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2018 Annual Report

Three Kids dressed for winter - One has golden ticket

OPL Board

(to December 11, 2018)

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


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OPL Senior Management


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

Every 2.7 seconds an item was borrowed or renewed at OPL11.7 million items borrowed

OPL's Board Chair - Tim Tierney and CEO - Danielle McDonald

Messages from OPL's Board Chair and CEO

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

Reflecting on my first term as OPL Board Chair, I feel enormous pride for what the OPL employees and Board have accomplished in the last year. 2018 was truly a golden year as OPL moved ahead on a pre-eminent project for a new central library. It was an important year for further aligning the organization around public library values such as access, inclusion, service excellence; and for championing the Library and the tremendous value it brings to residents.

The Implementation plan for the Central Library, approved in June, was a gold-medal achievement. It established the historic partnership between OPL and Library and Archives Canada on an iconic joint facility; it endorsed a funding strategy that includes the use of specific OPL assets and reserve funds; and Council delegated the project management to the City of Ottawa's City Manager to ensure streamlined expertise in this high-profile municipal-federal building project.

More than ever, advocacy is a top priority for the OPL Board, at a time when the demands on public library resources are intensifying and diversifying. There was some progress in the ongoing national coalition campaign for fair eBook and eContent pricing from multinational publishers, in which OPL has taken a leading role. The Board has underpinned OPL’s influence and leadership in provincial, national, and in some cases international library organizations; and added OPL’s voice to high-level conversations on vital topics such as, smart cities, the creative economy, and community development.

Importantly, the Board helped guide OPL’s response to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, to ensure OPL can support and advance meaningful reconciliation.

I hear from people across the City about how precious the Library is to them, their family, their friends, their future. I am incredibly fortunate to be serving as OPL Board Chair for the next term, and I know that OPL will continue to lead on many fronts, such as forging new ways of delivering library services and programs that foster success in our city, and contributing valuably to the exciting reinvention of public libraries.


A Message from Danielle McDonald, Chief Executive Officer

It has been an astounding year for Ottawa Public Library. We shone brightly on so many levels and I am incredibly proud of the entire OPL team. We surpassed ourselves by creating innovative collections, programs and spaces, and driven to continuously improve our offerings and operations, we extended the Library’s reach far beyond its walls and deeper into the community.

Amongst this year’s gleaming achievements is the ULC innovation Award OPL received for the introduction of Express eBooks. OPL was the first public library in Canada – and among the first anywhere – to offer this service. The Express eBook service expanded choice and availability of OPL collections and enhanced service to customers.

We are so pleased with the progress made on the OPL-LAC Joint Facility in 2018. Every step forward on this project is a step closer to the unique cultural hub for learning and innovation that this facility will be.

OPL merits a gold star for its showcase event of the year, Tales and Tunes, the wonderfully successful family fun day, in July, that featured Canada’s favourite family entertainer, Fred Penner. By organizing inclusive events that bring people together to learn, share, play, create, and have fun, OPL strengthens the fabric of our community and contributes to the success of our city.

Perhaps where we shone brightest was in strengthening valuable, beneficial partnerships with leaders such as Library and Archives Canada, the Ottawa International Writers Festival, CBC Ottawa, the National Arts Centre, and many others. By collaborating with these exceptional organizations to present high-calibre programs and events, we further our mission to inspire learning, spark curiosity and connect people, while polishing and promoting OPL`s reach.

2018 was truly a Golden Year, and with major milestones ahead on the new joint facility between OPL and Library and Archives Canada, as well as the upcoming Rosemount branch revitalization, the future looks even brighter.

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Weight of OPL books in black bears - 2,635 black bears14,888 Imagine Space visits

Closeup of musician playing in front of audience at outdoor concert


ULC Top Innovator Prize

The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) recognized OPL as one of 10 Top Innovators in 2018 for its Express eBooks platform. There was a total of 220 submissions in 10 categories for the coveted title of Top Innovator. OPL won in the category of “Collections that demonstrate the value and impact of public library service” for being the first public library in Canada – and among the first in North America – to introduce an Express eBook service.


Danielle McDonald with ULC Top Innovator Prize

More OPL cardholders

OPL saw an eight percent increase in the number of active cardholders in 2018, compared to 2017. This is the highest annual growth the Library has seen in the last five years. In 2017, there were 220,071 active cardholders in Ottawa, and in 2018, that number jumped to 237,567. An active cardholder is defined as a customer who used any of the Library services in the last 12 months. This includes accessing the OPL’s online resources, registering for a program, or borrowing a collection item, among others.


