The Full Library Report Is Here


The full report on the location of the new Ottawa library is available.

To see the report, click here.



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18 thoughts on “The Full Library Report Is Here

  1. My son-in-law tells me that a newfangled thing called a computer would allow a library of knowledge to be accessed without a building and that new building could be better used to house the homeless.

    Who da thunk it.

    1. Chaz:

      You won’t see it in Ottawa until we are dead and gone.

      That’s an awful lot of money for outmoded concrete and civic stupidity.



    2. How do low-income families and individuals pay for either a computer or monthly internet bills? For many people, those are not possible if you want to feed your family properly and keep a decent roof over your head. The library provides both access to real books and computer access for children from those families.

      The other benefit of a building is that it provides a place for face-to-face interaction with other human beings which doesn’t happen when everyone is hunched over their computer at home. A library is a lot more than a building but is a community space that brings people together.

  2. Ken,

    Your link leads to the OPL site whereby people need to click on “Reports” in the menu to access the relevant documents of December 14, 2016.

    There is a lot to go over. The first thing I would remark on is that there is quite a bit of “N/A” in some of the scoring charts, i.e. the scoring that led to the site selection of option 8, 557 Wellington Street.

    Anyway, let me just point to one scoring area, namely site development:

    — Site 2 would play an important role in stimulating further public
    and non-public investments in the areas surrounding Site 2. Therefore, Site 2 scored 85% for this criterion.

    — Given the maturity of the neighbourhoods surrounding Site 3, development of the new library facility is expected to play a minor role in stimulating public and non-public investments in the surrounding areas. Therefore, Site 3 scored 50% for this criteria.

    — Development of the new library facility on Site 8, Site 9 or Site 11 would be a critical catalyst and economic driver to stimulate public and non-public investments in LeBreton Flats and the surrounding areas. Therefore, Site 8, Site 9 and Site 11 scored 100% for this criteria.

    Why the heck is “public and non-public investments” potential even a part of this library selection process? Furthermore, how are the above claims even true? How is a new library at 557 Wellington “going to be a critical catalyst and economic driver to stimulate public and non-public investments in LeBreton Flats and the surrounding areas”?

    1. Sheridan:

      More importantly, why are we building a 20th-century library that will be obsolete before it opens?

      Do librarians really need new offices that much?

      Once upon a time, it took about 800 people to put out a newspaper.

      Your agent today puts out three websites by himself.

      The world has changed dramatically and continues to change very quickly.

      That change will cause newspapers and their websites to disappear because their economic model is broken.

      Unfortunately no economic model exists for libraries but what I can tell you is the location is bad everywhere except on the Internet.

      That doesn’t require light rail or a P3.

      And frankly, it doesn’t require a lot of innovative thinking either. But then it rather looks like the OPL isn’t interested in innovative thinking. Its officials want a library made of concrete.



      1. The same argument could be made for office towers or university lecture halls. How many times in the 1980s did you hear the prediction that by the year 2000 all the office towers would be obsolete as everyone would be working out of their home, i.e. connected by computers?

        Where does an individual go when they want a place to study or do some serious reading? Somewhere that you can sit down and take notes. Somewhere to talk to someone for reference advice. A different environment from work or the home.

        1. Sheridan:

          I don’t know. I don’t know where all the laid-off journalists go except maybe into PR.

          The world is changing rapidly and there will be casualties on the way.

          But there is no value in building a huge dinosaur.

          Better to lead the change than be swept up by it.

          Thus The Bulldog. How successful is it? That’s for other people to decide but it is an attempt to find a new economic model for journalism.

          Do I miss the fun and bustle of the newsroom? Of course. But those days have disappeared.

          I’ve moved on. Before this Internet revolution is through, a lot of people will have moved on.

          A lot of those people will be librarians. They are the first people cut when companies downsize.



          1. Ken,

            I agree with you regarding the changes to journalism, but is the library undergoing the very same paradigm shift?

            Again, libraries are a physical space where citizens can interact with books, other materials and other people which they would not otherwise be able to do without this type of environment.

            For example, many authors use the library auditorium to introduce their books to the public, give a reading and answer questions. Often this is a free event. Likewise art on display for public viewing. Etc.

