Ottawa residents will soon have the opportunity to share what they consider most important when evaluating possible locations for the new flagship Ottawa Central Library. Two large in-person consultation sessions are planned for May 16 at Ottawa City Hall. These will be followed by a city-wide online questionnaire in May-June.
“It is clear that people want an opportunity to provide input into where to build the new Ottawa Central Library,” said Tim Tierney, Chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board, and Councillor for Beacon Hill – Cyrville. “We want to hear firsthand what the community thinks is most important for us to consider as we make this once-in-a-generation decision for the City of Ottawa.”
The bilingual discussion sessions will take place May 16 at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. in Jean Piggot Place at Ottawa City Hall. Each session is expected to last approximately two hours. Given the high interest in these sessions, residents are strongly encouraged to register for their preferred time on the newly launched Ottawa Central Library website.
“While the Ottawa Central Library will certainly serve all residents in Ottawa as well as visitors to our great city, the in-person sessions are taking place at City Hall to accommodate as many of those who are directly impacted by this decision,” said Danielle McDonald, CEO of the Ottawa Public Library.
In June 2015, the Ottawa Public Library Board unanimously approved the Central Area as the geographic location for the Ottawa Central Library. The boundaries of this area include: the Ottawa River to the North; Wellington / Albert / Gloucester / Lisgar to the South; King Edward to the East; and, the Trillium Line (Bayview Station) to the West.
The goal of the sessions is to develop a list of the elements that will be considered when evaluating the potential sites for the new Central Library. Ottawa residents will also have an opportunity to weigh in on each of these elements through an online questionnaire in June.
The sessions and online questionnaire are the latest in a series of public engagement activities that have taken place regarding the development of the Ottawa Central Library – a city-building initiative that will continue to promote Ottawa’s transformation as a leading global city.
Since 2013, more than 3600 people have provided input into what the new central library should include. This will be the first opportunity for the public to provide input into the process that will determine where the library should be located in the Central Area.
“We’ve made great progress on this project to-date and it’s now time to begin work on the site selection,” said Danielle McDonald. “We’re delighted to have reached this step in the project that we can now have a discussion with the public about what they feel is most important when selecting a new site.”
In parallel with the public engagement process, the Ottawa Public Library, with the assistance of the City of Ottawa, will compile an inventory of potential sites within the Central Area that can accommodate either a stand-alone central library or a larger facility that includes Library and Archives Canada. This activity will occur in April – June 2016. There are several inputs to the inventory, including sites identified through past consultations, City-owned properties, and sites which will be identified through an open call-out. The call-out, or site search, will be widely circulated, including posting on MERX, and notices in print media.
The draft site evaluation criteria, created with the public input, best practices, and technical expertise, will be brought to the Board for approval in July. Once approved, the potential sites in the inventory will be evaluated and analyzed.
The location for the Ottawa Central Library will be announced before the end of the calendar year as part of a larger decision package that will include recommendations on partnership, site, financial analysis, and project delivery method. No sites have been determined at this time.
The public will have more opportunities to contribute to the function of the new library in June. More information on these opportunities will be available on the new Ottawa Central Library website.
The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) is the largest bilingual (English/French) public library system in North America. The OPL extends public access to information and services through the library’s 34 branches, physical and virtual at www.BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca, as well as two mobile libraries and a vending machine-style lending library service. Serving close to one million Ottawa residents, OPL’s mission is to inspire learning, spark curiosity, and connect people. Follow us on Twitterwww.Twitter.com/OPL_BPO and like us on Facebook www.Facebook.com/OPLBPO. Contact us at613-580-2940 or InfoService@BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca. If it’s out there, it’s in here!