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Sudbury chosen as Ontario headquarters for library services

Decision was revealed this week to directors of Sault Ste. Marie Public Library
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Sudbury has been selected as headquarters of a newly amalgamated provincial library service.

The Sudbury-based Ontario Library Service - North (OLS-N) will merge next April with Toronto-based Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS).

OLS-N and SOLS are arm's-length agencies designed to ensure all parts of the province get equitable access to library services and staff.

They made headlines last year when major cuts to their provincial funding resulted in temporary suspension of Ontario's interlibrary loan and delivery service.

Interlibrary loans remain the agencies' most popular service, followed by providing guidance, advice, training and professional development to local libraries, as well as digital and professional resources.

Sudbury's Mellissa D'Onofrio-Jones will be appointed provincial chief executive officer of the merged operations.

Ontario headquarters of the consolidated services will be at 334 Regent St. in Sudbury, which is now home to OLS-N.

D'Onofrio-Jones, currently chief executive officer T OLS-N, said in a teleconferenced presentation Tuesday to directors of the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library that the SOLS Toronto presence will continue.

"Both office locations are being maintained with Sudbury as the headquarters," she said.

"We have already expanded shared training, technology and services over the last months, indicating Ontarians will benefit from an adaptable and successful amalgamation," said Sault Ste. Marie's Frances Ryan (representing OLS-N) and SOLS chair Marylaine Canavan in a recent memorandum to staff.

"This is a logical next step towards fairly and equally supporting all of the public libraries in Ontario more efficiently by uniting the dedicated resources of these superior organizations," the memo said. 

"Both boards view this new opportunity with optimism for a promising future."

D'Onofrio-Jones didn't respond Thursday to questions asked by Village Media about the possibility of staffing level changes, renovations, capital improvements or services offered.

The boards of OLS-N and SOLS agreed in January to look into merging their organizations.

Barbara Franchetto, CEO of SOLS, will retire effective March 31, 2021.