on September 28, 2017 by test_editor in Archive_2017, Coming Events, Print Articles, September, Comments (1)

September 28, 2017: Rosemount Library ; The City should commit to a new plan.

September 28, 2017: Rosemount Library ;
The City should commit to a new plan.

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

The upcoming year will be an auspicious one for the Rosemount branch library building, which, in November 2018, will mark 100 years at its current location. The branch first opened in 1911 and was located in different locations around the area.

In the lead-up to the centennial, the Ottawa Library Board (OLB) has asked for a business case to consider whether the building, built to serve a small population of about roughly 18,000 people, can continue to meet the modern needs of a catchment area of 41,000 people, or whether a new site should be found. The business case will be presented at the October 10th Board meeting, 5:00 p.m. at City Hall.

“For years, Rosemount has been at the top of the OPL’s priority list for capital renewals”, stated Joshua Nutt, chair of the Rosemount Expansion and Development (READ) committee, in a letter recently sent to Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair of OLB. “Now is the time to look to the future and create a new Rosemount that will serve the next generation of library users in our community.”

A century ago, Rosemount Library’s sole purpose was books for readers. Today, a modern library must function as a community hub and respond to diverse requests. While Rosemount ranks first in terms of circulation by square footage, its ranks 21st out of 25 for the size of facility. It can offer books, DVDs and CDs, but it has limited computer access, poor seating areas, no teen space and no meeting rooms for its users.

“A new library is needed to serve the needs of a growing population,” Nutt told me. “Intensification is taking place in Kitchissippi Ward at an alarming rate. In 2016 alone, 639 new places were built. In fact, our ward accounts for 1/3 of the infill across the five urban wards of the central area.”

Intensification plus the recent reassessment of house values in the ward has enriched the city’s tax yield. The question is whether any of these increased revenues will be allocated toward a new library building for our area. During consultations held with the community in the spring of 2016, participants came to the conclusion that the current building is inadequate and that renovations will not allow the branch to serve the community by today’s standards. Their view is that a new library close to the current location is a must.

In other areas of the city, the OLB has recognized this. Carlingwood and St. Laurent branches, which serve comparable population sizes, are two or three times as large. Carlingwood at 19,960 sq. ft. was renovated, and St. Laurent more than doubled in size to 13,540 sq. ft. Rosemount was expanded in 1932 and received a renovation in the 1980s. But its relatively small size at just over 6000 sq. ft. is problematic in a community whose population continues to grow.

Other Canadian cities such as Winnipeg, Edmonton and Toronto have put in place a vigorous renewal program for their aging library infrastructure. This has included modernization, expansion or complete replacement and relocation. All with the goal of meeting the new library, information and community needs of citizens. Ottawa should likewise have a comprehensive plan for our city libraries.

“READ recognizes there are competing priorities,” Nutt added. “While our neighbourhood does not have access to the same level of development charges as do other parts of the city, this should not be an impediment to our residents having access to high-quality library services offered in other branch libraries. READ hopes the business case will recommend the OPL and the city think creatively, explore partnerships, and do right by those who live in the Rosemount catchment area. The Board should commit to a plan for a new Rosemount library that will serve our community for the next 100 years.”

inside view of library in use by many ages

Lots to celebrate.

Photo Caption: For the Rosemount Ave. branch of the Ottawa Public Library, November 2017 will mark 99 years in its present location. The building serves more than three times the number of readers it was intended to accommodate and regular users are wishing for improvements for the Rosemount building’s centennial next year. Photo by Larry Hudon.

1 Comment

  1. Rosemount Library: The City Should commit to a new plan | READ Rosemount

    October 1, 2017 @ 7:09 pm

    […] “While our neighbourhood does not have access to the same level of development charges as other parts of the city, this should not be an impediment to our residents having access to high-quality library services offered in other Ottawa branch libraries” Josh Nutt, Chair READ Rosemount. Kitchissippi Times/Newswest Sept 28. 2017. Read more….. […]

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