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

  • 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.

  • Jeremie Caribou (Nakawithinew)

    Jeremie Caribou (Nakawithinew)

    Jeremie Caribou (Nakawithinew) is half Ithinew (TH "Cree'' dialect) and Mohawk from Pukatawagan situated on the Missinnipi – now Churchill River – in northwestern Manitoba. Currently, a fourth-year student in the Public Administration and Governance Program at First Nations Technical Institute in partnership with Ryerson University. Additionally, he has involved himself in various initiatives at Ryerson that advances Indigenous culture and history which includes the experiences and perspectives of colonialism. Such as, the Department of Environmental and Geography Department, School of Urban and Regional Planning, Office of Social Innovation and Facility’s Management and Development Department in the Project Management Office. Currently, he is the Indigenous Initiatives Liaison Lead for Ryerson University Library and Archives (RULA).

  • Fred Martin

    Fred Martin

    Fred Martin is an Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) with ties to the M’Chigeeng First Nations of Manitoulin Island, Ontario as well as being a member of the Qalipu First Nations (Mi'kmaq) of the Port aux Port Peninsula, Newfoundland and Labrador. He is a Communications Specialist and Traditional Indigenous Knowledge Consultant who has devoted his life to the pursuit of traditional ceremonies, storytelling and knowledge as well as understanding the historical record of North American Indigenous peoples from pre-contact to the present day, with emphasis on Treaty, Policy and Indigenous Rights specifically as it relates to Colonialism, Confederation, and the building and creation of Canada.

    Fred has strong ties in the Toronto Urban Indigenous community with consultation, collaboration and development of several Indigenous initiatives, strategies, programs and training seminars for recent clients including, The Toronto Police, Hot Docs, The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF), KAIROS Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiative (Blanket Exercise), JAYU Festival Inc., The Native Canadian Centre of Toronto (NCCT), Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) and Leadnow.

    Fred is active on many Toronto based Indigenous Consultative committees and Boards including the Toronto Police Service - Aboriginal Consultative Committee (ACC) and the Chief of Police Advisory Council (CAC); Toronto Public Library – Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC); a Board of Director for the JAYU Festival Inc. which is a youth focused human rights organization.

    Fred has an extensive communications management background, leading creative and resource teams in website design, building and testing and social media management with specific focuses on key messaging, brand awareness, media libraries and content creation for website, social media, marketing and promotion (Video, photography, info graphic, web optimized content).

    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, Photographer and Production Crew for numerous Canadian creative production companies like CBC, DHXmedia and TVOntario.

    Fred lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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)

  • Jessica Tabak

    Jessica Tabak

    Jessica Tabak is Anishinaabe Kwe from Neyaashiinigmiing and a band member to Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.

    Jessica is the Indigenous Outreach & Engagement Lead at Evergreen Canada and has over 6 years’ experience working within the Indigenous non-profit sector in Toronto. She is also a board member to the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto and is completing the Indigenous Knowledges and Experiences certification alongside her Bachelor’s of Social Work at Ryerson University.

Service Provider Representatives

  • 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.

  • Selina Young

    Selina Young

    Selina is Métis from northern Saskatchewan and grew up mainly in Caledonia, Ontario along the shores of the Grand River. She has lived in and around Toronto for over 40 years.

    Selina is the Director of the Indigenous Affairs Office at the City of Toronto. She has 25 years' experience in the public service, having worked for governments in Ontario, Canada and Scotland. Selina has undergraduate and graduate degrees in aquatic toxicology and environmental studies.

    She has volunteered throughout her life most recently as a Board Member, Canada-Mathare Education Trust and with the Native Women's Resource Centre of Toronto.

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.

Members

  • 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 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 Hacklab.to, 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 Tai Huynh

    Tai Huynh

    Tai Huynh is a designer and social innovator interested in creativity as the fuel for changemaking. Tai is Creative Director at OpenLab at the University Health Network, Canada’s largest research hospital. He works with an inter-disciplinary team to come up with creative solutions to pressing issues at the intersection of health and society. Tai is the founding editor-in-chief of The Local, an award-winning magazine exploring urban health and social issues in Toronto, and co-founder of Choosing Wisely Canada. Tai has a Master of Design from OCAD University and MBA from York University.

  • 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 Rangle.io, 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 Ramona Pringle

    Ramona Pringle

    Ramona Pringle is an award-winning creator, technologist, educator and media contributor, who has built her career around helping others navigate the rapidly changing digital world. Ramona is an Associate Professor in the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University, and Director of The Creative Innovation Studio, an interdisciplinary network of creative incubators, as well as the Global Campus Studio, a unique digital studio devoted to fostering international co-production through the use of digital collaboration tools. She is the 2020 recipient of the Ryerson Blue and Gold President’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

    Ramona has an extensive background as a writer, producer, researcher and journalist, tackling complex, challenging topics and making them accessible with an engaging, entertaining approach. Currently, she is a technology columnist for CBC and a technology expert on Yahoo! Editor’s Edition.

    Ramona’s projects have been featured at international festivals and conferences including i-docs, TFI Interactive, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Hot Docs, SXSW and NXNE.

    She is a member of the City of Toronto Film, Television and Digital Media Board, a board member with Media Smarts and the Screen Industries Research and Training Centre, and the Chair of Interactive Ontario’s Emerging Talent Committee.

  • Image of Pamela Robinson

    Pamela Robinson

    Dr. Pamela Robinson MCIP RPP is the Director of the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson. Throughout her career as a planner her research and practice have focused on complex, emergent challenges that Canadian communities face. Her current research focuses on the question: who is planning the Canadian smart city? Since 2010, Pamela has written a regular column for Spacing Magazine where she writes about equity, technology and civic engagement in Canadian cities. Robinson is a member of the Toronto Public Library’s Innovation Council and the Multi-Stakeholder Forum for the Government of Canada’s Open Government Partnership work.

  • Image of Alice Xu

    Alice Xu

    Alice Xu has called Toronto home since immigrating to Canada as a teenager with her family. A proud public servant at the City of Toronto for over 15 years, Alice is currently the Manager of the Connected Community/Smart City program at the City of Toronto's Technology Services Division. The Connected Community team is committed to delivering broader quality of life value as a City through the use of data, technology and processes. Prior to joining the Connected Community/Smart City team in 2019, Alice spent over 10 years cutting her teeth in the vehicle and business licensing and regulatory world in Municipal Licensing and Standards, where she navigated regulatory challenges like ride-sharing and rooming houses.

    Alice is leading the creation of Toronto's City's Digital Infrastructure Plan, a comprehensive plan that also serves as an outward evaluation tool for external proposals with digital elements. She is also leading the work on ConnectTO, a program that includes the creation of a city-wide high-speed internet network that connects underserved areas with affordable internet access.