on December 6, 2016 by test_editor in WEB-EXTRA content, Comments Off on Web-extra (December 8, 2016): Rosemount Revisited; The issue remains lack of space.

Web-extra (December 8, 2016): Rosemount Revisited; The issue remains lack of space.

Web-extra (December 8, 2016): Rosemount Revisited;
The issue remains lack of space.

By Blaine Marchand, R.E.A.D.

Since its very beginning in 1910, the Rosemount Library has played a central role in the lives of the residents in our neighbourhood. The presence of a local library has benefited each of the five generations of library-goers since it opened in the Rosemount Avenue Public School on November 10th of that year. At that time, the library housed 350 books. By the end of 1916, when the library was located in a storefront in the Iona Mansions on Wellington, the total circulation of books was 15,647 .

Clearly, residents responded to the new library within their community, understanding the potential advantages such an institution would bring. Back then, the citizens on what was the outskirts of the city demanded a local library because they believed it would help shape their burgeoning community. This belief remains prevalent today and not just among the people who use it.

The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) website ( https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/impact ) outlines its vision – to build communities and transform lives. In 2015, the OPL undertook a study to quantify the benefits a library brings to local citizens and businesses. It was based on a similar study and methodology developed by the University of Toronto for the Toronto Public Library, a methodology used by several library systems across the province and continent.

The OPL study looked at two types of benefits libraries provide: direct (use of products, activities and services) and indirect (how spending supports local businesses and employees). The study, which encompasses the whole municipality of Ottawa, found the OPL generated $256 million in benefits. That means for every $1 invested in the system, $5.17 in benefits was returned. Per citizen, this amount totaled $266, while per household it came to $635. For the individual card holder, the benefits reached $1,038 – a significant return on investment indeed. But to continue to ensure these benefits, a robust physical facility is required.

This is an issue that has remained consistent over the history of the Rosemount Library – the lack of space. In January of 1917, the Carnegie Library Board in its Annual Report stated: “The West End branch… has decidedly grown beyond the narrow limits of the quarters that are in use there.” The result was that on November 29th, 1918, Rosemount Library was officially opened. Similar arguments were put forward in the 1930s, which resulted in an addition to the building. And these very sentiments were echoed in public consultations held earlier this year. The current Rosemount Library has outgrown its space; however, this time expanding the current location is not an option. Rather, as in the early days, a new facility is required.

These views have been heard by the OPL board as put forward by the Rosemount Expansion and Development (READ) group of citizens. By the time you have read this article, the Library Board will have deliberated on this issue at its December 6th meeting. Hopefully, a business case for moving the Rosemount branch to a nearby location will be underway. READ and many of the library users are keeping their fingers crossed, just as was done by residents in previous times.

For up-to-date information on the decision of the OPL Board, or on READ, please visit the READ website: http://readrosemount.ca ; its Facebook page; Twitter account; or, by sending an e-mail to: readrosemount@gmail.com .

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