New Library Fails To Meet Accessibility Standards: Reader

The Voter says public officials should take a test before approving the new library site:

Every member of the Ottawa Public Library Board and city council should have to walk from Albert and Bay to the new library site and back pushing a child in a stroller with another walking beside it.

When they’ve finished that, they can repeat the trip with a walker, a cane or a wheelchair. If they still think it’s a site that will be welcoming to people needing these supports to get around, I’d like to hear how they arrive at that conclusion.

The site is not accessible on foot from locations east of Bronson for many people. I suppose it’s a good way of forcing those people onto the LRT which will add more than $7 to the cost of going to the library. People who can’t afford books and those who live in rooming houses with nowhere to put books depend on the library for their reading material. A transit trip puts that access out of reach.



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6 thoughts on “New Library Fails To Meet Accessibility Standards: Reader

  1. There will always be some issue or another which makes for a less than perfect location but most can be overcome with a little ingenuity. The access by walking may be righted by using a bus in conjunction with LRT. Not all buildings can be situated along the LRT line and some buses will still leave the core to go down Wellington and across the bridge to Hull with stops in front of the new library OR the transportation gurus may look to improve routes to better serve the riders?


    1. Yes, you could take a bus where you previously walked but it will cost you over $7 a trip.

      I spoke with a woman who lives just more than five blocks from the new location and who walks to the current location a couple of times a week. Because of a disability that means she can’t negotiate hills, she can’t attend the Good Companions Centre which is across the street from the new library. She’s not in a position to add bus fares to her budget for non-essential travel so won’t use the new library.

      It will also remove two excursions a week that she looks forward to and that keeps her in shape mentally and physically.


  2. ..The Beaverbrook Branch of the Ottawa Public Library was recently rebuilt with many of its books on shelves about six inches from the floor . It was described as fully accessible . Many seniors and disabled cannot browse shelves which necessitate getting down on one’s hands and knees . The Province has an act which covers accessibility. It does not cover the interior of public buildings, only the ability to enter or exit the buildings ! . Having to ask a librarian to browse a shelf for you is humiliating and not in accordance with today’s thinking and treatment of those less fortunate ! . What ideas does the OPL have to overcome this problem in the new, expensive “Main” Branch ? .


    1. Ian,
      Excellent point about shelves too low down. I can’t get down on the floor and often have to ask someone to grab me something off of a bottom shelf in retail stores.

      I never looked at it as being anything except a problem that I’ve learned to accept, but you are correct – it is an accessibility issue that could be addressed. While I understand that retro-fitting existing shelving would be prohibitive, let’s hope a new municipal structure takes this issue to heart.


  3. Few, if any, city councilors used the bus system before deciding we needed the LRT. It should have been mandatory that all use only public transit for a minimum of one month, with no photo ops.
    Same with what The Voter has suggested re the library — seems they make decisions with no idea that some may not be able to pay transit fare, walk there, etc.
    Once elected, seems they enter their own privileged little bubble.


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