Transforming Public Libraries as Spaces of Refuge & Resiliency During Climate Crisis: Toronto Public Library Youth and Staff Perspectives
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As climate change progresses and environmental degradation threatens life on earth, public libraries have the potential and obligation to transform their roles to become a true place of refuge and resiliency for their communities. This can be accomplished through a dramatic change in their vision, to include: focusing heavily on their environmental responsibility to their communities, enhancing environmental literacy education, furthering environmentally-friendly organizational practices, and creating solid community networks to manage climate emergencies which will result in more resilient communities. As a Toronto Public Library employee for over eight years, my own experiences and reflections are discussed. Interviews were conducted with four children who frequent the Toronto Public Library Jane Sheppard branch and one Toronto Public Library Librarian. As one of the leading public library systems in the world, the Toronto Public Library has the capacity to become a prime example of developing their branches successfully to be hubs of the community providing refuge and resiliency during climate crisis.