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Ottawa Public Library Releases 2020 Annual Report: A Year of Adaptation and Resilience


May 12, 2021

In a year unlike any in recent memory, Ottawa Public Library remained a vital part of the community providing safe and reliable services, despite closures and adaptations. Thank you, the people of Ottawa who support and make use of the Library! You inspire what we do!

OPL’s 2020 Annual Report was received by the Board on May 11, 2021. You are welcome to read the report online for more about the Library’s impact in 2020.

Key accomplishments during the COVID-19 global pandemic:

  • Library services were adapted to meet pandemic-related needs
    • 14 per cent more circulation per hour, despite normal hours of operation being reduced by more than half
    • 88 per cent of items checked out pre-pandemic were returned and quarantined before going back into circulation
  • Major steps towards equity and access to Library services
    • Suspension and then elimination of late fees (effective January 1, 2021)
    • Internet access provided to vulnerable residents through the loan of 206 ChromeBooks and 22 WiFi hotspots via 37 partner organizations
  • Huge increases in digital collection usage thanks to proactive enhancements
    • More than 2.7 million eContent downloads: eBooks, eAudiobooks, streaming services, and databases like Ancestry Library, PressReader, Tumblebook, and many more
    • French eAudiobook use more than doubled (up by 157 per cent); French eBook use grew 63 per cent
  • New virtual services and programs developed by staff across departments
    • 475 personal, 1-on-1 consultations and tutorials helped customers access eBooks, eAudiobooks, and other digital resources remotely
    • Booklists created by staff viewed more than 160,000 times and readers spent an average of one to five minutes on the most popular lists 
    • More than 4,000 events and programs viewed by upwards of 130,000 participants
  • Ottawa Central Library construction planning 90 per cent complete and major facility improvements
    • Productive consultations held virtually with Indigenous, accessibility, and community groups
    • Brand-new, custom-built Bookmobile acquired
    • Newly renovated Rosemount branch reopened its first floor for contactless returns and holds pickup in December

In the words of OPL customers: “I am incredibly grateful for all the money the library has saved me from not buying books. Also, it’s pretty awesome that you can suggest a book for the library to acquire, and they generally always do!”

“As far as I am concerned, you are my heroes. I am so grateful you are here today to provide an essential service that contributes to our mental health.”

"I want to thank you people so much for your patience and your dedication and all that you do for me. Thanks a million. These books mean a lot to me. Thank you."