The members of the Pembroke Public Library board and the library’s CEO are quite proud of the facility recently having been accredited by the Ontario Public Library Guideline Monitoring and Accreditation Council for the first time. There are nearly 400 libraries in the province with only 40 being designated as accredited and now Pembroke’s is one of those 40. In front from left, board members Bethea Summers and deputy Pembroke Deputy Mayor Ron Gervais. In back, from left member Dheerendra Kumar, board vice-chairwoman Elizabeth Brose-Murphy, board chairman Laurentian Valley Councillor Keith Watt, and CEO Karthi Rajamani.
Anthony Dixon / Observer and News
The Pembroke Public Library is one of the best libraries in Ontario and it now has the paperwork to prove it.Of the province’s 380 libraries, Pembroke’s is one of 40 to achieve the accredited designation from the Ontario Public Library Guideline Monitoring and Accreditation Council.And it did in its first attempt.“This is a pretty substantial milestone,” said Laurentian Valley councillor and library board chairman Keith Watt. “The board is very proud of the librarians, the staff and the CEO who worked very hard on this.”Late in the year in 2016, Karthi Rajamani was appointed as the library’s new chief executive officer (CEO). She started working at the library as a cataloguing librarian in 2004, then in 2010 became the children and teen services librarian for six years before becoming CEO. In April of 2017, she and the board unveiled a five-year strategic plan for the library that celebrated the past while looking to the future.Rajamani explained that one of the goals they wanted to achieve within that five-year plan was to be accredited.Originally the goal was to go through the accreditation process with the provincial accreditation council in the year 2020.Watt said very hard work by Rajamani and her staff throughout 2017 had them convinced they were ready two years early.“2020 had been our goal but we achieved it in 2018,” Rajamani explained. “And the library received 97.8 per cent out of 100.”She went on to say that the only area where the library lost points, the 2.2 per cent that kept it from perfection, was an accessibility concern with top book shelves being too high for some people to reach.Watt said if a library wishes to be considered for the formal accreditation process, it must have an overall score of 90 percent of responses being “yes” in the 166 guidelines the Ontario Public Library Guideline Monitoring and Accreditation Council uses. Within those guidelines there are 76 that are mandatory. A single “no” to any one of those guidelines would result in the library not being accredited.Asked if she was surprised to be accredited and with such an outstanding score, when undergoing the process for the first time, Rajamani said no.“No, it was not surprising. I’ve been working non-stop on this for two years, literally two years,” she said. “I’m very proud of the board, the staff and myself.”Rajamani was presented with the accreditation document onstage at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre during the Ontario Library Association Super Conference held Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, 2019.The Pembroke Public Library will now go through the accreditation process every five years.ADixon@postmedia.com