Advisory Councils

Toronto Public Library advisory councils provide advice and guidance on library initiatives in their respective areas. Council membership criteria is defined in the terms of reference for each advisory council and members may represent service providers, community representatives or industry experts.

Indigenous Advisory Council

The Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC) is made up of members from different Indigenous communities and of representatives from Indigenous service providers in Toronto. The IAC meets quarterly and provides feedback and guidance on the direction of Indigenous initiatives at Toronto Public Library, including the Land Acknowledgement Statement, Elders in Residence program, Read Indigenous campaign.

The establishment of a permanent Indigenous Advisory Council at Toronto Public Library is part of our response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action, as well as part of our Strategies for Indigenous Initiatives (PDF), created in 2017.

Community Members

  • Image of Jackie Esquimaux-Hamlin

    Jackie Esquimaux-Hamlin

    I am an Anishnawbekwe from Aundek Omni Kaning First Nation on the Manitoulin Island. I have participated in the Indigenous community of Toronto for almost fifty years. My primary work in the community began as an Early Childhood Educator at Gizhaadaawgamik. This childcare centre was the first in Canada in an urban setting that focused on Indigenous language, culture and ceremony. Following that, after almost twenty years of service as the Resource Centre Cooordinator at First Nations House at the University of Toronto, I retired.

  • Image of Fred Martin

    Fred Martin

    Fred Martin is a First Nations, freelance Artist and Graphic Designer with clients including The Native Canadian Centre of Toronto (NCCT) and the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund. Most recently he was the Communications and Referrals Officer at the NCCT dividing his time between referring clients to social and community services and resources as well as promoting and marketing the Centre's many faceted offerings and cultural programs.

    Before devoting his work full time to the Indigenous Not-for-Profit sector, Fred served the Canadian Film and Television industry for 15 years working as a Designer and Photographer and Crew for numerous Canadian creative production companies like CBC, DHXmedia and TVOntario.

    Fred lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.

  • Image of Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith

    Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith

    Christine is a Saulteaux woman from Peguis First Nation. She is an emerging writer, having graduated from the University of Toronto in June 2011 with a specialization in Aboriginal Studies, and a Masters in Education in Social Justice in June 2017. Her story "Choosing the Path to Healing" appeared in the 2006 anthology Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces, and a creative non-fiction piece titled "As A Child" appeared in Yellow Medicine Review in 2008. She also authored a piece called "Mother: An Essay" in Yellow Medicine Review Spring 2011, and a poem called "I Remember" in xxx ndn, a book of poetry published by the Aboriginal Writers Collective of Manitoba. She has written for the Native Canadian, Anishinabek News, Windspeaker, FNH Magazine, New Tribe Magazine, the Piker Press and MUSKRAT Magazine.

  • Image of Dawn Maracle

    Dawn Maracle

    With twenty-five years’ of award-winning experience working with and for Indigenous communities, organizations, initiatives and campaigns, Dawn has multiple Education and Native Studies degrees. She has experience in Indigenous education & training, health/medicine/tobacco, governance, women and the arts.

    She has sat as an esteemed member of the UNESCO arts and education roundtable; has fulfilled roles such as the National Director of Professional Development for the National Centre for First Nations Governance, and the National Chair for the INAC - Assembly of First Nations Working Group on Post Secondary Education. In addition, she served as Senior Advisor/Planner for the Aboriginal Cancer Unit at Cancer Care Ontario, where she wrote the first Pilot Indigenous Patient Navigator role for the Thunder Bay Regional Cancer Centre positions which now exist in LHINs throughout Ontario.

    She currently works as a Facilitator, Coordinator and Master Trainer for the KAIROS Blanket Exercise for KAIROS Canada. As well, Dawn is the Executive Director of SKYroots Indigenous Education and Training Institute. (SKYroots IETI)

Service Provider Representatives

  • Image of Janine Manning

    Janine Manning

    Janine is Anishnaabe from Neyaashiinigmiing, ON and a band member of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation who was born and raised (mostly) in Toronto.

    Janine is the Senior Manager, Indigenous Collaborations, United Way Greater Toronto. Previous roles include Manager, Indigenous Culture Fund with the Ontario Arts Council, and Director of Community Engagement and Indigenous Relations with Teach for Canada. Janine has also supported the coordination and the delivery of several Indigenous Writers’ Gatherings.