Banner with child holding an OPL card

Tales and Tunes

In July, OPL hosted a full day of family fun at the Nepean Centrepointe branch in Ben Franklin Place, entitled Tales and Tunes. This was an all ages, large-scale event, featuring numerous activities to highlight the Library’s important place in the community. OPL services and resources in imaginative and engaging ways, the wide range of literacies that can be explored and supported at OPL. The event attracted approximately 4,000 attendees, and presented legendary Canadian children’s performer, Fred Penner, as special musical guest. (See image above of Fred Penner with the crowd)


Closeup of audience at Tales and Tunes concert

Solidifying partnerships

2018 was a remarkable year of joint programming with high-profile and established organizations in Ottawa, including Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and the Ottawa International Writers Festival. Through these valuable partnerships, OPL was able to enrich the lives of Ottawans by offering free author events and book launches that educated and raised awareness about certain issues, while also captivating audiences. Authors such as Chef Marc Lepine (Atelier Cookbook), Elizabeth Hay (All Things Consoled), and Dr. Dave Williams (Defying Limits: Lessons from the Edge of the Universe) took the stage and enthralled full houses with their ideas and magnetism.


Round table discussion in front of audience

OPL-LAC Joint Facility

The project to develop a new OPL Central Library made great strides in 2018, including funding approval by the OPL Board and City Council, funding approval by the Government of Canada for the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) portion of the joint facility, and the selection of the architects who will design the new facility – world-renowned Diamond Schmitt Architects and Ottawa-based KWC Architects.


Group of people in front of OPL-LAC Joint Facility Sign

Golden Ticket campaign for Library Month

The 2018 Library Month Campaign focused on hiding Golden Tickets in all OPL branches, as well as in communities across Ottawa. Every Golden Ticket was redeemable for a striking, high-quality, locally-handmade OPL book bag. Local Ottawa celebrities participated in the campaign, which helped increase OPL’s social media presence, and drove the number of Library cards created in October higher than any other month in the year.



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Two older women holding OPL Book Bags


Golden Ticket


Golden Ticket


23,533 participants TD-Summer Reading Club

6,487 hours booked on Imagine Space equipment
Key Accomplishments Banner - Three men on Stage

Key Accomplishments

Services that are customer centric

Act as a catalyst for exploration and discovery

  • Continued to increase awareness of the Residential School experience by hosting Residential school survivor and Inuvialuit author Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and her daughter in law Kristy Jordan-Fenton, who gave numerous presentations to students and the public. OPL established virtual Q&A sessions via Skype where students could connect directly with the authors of their book Fatty Legs, an account of Margaret’s experience in a Residential School.

  • Increased awareness of Indigenous art, culture and literature by presenting programs by Indigenous authors and artists: Deborah Kigjugalik Webster, David Alexander Robertson, Darrel J. McLeod, Tom Wilson, Lana Whiskeyjack, Beth Wishart MacKenzie, Louis-Karl Picard-Sioui, Andrée Lévesque-Sioui, Maya Cousineau Mollen, Dave Jennis, Sylvain Rivard, and Guy Sioui-Durant.

  • Collaborated with CBC Ottawa and the National Arts Centre for an evening of stimulating conversation about fake news and misinformation and the state of media today. Are you getting the full story? was a panel discussion about the risks and challenges of consuming news in the “post-truth” era of “alternative facts” and multimedia information overload. The event was moderated by Adrian Harewood of CBC Ottawa and the panelists were:

    • Robert Fife, Ottawa Bureau Chief of The Globe and Mail

    • Chris Dornan, professor at Carleton University School of Journalism and Communications

    • Kathryn Hill, Executive Director of MediaSmarts

    • Chris Carter, Senior Producer, CBC Politics

    • Judy Trinh, CBC Ottawa Reporter

  • Served hearty portions of à la carte food literacy programming such as an event with Jan Wong, author of Apron Strings: Navigating Food and Family in France, Italy, and China and Jackie Kai Ellis, author of The Measure of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery, and Paris. Continued food literacy discovery, in line with popular DIY food trends, offering the following workshops: Instant Pot for the Holidays, Sushi Making, and Culture Kombucha.

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

  • Made the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) audiobooks easier to access by expanding the collection to nine OPL branches. DAISY audiobooks can be borrowed by any person with a disability that prevents them from reading conventional print material. Previously, DAISY audiobooks could only be requested or pre-selected for customers already registered for the service. This change makes the collection much easier to access for people who need it and brings awarenesss to customers who could benefit from this accessible collection.

