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2017 Annual Report

Messages from OPL Board Chair and CEO

A Message from Tim Tierney, Chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board and Councillor for Beacon Hill-Cyrville

Ottawa Public Library (OPL) is essential to the success of our city as it continues to grow and thrive. I know first-hand that OPL plays a big part in the strength of Ottawa’s communities.

From upgrading how OPL sorts and tracks every item in its collection, to bringing Canada’s singing and storytelling astronaut down to earth, 2017 was an amazing year to be Chair of the OPL Board.

Thanks to the hard work of staff, RFID (radio frequency identification) implementation was completed in 2017 across all 33 branches —ahead of schedule! Now, item management is easier and more efficient, making OPL collections more accessible for customers and allowing OPL staff to deliver a streamlined, timely, customized service.

In 2017, we celebrated the story of our branches, their communities, and our customers by marking milestone anniversaries at the Carlingwood, Centennial, Orléans, and Blackburn Hamlet branches.
The final event of OPL’s Canada 150 year of storytelling was an unforgettable evening with Colonel Chris Hadfield. This sold-out show was stellar, attracting a diverse, all-age audience, and showing that we can offer stimulating and uplifting programs with performers that are literally out of this world. OPL's support to creators, dreamers, and innovators is part of what makes our Library system so important and engaging.
OPL’s story is one of continuous improvement, in its approach, its processes, its programs and services, and its customer service. RFID and Chris Hadfield both represent OPL's commitment to innovation and improvement. This is how OPL makes Ottawa and Ottawans better. OPL offers everyone the opportunity to learn, be curious, and connect with each other.

The solid progress made on the Ottawa Public Library - Library and Archives Canada joint facility project is proof of how OPL is committed to continuing its role as a community hub well into the future. With a new Ottawa Central Library on the horizon, OPL will ensure a dynamic dimension of cultural growth and success stories for years to come.

OPL Board

Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair

Councillor Tim Tierney (Chair)

André Bergeron (Vice-Chair)

Steven Begg

Kathy Fisher

Allan Higdon

Councillor Catherine McKenney

Councillor Scott Moffatt

Pamela Sweet

Councillor Marianne Wilkinson

A Message from Danielle McDonald, Chief Executive Officer

It makes me especially proud to work for OPL when people tell me—and it happens often—how much they love their Library. The year 2017 was remarkable for our country and for OPL. Canada 150 was an opportunity to celebrate storytelling in many forms, as stories are core to the Library. OPL staff delivered programs and events with creativity and collaboration. Throughout the year, we nurtured existing relationships and built new ones.  These partnerships with community organizations will continue to make OPL a place to learn, build connections, and grow.

Bringing people together is one of the best things a library can do. This was clear at our Canada 150 Strawberry Social in July. It made me happy to see so many families from across the city enjoying an afternoon of games and activities based on one of Canada's most cherished stories, Anne of Green Gables. This kind of community outreach is what makes OPL a vital part of Ottawa, now and in the future.

In November, we added a Sun Life Musical Instrument Lending Library (MILL) to our collection.  Music literacy is an important dimension of overall literacy, lifelong learning, and well-being; and OPL is thrilled to offer this innovative program. Now, OPL customers can bring music into their homes, explore their musical potential, and follow a dream of playing an instrument.

An important element of OPL’s own story moved ahead in 2017 with the Ottawa Central Library (OCL) coming closer than ever to reality. We hear strong support for the collaboration with Library and Archives Canada, and our joint vision attests to the importance of what OCL can be for our customers. I am looking forward to the next chapter in this story.

Our celebration of stories and storytelling in 2017 offered brilliant opportunities for OPL to deliver programs and resources that promote discovery, impart new knowledge, support different forms of literacy, and build community. I am proud that our story in 2017 was an inspiring and hopeful one about connecting people for success and enhancing lives.

