This year, Guelph Public Library CEO Steve Kraft is celebrating 40 years as a dedicated employee of the Guelph Library, rising through the proverbial ranks - or is that stacks - from the counter in the children’s library to the chief executive’s office. As Kraft’s library career in Guelph turns 40, the system he runs is turning 150, and as the Guelph Public Library marks its sesquicentennial in 2023 it’s in the middle of very big transitional period.
On June 20, something impossible happened in downtown Guelph: ground was broken on the new main library building. Kraft brought a special prop for the occasion, a shovel owned by WIlliam Tytler when he planted a tree on the grounds of the library to mark his 50 years as a member of the library board in 1931. It was symbolic of Guelph truism that Kraft and Tytler have in common: Those involved in the Guelph Library tend to stay involved.
Kraft will be leaning on that kind of community commitment for the next few years because there’s still a lot of organizing that needs to be done between now and when the new library opens in 2026. There’s some serious fundraising to do, decisions about new programming to offer and hiring people to bring those programs to life. Also, the library is feeling the issue of homelessness as the building serves as a kind of sanctuary for those with no where else to go.
That's a lot for a library CEO to take on, but we're going to try and cover it all through the lens of Kraft's four decades of experience. He will talk about his career, why he wanted to become a librarian in the first place, and how technology has changed what a library is all about. He will also talk about the Library's future, from the new building to all the branches, plus he will discuss the demand for library programs, and if there’s anything libraries can’t do.
So let's talk about 40 tears behind the stacks on this week's Guelph Politicast!
You can learn more about the Guelph Public Library, its programming and locations at its website, or by connecting with them on social media @GuelphLibrary on Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest or at @GuelphPublicLibrary on Instagram and YouTube. The next meeting of the Guelph Public Library Board is Monday September 25 at 6 pm.
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