Toronto Public Library

Manager, Cultural and Special Event Programming


Toronto Public Library (TPL) has a long history dating back to 1883 and is the largest public library system in Canada. It is the world's busiest urban library system with 100 branches, including 81 neighbourhood libraries, 17 district libraries, and two research and reference libraries. Every year, more than 46 million people visit  in person and online, and borrow over 32 million items. Online resources, bookmobile, and home services further extend public access to TPL’s collections and services.

TPL’s mission is to provide free and equitable access to services which meet the changing needs of Torontonians. The library preserves and promotes universal access to a broad range of human knowledge, experience, information, and ideas in a welcoming and supportive environment. Its vision is to be recognized as the world’s leading library by informing and inspiring Toronto and its communities, making everyone more resilient, more knowledgeable, more connected, and more successful.

TPL’s values are focused in several key areas, including equity, diversity, intellectual freedom, innovation, inclusion, integrity, accountability, and service orientation, all of which are more deeply outlined in its Strategic Plan. TPL is committed to helping level the playing field for all Torontonians – with a particular focus on equity-deserving groups and vulnerable populations. It works to understand and break down barriers to access and increase inclusion to ensure that everyone who wants to use the library feels welcome and represented in its spaces, is able to access its services, and can benefit from the outcomes TPL is seeking to achieve. TPL is also committed to an ongoing and long-term response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action. The future includes deeper engagement with Indigenous communities in ongoing consultation for planning and designing culturally safe and relevant library spaces; reaching out to Indigenous communities virtually, to highlight Indigenous content, promote programming, and encourage participation; and building staff capacity to support engagement with Indigenous communities through cultural training and ongoing development.

Library programs and events extend and promote access to information in all its forms and encourage participation in community, cultural, and civic life. Programs promote library collections and resources, offer access to professional or community expertise, and build connections between Torontonians and their many communities. Programs also offer collaborative, experiential, and mentorship learning opportunities. At the centre of TPL’s 100 branch network is its flagship branch, the Toronto Reference Library, the city’s literary cultural centre and a popular event destination.

Toronto boasts a rich literary history with the Toronto Reference Library located in the Bloor-Yorkville district, a historical center for the city’s literary culture, where writers such as Dennis Lee and Margaret Atwood came to attention. The area is also home to the University of Toronto, the Writer’s Room at the Park Hyatt Hotel, and the historically significant Coach House Books. Since opening in 2009, the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon has served as TPL’s flagship events space, hosting a diverse slate of acclaimed writers including Esi Edugyan, Rupi Kaur, Kazuo Ishiguro, Roxane Gay, Ocean Vuong, and Sally Rooney, among many others. Many authors have used TPL collections to research their books, operas, and theatrical works.

TPL also contributes significantly to Toronto’s arts and culture scene, featuring many discussions, debate and cultural programs and events; TPL’s flagship ideas-based program series, On Civil Society, engages Torontonians in conversations that focus on local, national, and international issues and perspectives featuring leading experts and thinkers from all over the world on the most critical topics of our time. TPL’s cultural and special events programming extends throughout TPL branches and beyond into the digital realm with live, online programming; recorded on-demand programs; podcasts; and live streaming.

TPL’s Cultural and Special Event Programming team consists of the Manager, as well as three Senior Producers who are supported by marketing and communications, audio/visual, digital media, and facilities staff. Its annual programming budget is approximately $200,000 to $250,000 per year, which is separate from the marketing and promotion budget.


Toronto is located on the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Wendat, and Haudenosaunee. The territory is within the lands protected by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. Today, the meeting place of Toronto (also known as Tkaronto) is home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and the various stakeholders of the Toronto Public Library are grateful to work on this land.

Toronto is the largest city in Canada with a population of three million people. More than six million people call the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) home. Its demographics are approximately 50 percent white, 13 percent East Asian, 12 percent South Asian, 9 percent Black, 7 percent Southeast Asian, 3 percent Latin American, 2 percent West Asian, 1 percent Arab, and 1 percent Indigenous. The United Nations has also designated Toronto as the most diverse city on the planet with more than 50 percent of the population being foreign born.

