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Bridging gaps in the community

Apr 29, 2020

Ottawa Public Library (OPL) recently delivered 15 Chromebooks and a WiFi hotspot to a back-up emergency housing shelter located at the Travelodge on Carling Avenue. The devices are on loan at the site for six months to help students to keep up with schoolwork and families stay informed and connected. This initiative has been made possible via the coordinated efforts of OPL, the City’s Integrated Neighborhood Services Team (INST) and Travelodge staff. The devices are being used in a shared space, where physical distancing measures and a hygiene protocols have been put in place. The first step for some residents was to sign up for a Library card so they could take advantage of OPL’s varied eResources right away.


Last week, OPL delivered eight Chromebooks and a WiFi hotspot to Ottawa’s Youth Services Bureau (YSB) for a temporary isolation centre YSB has set up in partnership with CHEO. The isolation centre can accommodate up to eight youth experiencing homelessness who may have or are confirmed to have COVID-19. The hope is that access to the Internet and a range of leisure and learning resources will provide some comfort and opportunity to vulnerable youth as they await test results or recover from illness during these difficult times.

Last month OPL joined forces with local non-profit ComputerWise to help address shortages in medical equipment; sharing two MakerBots and one RoboBot from OPL’s Imagine Space to help make 3D visors for the FaceShield.

OPL has also participated in the COVID-19 Community Response Table meetings hosted by United Way to see how it can help. OPL continues to connect with community organizations to find ways the Library can bridge gaps with learning resources and technology so that all Ottawa residents can stay engaged and connected during the pandemic emergency.