  • Offered more accessible reading formats by expanding the collection of Braille materials to the Beaverbrook, Elmvale Acres, and Nepean Centrepointe branches; and refreshing the collection at the Main branch. These include board books, picture books, and early reader materials that can be enjoyed by families with a sighted reader and a child with vision loss, or vice versa.

  • Conducted research to select the best books geared toward adult readers suffering from Dementia and purchased the series Pictures to Share. These large books, in their themes and presentation, aim to provide memory therapy for a growing segment of the population. 

  • Responded to customer demand by establishing a Chinese eReading Room where customers can access approximately 200 eBooks and eAudiobooks for adults and children, in either simple or traditional Chinese written characters. This is a pilot project to assess interest in Chinese electronic reading materials.

  • Launched a Children’s eReading Room, where children and parents can access youth-only materials. This access point allows for customized “display carrousels” of material chosen by selectors that directly relate to a specific community or topic. Examples include displays of digital titles for Pride and for Holiday Reading.

  • Addressed gaps and responded to the growing demand for eAudiobooks by negotiating the purchase of exclusive titles from supplier Recorded Books that would complement OPL’s main OverDrive collection. This added important Canadian literary fiction, as well as key juvenile and teen authors.

  • Increased selection of French eContent with addition of more than 25 popular magazines including Paris Match, Art & Décoration, and Lire.

Enhance the customer experience by leveraging best practices and technology

  • Made it easier for customers to use OPL collections and services by changing fees and loan periods.

    • Overdue fees for children and adult items were reduced.

    • Unlimited renewals made available on all regular items.  

    • Loan periods were simplified and made consistent across all formats. 

  • Introduced a $1 fee when a customer does not cancel or pick up a hold or Interlibrary loan within the week before expiry. OPL saw a 63 percent decrease in the number of expired holds, from November 2017 to November 2018, meaning customers had shorter wait times for popular materials.

  • Launched the WiFi Hotspot pilot project to help bridge the digital divide, which provides internet access to underserved communities where only 10 percent of households have internet access at home. The pilot project saw 75 hotspots loaned to customers who had been referred to OPL by Ottawa Community Housing and Ottawa Community & Social Services. The pilot was extended into 2019 to gather more data and feedback to ensure that any continuation of the program will have a beneficial impact. 

  • Improved timelines and tracking for responding to customer requests and inquiries by introducing a new online ticketing system that allows employees to more efficiently serve customers. The implementation of the ticketing system has allowed OPL to automate some repetitive tasks and be more efficient. This allows employees to respond more quickly and consistently to inquiries from our clients.

  • Enhanced and expanded customers’ experience by providing the opportunity to explore the latest in Virtual Reality (VR) technology at VR stations in five branches. The stations include HTC Vives at the Greenboro and North Gloucester branches, PS4 VRs at the Carlingwood and Stittsville branches, and an Occulus Rift at the Cumberland branch. VR and gaming stations are tools leveraged by public libraries to provide access to new and emerging technologies, and support literacy through gaming in adults and children. 


1.86 million items in the collection

13.2 million website visits


Spaces for community, collections, and creation

Develop an inclusive, dynamic Central Library enabling creation and learning

  • Reached key milestones for the OPL-LAC Joint Facility: 

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

    • May 2018: 33 submissions received in the Request for Quotation (RFQ) for design services was shortlisted to five firms who were invited to participate in a Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

    • June 2018: received OPL Board and City Council approval for the implementation plan for the OPL-LAC Joint Facility, including confirmed funding. 

    • December 2018: Design contract awarded to Diamond Schmitt Architects working with Ottawa-based KWC Architects.

Sustain collaborative and flexible physical spaces across the Library system

  • Celebrated the Rosemount branch’s 100th anniversary. The centennial marked a major milestone for the busy and popular branch serving the Hintonburg community, and set the stage for the Rosemount Revitalization project, which is planned for 2019-2020.

  • Completed the final phase of shelving-height-reduction at the Sunnyside branch, and the first phase at the Orléans branch. Reducing the height of shelving enhances the appearance and functionality of shared spaces, opens up the branch to more natural light, and improves wayfinding and security for customers and employees. This improvement has been made at more than half of OPL branches and the remaining branches will be completed over the next three years. Such improvements are implemented with other facility upgrades to minimize disruption to collections and services, and in the most cost and time effective way possible. 