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OPL Senior Management

Danielle McDonald, CEO

Danielle McDonald,
Chief Executive Officer

Monique E. Désormeaux,
Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Anna Basile, Division Manager,
Governance, Communications, and Strategic Services

Monique Brûlé, Division Manager,
Programs and Services

Elaine Condos, Division Manager,
Central Library Project

Catherine Seaman, Division Manager,
Branch Operations


Ottawa Public Library

OPL Highlights section


OPL’s story in 2017 contained various elements, plot lines, characters, settings, and memorable moments. OPL launched exciting new programming in music and storytelling, concluded a multi-year RFID technology conversion, and strengthened the Library’s reach and value with the unprecedented success of Library Month. Most notably, the Ottawa Central Library story moved decisively forward in 2017.  Here are the 2017 highlights:

Ottawa Public Library - Library and Archives Canada joint facility

OPL reached key milestones for the important city building project of a new state-of-the-art Central Library.

  • January 2017: OPL Board approved recommendations for new Ottawa Central Library.

  • February 2017: OPL received Council approval for new flagship Ottawa Central Library. The approval is to develop a 216,000 gross square-foot facility with Library and Archives Canada (LAC) at 557 Wellington Street, with approval in principle for the City-funded portion ($99 million) of the $168 million facility.

  • May 2017: RFQ for design services issued—a shortlist of up to five proponents will be chosen and invited to submit a formal proposal during the Request for Proposals (RFP) phase.

  • February 2018: The Government of Canada’s proposed 2018 Budget included funding for the LAC portion of the joint facility.

Canada 150

OPL delivered a year-long series of innovative, engaging, and inspiring programs—under the theme of storytelling - to mark Canada’s sesquicentennial and highlight the Library’s important role in the community. Each month, a new theme was explored.  More than 15,000 people attended the 561 programs offered, and 13 new community partnerships were established.

Musical instruments to borrow

In November, OPL launched the Sun Life Musical Instrument Lending Library. The Main and Nepean Centrepointe branches have 150 instruments to lend out, including guitars, banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, violins, hand drums and portable keyboards. Music, like books, is essential to fostering curiosity and creativity, and OPL is committed to offering customers the tools to expand their knowledge and pique their interest. Sun Life Financial donated $140,000 to fund the program's implementation and operating costs for the first two years.

Service Transformation Complete - RFID/SPOS

The end of 2017 saw the final conversion of OPL’s 33 branches to a new customer service delivery model called Single Point of Service (SPOS) in conjunction with a system-wide technology overhaul to radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. RFID technology transformed OPL’s business by reducing the time to process materials in the branches, lowering incidents of repetitive stress injuries, and freeing staff up to spend more time with customers on value-added services. 

#LibraryMoments campaign

During October, Library Month, OPL led a national social media campaign with more than 25 public library systems to raise awareness across Canada about the value of public libraries. The #LibraryMoments campaign generated a shared outpouring of stories, testimonies, and declarations about how libraries nourish the minds, hearts, and communities of Canadians. The OPL-led initiative reinforced valuable links and collaboration between Canadian public libraries large and small, rural and urban, and beautifully embodied the library credo of information sharing. The social media reach for the #LibraryMoments #MomentsBiblio campaign was more than 5 million.

OPL book bag

During Library Month, OPL employees distributed locally-made and -designed book bags to Ottawa residents across the City at all 33 branches, and seven OC Transpo transit stations. With the support of the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA), OPL took this opportunity to spread the Library’s story to customers and potential customers, delighting them with a unique and useful OPL-branded item.

Food Literacy Project

OPL’s à la carte project received the 2018 Minister’s Award for Innovation in the Large Library Category from the Ontario Library Association. In the initiative’s second year, OPL worked with local partners, delivering programming to raise awareness, address a gap in public education, and build knowledge about how people are connected to the food they eat. Programs included film screenings, author visits, panel discussions, and outreach events to schools, markets, and more. In 2017, 45 programs were offered, with more than 1,000 participants attending, and more than 3,000 people accessed the à la carte digital storytelling webpage on the OPL website. The project is funded by a grant of $189,890 over two years from the Ontario Libraries Capacity Fund. 

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Every 3.5 seconds, an item was borrows at OPL



4.4 million in person library visits



11.2 million items borrowed



1.99 million items in the collection



OPL Highlights section

Key Accomplishments

Ottawa Public Library’s vision is To build community and transform lives, and its mission is to Inspire learning, spark curiosity, and connect people. To carry out, OPL follows Board-approved strategic directions and priorities that guide the organization and its employees to provide the best possible services, collections, and programs to customers. Here are some key chapters of OPL’s 2017 story that illustrate this vision and mission in meaningful and transformative ways. 

