Q: What has Councillor Leiper and READ recommended to the OPL Board regarding a new library?
The Rosemount Expansion and Development (READ) group and Kitchissippi Ward Councillor Jeff Leiper, recognize that there are no viable options at the current Rosemount Library site (18 Rosemount Ave, Hintonburg), and will recommend a new library must be built so Rosemount becomes a library for the 21st century.
Here is a link to the recommendation that we put forward to the Ottawa Public Library board on September 6th, 2016.
Q: Why is a new building/site needed?
While Rosemount Library is an incredible branch in so many ways there is no question that it needs to be much bigger so that it can serve our community better. Rosemount is busy, crowded and needs more space to be able to provide more service.
Statistics from the Ottawa Public Library show that out of all 33 Ottawa Public Library branches, Rosemount has the second highest circulation per square foot. This means, when taking into account the size of the building, Rosemount users sign out more than double the average circulation of materials per square foot of space, of all the branches! Additionally, out of all branches, ours is only 20th in size yet we are fourth highest in terms of reference questions (regardless of size!). These pressures will only increase over time. Looking to the community’s future, City of Ottawa statistics show that the population in Rosemount’s catchment area will increase by 22.3% over the next 16 years (from 43,025 in 2015 to 52,600 in 2031.)
If Rosemount already can’t provide the same services as many of the other branches, how can it service the great increase in residents over the coming years?
The community consultation with over two hundred participants provided many more reasons why expansion is needed. For instance, because of its small size, Rosemount struggles with even the simplest of things, like enough tables and plugs for people to bring their own computers to work.. To see a full list of what additional resources, services, and other supports residents said are necessary, look at the full report.
Which brings us to why a new building is needed.
Through several discussions with Ottawa Public Library staff, READ has become aware that an expansion is simply not possible for the current building. There simply is no technical and financial solution available. A new building is the best answer to meet the needs of Rosemount users.
This is not a decision READ has come to lightly. While READ members, and the wider community love our Carnegie library for its history and warmth, we know that a library is much more than the physical building that houses it. It is about the community that it serves and the services it provides. If we think of all that is possible in terms of resources and services for the thousands of residents in Rosemount community (now and in the future) and how lives are transformed through libraries in so many ways, we see a new build as the only possible answer for Rosemount.
Q: Where will the new library be?
A: The Ottawa Public Library Board will ultimately decide where the new library would be. READ and Councillor Leiper are strongly recommending that the library remain very close to its current location. Through the consultations, the community expressed a number of considerations that they would like to see for a new building including that it be close to its current location as well as close to transit, be walkable/bikeable, and near other social services, etc.
Q: What will happen to the current building?
A: The Ottawa Public Library and City of Ottawa would ultimately determine what would happen to the current building if the Rosemount Library moves.
READ knows that the community will want the building maintained and we do too. READ has included that in our recommendation to the Ottawa Public Library Board. While READ doesn’t have a final say in what happens to the current building should a new library be built, we will continue to speak on its behalf as long as that doesn’t impede the building of a greatly expanded facility. READ believes it should be used for a public, community purpose.
Q: Has there been community input gathered on the future of Rosemount Library?
A: In partnership with Councillor Leiper, READ held a series of open community consultations this past spring. The consultations were extensively advertised through the Kitchissippi Times, postering, radio, and reaching out to approximately 50 organizations (e.g., schools, non-profits, churches, housing orgs, etc) to participate in the community conversation about the future of Rosemount. Over 200 people participated. The findings of the consultation report clearly speak to the community’s need for a bigger library and the willingness to move the library if expansion at the current site was not possible and certain considerations are taken into account.
- READ’s two-page summary of the report here.
- Full community consultation report (made available in early July) here.
We have also been working closely with community associations over the past two years as they are key representatives of residents within Rosemount library’s catchment area. Eight of the 13 community associations within and surrounding the Rosemount Library catchment area have endorsed the recommendation (as of September 5th) to build a new library (see the recommendation below). All the other community associations supported an earlier stance of ‘expanding and redeveloping’ Rosemount. However, many don’t meet over the summer months and READ is continuing to seek their endorsement of the recommendation within the next month.
Additionally, for the past two years, READ has been communicating openly and frequently to the community through traditional media, social media, and our website. READ’s monthly meetings have been open to the community and public and all are welcome to attend (Notices of these meetings are on our Web site). During this time, we’ve also been working closely with Councillor Leiper and Ottawa Public Library staff.
Throughout, we have worked hard to ensure that the voice of the community drives our process.
Q: Can I share my thoughts on the future of Rosemount Library?
A: Yes we want to hear from you! If you would like to add your voice regarding the future of Rosemount Library to READ, please email us at email@example.com (put ‘community comment’ in the subject line). You can also attend one of our upcoming monthly meetings. Additionally ,if you would like to be added to our general email list to receive ongoing updates click here.