• Current In-Person Services


    22 of our branches and the Bookmobile are open for modified services at this time. For details on our current in-person services, visit: https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/current-branch-services.

    Visit our Hours and Locations page for our current branch hours and our Bookmobile page for the current Bookmobile schedule.

    MANDATORY:  Masks are required to be worn inside Ottawa Public Library branches, as per theTemporary Mandatory Mask By-law. Customers who are not wearing masks will not be allowed inside branches. Exceptions apply for people with medical exemptions.

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The Barbers: an Ottawa Family History


Born a slave in Kentucky in 1848, Paul Barber learned to train and care for horses on his owner’s farms.  By the time he came to Ottawa in the late 1880s, he was a highly skilled horseman who was sought out by the city’s élites to train their prized horses.  Barber became one of Ottawa’s first Black permanent residents. His marriage in 1892 to Elizabeth Brown of Renfrew is the first known interracial marriage in the city.  Settling in Sandy Hill, the Barbers had five children, and their descendants thrive in Ottawa to this day.  In 2016, a section of Clarence Street in Lowertown was renamed Barber Street in tribute to Paul Barber.

Join us at the Main Branch February 1, at 7 p.m., as Thomas Barber, Paul’s grandson, shares the story of this remarkable man and his family.

Thomas Barber was awarded the 2017 John G. Dennison Award for excellence in the study, preservation and promotion of Canadian Black History and Culture.

Register here for The Barbers: an Ottawa Family History

Please note:  The Main branch parking garage elevator is out of service. We ask that customers avoid parking there. If you are attending an event at the Main branch or the auditorium, and you have accessibility issues, please refer to the 1st floor service hub. OPL staff will assist you to the auditorium, which is located on the lower level of the Main branch. Thank you, and we apologize for the inconvenience.

L’ascenseur du stationnement souterrain de la succursale Centrale est présentement hors d’usage. Nous vous conseillons d’éviter de l’utiliser. Par contre, si vous avez des problèmes de mobilités veuillez vous présenter au point de service principal de la succursale. Des employés de la succursale vous accompagneront jusqu’à l’auditorium, situé dans le sous-sol de la succursale Centrale.

Merci de votre compréhension.