March 20, 2023: MEDIA RELEASE
Ruth Hamlin-Douglas joins TBPL Leadership Team as Head Librarian
For Immediate Release, Thunder Bay, ON - Monday, March 20, 2023 - The Thunder Bay Public Library is pleased to announce that Ruth Hamlin-Douglas has joined our Management team after successfully competing for the position of Head Librarian.
The Selection Committee reviewed applications from across the country as well as international applicants and unanimously scored Ruth the highest of all candidates by a significant margin during the interview process.
CEO Richard Togman said “I’m very pleased to have Ruth at the table. Her seventeen years of experience with Thunder Bay Public Library have shown her to be a passionate, dedicated and forward-thinking Librarian. During her years at TBPL she has been responsible for many areas of the organization. She has a wealth of institutional knowledge which will be of immense value through our upcoming organizational restructuring and the development of our Master Facilities Plan.”
Ruth Hamlin-Douglas has lived in Thunder Bay since she joined the Library team in 2006 and has developed strong relationships with the staff team and the community.
“I’m coming in with three areas of focus,” Ruth said. “I intend to give our staff the support they need to provide excellent patron experiences, to ensure our Library delivers exceptional value to the community, and to make a meaningful contribution to the ambitious vision our CEO has for the future of our organization.”
The hiring of a Head Librarian is part of an organizational restructuring process intended to improve the efficiency and service capacity of the current Library system and prepare the ground for the implementation of a Master Facilities Plan.
Library Releases Budget Consultation Survey Results
The Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL) released a survey on Thursday, November 24, 2022 to gauge public reaction to a drastic 15% funding cut being proposed by City Administration to the Library’s capital budget.
The community response to the survey was swift and decisive. Over 2,600 people responded to the survey in just over two weeks. The community expressed very strong support for the Library receiving an appropriate level of funding to ensure that buildings were properly maintained. Respondents also overwhelmingly supported increasing the overall level of funding allocated to the Library.
Here are some of the responses to key survey questions:
Over 92% of respondents were strongly opposed to a 15% cut to the Library’s budget.
Seventy six percent of the respondents would consider attending a protest to protect the Library from big budget cuts.
Over 89% of respondents would be less likely to vote for a current Councillor in the next election if they voted to cut the Library’s funding.
Less than 2% of respondents thought the Library should be denied its request for a 3% increase to its capital budget.
Over 80% of respondents support the City giving full and proper funding (as outlined in the long term capital forecast) to the Library to invest in infrastructure over the long term.
Over 82% of respondents would prefer to see a reduction in the salaries of managers at the City rather than a reduction to the Library’s capital budget.
Over 81% of respondents indicated that they would be supportive of having 4% to 7% of their property taxes allocated to properly fund the Library. This amount is currently hovering around 3% of property taxes.
Over 73% of the respondents indicated that they would be willing to pay an extra $20 in taxes to ensure that a neighbourhood library remained open.
Over 70% of respondents would be willing to pay more taxes to have a new state of the art public library.
Over 94% of respondents want the Library to keep them informed as to which Councillors vote to increase or decrease the Library’s funding.
After accounting for inflation, the Library’s operating budget has only increased 0.02% over the last 15 years - despite increasing wages, the rising costs of Library materials and technology, higher utility costs and aging and declining infrastructure. We also have a 21 million dollar infrastructure gap, as decades of under-funding have left the Library in a precarious situation.
Members of the community have spoken and have told us and our elected officials that slashing the services our community depends on is not the way to build a healthy, inclusive and safe city.
The Library has also received more than 20 letters of support from local organizations, MPs and MPPs who are deeply concerned about the impact that cuts to the Library will have on their students, clients, members and constituents.
LIBRARY BOARD HIRES NEW CEO
Tuesday, July 19, 2022 (Thunder Bay, ON) -- The Board of the Thunder Bay Public Library is pleased to announce that the new CEO has been selected. An extensive national search, facilitated by an executive search firm, has resulted in the appointment of Richard Togman as the CEO for Thunder Bay Public Library. Dr. Togman will begin his position full time in early September.
Togman’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics from Wilfred Laurier University, a Master of Arts in Political Science from Carleton, and a PhD from the University of British Columbia in Political Science.
Togman’s work experience includes being Co-Founder/CEO of Rent Panda; Research and Policy Coordinator with the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce; Consultant with PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprises and the New Directions Speakers School and sessional lecturer at Lakehead University and the University of British Columbia. He was also a 2nd Lieutenant in the Canadian Armed Forces.
He has been recognized by the local business community for innovation and entrepreneurship. Togman won the 2022 Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Small Business Excellence Award; the 2020 Northern Ontario Visionary Awards for business and professional achievement; the 2019 New Business Excellence award from the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce; and the 2018 Innovative Company of the Year award from the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre.
Togman has demonstrated experience in leadership, strategic planning, marketing, communication, advocacy, and physical infrastructure development.
Togman has also served as a valued Board Member for several local organizations, including the Thunder Bay Public Library, Crime Prevention Council, the City of Thunder Bay Committees of Appeals and Adjustment and as a volunteer with Matawa Education and Care Centre.
On accepting the CEO position, Togman said, "I'm honoured to serve the community through the library. The library is a sacred place that many of us grew up with and depend upon. I'm excited to help grow the library and share my experience as an innovator and entrepreneur with a respected and beloved institution. Thunder Bay should expect to see great things from their library over the coming years as we emerge from COVID and rebuild as a community of growth and opportunity with top tier public spaces."
The Board of the Thunder Bay Public Library welcomes Dr. Togman to his new position and looks forward to working with him.
Media Contact: Tina Maronese - 807-630-5664 - firstname.lastname@example.org