Services that are customer centric

Act as a catalyst for exploration and discovery

  • Increased awareness of the Residential School experience by hosting survivor and Inuvialuit author Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and her daughter-in-law Kristy Jordan-Fenton, who gave 11 presentations to students, seniors, and OPL employees. Author Melanie Florence, of Plains Cree and Scottish descent, gave presentations to students and seniors based on her book about the Residential School experience.

  • Designed and launched a new collection item called iCanada. iCanada is an iPod shuffle preloaded with a selection of diverse content, including songs, audiobooks and Library programs, in order to increase access to OPL programming in alternate formats and recognize Canada’s 150th anniversary.

  • Installed the first hydroponic grow tower in the North Gloucester branch, and plan to roll out four additional towers in early 2018 in various branches across the system. The towers will provide additional partnership opportunities in the local community and lead to further programming tied to food and financial literacy. These innovative grow towers have flourished at several Ottawa schools, community centres, and at City Hall, with the benefits felt, enjoyed, and tasted by people throughout the community.

  • Created the opportunity to explore Indigenous cultures by presenting programs by Inuk author Deborah Kigjugalik Webster, Métis artist Mélodie Coutou, and Dakota/Salteaux storyteller Lesley Parlane to Ottawa youth.

Provide physical and digital collections that are responsive to customer demands and community needs

  • Launched the Sun Life Financial Musical Instrument Lending Library, which added 150 instruments to the OPL collection. Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan, the multiple Juno and Grammy award-winner and bestselling artist, helped launch the new collection at the Main branch in November. Now Ottawa residents can more easily learn to play an instrument and enjoy—at no cost—the cognitive, social, and further benefits of music offers for people of all ages and stages.

  • Introduced Express eBooks from Cloud Library. OPL is the first library in Canada to offer the Express eBook format to its customers, continuously expanding and deepening its collection to meet customers’ diverse needs in a timely way.

  • Acquired French Downloadable audiobooks from Cloud Library, which has seen a growth in demand, to meet the needs of our francophone customers and French-language readers in Ottawa.

  • Introduced new online resources to customers: Kanopy’s Criterion film collection, New York Times Online, ArtistWorks to learn to play musical instruments, Early Canadiana Online for genealogists, Naxos Music Library World, Naxos Spoken Word Library, Naxos Video Library, Naxos Works, Curio.Ca (Radio-Canada and CBC video content), and Alldata for car maintenance.

  • Added M-rated (adult) Video Games to the collection. The Entertainment Software Association of Canada indicates that there are nearly 19 million gamers in Canada, with the average age being 36. This collection responds to the needs and interests of Ottawa residents, many of whom relax, learn, experiment, build skills, and exercise creativity through interactive electronic gaming.

  • Reaffirmed the Collection Management Framework with the OPL Board, and confirmed that it will be reviewed once per Board Term. The context in which library collections are selected, acquired, catalogued, and processed continues to evolve, reflecting a variety of customer expectations, changing technology, and demands.  The framework enshrines an approach that is strategic, responsive, and aligned with OPL’s mission.

Enhance the customer experience by leveraging best practices and technology

  • Completed implementation of RFID technology at four branches: Blackburn Hamlet, Sunnyside, North Gloucester, and St-Laurent, concluding a multi-year project to convert all 33 branches to RFID, and enable a more streamlined and responsive customer service by freeing up employees from automatable tasks and allowing more time off the circulation desk.

  • Enhanced customization of notification options by allowing customers to tailor and update their notification preferences through the OPL website.

  • Updated telephone technology to improve customer service and provide shorter wait times to customers when calling OPL for assistance.

  • Launched centralized digital slide technology to promote programs and other offerings throughout the system simultaneously.



12,000 programs offered



274,000 program attendees



13.3 million website visits



Teens volunteered approximately 4,000 hours

Spaces for community, collections, and creation

Develop an inclusive, dynamic Central Library enabling creation and learning

  • Received approval of OPL’s recommendation by the OPL Board and Ottawa City Council that a joint facility with Library and Archives Canada (LAC) be built at 557 Wellington Street, steps away from the intersection of Albert Street and Bronson Avenue, and the future Pimisi LRT station. OPL’s share of the new 216,000-gross-square-foot facility will be 133,000 gross square feet (61% of the total space).