    Janine holds an Hons. B.A. in Environmental Studies from York University, where she Co-Chairs the Indigenous Alumni Network. Other volunteer positions include Board Member, Laidlaw Foundation and the File Reviewer, Ontario Trillium Foundation.

  • Image of Alison Norman

    Alison Norman, Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Affairs

    Alison Norman works as a Research Advisor in the Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, conducting research for land claim negotiations and providing research support for the ministry, as well as working on public education initiatives. She is also Adjunct Faculty at the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies & Indigenous Studies at Trent University. Alison earned a B.A. and an M.A. in History from Queen’s University as well as a B.Ed and a PhD in the History of Education program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. From 2012-2014 she held a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Trent University in which she researched the history of Indigenous teachers in southern Ontario in the 19th century. Alison has also worked as a researcher for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools. Alison is also the librarian for the Maynard Sam George Library at the Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Affairs.

  • Image of Jessica Tabak

    Jessica Tabak, Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training

    Jessica Tabak is an Anishinaabe woman from Chippewas of Nawash/Neyaashiinigmiing First Nation.

    Much of her career revolves around the Indigenous community. As an Employment Counsellor at Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training, she assists Indigenous people in pursuing their career goals through employment, skills-based training and/or education.

    Jessica is also a Housing Support Worker at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto in their Youth Transitional Housing program. She also volunteers her time as a Secretary Executive Board Member at the Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy.

Innovation Council

The Innovation Council is an advisory group of recognized leading individuals from the academic, creative, and technology communities. Meeting quarterly, council members provide the library with valuable feedback, ideas, and collaboration that help shape service development and increase the library's profile in the technology and innovation spheres.


  • Image of Jeremy Bailey

    Jeremy Bailey

    Artist & Head of Experience, FreshBooks

    As Creative Director for Product at FreshBooks, Jeremy Bailey leads a passionate team of designers striving to create a world where anyone can lead a successful small business without ever having to learn accounting.

    In his spare time, he moonlights as the owner of his own small business, performing as a self-proclaimed "famous new media artist," solving big problems poorly with technology and creativity in cities all over the world.

    As Morgan Quaintance wrote about Jeremy in Rhizome in 2013, "Since the early noughties, Bailey has ploughed a compelling, and often hilarious, road through the various developments of digital communications technologies."

  • Image of Leslie Barnes

    Leslie Barnes

    Digital Scholarship Librarian, University of Toronto

    Leslie Barnes is the Digital Scholarship Librarian at the University of Toronto Libraries' Information Technology Services, where she supports digital research services, technology instruction, and researcher support for digital methods. In her professional practice, Leslie believes deeply in user-centred service design while emphasizing sustainability and scalability.

    Before becoming a librarian, Leslie studied book and media history, which continues to inflect her research interests and professional activities. She is passionate about demystifying technology and encouraging everyone to feel empowered to use digital tools and techniques.

  • Image of Eric Boyd

    Eric Boyd

    Founder, Sensebridge

    Born and raised in Ontario, on a small chicken farm, Eric went to Queens University for engineering, graduating in 2003, but not before co-founding StumbleUpon. After graduating, he lived and worked in Silicon Valley at a high tech startup, designing and installing industrial sensors.

    Eric is currently based in Toronto, where he is President of, a technology community space. He is also the founder of Sensebridge, an electronic jewelry company, where he works on a variety of devices which are intended to augment the user, turning them into a cyborg. These devices include North Paw, a compass anklet that gives users a sense of direction, and Heart Spark, a heart-beat flashing pendant which broadcasts the wearer's emotions.

    A man of diverse interests, his other hobbies include quantified self, DIYbio and guerrilla gardening.

  • Image of Zahra Ebrahim

    Zahra Ebrahim

    City Builder and Organizer

    Zahra Ebrahim is a city builder and designer interested in shifting power from some to many, using design to build equity, and engaging citizens in the design of services, policies and infrastructure.

    She is an Executive Advisor to Deloitte on Cities, Design and Governance, and a senior advisor to political and public interest initiatives across the country. Zahra has led organizations across the private and social sectors, most recently, Doblin Canada, all focused on engaging diverse sets of stakeholders to co-create solutions to complex organizational and industry challenges, and working with communities to co-design towards better social outcomes. Through her work, she has led some of Canada’s most ambitious participatory infrastructure and policy programs.

