Phone Service at OPL - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is the phone service at the Ottawa Public Library changing?
OPL’s current telephone system is outdated. OPL has 33 branches and multiple phone systems.  By migrating to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP):

  • customer service will be improved
  • there will be consistent messaging at all branches
  • the phone system will be easier to manage and less costly to maintain

How will this new system affect customers?
The central InfoService phone line (613-580-2940), is staffed during all of OPL’s hours of operation. Customers will be able to get immediate assistance for things like card inquiries, information about services and programs, answers to reference questions, details about locations and hours of operation.

When I call certain OPL branches, the phone is answered by branch employees.  Why is it different from branch to branch?
VoIP technology is being phased in and has not yet been implemented in all Library branches. If you call a branch that has not been migrated to VoIP yet, and employees are not available to answer the phone when you call, you can hang up and call back later, leave a message or call InfoService directly at 613-580-2940. 

Why can’t employees in all the branches answer the calls themselves?
Branches across the Library system have varying hours of operation; some smaller branches are open to the public for very limited periods of time. Employees are usually serving customers in-person when the branches are open. Employees are roving and no longer sitting by a phone, providing service to customers wherever they happen to be in the branch. With VoIP technology, customers can get direct access by phone to employees at Infoservice who are standing by to answer calls.

Every customer’s call is different, and questions are varied.  Can I be certain that InfoService employees can answer my questions?
Library employees who answer the InfoService line are trained information professionals who are equipped with a wide range of tools.  They are able to answer a large number of questions, including information about your OPL account, as well as programs and services offered at OPL, at any branch.  Employees will transfer the call to a specialist as needed, should the question relate to specific information request (eg. in-depth reference questions, local history, genealogy, business, etc).

What if I require the assistance from someone in the branch? (e.g.  Is the book I am looking for on the shelf right now?; I left my umbrella in the program room… Can you please go look for it?; I have to cancel my one-on-one computer tutorial; I’d like to book a meeting room; etc.)
There is a process in place where customers can be connected to branch employees at the discretion of the InfoService employee.

Can I still contact individual employees in the branches?
Most employees have their own extension at which they can be reached. Their number and extension is available in the employee directory at Alternatively, you can ask InfoService employees to transfer your call to the employee to whom you would like to speak. VoIP technology allows us to provide voicemail to more employees.

What if the all the lines at InfoService are busy?
During periods of higher call volume, customers may get a busy signal.  You will have the option to leave a message and your call will be returned within the next hour.

What if I call when the Library is closed?
If you call after OPL’s hours of operation, you’ll have the option to leave a message. An employee will return your call the next business day.

When is InfoService staffed?
Monday to Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (from the Sunday after Labour Day weekend to the first Sunday in June, inclusively)