Ottawa Public Library: new and renovated libraries

A series of postings on new and recently renovated Ottawa Public Library facilities. They illustrate a culture of restoration and renewal throughout the OPL system. READ is delighted to be helping to expand and develop the Rosemount branch, currently located at 18 Rosemount

The postings will include the branches of:  Alta Vista, Beaverbrook, Carlingwood, Constance Bay, Cumberland, Emerald Plaza,  Greely,  Greenboro, Hazeldean, Nepean Centrepointe, Orléans, Rideau, Ruth E Dickinson, St-Laurent, Sunnyside, Vanier and Vernon as well as the mobile units and the technical services and distribution centre. (red=completed; scroll down to see )OPL Branches (2)

Alta Vista

This busy branch is situated close to the Bank Street corridor, in a diverse neighbourhood that is home to many new Canadians. The Alta Vista branch is known for its dynamic children’s programs. This branch opened in 1976 in one of Ottawa’s older suburbs: a one storey box in brick and glass style. It celebrated a quarter century of service in 2001. In 2011 it was given a smart new makeover with the help of tri-level government infrastructure funding.

Alta Vista At a Glance

  • Address: 2516 Alta Vista
  • Type of location: stand-alone
  • Size: 15,198 SF
  • 2 bookable mtg rooms @10 & @40
  • Circulation (2015): 269,159
  • Circulation/SF (2015): 17.71
  • Catchment area pop (2015): 41,511
  • FOPLA: The Bookery Bookstore

Have a look at Alta Vista Branch

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Cumberland Branch: The first meeting of the library board in the former Cumberland Township was held in 1978. Bookmobile service was started in 1979 serving Cumberland, Navan, Notre-Dame-des Champs, Sarsfield and Vars. Library service moved into the Dunning Fourbert Elementary School in 1991. In 1999 a brand new stand-alone facility was opened as part of the Ray Friel Recreation Complex which includes a school, a pool, daycare and a Friends of the Library bookstore. The branch serves a mixed rural and urban patronage.
In 2010, the branch was extensively renovated with Infrastructure Stimulus Funding (ISF) to better support its role as a district branch of the Ottawa Public Library system.

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Orléans Branch

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Orléans Branch Retrofit

Oct 29, 2015  The Orleans Branch of the OPL has recently received a two-stage retrofit with RFID (self-check) technology and a new service desk. The Orléans branch is the home to many popular bilingual children’s programs. The branch features a quiet study area and a large French-language collection. The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library run a second-hand book-store, Encore.
A little history: in 1958, M. and Mme Bériault founded a volunteer library in St. Joseph’s School. In 1967 the library moved to the Gauthier Building at 2744 St. Joseph Blvd and in 1982 moved again to the Orléans Recreation Complex and named the Bériault Branch of the Gloucester Public Library. In 1985 , to accomodate Orléans’ growth, the Gloucester Public Library built its first Board-owned library at 1750 Orléans Blvd, its current location.

Award winning Beaverbrook Branch

The branch was closed from February 19, 2013 to August 5, 2014 to receive extensive renovations and an expansion from 10,691 sf to 24,000 sf at this same location.  This award winning branch now features two public meeting rooms, as well as numerous small rooms for group work. There is an expanded children’s area, increased seating, and a book store run by the Friends of the OPL. The Kanata Room houses the stained glass window designed and produced by Beaverbrook customers – a colourful reminder of the community spirit that lives in the branch.Local artist Christopher Griffin was inspired by the natural ecosystems of Kanata and the South March Highlands and features the Blanding’s Turtle, an important local species as well as other indigenous flora and fauna in his gestural concrete murals  and 3D turtles that adorn the branch.

Library service in the Beaverbrook area started in a room, in a community centre, in 1967. In 1970, it moved to a space next to the firehall. A new building next to the Mlacak Centre opened in 1996, and the branch found a new home.

Opening Day August 2014
Beaverbrook collage Jul 2015
Photo: Moriyama & Teshima Architects
Exterior Artwork by Christopher Griffin inspired by local fauna Blanding turtles
Light filled interior

Beaverbrook At A Glance

  • Rebuild/expansion 2014 @ $10M
  • Size: 24,000 SF (from 10,000S SF)
  • Address: 2500 Campeau Dr, Kanata
  • Type: in community centre
  • 2 bookable public meeting rooms plus several small study rooms
  • Circulation (2015): 468,043
  • Circulation/SF: 19.51
    Friends: Bookstore “Book Ends”
  • Catchment area pop: 45,600

Additional articles on the new Beaverbrook Branch (a.k.a. West District Branch):

Library Journal, August 2015. New Landmark Libraries: The Reveal.

