL’s annual Keep Toronto Reading Festival, which takes place every April.
Pyper says discussions on book burning in the digital age and readings by 1,000 students in 35 Toronto high schools are some of this year’s program highlights. The full One Book event listing will be released March 14.
As part of the event, the TPL is asking Torontonians to let them know, via YouTube, which book they would save if their library was burning. Submissions will be entered into a draw to win a reproduction of an image from the library’s special collections.
There’s more to Sherlock Holmes than a magnifying glass, pipe, and deerstalker hat.
The Toronto Reference Library offers a glimpse into the world of the great fictional detective with its exhibit Adventures with Sherlock Holmes, which features material from the Toronto Public Library’s Arthur Conan Doyle Collection.
The exhibition celebrates 125 years of Holmes and accounts for just four per cent of what the library says is one of the world’s largest collections of Doyle memorabilia. Adventures with Sherlock Holmes runs until March 10 at the library’s new TD Gallery.
Quillblog spoke with library curator Peggy Purdue to find out more.
How did Toronto come to be one of the biggest hubs for Arthur Conan Doyle material?
The library started the collection in 1969 after purchasing a large amount of Doyle material from a book retailer, Hugh Anson-Cartwright. They noticed a lot of Sherlock in the Doyle collection and developed it with gusto. This coincided with one of many flare-ups in interest with Sherlock Holmes. A lot of memorabilia comes from donations. The collection opened in ’71 and has gone from two boxes to over 11,000 books, posters, magazines, stamps, films, and music.
What was the motivation behind opening the exhibition now?
We considered running the exhibition four years ago after the Robert Downey Jr. movie was released but couldn’t because the gallery was undergoing renovations. Now, with two movies, and the TV shows Sherlock and Elementary, it’s a great time. The books have been read quietly through the years but now there is a bigger, broader interest in Holmes.
What are some of the key pieces in the exhibit?
It was very difficult to pick just a few items for each section, because they represent such a small percentage of what we really have. The exhibit showcases the character of Sherlock Holmes — what he looks like and how he has been portrayed — with original illustrations by Sidney Paget; the stories’ publishing history; imitations of Doyle’s work; manuscripts and letters from Doyle to The Strand Magazine‘s editor; memorabilia including matchboxes, playing cards, and lapel pins; and artwork depicting scenes from the stories.
Does Canada play a role in the world of Sherlock Holmes?
Yes it does. We have an advertisement by Richard’s Cleaners and Dryers in Windsor, where “Sherlock Sanitone” promotes their services; a painting, Elementary, by Canadian artist Audrey Matheson; and several stained-glass pieces by Joseph Aigner from Toronto’s Artistic Glass. And we are showing the trailer for The Real Sherlock Holmes, a documentary by Toronto’s Storyline Entertainment.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
In February, the Toronto Public Library board held a meeting to debate whether it needed an advertising policy to help make up its $3.9 million budget shortfall.
Today, the TPL posted two requests for proposals: one for date-due slip advertising services and another for advertising and media consultation services.
Copies of the RFPs and deadlines are available through the TPL website.
Speed dating has been given a bookish twist, thanks to the Toronto Public Library’s debut LGBTQ Literary Speed Dating night, which takes place July 4, 6:30 p.m. at the TPL’s Bloor/Gladstone branch.
Organized by librarian Raymond Lam to coincide with the end of Toronto’s Pride Week, the speed-dating night is open to anyone who identifies as LGBTQ, between the ages of 19 and 35. The event gives participants a chance to discuss a favourite book, CD, or DVD with like-minded people.
Lam says he got the idea after reading an article about the success of similar events at other libraries across the country. (In February, The Globe & Mail wrote about the Vancouver Public Library’s popular “Read Dating” nights.) He explains that literary speed-daters create an alias, and when participants meet someone they’d like to see again, they can check their name off on a speed-dating card. If two people show an interest in each other, Lam will put them in touch via email.
About 20 people have registered so far, and Lam is “hoping for some drop-ins” to reach the cap of 40 people. Participants can register by calling the Bloor/Gladstone library.
Lam, who has already declared tomorrow night a success, is planning a heterosexual literary speed-dating event for Oct. 24.
Book links roundup: TTC launches book club, activists concerned about London Book Fair’s China focus, and more
- Toronto Public Library launches TTC book club
- London Book Fair’s focus on China worrying to free speech activists
- PBS Newshour interviews attorney Steve Berman, lead counsel in the Apple ebook antitrust lawsuit
- Heather Reisman speaks to CBC Radio about the Canadian bookselling industry
- Brooklyn Based compiles 10 podcasts for writers
With the dust of the 10-day strike at the Toronto Public Library settling, two other public library systems face the possibility of job action.
On Monday, public library workers in Regina voted 83 per cent in favour of a strike. The members of CUPE Local 1594 have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2009. Roughly 180 library workers could walk off the job at nine branches if an agreement isn’t reached by April 10.
According to the Leader-Post, the major bone of contention is the proposal to extend library hours while cutting wages, and shrinking benefits for new employees. RPL staff went on strike for nearly a month in 2002 on the issues of pay equity and the extension of health benefits.
A day after the RPL vote, 96 per cent of workers at B.C.’s Okanagan Regional Library voted for a work stoppage. Members of CUPE 1123, the union representing 150 library workers at 16 branches, opted for the strike mandate after multiple bargaining meetings and two mediation sessions left contract discussions at an impasse.
In a press release, CUPE 1123 president Rose Jurkic says the sticking points are wage increases and benefits.
“The employer has put us in a tough position, the work we do inside our communities is important and we don’t want to see that disrupted,” Jurkic says. “However, in comparison to libraries of similar sizes we have fallen behind. We’re only asking for what workers doing the same type of work we do have.”