Structure of Public Library Services

Public library services in Newfoundland and Labrador are provided by the Provincial Information & Library Resources Board (the "Provincial Board"), an independent board established by the Provincial Government through the Public Libraries Act (RSN 1990, Chapter P-40).

The first Provincial Board was formed in 1935.  From the very beginning, this board has been responsible for public library services throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.  This makes the organizational structure different from most other Canadian provinces where public libraries are a part of municipal or regional government services.

The Provincial Board is charged with the responsibility of:

  • Establishing and operating public libraries throughout the province.
  • A Provincial Reference and Resource Library.
  • A centralized Technical Services division.
  • Library services to communities without libraries through a Books-by-Mail Service.
  • Centralized Administrative services from its provincial headquarters.

The Provincial Board presently operates 94 public libraries throughout the province.  These Libraries are divided into four administrative divisions:

  • West Newfoundland and Labrador Division (29 libraries)
  • Central Division (33 libraries)
  • Eastern Division (29 libraries)
  • St. John's City Libraries (3 libraries)

All library staff are employees of the Provincial Board with the local library staff reporting to a Division Manager.

Each of the local Public Libraries has its own local library board which is accountable to the Provincial Board. These local boards advise and assist the Provincial Board.  They are active in promoting the public library in their communities; making representations to town councils and other community groups to build support for the public library; and raising funds locally to extend hours of service or to acquire additional library materials.

The three geographic divisions have boards made up of representatives from all the local libraries within each division.  These divisional boards act as advisory bodies to the Provincial Board.

The St. John's library board is also an advisory board to the Provincial Board.

The Provincial Board is comprised of 10-15 members -- one voting member from each of the geographic divisions and St. John's, and up to six other voting members appointed by the Provincial Government.

The Provincial Board, with the support of its local boards, has made free public access to the Internet one of its priorities.  By participating in federal government initiatives such as Industry Canada's Community Access Program and LibraryNet, the Provincial Board was able to offer Internet access in all of its 94 public libraries by 1999.  In addition to its own video collections, the Provincial Board also manages and distributes both National Film Board of Canada videos in the province and the School Collection which supports the K-12 curriculum.


For further information, contact:

Newfoundland & Labrador Public Libraries
48 St. George's Avenue
Stephenville, NL
A2N 1K9

Executive Director: Andrew Hunt
Telephone: (709) 643-0900
Fax: (709) 643-0925

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