Chief Information Officer Receives Ontario Library Association Award

January 23, 2008 - Campus Bulletin

Chief information officer Mike Ridley has been honoured with the Ontario Library Association's (OLA) Larry Moore Distinguished Service Award for his visionary work in establishing the digital library, Knowledge Ontario.

The award honours an OLA member who has made a significant contribution to Ontario libraries through his or her work within the association.

Knowledge Ontario is a collaboration of libraries, cultural heritage organizations and education institutions that gives Ontarians equal access to online licensed electronic sources.

"Knowledge Ontario would not exist without Mike’s vision and leadership," said Esther Rosenfeld, 2007 OLA president. "He has made an outstanding contribution to libraries in Ontario."

Rosenfeld said Ridley not only envisioned Knowledge Ontario but was also instrumental in acquiring the funding and developing the business plan.

Ridley began working on establishing the digital library when he was OLA president in 2001. He chaired a group aimed at developing the vision and also published a proposal. He then helped secure joint funding from the OLA and the Ontario Knowledge Network for Learning to further explore the vision and create a business plan. Out of this business plan and a subsequent task force came funding from the Ontario government to establish Knowledge Ontario, which was incorporated in 2007.

Ridley is the first to receive this award since it was recently renamed after Larry Moore, OLA executive director.

"I am especially honoured to receive this award during the year it has been renamed in recognition of Larry Moore," said Ridley. "Larry has been a mentor and an inspiration for me and many other librarians in Ontario."

Ridley said the establishment of the digital library was a collaborative effort involving many librarians who also agreed "that widely accessible digital information and professional services are things that Ontarians should expect from their libraries."

"I may have helped launch Knowledge Ontario but it's the continuing support and enthusiasm of librarians around the province who will sustain, grow it and make it central in the lives of Ontario citizens."

The OLA is also honouring retired U of G librarian Bernard Katz with the Les Fowlie Intellectual Freedom Award.

This award recognizes the courage shown by librarians in defending the rights of library patrons to full access to information.

The OLA is honouring Katz with the award for his efforts towards supporting the inclusion of the book Three Wishes by Deborah Ellis in the association's Silver Birch reading program and defending the principles of intellectual freedom for children as well as adults. He provided advice to the OLA and also wrote and spoke on the issue on behalf of the association.

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