The Ontario Public Library Service Awards recognize Ontario’s public libraries for their creative library service ideas.

There are two awards, each with categories for large, medium, and small libraries:

  • Minister's Award for Innovation recognizes successful new approaches that demonstrate a positive impact in a community and are of continued value to public libraries
  • Angus Mowat Award of Excellence recognizes a commitment to excellence in the delivery of public library service; these services can be old or new and can be ongoing

An independent committee of public library sector representatives review award submissions. Winners are announced at the annual Ontario Library Association superconference.

Browse the 2022 shortlist of nominees.

2022 winners

Angus Mowat Award of Excellence

Small Library Category — Nipigon Public Library for: A Superior Adventure

It takes a holistic approach to integrate libraries into the lives of our citizens. “A Superior Adventure” emphasizes the picturesque beauty of being outdoors on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The challenges encourage community awareness and well-being and are accessible by those of all ages and abilities. Due to Northern geography and population, our three libraries rely on the same businesses and media for support. Our partnership reduces staff time, competition for media coverage and donor fatigue by sharing instead of competing.

Medium Library Category — Innisfil Public Library for: Monarch Butterfly Rearing Program

The Monarch Butterfly Rearing Program has reached beyond traditional library services to engage residents of all ages with nature and science, and inspire them to take action in their own yards and neighbourhoods. The program continues to expand each year, with more programming and opportunities for engagement, expansion of our gardens, and involvement of more staff and partners. We share our expertise and experience with other public libraries, and with our municipality to expand awareness and impact of the program across our municipality and across the province.

Large Library Category — Vaughan Public Libraries for: Belonging Initiative

Public libraries have a long tradition of embracing and supporting diversity, equity, inclusion. VPL's mission is to offer welcoming destinations that educate, excite, and empower our community, and it is our role as a community hub to provide safe, welcoming spaces for all members of the community and our staff. The Belonging Initiative at Vaughan public libraries is an all-encompassing movement toward diversity, equity and inclusion across the entire organization — in our corporate culture, our operations and our relationship with the community, through services, resources, programming and spaces.

Minister’s Award for Innovation

Small Library Category — Bracebridge Public Library for: Party in the Park

All libraries are faced with the issue of staying relevant to their ever-changing communities. This project could be replicated in any community with a variety of partners. This project was a totally new approach to engaging the community for our library and the Town of Bracebridge. It allowed our team to think outside of the box and push through the long-standing perception of the library in our community.

Medium Library Category — Huron County Library for: In Your Backyard

The In Your Backyard program showcased strategic problem solving by addressing the needs of patrons who were seeking connections and community engagement with local businesses (particularly those in the tourism sector) that were in a state of rebuilding. Established community members and newcomers alike were able to learn more about the hidden gems found right in their own backyard. The program highlighted local communities and businesses. The program also gave people the chance to safely get out of their homes in what may have been the first time for some since the start of the pandemic. The many partners involved resulted in a program that was dynamic and inclusive.

Large Library Category — Vaughan Public Libraries for: COVID-19 Data Analytics and Research Team

Partnering with the City of Vaughan, Vaughan Public Library’s (VPL) research was used by Vaughan's manager of emergency planning to anticipate how next waves of COVID-19 virus would impact the City of Vaughan. It improved the emergency management team's situational awareness beyond York Region and was shared across the province, helping their colleagues with situational awareness. The VPL Team also prepared a report on the transmissibility of COVID-19 from fomites (surfaces). It was submitted to relevant provincial ministries and the premier, resulting in the removal of the requirement to isolate returned materials from provincial regulations.

Past winners

Browse a list of past winners.