This week at City Council, Council members approved in principal a new central library joint facility with Library and Archives Canada.
What this means is that the location of the library will now be at 557 Wellington. In addition, a representative from Library and Archives Canada attended the Council meeting to share their concurrence with the joint project.
Next steps will include approving the design of the facility as well as the funds which should be coming back to Council at some point in June once funding partners are identified and informed.
I was among the 21 councillors along with the Mayor in support of this motion.
I do believe that the new Ottawa Central Library will be an excellent fit at 557 Wellington near the upcoming Lebreton Flats development – truly reflecting the “central” aspect of its name being in close proximity to Light Rail Transit, the public at large, and the millions of tourists that come to Ottawa each year. The location was selected following an extensive process of project study, analysis and public consultation, and expert evaluation of 12 possible sites.
With the arrival of the internet and ebooks, public libraries have been criticized as out-dated luxuries we can no longer afford or that books are becoming a thing of the past. However, I firmly believe that they are necessary conglomerates of information that we, as a society, cannot afford to do without.
The new library looks to the future and is to be designed as a hub for meetings, social gatherings and interaction, and programming for the arts and culture. In addition, the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) has been adapting programming to accommodate the more modern needs of residents and new Canadians who require things such as internet access to keep up in the growing competitive online job market.
Libraries may no longer be the places of indulgence they once were but they are a place for life-learning and growth. This new location will not just be a destination but a recognizable and talked about landmark for anyone who uses or visits it.
Similar to the renovations at Lansdowne Park, this issue has discussed for many years by our community and surrounding neighbourhoods. It is time to move forward with this significant city-building project.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mayor Watson, the Chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board – Councillor Tim Tierney, and the Library Board for all of their hard work on this item.
What are your thoughts on the new central library? I would love to hear some of your ideas for programming to ensure that this new facility truly brings Ottawa’s informational facilities into the twenty-first century. Email me at Shad.Qadri@ottawa.ca.