Current In-Person Services


OPEN BRANCHES: 22 of our branches and the Bookmobile are currently open for modified services at this time.

Additional branches will reopen for contactless returns and holds pickup in the fall and early winter. Details:

HOURS AND LOCATIONS: for current branch hours.

BOOKMOBILE: for the current Bookmobile stops 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.

You are here

Saving People's Lives


What might be an alternative career for a depressed, out-of-shape and anxiety-prone  writer in her fifties who is claustrophobic and terrified of illness and death? If "emergency medical technician" doesn't spring immediately to your mind, you're not alone. It didn't spring to Jane Stern's mind, either, until the day that she gave a candy bar to a dizzy and pale fellow passenger on an airplane that had been grounded for hours. Thus began Stern's bumpy journey towards EMT certification and a new vocation, which she describes with considerable humour in Ambulance Girl: How I Saved Myself by Becoming an EMT. One of my favourite scenes in the book occurs when, on the spur of the moment, Stern enters the town firehouse in Georgia, Connecticut, to talk to someone about the job:

"The man in charge of accepting EMT applications was in his seventies, hard-nosed and gruff. His name was Charlie. He looked at me and said, 'Lady, I don't think this is for you,' then went into a long soliloquy about vomit."

Sounds appealing, doesn't it?

Image: Ambulance Girl

Ambulance Girl

How I Saved Myself by Becoming An EMT
By Stern, Jane