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February 16, 2017: Rosemount Library Looks Ahead; Inspiration for the future.

February 16, 2017: Rosemount Library Looks Ahead;
Inspiration for the future.

By Blaine Marchand R.E.A.D.

It’s an exciting time for the Ottawa Public Library (OPL). The new main library will be an important part of the city build in the years ahead. Equally important is the development of the branch network across the city.

During the past 25 years, the OPL has done a solid job of building or doing major renovations on almost all of its 32 branches. Libraries are no longer just books on shelves; they are hubs of activities that meet multi-generational user needs. A notable exception has been our ward’s Rosemount branch, the last surviving Carnegie-built library in Ottawa.

The OPL is now preparing a business case for a new Rosemount library. For users and residents of Kitchissippi Ward, it is time to familiarize ourselves with the transformation and building of other branches in the library system to inform us about the potential for our branch. In this series of two articles I will take the reader on a tour of four of the best of the OPL branch libraries.

Before doing so, I will recap where things stand at Rosemount and its woeful lack of space. It has 6,089 square feet (sf), 17 seats for users and seven personal computer stations. Despite proximity to five schools, Rosemount has no dedicated children, teen seats or teen zone. There are no meeting rooms.

Our tour begins with the Beaverbrook branch in Kanata. It began in 1967 as one room in a community centre. In 1970, it moved to a space next to a fire hall and then, in 1996, into the Mlacak Centre.

In an 18-month period during a 2013/14 closure, the branch underwent extensive renovations and expansion that saw it increase to 24,000 sf from 10,691 sf. An architectural award-winning branch, it boasts two public meeting rooms, each accommodating 45 people, 127 seats on two levels, numerous small rooms for group work, a large children’s area, as well as a book store run by the Friends of the OPL. Its Kanata Room, devoted to local history, features a stained glass window donated by Beaverbrook users – a colourful testament to its community’s spirit.

Closer to Rosemount, Merviale Road’s Emerald Plaza opened in 1972 in a renovated supermarket and was the biggest branch in the city of Nepean. In 1988, it closed when the main branch shifted further west to Centrepointe but reopened as a smaller branch in another Merivale shopping mall. In 2013, the branch was completely renovated, almost doubling in size to 10,518 sf. A busy, urban branch, Emerald Plaza now hosts RFID technology, high-speed Internet and access to the entire collection of the OPL through the online catalogue. There are 80 seats, two meeting rooms and a study room. A wall of art portrays Old Nepean while art and design students from Merivale High School created a special piece.

These are but two examples of how the OPL met the needs of library users. They provide examples of how creative, careful planning ensures that branches keep pace with the times. Anyone wishing to go on a virtual tour of these two branches can do so at http://www.readrosemount.ca/new-and-renovated-libraries/ottawa-public-library-new-and-renovated-libraries/ or at https://biblioottawalibrary.ca .

The READ website ( http://www.readrosemount.ca )

 

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Photo Caption: Other Ottawa libraries show the benefits of increased space, seating and planning as Rosemount Branch only now prepares for a vital and long overdue re-development. Photo courtesy of R.E.A.D.

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Emerald Plaza

Photo Caption: Emerald Plaza Teen Zone.

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West District

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Beaverbrook Kibrary

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