  • Approved the facility being built using a design-bid-build procurement process in order to ensure maximum control over its design. Work started in 2017 to engage design services for the Central Library project.

  • Obtained Government of Canada endorsement of LAC’s participation in the joint facility as part of the proposed federal 2018 Budget.

Sustain collaborative and flexible physical spaces across the Library system

  • Undertook a business case study to renew the Rosemount branch. The case compared renovating the existing facility with moving to a new location, under different scenarios. This led to budget approval for a $2M renovation at the current location, to commence in late 2018. Public engagement will inform the focus of these improvements.

  • Completed and presented to the public a preliminary facility blocking and site layout for the future Riverside South branch, which will be part of a joint facility with the City of Ottawa’s Recreation, Culture and Facilities Services department. This preliminary plan was well received by the public, who also provided feedback that will be considered once the design phase commences.

  • Added a rooftop terrace to the second level of the Beaverbrook branch. This will create more public space and allow customers to sit outdoors and leaf through Library materials or use the free Wi-Fi. Final completion and official opening will take place in 2018.

Design virtual spaces for creation and sharing

  • Launched a new kids’ website to highlight the children’s collection in books, music, online resources, and videos. This website was designed for both parents and children and is intended to act as a host for all kids’ content at the Library, as well as a tool for orienting new customers—or parents of new customers.

  • Hosted an online Indigenous Book Club during National Aboriginal History Month in June, which featured online discussions with Métis author Patti LaBoucane-Benson about her graphic novel, The Outside Circle, and with Innu writer Michel Jean about the book he edited, Amun, a collection of short stories by Quebec Indigenous writers. The book club also featured nishnaabe poet Vera Wabegijig, whose first book is Wild Rice Dreams.

  • Created the food literacy digital storytelling web app to tell monthly stories about the food culture in our community. OPL connected with local groups working with food to tell their stories about urban farming, social enterprises, food waste, the future of food, preserving the harvest, and much more.



6,300+ hours using Imagine Space equipment



3.6 million holds were placed



1.4 million digital downloads

Success through learning, literacy and innovation

Strengthen and promote the Library’s reach and value

  • Hosted a variety of programs and events to mark Canada’s 150th. The following are only a few of the programs offered throughout the year:

    • Co-hosted the Mayor’s Poetry Contest, in partnership with Ottawa 2017, where OPL invited elementary and secondary students from four local school boards to capture, in words, a Canadian moment, or image, by writing a short poem to celebrate Storytelling through Poetry as part of Poetry Month in April. 

    • Hosted a Strawberry Social family fun day in July, at Ben Franklin Place and OPL’s Nepean Centrepointe branch, complete with live mainstage entertainment, games, programs, storytime, displays, crafts, educational activities, technology demonstrations, roving entertainers, and a tranquil reading nook. More than 2,000 people attended this free event and 725 event passports helped families explore the many activities. The event was made possible by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA), Centrepointe Theatres, City of Ottawa Museums, City of Ottawa Archives, and Dovercourt Recreation.

    • Highlighted the December theme of Storytelling Without Borders by presenting Chris Hadfield’s Canada 150 Show, in partnership with Centrepointe Theatres. From his unique perspective, Colonel Hadfield enthralled the crowd with stories about the history and future of Canada, and shared this remarkable Canadian’s passion for his country, its people, and the land itself. This all-ages, sold-out show underscored the values of learning and exploring, as well as aiming for the stars. This event was a partnership between OPL, Centrepointe Theatres and Ingenium.

    • Celebrated Storytelling through Traditions by putting on the Soirée Fou rire, LOL, an evening of French comedy, featuring finalists of the Concours LOL and of Fou rire collectif. After their performance, these amateur comedians spoke about the place of humour in their life. OPL partnered with the Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario (ACFO) to make this event possible.

    • Collaborated with the Canadian War Museum to showcase two storytelling events that celebrated the Alaska Highway’s 75th anniversary. In The Alaska Highway Road Show, performers Bill Dolan, Allison Tubman, and Kathy Jessup, weaved stories, music, photos, and artifacts to present an entertaining look back at the highway's dramatic history. The same trio also performed Alaska Highway Detours, an interactive cafe-style evening of stories, music, photos, and artifacts about the famous wartime route.