  • Piloted new signage for all-gender washrooms. The signage will be installed across all applicable public washrooms in 2019.

Design virtual spaces for creation and sharing

  • Highlighted reading suggestions from the collection in a new employee-curated feature called We Recommend, presented front-and-centre on the OPL website. Customers can browse lists about specific subjects, items pertaining to current events, or book recommendations similar to the genre or style of some of OPL’s most popular books. It serves to highlight the passion and expertise of OPL employees and reinforces the Library’s role as a source for reading suggestions, information, and inspiration.

  • Built on the success of the Imagine Space by launching Imagine Labs, along with associated web pages, to offer creativity tools in other branches. 

    • OPL introduced a digital music editing lab to the Ruth E. Dickinson branch for digital music creation, editing and music composition. Teen and other customers came together with local musicians to inaugurate the Lab and set the tone for a new creative community to grow around the exciting new resource.

    • Launched a Digitization Lab at the Beaverbrook branch, offering such tools as
        •  a high-quality photo scanner and printer
        •  a VHS-to-DVD converter and
        •  an 8mm film-to-digital scanner. 

    • Customers can learn to use these digital tools to preserve historical photos, documents, objects or digitize old photographs, slides, negatives, VHS and 8mm film, and more.

Downloads & streaming 2.33 million2.89 million holds placed

Group of people playing with new cardholder cut out

Success through learning, literacy and innovation

Strengthen and promote the Library’s reach and value

  • Won the Minister’s Award for Innovation in the Large Library Category at the Ontario Public Library Service Awards for the à la carte Food Literacy Project. This initiative makes food literacy a part of OPL’s diverse programming and positions the Library as a key community resource and partner for accessible food-related information and programming that can lead to health, economic, and social benefits.

  • Introduced OPL’s First Library Card campaign, which invites customers to take a photo with a giant, colourful, Library card and photo frame (see image above). This initiative helps OPL promote and celebrate Library use through the sharing of photos and interaction on social media. 

  • Complemented the musical instrument collection and music literacy resources with programs such as ukulele workshops, pop-up choirs, a drag queen holiday sing-along, folk music workshops, Girls Rock workshops, songwriting workshops, and more.

Foster community partnerships

  • Partnered with Woodroffe High School’s General Learning Program that focuses on teens with intellectual disabilities. The teens learn life skills by growing and selling crops from the Carlingwood branch’s grow tower. The students grew leafy greens and sold them at the Carlingwood Mall YMCA to raise money for a student trip. OPL introduced five grow towers in four branches as part of its flourishing food literacy programme à la carte. The initiative has taken root and nourished numerous community collaborations. 

  • Partnered with the Ottawa International Writers Festival and the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA) to offer a well-attended author event with two Indigenous authors as part of OPL’s response to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action: Tom Wilson (Beautiful Scars) and Darrel J. McLeod (Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age)

  • Partnered with Les Éditions David to celebrate Franco-Ontarian literature by organizing a 5 à 7 Littéraire event at La Nouvelle Scène in Lowertown featuring authors Yvon Malette, Michelle Deshaie, Jean-Claude Larocque, and Denis Sauvé. 

  • Partnered with Library and Archives Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada to put on Bingo littéraire Kwahiatonhk, a literary show and interactive game that showcased French Indigenous literature in a festive and humorous atmosphere.

Align Library services in support of customer needs

  • Offered wildly popular Instant Pot programs throughout the year, which saw live demonstrations given by chefs, followed by an audience Q&A. These programs were developed in response to a huge demand for Instant Pot cookbooks from the OPL collection. 

  • Participated in key City events and celebrations, by providing programs relating to Family Literacy Day, Capital Pride Week, Digital Inclusion Week, Media Literacy Week, Financial Literacy Month, Jour des Franco-Ontariens, the municipal election (civic literacy programming), Poetry Month, National Canadian Film Day, Celebrating Cultures, Make a Will Month, and others.

  • Completed a community consultation and engagement process to guide the revitalization of the Rosemount branch. Close to 800 people participated in the four-month multi-faceted engagement process. The final design responds to needs expressed by customers: more places to sit, read, work and meet, improved connectivity, dedicated spaces for children and teens, bookable meeting rooms, enhancements of the building’s heritage character, and improved outdoor spaces while addressing accessibility and sustainability. 

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Transported 4.95 million items4.16 million in-person visits

Customers’ Experiences - Banner - Woman and Man having a discussion

Customers’ Experiences

"Wow I love the library. I can access Ancestry’s database for free from here! And I can also set up a genealogy appointment with someone to discuss how to start researching my ancestry! Makes my search seem more doable. I ♥ you OPL."

