Class and Library Usage in Canada

John Pateman, CEO / Chief Librarian of the Thunder Bay Public Library and member of the research team which produced “Open to All? The Public Library and Social Exclusion” (2000), recently wrote a short but interesting article on the impact that class has on library use in Canada. Published on the Ontario Library Association’s website Open Shelf, it refers to recent statistics of library users in Canada from the Canadian Urban Libraries Council which show that middle-class Canadians use libraries more than those who have a lower income. He argues that public libraries must do more to engage with all sections of the community to identify their unique needs and use this information to provide more relevant services. This will help libraries become more inclusive institutions and effective agents of social change.