Participate In Library Decision-Making


This release was not sent to The Bulldog on the last city working day before Christmas. It contains information concerning how to participate in the decision-making surrounding the proposed new civic library.

The release was sent out at 3:45 p.m. on Friday afternoon:

You might have heard about the proposal for a new Ottawa Central Library and there’s opportunity in the coming weeks for public input on the partnership, site, cost, and procurement method.

The proposal recommends that a new Ottawa Central Library be built as a joint facility with Library and Archives Canada on a 3.56-acre City-owned site just west of Bronson and Albert streets.

As proposed, the $168-million, 216,000-sq.-ft. joint facility would share space and cost with Library and Archives Canada (LAC): approximately 60 per cent to the City and 40 per cent to LAC.

In keeping with the transformation of big city libraries around the world being built with an eye to the future, the new Ottawa Central Library will be an active community hub and meeting space, enabling many forms of creativity, curiosity, learning and participation.

The proposed site is less than 300 metres from the future Pimisi light rail station at Booth Street with good connections to pedestrian and cycling paths. Consultations to date have shown a strong public desire for an architecturally significant library building and the report says the proposed facility would be visible from Albert Street and the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway with protected views of the Ottawa River.

Discussion about a possible new central library has been ongoing for more than 10 years  with financing, site selection and property acquisition presenting challenges along the way. This proposal for a new central library comes after broad public consultation and consideration of 12 possible sites.

An expert site evaluation committee, overseen by a Fairness Commissioner, evaluated the 12 potential sites against criteria developed with public input. The recommended site ranked first at all stages of the process.

What’s next?

The public has six weeks to review the report before the Ottawa Public Library Board considers the recommendations at its meeting on January 31, 2017 and will go to City Council on February 8, 2017. The Government of Canada is expected to make a decision regarding Library and Archives Canada’s participation in the joint facility in the spring of 2017. If approved, the new Ottawa Central Library will open in 2022.

Have your say

The full report is available here and public comment on the recommendations is welcome via email to and on the Ottawa Central Library website(link is external). Members of the public may also attend and speak at the January Board meeting. Information on how public delegations can register is here. Public views on the recommendations will also be collected through a survey in January to help support the OPL Board and City Council’s final decisions.



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3 thoughts on “Participate In Library Decision-Making

  1. Are we really supposed to believe that if a legitimate concern is raised by the community at the library board meeting on Jan. 31, any kind of substantive change is going to be made between then and when it goes to council on Feb. 8? I hear the sound of a rubber stamp being warmed up.

  2. I can think of erecting many more square feet of residential building for $168 million but, this project is already a done deal.

    I wonder what Habitat for Humanity and similar organizations could do with this kind of capital.

    It will be built in exactly the way and in the location that the powers that be want.

    Just another monument to 20th century mind set.

    And, you can forget about the $168 million, it will be closer to $200 million.

    1. You’re in a generous frame of mind – when all’s said and done, it’ll be well on the other side of $200M and that will be in 2016 dollars.


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