  • Reached out to the community to raise awareness of the OPL and promote its many services and offerings at seven transit hubs (Baseline, Eagleson, Fallowfield, Hurdman, MacKenzie King, and Orleans) and at all 33 branches. Distributed 4,700 limited-edition book bags to customers in appreciation of their use and support of the OPL, surprising and delighting them with an OPL-designed, themed book bag. In addition to the stories in the books the bag is designed to carry, the upcycled denim This bag has a story bag was made by a local non-profit workshop dedicated to building the skills of new Canadians and immigrant women. The bag had a key role in the success of Library Month 2017 and has become a sought-after item.
  • Registered 23,851 kids for the TD Summer Reading Club, which represents an 8% increase from 2016. Children reported reading 280,975 books, which is 7% more than in 2016. OPL is a leading participant in this national library program that aims to sustain learning and reading over the summer months and prevent any "summer slide" that can occur when students are out of school for two months.

Foster community partnerships

  • Continued food literacy programming as part of the à la carte food literacy project—collaborating with partners such as Ottawa Public Health, MarketMobile, Ottawa International Writers Festival, Just Food and Parkdale Food Centre—to present a wide menu of author talks, gardening programs, and chef-led demonstrations. The partnership approach involved significant grassroots outreach to build links and create a network of resources to support better skills and knowledge regarding the food we buy, prepare, grow, and eat. Enthusiasm around the program is growing and continuously sprouting new potential collaborations. The program was made possible with a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport’s Ontario Libraries Capacity Fund.

  • Signed partnership agreements with six residences for homebound customers to hold mini-library locations. OPL now visits 54 institutions every month.

  • Signed partnership agreements with community organizations for 10 bookmobile stop locations as OPL adapts to growth, movement, and demand in communities across the city.

  • Nominated for the 2017 City Manager’s Award of Distinction in the category of Collaboration and Relationship Building-Embodiment of One City, One Team Vision for the work done on "Minecraft: Build up your Neighbourhood into a Healthy Community" initiative, which was done in partnership with Ottawa Public Health and enthusiastically attended by young customers. This program aligned perfectly with the OPL’s mission. It helped connect Minecraft players with other OPL resources and services, and supported Ottawa Public Health, one of OPL’s long-time partners, in their efforts to increase present and future community engagement.

Align Library services in support of customer needs

  • Met with more than 125 customers and non-customers to get a better understanding of their wants and needs, as part of OPL’s development of its 2019-2022 Strategic Directions and Priorities. In particular, OPL sought  Ottawans’ thoughts about the role that OPL can play in their future. Throughout these conversations, OPL gained insights into some of its customers that will be tested with the broader community via social media in early 2018.

  • Presented for the first time at OPL, Family Storytime performed by a Drag Queen and a Drag King, at the Main branch during Pride Week. It was a joyful event that shone as a highlight among the many Capital Pride activities that week. Families gathered to pack more than 200 people in the Children’s area for the lively reading of two children’s books about learning to be yourself. This is an excellent example of how OPL strives to create inclusive and diverse atmospheres for the community, through its spaces, programs, and collections.

  • Surveyed customers for input and feedback as part of the long-term objective to optimize the allocation of open hours across OPL branches, in order to meet community needs and interests within existing resources.

  • Piloted changes to Bookmobile stops on a trial basis starting in Summer 2017. These trial changes will allow OPL to evaluate potential responses to evolving community needs and determine the most effective coverage for underserved areas.

  • Hosted five "Aging by the Book" reading circles for adults 55+ in five locations, including three OPL branches and two retirement residences. OPL expanded these literary reading circles in 2017, which have proven very popular since they started at OPL in 2012.

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7600,000 public workstation sessions



97% Parents say TDSRC helped kids read better!



32,840 Express eBooks borrowed



14,900 hours of employee training



5.3 million items we transporte between branches

Stories - Image

Customers’ Stories

"I have my own thoughts about #Canada150, but I will say this: @opl_bpo pulled together a wonderful series of events spanning a variety of mediums throughout the year. Truly inspiring! Storytelling is where it’s at whether on stage, on the page, in music and song, or at a museum."

