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Strategic Plan Accountability: Outcomes & Impact

Toronto Public Library, Ontario

Innovation Summary

Toronto Public Library with its Library Board created an accountability framework for its strategic plan: expanding access, increasing opportunity, building connections with outcomes that directly link library programs and services to larger city and government priorities, including poverty reduction, social inclusion, quality jobs and economic vitality.

Problem Statement

Public libraries and the communities they serve face challenges. Economic uncertainty, increased social instability, rising income inequality and an aging population slow economic growth. Many people feel isolated, alienated and forgotten. Public libraries are responding head on by leveraging technology to drive inclusion, breaking down barriers to access, increasing life learning opportunities and fostering cross cultural understanding, connections which build resilient communities. To date, library measurement tools do not fully capture these vital contributions.


The Strategic Plan Accountability Framework demonstrates the value of library services. Three tools: logic models, balanced scorecard and public facing dashboard, allow decision makers to see the scope, reach and quality of library services and programs; align resources and partnerships to achieve outcomes; advocate for high value services; and link the outcomes of library services to the larger, collective impact of city and government priorities. The framework shows how evidence based decision making supports results.


Public libraries drive the outcomes of literacies - print, media and digital - inclusion, cross cultural understanding and community connections empowering people to engage more fully in society, government and the digital knowledge economy. By defining the outcomes and impacts and setting benchmarks and targets, Toronto Public Library has removed barriers and increased service with funding for a 30 percent increase in Sunday open hours, eight Youth Hubs and hot spot lending in high needs neighbourhoods.