News Archive - 2009

Making Friends on the Web


The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association would like to thank City Councillor Jan Harder for volunteering to feature updates on FOPLA events and a link to our website on

Our success is dependent upon community support and so we are very thankful to be featured on such a fantastic website that many residents have come to use regularly to keep involved in their community.

Thanks as well to Susan Carkner and Cathy McDonald for their help coordinating the link. Visitors to the FOPLA website will be able to find Ms. Harder`s website on our links page.

A Book Launch for a pot-pourri of Ottawa’s Young Local Authors


At 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 2 the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA) will hold the official launch of pot-pourri 2009 in the Mezzanine of the Main Library branch of the Ottawa Public Library (120 Metcalfe).

This is the third edition of pot-pourri, a bilingual anthology of the winning poems and short stories from the Awesome Authors 2009 Youth Writing Contest, a competition open to Ottawa residents ages 9-17.

This year, pot-pourri 2009 features 58 works from 50 of Ottawa’s talented youth.

Copies of pot-pourri 2009 will be available for purchase for the first time during the launch on Oct. 2. If you are planning to attend the event and would like to reserve copies for purchase (your best option if you are planning on purchasing a large quantity of books) please contact us at 613-580-2424 x14383 or via e-mail at to let us know.

The price of the book is $12.95. All money raised from the sale of pot-pourri will be used to support the Ottawa Public Library and the Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest.

A First For Ottawa


FOPLA has won three more awards. 

FOPLA has won the ALTAFF Best Friends Award in three categories: Newsletter, Membership Brochures and Special Project Publicity.

“This is the first year an Ottawa group has won even one of these awards and the excellent work, design and content of the materials are reasons for our success” said Francesco Galassi, FOPLA Vice-president of Public Relations and Advocacy. “A special thanks to Terry Tyo of Transcontinental, Vivian Proulx, freelance designer and FOPLA staff for their hard work on the winning materials”

The newly formed Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), an expanded division of the American Library Association, is the awarding group.

"The Friends of Libraries U.S.A. began giving these awards in 2005,” explained Jillian Kalonick, ALTAFF’s Marketing/Public Relations Specialist. “The Best Friends Awards recognize Friends around the country for their print and electronic materials that promote the group and its special programs and projects.”

Just this past May FOPLA was announced a co-winner of the 2009 Gabriele Schreiber (Random House of Canada) "Friends of the Year" Award, which is presented by The Friends of Canadian Libraries annually to friends groups that demonstrate outstanding support to its library and outstanding volunteer involvement. More information about that award can be found here.

City unveils new library plans

City councillors formally unveiled on June 10, plans for a new, $180-million downtown library.

As first reported in the Sun last week, several councillors were on hand for the announcement. The new structure will serve as the main branch for the Ottawa Public Library.

The proposed new 300,000 squ. ft. facility would be built on the block bordered by Albert, Slater, Lyon and Bay streets. In the city's 2006 long financial plan it had budgeted about $180 million for the building.

Currently there is a parking lot, bank and restaurant on the site. It is not yet clear whether the facility will take up the entire block. The next step is to secure up to $26 million to purchase the land. The city's corporate services and economic development committee will discuss the proposed acquisition in two weeks.

"The library services and number of users have outgrown our existing building, it's undersized and overused," said city librarian Barbara Clubb.

New Board


During an upbeat and successful Annual General Meeting on June 16 The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA) elected a new board of directors. The new FOPLA board members are:

Cindy Streefkerk, President 
Shirley Felker, Vice-president of Operations 
Heather Murphy, Secretary 
Nancy Langdon, Treasurer 
Sterling Doucette, Member-at-large 
Janis Sops, Member-at-large 
François Thivierge, Member-at-large 
Francesco (Francis) Galassi, Member-at-large
Lori Nash, Past-president

Local Committee Representatives: 
Shirley Felker (Ottawa Local Committee) 
Valletta Hudson (Goulbourn - Rideau Local Committee) 
Nafisa Malik (Nepean Local Committee) 
Heather Murphy (Kanata Local Committee) 
Bill Porter (Cumberland - Orleans Local Committee) 
Nancy Shurtleff (Greenboro Local Committee)
The Vanier Local Committee does not have a representative at this time.

In addition to electing the new board attendees were able to hear a report from OPL board chair Jan Harder and city librarian Barbara Clubb, about the new central library project as well as an imaginative tale from local storyteller Gail Anglin.

To read more about our board and all the roles in our organization,click here.

Andrew Cohen and Friends


The literary event, Lives and Lessons of Lester Pearson, took place on March 26 in The Chambers, at Ben Franklin Place.

The event featured local author, columnist and journalism professor Andrew Cohen who spoke about Lester B. Pearson the title and subject of his newest book, the latest in the Extraordinary Canadians Series.

Both the Carleton University Library Circle of Friends and the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA) cosponsored the event.

“We are very pleased to co-host an event with FOPLA,” said Vivian Cummins, President of the Circle of Friends. “We thank Mr. Cohen for the generous donation of his time in allowing us the opportunity to gather people together to learn more about Lester Pearson – one of our most prominent diplomats and memorable Prime Ministers.” 

Books on Beechwood was on hand offering those who came to the event the opportunity to purchase Mr. Cohen’ s book. A book signing and a prize draw also took place following the lecture, and both Friends groups took the opportunity to speak to attendees about the work they do in support of their libraries.

FOPLA and the Circle of Friends are asking the community to join them in becoming a friend to their library.

“Our libraries are vital to literacy and learning in our community, and they need the support of outside organizations like FOPLA and the Circle of Friends,” said Lori Nash, President of FOPLA.“We hope that by holding events like this we can increase our membership by raising awareness about Friends groups, all while having fun and learning at the same time.”

