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National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at OPL

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

OTTAWA — On Saturday, September 30, seven branches of Ottawa Public Library (OPL) will be open for the public to learn more about the impact of the residential school system, which an estimated 150,000 Indigenous children from across Canada were forced to attend. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an important occasion to reflect upon the ongoing trauma faced by the Indigenous community, as the last residential school closed as recently as 1996.

“Ottawa Public Library is committed to offering programs and resources to help understand the harmful legacy of the residential school system,” said Sonia Bebbington, Chief Librarian/CEO of OPL. “The Library is a place where you can learn more about Indigenous history, culture, and communities. We hope that you will take part in OPL’s activities with friends and family to learn, reflect on, and contribute to truth and reconciliation.”   

Everyone is encouraged to visit OPL in person or online on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Saturday, September 30.   

The following OPL branches will be open from 10 am to 5 pm:  

InfoService will also be open and can be reached at 613-580-2940 or

OPL will offer programs and resources for all age groups:  

  • Leading up to September 30, clients can take part in honouring victims of residential schools by contributing to a heart garden and painting remembrance rocks at various branches and Bookmobile stops of OPL.  
  • OPL has produced special booklists for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and branches will showcase Indigenous authors and offer reading suggestions about residential schools and possible paths to reconciliation. 
  • Starting September 22, in partnership with the International Indigenous Speakers Bureau (IISB), OPL will invite interested clients to sign up to access a special prerecorded video featuring Phyllis Webstad, the founder of Orange Shirt Day whose community efforts were instrumental in creating the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. 
  • On September 28 at the National Arts Centre at 7 pm on the Fourth Stage, OPL and the National Arts Centre will host Bloodline, a play by Elder Albert Dumont and Phil Jenkins. This sold-out play will be streamed online.
  • On September 30, open branches will display StoryWalk panels for the book Every Child Matters by Phyllis Webstad. Free copies of the book will also be given away.  
  • On September 30, open branches will screen six National Film Board (NFB) films that offer insight into the trauma caused by the residential school system. This hybrid program will also be available via Zoom. 
  • On September 30, open branches will distribute free copies of the 94 Calls to Action published by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. This resource is also available digitally.  

Throughout the entire year, OPL’s Indigenous web page spotlights Indigenous authors. The Library has books available in three Indigenous languages: Ojibwe, Cree, and Inuktitut. OPL is committed to reflecting Indigenous culture and perspectives in its programs and spaces, in partnership with the Anishinābe Algonquin Host Nation on whose unceded and ancestral land OPL operates, as well as the diverse urban Indigenous community of Inuit, First Nations, and Métis who live and work in Ottawa.  

OPL thanks the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA), whose generous contribution has made much of this programming possible.