Toronto is a major hub for arts and culture, and 89 percent of Torontonians believe the arts make the city a better place to live. In 2016, the time of the last census, there were more than 164,000 culture jobs in the City of Toronto, accounting for 90 percent of all culture jobs in the GTA and more than half of total cultural employment in Ontario. The city is home to many of Canada’s most prominent authors and the center of Canada’s publishing industry. In addition to major museums, galleries and performing arts organizations, the city hosts large-scale special events with a global reach, including the Toronto International Film Festival, Pride Toronto, and the Toronto International Festival of Authors. Signature music and arts events include Word on the Street, Nuit Blanche, Luminato Festival, the Canadian National Exhibition, and Toronto Caribbean Carnival, among many others. Toronto was the first city in Canada to be designated as a Creative City of Media Arts by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Toronto has had an increasing impact on both literary and popular culture, with the global success and influence of writers such as Margaret Atwood, Sheila Heti, and Rupi Kaur. The city has produced international hip-hop stars in Drake and The Weeknd, and renowned gallery districts in neighbourhoods such as Sterling Avenue and West Queen West, which Vogue magazine called the “second coolest neighbourhood in the world.” The Toronto Raptors brought international attention to the city with their 2019 NBA Championship win, the first for a Canadian team. With more than 8,000 international restaurants to choose from, the food scene in Toronto is one of the world’s finest and most eclectic.

Toronto has four universities, four colleges, and 128 specialised research centres. The University of Toronto has been ranked 18th in the world for the third consecutive year in the prestigious Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Toronto is the fastest growing technology market in North America, with 80,100 jobs created — greater than the job growth in New York City, Seattle, and Boston combined. The city has also been undergoing a construction boom over the last decade. This increased commercial development is coinciding with major transportation upgrades, including the $640 million revitalization of Union Station, Canada’s busiest transportation hub. Toronto also plays a significant role in the global film industry, serving as a filming location for numerous television shows and movies.


Position Summary

The Manager, Cultural and Special Event Programming (Manager) will focus on programming strategy, direction and oversight of TPL’s premier literary, cultural, and ideas-based programming, including Appel Salon programs and special events, at select library locations as well as live online and on-demand.  The Manager will also extend the reach, scope and accessibility of the Library’s programming through multichannel and digital delivery. Reporting to the Director, Communications, Programming, and Customer Engagement (CPCE), the Manager will plan, manage, execute, and evaluate these library programs, special events and related partnerships in alignment with TPL’s Strategic Plan. They will manage a programming team within CPCE and will work collaboratively with multiple stakeholders inside and outside the organization, including library service departments, program partners and sponsors, media, local and international cultural institutions, and with other CPCE staff to develop strategic, integrated marketing plans.

Roles and Responsibilities

Curatorial Vision and Programming

  • Oversee, develop, and implement a multi-year vision and plan for arts and culture programming within the library system, aligning with TPL’s vision, mission, and values, and its strategic priorities.
  • Collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to extend the reach and to design, develop, and oversee the implementation of high-profile library programs and special events at the Appel Salon and other select library venues and on the library’s digital platforms.
  • Develop and create programs in multiple formats and through various channels, including in-person programs, video, podcasts, live streaming, virtual, and others forms of distribution.
  • Lead and develop value-added content that enhances the experience and extends the reach of existing programming content including in-person programs, video, podcasts, live streaming/virtual, and others.
  • Collaborate with other library programming staff, particularly the Adult Programming team, to coordinate the development and alignment of system-wide programming initiatives.
  • Establish and cultivate partnerships to enhance and deliver quality programming for the library.
  • Plan, implement, and evaluate programs and services to ensure that they meet customer needs, are cost effective, and support the organization’s strategic agenda.
  • Embrace other curatorial vision and programming-building responsibilities, as needed.

Marketing and Community Engagement

  • Support the development of media and marketing plans to promote and raise awareness of library events and programs; develop strategies to broaden and extend content reach; and achieve marketing and other related programming objectives in collaboration with other CPCE staff.
  • Develop authentic relationships with media that build and maintain the image of the library, specifically with regard to TPL’s arts and culture programming.
  • Serve as a media spokesperson for the library, as needed.
  • Establish and maintain effective relations with publishers and other strategic programming and marketing partners.
  • Represent the library in appropriate community and professional organizations, promote library services, develop community partnerships, and pursue fundraising initiatives.
  • Collaborate with the Library Foundation to develop sponsorship and partnership opportunities and support the Foundation in the development and delivery of Foundation events and donor stewardship.
  • Ensure a welcoming and accessible tone for programming and events, including the delivery of opening remarks and land acknowledgements, as needed.
  • Embrace other marketing and community engagement responsibilities, as needed.