    Zahra has taught at OCADU, MoMA, and currently teaches at University of Toronto. She has served on the boards of Jane’s Walk, St. Stephen’s Community House, Toronto Biennial, and the Canadian Urban Institute, and is currently the chair of the board of Park People. She serves as an advisor for a range of organizations, including Toronto Public Library, Progress Toronto, and Code for Canada. She was recently named Next City’s Vanguard “40 under 40 Civic Leader”, Ascend Canada’s Mentor of the Year, and one of WXN’s Top 100 Women in Canadian Business.

  • Image of Sarah Goodman

    Sarah Goodman

    Filmmaker and Writer

    Sarah Goodman was born in Toronto and has lived in New York, where she began making films. She is currently writing on a new TV crime drama for CTV, which will premiere in 2018.

    She is a recent alumna of the Canadian Film Centre's Prime Time TV Writing Program and has written and directed both narrative and documentary film. Her feature documentary Army of One, 2004 Hot Docs Best Canadian Feature Documentary; 2005 Gemini Nomination for Best Director, and When We Were Boys, Donald Brittain Gemini Nomination for Best Documentary; Indiewire Top 10 Documentaries 2009, led to her short drama Hidden Driveway (TIFF 2011) and her award winning, critically acclaimed first feature drama Porch Stories.

    Her films have played at festivals such as TIFF, IDFA, Hot Docs and True/False, as well as broadcasting worldwide. Goodman has also written and directed documentary programs for television, such as the award winning National Parks Project, for networks such as BBC, Discovery, CBC, and History. She is an alumna of the TIFF Talent Lab, the Berlinale Talent Campus, and a member of the Film Fatales. Her next feature Lake 239 is in development with producer Karen Harnisch (Sleeping Giant.)

  • Image of Marcus A Gordon

    Marcus A. Gordon

    PhD Student in Digital Media, York University Adjunct Professor, OCAD University

    As an artist and researcher, Marcus Gordon is an advocate for open source, digital literacy and creative coding, and promotes this in his research activities.

    He is currently a PhD student in York University’s Digital Media program and a VISTA Doctoral Trainee. Previously, Marcus managed OCAD University’s Visual Analytics Lab, a lab space for visualization and analytics research, and was also a researcher with OCAD University's PHASE Lab, where he continues to learn and practice digital holography. Although he continues to contribute to the labs as Adjunct Professor, his focus is on his doctoral studies at York University as a computational arts student under the supervision of Dr. Mark-David Hosale of nd:StudioLab.

  • Image of Emily Porta

    Emily Porta

    Founder and CEO, Bridge School

    Emily Porta is the Founder and CEO of Bridge School, a Canadian non-profit providing zero-cost advanced Web Development and Product Design courses to women, agender, and non-binary professionals in the Toronto tech industry.

    Before focusing full time on Bridge, Emily worked as a Scrum Master at, where she also founded and led a number of Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, including starting the company's Diversity-focused employee resource group, the Diversity Guild, which still exists today.

    A passionate advocate of doing the hard work to get marginalized people access to the benefits of the tech industry, Emily believes in a (near!) future where that access is a reality for all of us.

  • Image of Pamela Robinson

    Pamela Robinson

    Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Special Projects, Faculty of Community Services, Ryerson University

    Pamela Robinson MCIP RPP is the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Special Projects in the Faculty of Community Services and an associate professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University. She is also a registered professional planner.

    As part of the research team, Pamela’s research and practice focus on urban sustainability issues with a particular focus on cities and climate change and the use of open data and civic technology to support open government transformations.

    She serves on the board of directors the Metcalf Foundation and has participated in four Metrolinx Community Advisory Committees. Pamela is an editor of Urban Sustainability: Reconnecting Space and Place (University of Toronto Press, 2013), Teaching as Scholarship: Preparing Students for Professional Practice in Community Services (WLU Press, 2016), and is a columnist for Spacing magazine.

  • Image of Bianca Wylie

    Bianca Wylie

    Founder, Open Data Institute Toronto

    Bianca Wylie is an open government advocate with a dual background in technology and public engagement. She leads work on public sector technology policy for Canada at Dgen Network and is the co-founder of Tech Reset Canada.

    Bianca is also a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in the Global Economy program. She worked for several years in the tech sector in operations, infrastructure, corporate training, and product management, most recently at Thomson Reuters.

    As a facilitator at Swerhun Inc., she designed, delivered and supported public consultation processes for various governments and government agencies. In 2014, Bianca founded the Open Data Institute Toronto. She is a columnist, guest lecturer, and speaker on open government and public sector technology policy.