Audrey and her ukulele. I love that the @opl_bpo is now lending out ukuleles! What a great city! @wirecrats

« Vraiment, vraiment impressionné par la section des enfants. Mon fils a passé presque 40 minutes à feuilleter les livres français! Bravo @opl_bpo! #613biblio #613libraries #NorthGloucester »

Michelle [a Librarian for Teen Services] was very helpful to me in finding a job. I got an interview because of her help. She was wonderful!

"You have one of the most sophisticated, user friendly [websites] I have encountered in any library. Kudos to the people who designed it and the people who maintain it. The site is very easy to use and I found all of the information that I wanted to access without any problem. Your website creators, coders, and editors actually made it user-friendly, and there are a lot of commercial establishments that should follow your lead!"

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"I love the number of displays that are added [at the Main branch], it helps bring out some real treasures from the collection. The library really gets customer service in a way that most organizations don’t. I’ve been coming here for many years and always felt that the staff provides excellent customer service, treats everyone from all backgrounds and all parts of the community with respect."

I have to commend you on an excellent job. Your efforts have been very much appreciated. The Talking Book Service is an incredibly important aspect of my father’s day. Once again, many thanks!

« Récemment arrivée à Ottawa, je suis allée m’inscrire à la succursale de @opl_bpo d’Alta Vista et j’ai reçu un service extraordinaire! »

Our son Paul enjoyed the creative atmosphere, the challenge of a new learning situation, and the personal attention/instruction that staff provided. Thank you for again providing a positive learning project!

"I think the thing I appreciated most as an older person often baffled by technology was Suzanne’s [an OPL employee] unpatronizing attitude and her clarity. I was a teacher and I wish I had been as prepared, clear, and helpful as Suzanne when I taught. We are lucky to have her in our library."


Thank You - Image

Thank You

The Ottawa Public Library sincerely thanks and recognizes the individuals and organizations who generously gave their support in 2017, either through donation or by partnering with OPL to deliver programs or services.

  • A.P.E. Bingo Horizon Jeunesse
  • Alavida Lifestyles
  • All Seniors Care Living Centres
  • Andrea Mein Memorial Fund
  • Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario
  • Association francophone pour le savoir
  • Bank of Montreal
  • Baxter Family Child's Fund
  • British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa
  • Brown’s Your Independent Grocer
  • BTC Environmental Inc.
  • Burton Charitable Foundation
  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre
  • Canadian War Museum
  • Carleton University - Archives and Research Collections
  • Carleton University - Faculty of Engineering and Design and Faculty of Science
  • Carleton University’s Disability Research Group
  • CBC Ottawa
  • Centre for Equitable Library Access
  • Centrepointe Theatres
  • Chartwell Retirement Homes
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • City of Ottawa
  • City of Ottawa Archives
  • City of Ottawa Museums
  • Club Optimiste de Vanier
  • CNIB Ottawa (Canadian National Institute for the Blind)
  • Computer Wise
  • Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est
  • Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario
  • Council on Aging
  • Council on Aging
  • David’s Tea
  • Des Jardins Cooperative d’Appartements Ltd.
  • Diefenbooker Fundraiser (West Carleton Branch)
  • Diefenbunker
  • Dovercourt Recreation
  • Éditions David
  • Équipe de Gestion Corporative du CCIE
  • First Words / Premier mots
  • Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association
  • Frontier College
  • Good Companions Seniors’ Centre
  • Great Canadian Theatre Company
  • Growing up Organic
  • Gunther and Inga Abrahamson Fund
  • Ingenium
  • Invest Ottawa
  • Joy Maclaren Fund
  • JustFood
  • Justice Canada
  • Kids Code Jeunesse
  • Let’s Talk Science 
  • Let’s Talk Energy
  • Manotick Kiwanis
  • MarketMobile
  • Multicultural Arts for Schools and Communities
  • Munster Community Association

