As the “Illustrator – , Writer – , Innovator – , Entrepreneur – , or Comic Artist – in – Residence” at the Toronto Public Library, we are privileged to have and to hold a platform to help empower all library patrons from all walks of life and countries who come through our doors .
It’s been five years since I was the second Entrepreneur-in-Residence in the Small Business Program thanks to the good grace and kind generosity of the late Norman G. Hinton who left a large legacy for the Library in 2009. His remarkable story can be found here.
This week I was part of the audience and as I scanned the learning theatre and am reminded of the importance of our patrons’ perspective. They are diverse and at times, our patrons come from (very) modest neighbourhoods and other times, not so modest. The entire world walks through those doors.
When did you last visit your local library? If it’s been awhile, you will be delightfully surprised to find that the Library has become a place for innovation, a place for story-telling, and a place for sharing knowledge. Branches may have a Fabrication Studio, Digital Innovation Hubs, a Writers’ Room not to mention free access to digital software, hardware, tablets, laptops, equipment such as light therapy lamps, Museum and Arts Pass, musical instruments, book printing service and so much more.
You might also notice that the Library is a safe and warm place, a sanctuary where the hinges literally have come off to facilitate open doors as reflected in the official Mission Statement and “provides free and equitable access to services which meet the changing needs of Torontonians. The Library preserves and promotes universal access to a broad range of human knowledge, experience, information and ideas in a welcoming and supportive environment.”
Having a residency or being a guest speaker at the Library is a humbling honour.
We are here to serve our patrons and be sensitive to their needs. It is their agenda we seek to help make successful and this requires a certain level of awareness, care, and compassion.
There is one thing that is not on loan from the Library and therefore, has no expiry date. When patrons leave the Library, they leave with a sense of dignity and dignity cannot be borrowed. At the Library, dignity is granted.