This week, I was given the opportunity to attend a Press Conference arranged by Jill Andrew, MPP for Toronto-St. Paul’s. She was looking to bring attention to the issues surrounding access through the inter-library loan program at Public Libraries across Ontario.
Advocacy for our community partners is an essential part of our organizations mandate. We will continue to work hard to ensure that family historians across our province and around the world have access to Ontario related genealogical materials, and those materials are collected, preserved and accessible for generations to come.
I have attached a copy of the remarks I prepared for the press conference below.
“My name is Megan Houston, I am honoured to work as the Executive Director of Ontario Ancestors. We are the largest genealogical society in Canada, with 33 Branches and Special Interest Groups across the province – from London to Ottawa, Niagara to Nipissing. Our thousands of members and volunteers work tirelessly to ensure that we meet our mandate to “promote the collection, preservation, organization and dissemination of material relevant to Ontario-related genealogical study.” We are proud to work alongside our library partners to ensure that these resources are accessible to all Ontarians.
Some of our Branches and Special Interest Groups have found homes in their local public libraries, providing support to library staff and users who are researching the history of their families and the places where they live. Family historians fill in the gaps in our history, by telling the stories of ordinary people who have worked to start families, form communities, build businesses, and create the province that we live in.
Libraries are no longer merely repositories for books, they are dynamic community hubs that encourage innovation, and inspire people to do more and dream bigger. Libraries help to break down barriers of social isolation for seniors, newcomers and new parents. The programs they offer connect people to services, give those who need it access to stable internet and other technologies, and provide a space for community groups to come together.
We respectfully request that Premier Ford and Minister Tibollo reconsider the funding reductions that have been made through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. We would be happy to answer any questions and address any concerns related to our position on this important issue.
Thank you for your time and your consideration.”