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  • Muséoparc Vanier
  • National Arts Centre
  • National Capital Commission
  • National Film Board
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Ontario Genealogical Society (Ottawa branch)
  • Ontario Libraries Capacity Fund
  • Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport
  • Operation Come Home
  • Ottawa Art Gallery
  • Ottawa Asian Heritage Society
  • Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
  • Ottawa Catholic School Board
  • Ottawa Community Coalition for Literacy
  • Ottawa Community Foundation
  • Ottawa Community Housing
  • Ottawa Community Loan Fund
  • Ottawa Fire Services
  • Ottawa International Writers Festival
  • Ottawa PC Users Group
  • Ottawa Public Health
  • Parkdale Food Centre
  • Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre
  • Prosper Canada
  • Rag and Bone Puppet Theatre
  • Redwoods Retirement Living
  • Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la Capitale nationale
  • Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité
  • Revera Alta Vista
  • Revera Retirement Homes
  • Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre
  • Ridgemont High School
  • Riverstone Retirement Communities
  • Rockcliffe Park Residents Association
  • Royal Canadian Legion - Bells Corners Branch 593 
  • SAW Video
  • Scientists in School
  • Service Ontario Employment Centres
  • SmartLibrary / BiblioGéniale
  • Southern Ontario Library Service
  • Sun Life Financial Group
  • TD Canada Trust
  • The War Amps
  • TVOntario
  • UEL Association - Sir Guy Carleton Branch
  • Unitarian House
  • United Way / Centraide Ottawa
  • University of Ottawa - Faculty of Engineering
  • University of Ottawa Library
  • USC Canada
  • Vivien Bennet Memorial Fund
  • West Carleton Arts Society
  • Wizard’s Tower
  • World Skills
  • WPBS-TV (Watertown)
  • Young Authors and Illustrators Conference
  • Youth Active Media
Friends of the Ottawa Public Library - Section

A Word from the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association

Message from the President, Chantal Cloutier

The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA) was created 15 years ago from the amalgamation of three prior library friends’ groups, all of whom believed in the incredible value and importance of Ottawa’s public libraries. As Library customers ourselves, we know that we are lucky to enjoy one of North America’s most efficient public library systems.

As we mark our anniversary this year, we are proud to look back at 15 years of volunteer fundraising efforts that have seen us donate more than $3 million to the Ottawa Public Library (OPL). In support of our donations, FOPLA’s operations and volunteer hours have increased considerably. We intend to continue growing our support of OPL and the exciting new ventures the library is planning to undertake.

FOPLA will also continue to advocate for OPL’s programs and services, which are so vital to improving literacy and accessibility to education in our community. Our mission is to lead a community of Library friends in support of the Ottawa Public Library, and we hope to do just that for another 15 successful years.


  • FOPLA donated $360,000 to OPL in 2017, which is FOPLA’s largest single donation to OPL to date. FOPLA has donated more than $3M to OPL since 2003;

  • FOPLA funds donated to OPL in 2017 were used to purchase furniture, equipment, and outreach materials, and supported programming such as the sessions about the residential school experience, as part of OPL’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action;

  • FOPLA sponsored the OPL’s Awesome Authors youth writing contest and published the winning entries in the eleventh edition of the pot-pourri anthology;

  • FOPLA sponsored OPL Canada150 events such as the Dominion Day Strawberry Social; and,

  • FOPLA launched its new branding and a revitalized, user-friendly website in 2017.

For more information on how to get involved with FOPLA, visit,

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Statement of Revenue and Expenditures - Image

Statement of Revenue and Expenditures

OPL closed its 2017 financial books with a $60,000 surplus. The surplus is thanks in large part to the City of Ottawa, grant programs offered through The Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, and higher than anticipated revenues from rentals and fees. In 2017, the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association once again provided greatly appreciated funding to offset necessary expenditures for furniture and programming materials.


Revenues (In Dollars)



City of Ottawa

$ 45,355,510

$ 46,704,500


$ 1,234,001

$ 1,237,201

Province of Ontario

$ 1,541,234

$ 1,626,949


$ 655,315

$ 874,300

Rental Income

$ 539,833

$ 503,749

Government of Canada

$ 75,651

$ 24,599

Total Revenues

$ 49,401,544

$ 50,971,298





Salaries & Benefits

$ 33,107,547

$ 34,094,998

Library Materials

$ 5,055,309

$ 5,298,864

Purchased Services

$ 2,919,068

$ 2,396,075

Materials & Supplies

$ 554,165

$ 2,197,635

Program Facility Costs

$ 4,352,530

$ 4,570,897

Transfer to Capital

$ 3,305,000

$ 2,350,000

Total Expenditures

$ 49,293,619

$ 50,908,469

*Please note: the Annual Report does not represent the official annual financial report which is issued separately pending the annual audit.


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