Toronto Public Library Board Announces Early Retirement of Chief Librarian

    TORONTO, Feb. 21 /CNW/ - The Toronto Public Library Board announced today
that its Chief Librarian Josephine Bryant will be taking an early retirement,
and as a result, will be leaving her post in early July, 2008. Board Chair
Kathy Gallagher-Ross indicated that the Library Board will begin shortly the
process of selecting Bryant's successor, and expect to have her replacement in
place by late summer.
    Bryant was appointed Chief Librarian of the newly-amalgamated Toronto
Public Library system in 1998. Since that time, she has stewarded the library
to its current position of busiest urban public library system in the world.
Last year, Toronto Public Library welcomed 17 million visitors to its 99
branches, and circulated over 30 million items.
    Under Bryant's leadership, the Toronto Public Library has been recognized
internationally for its innovation and accomplishments:

    -   With world-renowned architects and award-winning designs, the library
        has restored and revitalized its branches, demonstrating again and
        again the vital connection between good building design, healthy
        neighbourhoods and prosperous cities. In the 10 years since
        amalgamation, the library has opened two new branches, with two more
        in the planning stage; 17 branches have undergone extensive
        renovations and expansions, and six more branches are scheduled to
        reopen this year after significant renovations are completed.

    -   Bryant established a Children's and Youth Advocate position at the
        Toronto Public Library, a position that had not previously existed in
        any Canadian library system. Among the many outcomes that resulted
        from this focused attention on Toronto's children and youth included
        a significant expansion of the library's children's reading programs,
        and an exponential increase in youth volunteers.

    -   The Toronto Public Library has taken similarly creative approaches to
        serving other important segments of the population; in particular,
        the large and diverse newcomer and multicultural population in
        Toronto. Of significance is the partnership which the library has
        developed with local settlement agencies and with Citizenship and
        Immigration Canada which has brought settlement workers into library
        branches that in turn provide settlement support to the many
        newcomers who pass through the library system.

    -   Partnerships have also played a crucial role in the success of the
        Toronto Public Library during Bryant's tenure. The partnership forged
        between the library and the Toronto Public Library Foundation has
        seen more than $20 million raised to enhance library services and
        programs. Toronto Public Library has also forged important
        partnerships with a large number of local and city-wide community and
        cultural groups and institutions that have assisted in building
        community coalitions and delivering cultural, educational and
        information-based services to the people of Toronto. These partners
        include the Maytree Foundation and Diaspora Dialogues, PEN Canada,
        Toronto Boards of Education, and through its new Sun Life Museum +
        Arts Pass program, city and provincial cultural institutions such as
        Art Gallery of Ontario, ROM, the Ontario Science Centre, and several
        other Toronto-based art galleries and museums.

    Toronto Public Library is the world's busiest urban public library
system. Every year, more than 17 million people visit our 99 branches and
borrow more than 30 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library,
visit our website at or call Answerline at

For further information:

For further information: Linda Hazzan, Director, Marketing and
Communications, (416) 455-7360,

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