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March 16, 2017: A Unique Perspective on Rosemount Library; Ask the kids who use it.

March 16, 2017: A Unique Perspective on Rosemount Library;
Ask the kids who use it.

By Blaine Marchand R.E.A.D.

Since its beginning, Rosemount Library has been connected to schools. The library’s early days began in the old Connaught School. During the 1940’s and 1950’s when school enrollment was high, it served more schools than today.

But even with fewer schools, Rosemount still remains a go-to place for the young. Toddlers in a reading circle, teens doing research for school assignments etc. Visit Rosemount Library after school hours or on weekends and you will find students vying for time on the computers, sitting on the floor among the stacks. There simply is not enough space.

Until recently, libraries were hushed, quiet repositories of books and information resources, such as encyclopedia. Today, libraries are hubs that facilitate community interaction. A 2015 Government of Ontario report, developed with community input, states: “Community hubs provide a central access point for a range of needed health and social services, along with cultural, recreational, and green spaces to nourish community life.”

Increasingly libraries are integral parts of these activity centres.

Woefully, Rosemount remains largely a holdover from an earlier era. Rosemount has no dedicated children’s area, sparse teen seats and no teen zone. The few computers available are in constant high demand. Compared to the Alta Vista Library, which serves a similar population than Rosemount, the difference is striking.

Recently, I spoke to two avid Rosemount Library users – Anna Sierra (aged 13) and Jasper (10) Heffernan-Wilker. The two have been going to the branch since they were born and now go several times a week.

Not only are these two book lovers familiar with Rosemount, they can compare it with other libraries they visited on three continents when they and their parents went on a one year (August 2015-2016) bike trip, clocking a total of, as Jasper proudly announced, 12,850 kilometres.

The libraries on their trip provided them with a chance to catch up on e-mails, do research on the countries they were visiting and just spend some quiet time reading. This gives them a unique perspective on Rosemount.

Asked about their favourite library on their trek, Anna Sierra quickly mentioned one in Portland, Oregon, which “had beautiful architecture on the outside and lots of open welcoming spaces on the inside.” Jasper added his favourite was a library in British Columbia, offering a good selection of kids’ books and lounges to use the computer or simply read.

Jasper pointed out that Rosemount definitely needed more iPads and more computers. Anna Sierra noted that despite there being a French school and French immersion schools close to Rosemount, the selection of French books is lacking. She felt a branch library would better serve young people if it were more spacious.

Cozy comfortable spaces would encourage young readers to linger and meet there. Jasper stressed there should be cushions and bean bags chairs, a designated area for reading, adequate tables for working on computers and more juvenile fiction books that appeal to his age group.

Both stated that the librarians at Rosemount are very helpful. But they believed any future library site must be close to the current location and to schools, preferably on a street that provides easy and safe access so young people could go on their own.

If you wish, as Anna Sierra and Jasper did, to visit libraries, you can do so from the comfort of your own chair 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 ) also contains information on upcoming meetings and news on a potential new branch library. READ also has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and e-mail: readrosemount@gmail.com .


Alta Vista

Photo Caption:: The teen area of the Alta Vista Branch Library shows a spacious, welcoming environment with adequate space for evolving activities in a contemporary library. Photo courtesy of R.E.A.D.


1 Comment

  1. Kids Have Their Say on the Rosemount Library | READ Rosemount

    March 19, 2017 @ 11:51 am

    […] Newswest On-line for March 16, 2017. A unique perspective on Rosemount Library: Ask the kids who use it.  By Blaine Marchand.   For more.. […]

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