MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Zack Taylor

Geographical Areas

Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario


In March 2020, provincial and municipal governments in Canada implemented measures to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, municipalities had to quickly transition to holding their public meetings in new ways. Some organizations moved to teleconference meetings, while others used videoconferencing software. Public libraries were no exception to this, and library boards began holding their public board meetings electronically. The aims of this study are threefold: First, to identify what methods were used to hold electronic public library board meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic, second, to determine whether such methods resulted in a change in public participation, and third, to ascertain whether or not public libraries intend to continue holding meetings electronically after the pandemic is over. To achieve the objectives of this study, the results of a web survey that was distributed electronically to 631 public library systems across Canada have been analyzed. The survey findings indicate that public library began using electronic meeting formats in 2020, and that Zoom was the software most frequently implemented. The findings also indicate that while an increase in attendance by the general public was not reported, libraries did report an increase in the number of staff who attended board meetings. Finally, the findings indicate that about half of libraries in Canada have intentions to continue with some level of electronic participation as part of their board meetings after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.