From a long-time Homebound customer: “Thank you for all your kindness and compassion now and through the years. I really appreciate the books every month."

"My entire community of parents as a new mom was formed at the OPL. I just attended a birthday party yesterday for one of the Babytime families I met. Seven years and still growing together."

Every time I’m at OPL, I’m blown away by the number of services that are available – books, instruments, telescopes, 3D printing. The future is here, and apparently, it’s available to borrow from the library.

"When I first became a single mom, I had been at home with my children for three years. I suddenly had no job, no money or credit. I relied on OPL to research family programs, print resumes, correspond with health care providers, etc. Vital service. Thankful." 

"The Library is easily one of my favourite City Services."

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"TODAY’S THE DAY. OPL implements all their amazing new client-centric policies [on changes to fees and loan periods]. “There will be unlimited renewals on regular items unless the item has been requested by another customer” is my favourite. Huzzah!!"

There is something so fun about going to OPL straight to a shelf where I know a book is waiting for me with my name on it!

"Libraries help me buy books that are good. Libraries are a place of special spirits." 

Love that I can find books at OPL for my girls to teach them to love themselves and others as they are.

"Shout out to OPL for their excellent audiobook and eBook collection – I’m never short on great reads!"


731,000 public workstation sessions14,800 programs offered

Parents and Children enjoing a performance at the NAC

Thank You

Ottawa Public Library would like to thank and recognize the individuals and organizations who generously gave their support in 2018, either through donation or by partnering with OPL to deliver programs or services.

  • Adult and Family Literacy
  • Agilec 
  • Algonquin College Applied Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship 
  • Alzheimers Society
  • Andrea Mein Memorial Fund
  • A.P.E. Bingo Horizon Jeunesse
  • Arts Network Ottawa
  • Bank of Montreal
  • Baxter Family Child's Fund
  • British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa
  • BTC Environmental Inc.
  • Burton Charitable Foundation
  • CBC Ottawa
  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre
  • Canada Aviation and Space Museum
  • Canada Science and Technology Museum
  • Carleton University – Faculty of Engineering and Design and Faculty of Science
  • Carleton University Library
  • Centre 454
  • Centre for Equitable Library Access 
  • Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada Speakers Bureau 
  • City of Ottawa
  • City of Ottawa Archives
  • City of Ottawa Museums
  • Club Optimiste de Vanier
  • CNIB Ottawa
  • Collab Space 
  • Community Employment Resource Centre
  • Communication jeunesse
  • Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est
  • Council on Aging
  • Credit Counselling Society 
  • Diefenbooker Fundraiser (West Carleton Branch)
  • Dovercourt Recreation
  • Edward Jones Canada
  • Équipe de Gestion Corporative du CCIE
  • First Words 
  • Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association
  • Frontier College
  • Good Companions Seniors’ Centre
  • Great Canadian Theatre Company 
  • Gunther and Inga Abrahamson Fund
  • Hunt Club-Riverside Park Community Centre
  • Huntley Township Society
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Ingenium 
  • In-TAC Accounting and Taxation Services
  • Invest Ottawa
  • Jewish Family Services of Ottawa
  • Joy Maclaren Fund
  • Justice Canada
  • Kanata Chinese Seniors Centre
  • Kids Code Jeunesse
  • La Cité des affaires
  • Lebanese and Arab Social Services Agency
  • Library and Archives Canada

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  • Manotick Kiwanis
  • Meridian Theatres @ Centrepointe
  • Multicultural Arts for Schools and Communities
  • Munster Community Association
  • National Arts Centre
  • Ontario Bar Association Speakers Bureau 
  • Ontario Genealogical Society (Ottawa branch)
  • Ontario Libraries Capacity Fund
  • Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport
  • Open Democracy Project 
  • Ottawa Art Gallery
  • Ottawa Asian Heritage Society
  • Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre
  • Ottawa Community Foundation
  • Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization
  • Ottawa Community Loan Fund 
  • Ottawa Fire Services
  • Ottawa International Writers Festival
  • Ottawa PC Users Group
  • Ottawa Public Health
  • Ottawa Therapy Dogs 
  • Ottawa West Community Robotics
  • Parkdale Food Centre
  • Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité
  • Rideau Ottawa Valley Learning Network  
  • Rockcliffe Park Residents Association
  • Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Ottawa 
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Royal Canadian Legion - Bells Corners Branch 593  
  • SAW Video
  • Service Ontario Employment Centres
  • SmartLibrary 
  • Southern Ontario Library Service
  • St. Lawrence College Employment Services 
  • Sun Life Financial Group
  • Synapcity 
  • TD Canada Trust
  • TVOntario
  • UEL Association – Sir Guy Carleton Branch
  • United Way 
  • University of Ottawa Library
  • University of Ottawa – Faculty of Engineering
  • Urban Legends Poetry Collective
  • Vivien Bennet Memorial Fund
  • The War Amps
  • The Well 
  • West Carleton Arts Society
  • Woodroffe High School’s General Learning Program
  • World Skills Employment Centre
  • WPBS-TV (Watertown)
  • Young Authors and Illustrators Conference
  • Youth Active Media
  • Youth Services Bureau 

