Toronto - 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, call Answerline at 416-393-7131.