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  • UPDATE – Provincial announcement regarding public libraries and pickups


    We greatly appreciate the Province’s announcement that as part of the first phase of reopening libraries can begin to offer pick-up or delivery of materials. 

    There is a lot of work to do be able to offer these services while ensuring the safety of our employees and our customers. Our plan to resume our physical services needs to account for physical distancing requirements, provision of personal protective equipment, enhanced sanitary controls, and new protocols for employees and customers. We are working on offering holds pick-ups as soon as we can safely do so.  

    We will be communicating all new developments in our service offering to you on all our platforms, as soon as we have updates. 

    Thank you for your patience as we move through this rapidly evolving situation. 


    OPL branches, Bookmobile stops and Homebound delivery services are closed until June 30, 2020. The closure is in response to advice from Ottawa Public Health (OPH) with regards to COVID-19 (coronavirus) for the health and safety of our community. We will continue to monitor the situation and reassess as the situation evolves. Currently, please note:  

    • Due dates for all currently checked out materials have been extended and late fees suspended.
    • Book drops are not available since branches are closed. Hold on to OPL items and return them when branches reopen. 
    • Holds are suspended, and pick up expiry dates extended. This includes interlibrary loans (ILL).
    • Meeting room rentals are cancelled, and fees are being refunded; and
    • Computer bookings, programs, events and outreach activities are cancelled.
    • Expired cards, or those about to expire, have been extended. 

    You can use the Library online:

    We thank you for your patience and support, and we look forward to seeing you online and in person again soon.

The Best We Could Do


The Best We Could Do

By Thi Bui

When we are very young, we think of our parents as all-knowing and all-powerful beings.  At some point, we realize that this is not so.  We may even believe that they did not exist before our birth and be surprised to learn that they have endured trials beyond our imaginings in their early years. This realization changes the way we look at them; it makes them more human.

For Bui, these revelations were sparked by the birth of her first child.  She was suddenly thrown into the world of adulthood and this provoked a need to understand her own parents better and to know more about their lives.  What she learned is the subject of this graphic novel, which she also illustrated.  She tells their story from their origins in Vietnam, through a harrowing escape to the U.S., and finally to California. 

She learns to pity them, and not to judge them.  She learns that her parents experienced indescribable horrors, not only to survive, but also to offer her a better life.  Bui’s tale is reminiscent of Ru by Kim Thúy, which also recounts a family’s flight toward freedom and safety.

Both of these stories resonate with me because my own mother was an immigrant, fleeing war torn Europe after WWII to find a better life. In reading Bui’s story, I have renewed appreciation for this place of peace and plenty, given to me as a gift by a courageous mother. 

The Best We Could Do by sonja_library