A Mammoth Success


The 14th Annual Mammoth Used Book Sale was one of our most successful sales yet.

FOPLA would like to thank all the local booklovers and library supporters who came out to the Nepean Sportsplex on April 18 and 19th and bought almost $17, 000 in used books.

For more information about what FOPLA does with the money it raises click here.

FOPLA also thanks all the community members who donated books to FOPLA, which were sold at the sale.

More information about donations can be found here.

Special thanks as well to the sale’s coordinators Shirley Felker and Lynn Richardson as well as the many other hard working volunteers on the Mammoth organizing committee – the funds raised through your hard work will mean great things for our community and the Ottawa Public Library.

Created with teens in mind


The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA) was rewarded with the opportunity to see its hard work materialize at the official opening and celebration of the new Nepean Centerpointe Teen Zone on Feb. 28.

In 2007 FOPLA set aside $40, 000 from the funds it raises from the sale of used books and memberships to outfit four OPL branches with a Teen Zone including the Nepean Centerpointe branch. Judging from the large number of youth who came to the opening, it was well worth the investment.

When the group was asked if they liked coming to the Teen Zone of the library one girl spoke out loudly above the nods and mumbles of agreement.

“Yes! Yes, I’ve memorized my library card number,”’ she said. In recognition of FOPLA’s funding of the Teen Zone and other improvements to the Nepean Centrepointe Branch, FOPLA vice-president Heather Murphy was given the honour of cutting the ribbon at the ceremony.

“The money from this came from them and were really grateful,” said Shannon Wallace, Teen Services Librarian for the OPL.

“Just so you all know, we have the best friends group in North America,” OPL Board Chair Jan Harder continued. Following the launch the teens were invited to hear a presentation by Svetlana Chmakova, author of the manga series DRAMACON.

Silent Auction Gives Book Collectors Something to Talk About


The third annual Second Editions silent auction is now underway.

On the block are over 20 lots of rare and hard to find collector’s books. Highlights this year include a 15 volume set of The Oxford History of England, a three volume set of Hutchinson's Dog Encyclopaedias, and a very special 1884 edition of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.

All written bids will be accepted during the bookshop's regular hours until the auction closes at 3:00 p.m. Saturday February 28, 2009.

During its first two years of operation the silent auction has raised over $1, 200 to support the Ottawa Public Library system.

For more information about the auction please contact David Richeson, Second Editions bookshop manager, at 613-523-2449.

2008 Friends of the Year

The Friends of Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA) has won the 2009 Gabriele Schreiber (Random House of Canada) "Friends of the Year" Award.

The award is presented by The Friends of Canadian Libraries (FOCAL) annually to friends groups that demonstrate outstanding support to its library and outstanding volunteer involvement. Along with the bragging rights FOPLA will receive $750 in Random House merchandise for the Ottawa Public Library along with a plaque recognizing the achievement.

This year FOPLA shared the honour as a co-winner with the Friends of the Shelburne Public Library in Nova Scotia who will also receive the same prize For more information about the award visit FOCAL’s website here.

FOPLA has received this award once before, in 1999. But though the name may be almost the same, the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library that won the Gabriele Schreiber "Friends of the Year" Award a decade ago was a very different organization than the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA) that won the award this year.

In 1999, FOPLA represented the interests of the former city of Ottawa, which had a population of about 500,000 and eight library branches. Running one bookstore, FOPLA raised $61,000 that year.

In 2001, following Ottawa’s amalgamation in 2000, eleven separately incorporated library systems merged to form the new Ottawa Public Library System. Following that example, in 2003 three former Friends of the Ottawa Public Library groups amalgamated hoping to share mutual interests in the whole library system among a group of very distinct and partisan groups.

Today, FOPLA has a governance model that helps it represent and respond to the various needs of all 33 branches of the Ottawa Public Library, which now serves a population of 880,000. FOPLA currently manages 14 bookstores, has total annual revenue of over $313,800 and is still growing.

For more information about what FOPLA does with the funds it raises, visit our About Us page here.

Last year FOPLA was also honoured to have won another FOCAL award, the FOCAL / BRODART Community Service Award, along with two other awards from other organizations.

Carp’s Friends are Off to the Races

Carp area volunteers from the Friends of Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA), have announced they will hold a book sale at the 13th annual Diefenbooker Classic race on May 2.

Though a used book sale in support of the library may seem like a natural addition to the fundraiser, which supports the Ottawa Public Library and Canada's Cold War Museum, this is the first year FOPLA will be participating in the event, having just opened The Carp Book Corner at the Carp library branch last December.

The sale will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Agricultural Hall at the Carp Fairgrounds (near the race start and finish lines).

Participants and spectators can get a better-than-great deal on a variety hardcover and paperback books. Proceeds from the book sale will help FOPLA purchase materials and fund services that are not covered in the regular library budget.

FOPLA memberships will also be offered at the sale for those who want to continue to support their local library after the race.

New Awesome Authors are Announced


The winners of the 14th Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest have been revealed. The annual contest encourages Ottawa youth, aged 9-17, to get creative and use their real-life experiences to write a short story or poem in English or French.

This year over 400 submissions of prose and poetry were written and submitted by Ottawa’s youth. Judges Michel Lavoie, Ian Roy and JC Sulzenko read through all of the entries and selected the lucky 58 winning works.

Those winning pieces will be published in FOPLA’s annual publication, pot-pourri for generations to enjoy. Proceeds from the sale of pot-pourri cycle back into the Awesome Author’s contest, which is sponsored by FOPLA. This is the third year FOPLA will be publishing pot-pourri, which is now being recognized by the community as not only a fantastic way to support local youth, local authors and the Ottawa Public Library, but a great read too.