            It takes a physical building. And most other private and public venues are not open to these people, or for too high a cost.

            1. Ken,

              Another distinction is that libraries do not depend upon advertising dollars and/or circulation numbers to stay open.

              The real debate is whether the taxpayers will be called upon to subsidize the news media in order to keep it alive. Paul Wells (Toronto Star: “Liberals mull mixing business, culture and helping media organizations”) reported on this story a few weeks ago, namely that the federal Liberals are considering money for the media under the guise of some cultural program funding.

            2. Sheridan:

              Community centres have rooms for meetings. So too golf clubs and the like. There are lots of meeting rooms in Ottawa.



            3. Ottawa libraries offer more than books, DVDs, etc.
              They have a variety of activites for all ages, during the day, evenings, weekends and thus require a physical building. Without such community buildings, we isolate at our computers and only interact online.
              If done properly (fingers crossed), they are worth the money.

    2. I heard someone on the radio talking about the views of and from the new library. Is that really what is most important to selecting where the library goes?

  3. Monuments made of pixels aren’t nearly as gratifying to the ego as monuments of concrete and glass. Just ask any number of has-been municipal elected officials which they would prefer to show their grandchildren.

    1. Ron Benn,

      But is that the case with the main branch of the Ottawa Public Library? Thousands of people visit this library daily.

      The city spent $79-million on upgrades to ServiceOttawa with little to show for it — even the AG has admitted that the “anticipated savings” from this expenditure have not been realized.

      At least with a new library building there will be something to show for all the money spent, and indeed something which we already know gets heavy attendance — including use by grandchildren.

      1. Ah, but there’s the rub Sheridan.

        When I listened to Councillor Egli wax poetic about the need for a new central library, about a year ago at a 2016 Budget (non)consultation, all he talked about was how Ottawa should emulate Halifax’s magnificent new structure, while also citing Calgary’s new central library. He didn’t talk about the benefits to the users, just about the buildings.

        A couple of years ago, a former elected official’s ego was not satisfied with a minor court named in her honour. Nay, she needed something grander in stature, and her political cronies delivered a prize.

        Ask yourself, what is their motivation? Is it to provide a state of the art centre of knowledge, or is it something to point at and say “See what I built”?


        Ron Benn
        Member emeritus
        Cynics Club.

        1. Ron Benn,

          Forgive my poor explanation. I was not trying to defend our municipal officials. My point is that despite the vanity of our political class, there is still value to be found in a new library.

          Further, our government wastes so much money on useless IT, that it just confirms the fact that they have no clue about anything. Rather, as you suggest, these politicians are simply interested in advancing their own personal brand and careers.

          So, cast a net on all the city projects, and question how much Mayor Jim Watson really cares about the details of those projects. For example, it seems clear to me that he couldn’t care less where the new Civic Hospital was to be located; only that he had to be in on the photo-op. Or indeed, the justification for extending LRT to Kanata. A kindergarten student would have a better chance of defining “transit sustainability” than Watson ever would.

          A great indictment of Watson’s leadership was the fact that during the last election he stated that he was surprised by the condition of the main branch of the Ottawa Public Library (poor handicap accessibility, etc). Really? The state of the main city library (which controversy had been ongoing for many many years) that is literally minutes from his place of work and yet he never bothered to pay it any attention until it was politically necessary, i.e. until he made it an election issue.

          Whether you are a “Member emeritus of the Cynics Club” or a “Member emeritus of the Optimist Club,” I think we can all agree that Watson has not lived up to his campaign slogan: “Leadership For A Better Ottawa.”

  4. There are many communities that have new libraries with integrated community spaces and computer access points included. A good example is in Aarhus, Denmark where they have increased traffic from 1,800 to 3,800 people per day since 2015.

    When 1 in 5 Canadians don’t have Internet access at home, suggesting that the hard copy books and community computers at the library can be dispensed with means that thousands of people would be cut off including children and young people that use the library regularly for homework and social interactions. Libraries also provide essential services to newcomers to Canada and help support their integration into Canadian society.
    If the Internet provides what people need, why is there anyone in our libraries today?


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