306,839 program attendees12,602 hours employee training

Friends of the Ottawa Public Library - Banner - Book Store Sign

A Word from the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association

Message from the President, Vlad Uher

The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association, or FOPLA, is a registered charity that proudly supports Ottawa Public Library through fundraising and advocacy. With the help of more than 300 volunteers, we sell used books, movies, and music in library branches across the city.  

If you have purchased a used book or DVD at your local branch, then you have already helped us support OPL to the tune of more than $3.2 million over the last sixteen years. These funds enhance the programming and services that OPL offers to our community each year, by helping to purchase new furniture, equipment, and materials, or by funding special events and programs.  

We think of ourselves as OPL’s number one supporter, so we are confident in saying that 2018 was an exciting year for library customers in Ottawa. Ottawa Public Library continued its tradition of innovative programming designed to push the definition of library services into the twenty-first century and beyond. 

Customers participated in OPL’s award-winning à la carte food literacy initiative and learned to make kombucha or use an Instant Pot. Sci-fi and fantasy lovers donned cosplay and nerded out with OPL at Ottawa Comiccon. Burgeoning sound editors mixed their own tracks at the Ruth E. Dickinson branch’s new sound editing lab. These programs, and more, were supported by FOPLA. 

We already know the incredible value offered by our public libraries, and the offerings inside your local branch are going to get even more exciting in 2019. When they do, we will be right there alongside Ottawa Public Library waving our flag of support. 


  • Donated $375,000 to OPL in 2018, which is once again our largest donation to date! 

  • Donated funds to OPL in 2018 were used to purchase furniture, equipment, and outreach materials, and supported programming such as the newly opened music editing lab at the Ruth E. Dickinson branch.

  • Sponsored OPL’s Awesome Authors youth writing contest and published the winning entries in the twelfth edition of the pot-pourri anthology.

  • Sponsored OPL’s Tales and Tunes family fun day, once again supporting a popular and fast-growing community event. 

  • Upgraded several of our FOPLA used bookstores in OPL branches and added a new location, including the original store at the Main branch.

For more details on how to get involved or donate to FOPLA, visit

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7,402 teen volunteer hours74 online databases

Women and three children holding Golden Tickets

Statement of Revenue and Expenditures

At the end of the 2018 fiscal year, OPL closed its financial books in a surplus. The $35,000 surplus is due in large part to selective purchases of external services, underspending in compensation, and financial support from external sources. A special thanks to the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA), the Ottawa Community Foundation, and numerous corporate and private donors who help to offset materials and supplies expenditures while augmenting the acquisition of furniture and program supplies to enhance customer experiences at OPL locations.


Revenues (In Dollars)



City of Ottawa

$ 46,704,500

$ 48,831,640

Fines and Other Fees

$ 1,237,201

$ 1,524,663

Province of Ontario

$ 1,626,949

$ 1,498,673


$ 874,300

$ 325,000

Rental Income

$ 503,749

$ 380,146

Government of Canada

$ 24,599

$ 1,944

Total Revenues

$ 50,971,298

$ 52,562,068





Salaries & Benefits

$ 34,094,998

$ 34,868,313

Library Materials

$ 5,298,864

$ 5,282,169

Purchased Services

$ 2,396,075

$ 2,385,012

Materials & Supplies

$ 2,197,635

$ 2,395,626

Program Facility Costs

$ 4,570,897

$ 4,533,959

Transfer to Capital

$ 2,350,000

$ 3,060,000

Total Expenditures

$ 50,908,469

$ 52,525,080

Surplus / (Deficit)

$ 62,829

$ 36,987

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

Ottawa Public Library

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