Mandate and Responsibilities

The Toronto Public Library Board is a local board of the City, governed by the Public Libraries Act. The Board oversees the largest public library system in Canada.

The Board is responsible for the effective management of library resources and for the quality of library service offered to the people of Toronto, including the following specific matters:

  • directing and approving strategic plans, goals and policies for the library based on community needs, and ensuring that these plans are efficiently and effectively implemented;
  • approving the annual operating and capital budgets for recommendation to City Council;
  • acting as an advocate for library service, representing the library before City Council and in the community;
  • protecting the public’s right to read materials of their choice;
  • hiring and evaluating the City Librarian, who is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the library and its staff; and
  • is legally accountable for the library’s activities and for ensuring that it complies with all applicable legislation.

Board Size and Composition

The Toronto Public Library Board consists of 12 members and is composed of:

  • the Mayor or a designate appointed by the Mayor;
  • 8 citizen members.
  • 3 Council Members; and

Chair and Vice-Chair

Under the Public Libraries Act, the Toronto Public Library Board elects the Chair and the Vice-Chair of the Board from amongst its members.

Eligibility Requirements

Citizens are eligible for appointment to the Board, and eligible to remain on the Board after being appointed, if they satisfy the eligibility requirements for appointment as set out in the City’s Public Appointments Policy.

The Public Libraries Act requires that Board members:

  • be at least 18 years old;
  • be a Canadian citizen;
  • be a resident of the municipality for which the board is established;
  • not be employed by the board or by the municipality; and
  • not forfeit their appointment due to meeting the criteria for disqualification of a board member in the Act.


Citizen members of the Board should collectively demonstrate a range of qualifications including:

All members should have the following qualifications:

  • independence of judgement, and
  • personal integrity.

Up to three members should have publicly recognized achievements in the disciplines of:

  • Literature and Literacy;
  • Arts and Culture;
  • Science and Technology; and
  • Business.


Five or more members should have demonstrated skills, interest and experience in:

  • Financial Management;
  • Community Diversity.
  • Philanthropy;
  • Public Sector Governance; and
  • Community Service.

Plus, a youthful perspective (age range 18 to 30) is a desired qualification for at least one member of the Board.

Appointments Process – Citizen Members

Citizen members of the Board are recruited through an advertised recruitment process.  The appointments process is conducted according to the policies and procedures in the City’s Public Appointments Policy.


The Board generally meets on the fourth Monday of each month. Members may also be asked to serve on library committees, to liaise with community groups or to represent the library at various events. Members belong to the Ontario, Canadian and American Library Associations which hold annual conferences and sponsor other development activities.

Board meetings are open to the public, except for meetings or parts of meetings where a subject matter is being considered that is set out in section 190 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006.


No remuneration is paid to Boards members; however, the Board pays an annual amount in lieu of reasonable expenses as follows:

Citizen Chair:  $850 annual payment.

Citizen Vice-Chair:  $600 annual payment.

Citizen Members:  $350 annual payment.

No annual payment in lieu of reasonable expenses is given to Council Members on the Board.