Bessie Sullivan

Bessie-SullivanBessie Sullivan is the CEO of the Haliburton County Public Library. She can be reached at bsullivan [at]

Contributed Articles

LGBTQ+ Library collections in a small community
June 15, 2017
I want to tell the story of a small rural county library system compiling a LGBTQ+ collection. I am not an expert in LGBTQ+ public library collections but our collection needed to be updated sooner rather than later. I dearly hope that telling you this story will be helpful to your small library. For those
The Value of Super Conference
April 18, 2017
I’ve written a few times about the changing roles involved in running libraries and how ‘proving our worth’ has become a full-time job in itself. Conference attendance is one of the items scrutinized to determine if the library is spending taxpayer dollars in the most effective way. Before we make the decision to send people
Small Communities Making and Trying
February 15, 2017
Where is the one place you could go to have fun with a 3D printer or horseback ride on a simulated horse? The library, of course! Well, not exactly in our case, but there is a connection. Libraries have found another way to encourage people to be curious and playful. They go by different names,
Formal Training Isn’t Enough
January 15, 2017
On October 21, 2016 the Ontario Public Library Association’s Readers’ Advisory (RA) committee hosted the eleventh annual RA in a Day symposium at the University of Toronto. I have often gone to this event through the years as an organizer, presenter, or attendee. This year, I was a last minute stand-in on a panel that
Let’s talk about the ‘F’ Word!
October 15, 2016
I mean Friends … as in Friends of the Library! They are a blessing and a curse depending on your experience and always an interesting challenge. In my professional career I have worked closely with two Friends groups in two different library systems. For me, working with Friends has been a positive experience with a
What Makes a Library Leader?
September 15, 2016
Leadership does not mean power, and the ultimate challenge is developing leadership skills in a position of little to no power, a situation that some fledgling librarians find themselves in. Speaking for myself, I was not taught leadership skills in library school. I’ve spoken to others at my stage in the profession and they weren’t
What About the Books?
July 15, 2016
Recently, I was asked by a colleague at another library system to speak to their consultants about the library’s strategic plan. As a system of similar size and population, Haliburton County Public Library was a good comparison. After about an hour on the phone talking about things like how many branches we have, what size
Libraries as Public Spaces 
June 15, 2016
The Public Library as space has been in the news a lot lately. That fact has led me to think about how we view the spaces in our libraries, which are always evolving to meet the needs of their community. At one point we could comfortably say that we were all about collections. We connected
Why Do We Do What We Do?
May 15, 2016
Like everything else in the library world, library jobs have changed considerably in recent years. One just has to look at the SOLS competencies to become completely overwhelmed and overcome with a feeling of inadequacy (I am speaking for myself about the CEO Sample Profile). At the Haliburton County Public Library we have relied heavily
Making an Inadequate Budget Do Extraordinary Things
May 1, 2016
With no development charges, a very low population base spread over a huge area of land, and the dubious honour of being the county with the lowest per capita income in Ontario, Haliburton County presents some interesting challenges in terms of library services. While defying most of the Administrators of Rural/Urban Public Libraries of Ontario