Leadership and Team Capacity Building

  • Lead and manage staff in the conception and high caliber delivery of programs and events.
  • Design and manage performance measures for the department, including qualitative and quantitative data and associated metrics to track the effectiveness of outcomes and community impacts, as well as use data to inform planning of programming and events.
  • Effectively budget, monitor, and manage financial and human resources.
  • Hire, mentor, and train new staff; transfer, promote, and approve wage increases; conduct performance evaluations; take corrective actions as needed; participate in grievance procedures as needed; and administer collective bargaining agreement requirements, as appropriate.
  • Prepare and deliver reports for and to senior management, the Library Board, and external stakeholders when appropriate.
  • Collaborate with other CPCE managers and staff to meet department goals; serve on committees, assign committee responsibilities, and provide leadership and expertise, as needed.
  • Embrace other team and capacity building responsibilities, as needed.

Traits and Characteristics

The Manager will balance the long-term strategic vision and planning required to realize year-round programming with a creative approach that responds to the context in which programs exist. The Manager will be proactive as a team- and people-oriented leader of staff, program partners, and other stakeholders. With a leadership style that is collaborative and unifying, the Manager will also be pragmatic in considering the execution, production, organization, and project management needed to develop and deliver programs in a public service environment. They will embrace the challenges and be exhilarated in realizing the creative and imaginative spirt of curating public programs in and for a diverse, multicultural city for an iconic institution that serves a critical role within the city.

Other key competencies include:

  • Planning, Organizing, and Project Management – The ingenuity to use practical and efficient approaches in creating action plans that ensure high quality work is completed on time and desired outcomes are reached.
  • Diplomacy and Teamwork – The tact to handle all situations with grace and care, the capacity to see the strengths in those with whom they interact, and the ability to provide nurturing support to team members.
  • Self-Starting and Priority Management – The dexterity to envision and move initiatives forward in a timely fashion with the capacity to address short-term issues while not sacrificing long-term success.
  • Customer Focus – The innate ability to anticipate, meet, and frequently exceed patron and partner expectations while deeply considering an array of stakeholder perspectives.


A minimum five years of senior experience in programming, live and virtual/digital event production, and management in the literary, publishing, performing arts, and/or other cultural industries is required. A post-secondary degree, diploma, with specialization in arts management, literature, publishing, or a related area is needed. Broad knowledge of literary, cultural, and current affairs with well-established industry connections is a must. Related strategic marketing and communications expertise is needed in developing, delivering, and marketing program content in a digital environment, including social media.

Experience managing a team of professionals and support staff, preferably in the area of programming and event production, is needed. Demonstrated ability to establish effective working relationships and collaborative work approaches with internal and external contacts and stakeholders a critical skill set. Proven ability in change leadership in a complex environment and the capacity to function well in high stress situations with tact and grace is expected. A proven track record of being proactive and delivering results on strategic initiatives is required.

Demonstrated creativity, superior facilitation, excellent interpersonal skills, and effective verbal and written communications with both internal and external stakeholders, including community members, media, elected officials, board members, management, and staff, is needed. A commitment to providing efficient, responsive, and innovative service to clients is expected. Cross-cultural understanding of and sensitivity to diverse community perspectives and needs is deeply appreciated. Previous work within the public sector or unionized environment is an asset.

Compensation and Benefits

TPL provides a competitive compensation package with a salary range between $103,303 and $121,368. A comprehensive benefits package includes individual and family health insurance, which covers prescriptions, hospital accommodation, hearing care, orthotics/orthopedic footwear, private duty nursing, paramedical practitioners (i.e. chiropractor, chiropodist, podiatrist, registered massage therapist, osteopath, psychologist, speech therapist), and physiotherapist. Additional insurances include vision, travel for emergency medical services, dental, and health care spending account.

Applications and Inquiries

To submit a cover letter and resume, as well as a summary of demonstrable programming accomplishments, (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:

Menon Dwarka, Senior Vice President

2 Toronto Street, Suite 217
Toronto, Ontario M5C 2B5
Tel       (888) 234.4236 Ext. 206

The Toronto Public Library invites applications from all qualified individuals. The Library is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from visible minorities, aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity.

Upon request, accommodation will be provided for persons with disabilities through all stages of the recruitment and selection process.

Click here for the downloadable PDF.

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