UPDATE: Curbside services during the stay-at-home order– effective Apr. 8


Starting Thursday, April 8:

  • All our open branches will offer curbside returns and holds pick up.
  • Customers will no longer be permitted to enter the buildings.
  • The Bookmobile and Homebound Services will continue.
  • Hours of operation will remain the same.
  • Borrowed items can only be returned when branches are open.
  • Mask wearing outside in line remains mandatory.

For more details, go to the OPL blog.

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Human Library

Human Library

Presented in partnership with CBC Ottawa / En partenariat avec CBC Ottawa Real people. Real conversations / Histoires vécues. Histoires à partager.

Saturday, February 27 / Le samedi 27 février 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. / 11 h à 15 h Beaverbrook, Main and St-Laurent / Succursales Beaverbrook, Centrale et St-Laurent

Absolutely Ottawa logo

A documentary about Ottawa's Human Library was produced by CBC Ottawa. It originally aired on August 22, 2015.

HumanLibrary.Org logo

The Human Library was originally launched in Denmark in 2000 as a way to focus on anti-violence, encourage dialogue and build relations. It has grown in popularity with over 60 countries now taking part in the movement.

This is the 5th year that OPL and CBC Ottawa are hosting this event.


Person Working at table

Human ‘Books’ have volunteered to take part in the event with the goal of building tolerance and respect for diversity in our community.

A Reader ‘borrows’ a Book and engages in a one-on-one conversation to gain a better understanding of that person.

How to participate

Human Library

Summary Languages spoken Related resources Media

Bridge for Newcomers

Wen Jean Ho was already a trained social worker when she arrived in Ottawa as an immigrant from Taiwan via the United States.
Read more (Bridge for Newcomers)
English, Taiwanese, Mandarin

CBC Traffic Reporter

Doug Hempstead grew up in rural Renfrew county near Pembroke.  Before he became a reporter, Doug worked as a grocery store clerk, and then as a taxi driver.
Read more (CBC Traffic Reporter)
English, French


About to begin her PhD in Europe, Jane He travelled to Canada to visit her sister on a one-month tourist visa.
Read more (Entrepreneur)
English, Mandarin, Shanghainese


Originally from Telangana, India, Sudhir Kodati comes from an agricultural background.
Read more (Farmer)
English, Telugu

Former Drug User

Growing up with an absent father, Jordon MacLean never felt like he fit in.
Read more (Former Drug User)


Sikander Hashmi grew up in Montreal but spent much of his adolescence studying at the Al-Rashid Islamic Institute, a Muslim seminary in Cornwall.
Read more (Imam)
English, French, Urdu

RCMP Officer

In 1987, Ajit Tiwana became the RCMP's first South Asian female recruit.
Read more (RCMP Officer)
English, Punjabi, Hindi, Gujarat, Urdu
Summary Languages spoken Related resources Media

Anishinaabe Roots

Kris Meawasige has become the solution to the problem he faced as a child. 
Read more (Anishinaabe Roots)

Caribbean Domestic Pioneer

Growing up in Jamaica, with an abusive father, meant Melissa often took care of her younger siblings.
Read more (Caribbean Domestic Pioneer)

CBC Television Control Room Director

Gerry Buffett has worked in Canadian television for 30 years.
Read more (CBC Television Control Room Director)

Comic Creator

Jay Odjick is a writer and artist from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Algonquin Nation in Quebec.
Read more (Comic Creator)

Daughter of a Deportee

Chelby Daigle was raised by her single mom and grew up in a white family, but the colour of Chelby's skin was a daily reminder of her black father,
Read more (Daughter of a Deportee)
English, French

Domestic Violence Survivor

For more than ten years, Heather Imming was emotionally and physically abused by her husband.
Read more (Domestic Violence Survivor)

Former Inmate

Lee Chapelle was 16 when a judge first sentenced him to jail.
Read more (Former Inmate)

Formerly Homeless

Three years ago, while grieving the death of his father back home in Malaysia, Chi Way Lee fell into a deep depression.
Read more (Formerly Homeless)

Human Trafficking Survivor

When she was 21 years old, Simone Bell became a target for sexual exploitation and was trafficked between Ottawa, Toronto, Niagara Falls and Montreal over a period of four years.
Read more (Human Trafficking Survivor)

Living with Asperger Syndrome

When Jordan Edwards studied at Carleton University, he did well academically, but struggled to meet friends.
Read more (Living with Asperger Syndrome)

Living with Schizophrenia & Depression

During her first year of university, Ayan Yusuf began feeling paranoid and experiencing delusions.
Read more (Living with Schizophrenia & Depression)
English, Somali

Muslim Woman

In 2001, Mahwash Fatima immigrated to Canada from Pakistan.
Read more (Muslim Woman)
English, Urdu


Ted Thompson is a retired aviation engineer.
Read more (Naturist)

Organ Transplant Recipient

While Hiba Yusuf was studying cellular molecular biology at university, a doctor diagnosed her with chronic kidney disease. Her youngest brother vo
Read more (Organ Transplant Recipient)
English, Arabic

Police Officer

Isobel Granger was the first black officer to join the white ranks of the segregated British South Africa Police in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).
Read more (Police Officer)


In 1989, Elizabeth Bolton left her life as a classical singer in Canada to study for the rabbinate in the United States.
Read more (Rabbi)
English, French, some Hebrew and Yiddish
Summary Languages spoken Related resources Media

CBC Host and Video-Journalist

Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco was a competitive bicycle courier and world traveller before deciding on journalism school. 
Read more (CBC Host and Video-Journalist)
English, French, Spanish


When she was a child, Kalyani Pandya's family immigrated to Winnipeg from Uganda after the Idi Amin regime expelled South Asians from the country.
Read more (Comedian)
English, Gujarati

Correctional Officer

In 1997, Denis Collin began his career as a Correctional Officer.
Read more (Correctional Officer)
English, French

Foster Parent

While in her twenties, Cassandra Auguste worked at a group home for teenagers.
Read more (Foster Parent)
English, French

Living with PTSD

While serving with the Canadian Airborne Regiment in Somalia, Major Réjean Richard was first on the scene after two young boys playing with a live grenade were severely injured.
Read more (Living with PTSD)
English, French

Métis Woman

Brenda Macdougall is descended from the original fur trading families of amiskwaciwaskahikan or Beaver Hills House where the original Fort Edmonton was located.
Read more (Métis Woman)

Refugee Sponsor

Twenty-six years ago, Aurelia Achor arrived in Canada as a refugee from South Sudan.
Read more (Refugee Sponsor)