Ottawa Citizen.” Library of the Future: right in Beaverbrook”. Joanne Cianello, August 6, 2014 Click here to read

Kanata-Kourier Standard. “New Beaverbrook branch receives Architect Award”. Adam Kveton, July 03, 2015 Click here to read

From the Moriyama & Teshima Architects website:

Ottawa Public Library, Beaverbrook Branch.  This major expansion and renovation more than doubled the size of the West District Library, the second-highest circulating branch in the Ottawa Public Library system, and created welcoming, engaging, light filled and technology-enabled public spaces. The two-storey addition established a far more substantial visual presence for the library, welcoming patrons with a transparent facade of floor-to-ceiling glass and an entrance terrace with seating areas and naturalized gardens. Inside, the prime public areas are arranged along the front window wall, including a dramatic double-height reading area and a feature staircase leading to the second floor. Spaces for children and youth are visually and acoustically separated, and are outfitted with comfortable lounge furniture and study areas for individuals and groups. Story time space overlooks a magical treed outcrop and a future children’s garden. The conference room is fitted with an A/V system and can be partitioned for evening events.

For more information on Beaverbrook’s programs and services:

Greely Branch

At 3000 sf, the new Greely branch is a little gem of a library serving the fast growing community of Greely in the south  of Ottawa. The same spirit and dedication shown by a determined group of local residents who brought the library to Greely in the 1970s is alive today at the new Greely branch. In 2011, the branch moved into its new home, built thanks to the tri-government Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. The Greely branch is a rural library with all the amenities of any urban branch: RFID technology,  high-speed Internet and access to the entire collection of the OPL through the online catalogue. First time circulation for 2014 is @ 46K +. Go out for a visit.

Have a look at Greely:

 Greely exterior new P1010957P1010941Greely interior 2015

For more information go to:

Emerald Plaza

The original branch on Merivale Road was in a renovated supermarket opened in 1972 – the biggest branch in the then city of Nepean. It closed in 1988 when the main branch shifted to Centrepointe, and doors opened on a new , smaller branch four days later in a shopping mall at 1547 Merivale Road. In 2013 the branch was completely renovated and almost doubled in size to its present 10, 518 sf. Emerald Plaza is a busy, urban branch with RFID technology,  high-speed Internet and access to the entire collection of the OPL through the online catalogue, two meeting rooms and a study room. First time circulation for 2014 was @ 292,963.  For more information:

Have a look at Emerald Plaza:

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Emerald Plaza at a Glance
  • Occupied: 1988; expanded & renovated 2013
  • Address: 1547 Merivale Rd
  • Type of location: mall rental
  • Size: 10,518 SF (expanded from 5,644)
  • 2 bookable meeting rooms, plus 1 study room
  • Circulation (2015): 275,898
  • Circulation/SF: 26.21
  • Catchment area pop: 61,043
  • Friends: self-serve ongoing book sale


The St Laurent Branch was opened in 1962 on four levels, without an elevator. Deemed obsolete by 1994, it relocated into the St-Laurent Community Complex in 1996. The library part of the complex won an Ontario Library Association Building Award.

St. Laurent at a Glance

  • Built: NEW 1996
  • Address: 515 Coté
  • Type of location: in community/recreation centre
  • Size: 13,540 SF
  • 1 bookable mtg room @70, plus small study rooms
  • Circulation (2015): 216,268
  • Circulation/SF: 15.97
  • Catchment area pop: 42,651
  • FOPLA: Bibliophile, ongoing self-serve booksale

Have a look at St-Laurent branch

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Constance Bay

The Constance Bay Branch is the most northerly of the OPL branches. Working closely with the Legion, the original facility opened in 1983 in the village community centre. The Legion raised the funds to pa for the furniture and first catalogue of books. The newly renovated and doubled-in-size, which officially opened September 2015 in the renovated community centre was a joint project between the Constance and Buckham’s Bay Community Association (CBBCA), the City of Ottawa, and the Ottawa Public Library (OPL).

CBBCA, OPL, the City of Ottawa, the Friends of the OPL, as well as the Diefenbooker Classic, have all contributed funds to allow the new branch to open.

The key features of the newly renovated and expanded branch include:

    • Branch expanded to 1,100 sq ft., which has increased the branch size by more than 100%
    • Natural light and windows
    • Expansion of self service, including a self-checkout station
    • Installation of RFID (radio frequency identification) technology
    • Library return box integrated into building
    • More public computers
    • Programming space, shared with the community centre
    • Accessibility improvements
    • More seatingHave a look at the new Constance Bay library (2015)

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Constance Bay at a Glance
  • Built: Expansion 2015
  • Address: 262 Len Purcell
  • Type of location: in community centre
  • Size: 1,100 SF (expansion doubled the size)
  • 0 meeting rooms
  • Circulation (2015): 18,627
  • Circulation/SF: 16.93
  • Catchment area pop: 6,951
  • No Friends bookstore

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