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Ottawa Public Library getting creative to still provide public computer, internet and printing access

(Via Ottawa Public Library)

Ottawa Public Library has put in place safe access to printing, WiFi and computers, during the current provincial stay-at-home order, to help address the disparity in access to technology in our community. As one of the largest providers of public computing in Ottawa, the Library is a lifeline for printing and internet for many.

Printing services are available at all open OPL branch locations. Chromebooks are also now available for 3-hour loans with outdoor WiFi access at the following 22 branches: Alta Vista, Beaverbrook, Carlingwood, Centennial, Greenboro, North Gloucester, Rideau, St. Laurent, Stittsville, Vanier, Main, Emerald Plaza, Elmvale Acres, Cumberland, Orléans, Rosemount, Sunnyside, Manotick, Carp, Hazeldean, Nepean Centrepointe and Ruth E. Dickinson. Additional WiFi hotspots will be based on community need, as supply increases.

Chromebooks must be reserved due to provincial regulations. Reservations can be made up to 3 days in advance via the OPL website or by calling InfoService at 613-580-2940. Customers can submit a print request using the form on the OPL website. form on the OPL website.

COVID-19 has exacerbated many social issues, including the disparity in access to technology and the internet. Many Library customers have limited to no access to computers, printers, or reliable internet, which means they cannot complete essential tasks such as booking a vaccine appointment, applying for jobs, or access government services online.

To help keep OPL customers and employees safe, and to be in full compliance with the stay-at-home emergency orders in effect since April 3, OPL is providing curbside (at branch entrances) and online services only. This means that public computers inside OPL branches are no longer available.

To date, OPL has already loaned out more than 200 Chromebooks and 20 WiFi hotspots via 30 community partners, its ongoing efforts to increase digital inclusion among those in need.

Throughout the city, 31 Library branches remain open for curbside returns and holds pickups. Hours of operation remain the same. Cardholders can return Library items and pick up holds without an appointment by lining up at the branch entrance, where employees are there to help.\

Cardholders can return Library items only when branches are open. Homebound and Bookmobile Services continue, though customers will not be able to enter the vehicle. The OPL website is available 24/7 for virtual browsing of our catalogue, varied digital resources and a wide range of virtual programs. Reservations can be made via the OPL website www.BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca or by calling InfoService at 613-580-2940.

The Library continues to follow direction from the Province of Ontario and guidance from Ottawa Public Health to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and as such, mask-wearing outside in line remains mandatory.