News Archive - 2013

Learning over Lunch


In late October the Ottawa Public Library hosted a lunch-and-learn speaker series, which the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association cosponsored with the business development Bank of Canada (BDC), as part of its Small Business Week programming. The lectures were given during lunch hour and topics ranged from search engine optimization to effective networking.

In a session titled, “Grow Your Business with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)” Brent Mondoux (CEO of N-VisionIT Interactive) provided attendees with an introduction to content marketing and urged business owners to focus on the quality of their content to encourage readers to share information presented online and link back to their companies’ websites. He also gave business owners tips on making their businesses easy to find through online search engines by titling and labeling their content appropriately.

Sylvain Rochon (CEO of Sylien Games and Master Entrepreneur) delivered a motivational presentation and helped attendees learn how to control their thoughts by understanding our brains in his talk, “Build Success in Your Business Through Transformative Thinking.” Rochon focused on the impact a person's thinking has on his or her behavior and explained that the key to changing behavior is by creating new habits and thought processes, which builds new pathways in the brain and allows old pathways to atrophy. The key message was that we are able to control our thinking and ultimately improve our lives.

In “The 5 Rules of Results-driven Networking,” Roger Deveau (Founder of Ethos Launch) shared the value of relationships, recognizing that no one is able to build a successful business alone. Deveau delivered practical advice about relationship building and the importance of being genuine and personable. He noted that gaining the support of others is more important than simply pushing products.

All of the lectures were well received and helped the Ottawa Public Library further its goal of ensuring that local businesses have access to the information and resources they need in order to see success and remain competitive.

Kids Lit a Big Hit


Access to information and resources that might not otherwise be available may be a public library's greatest purpose, but one of the things that most motivates parents to use libraries is the desire to inculcate their children's love of reading and books. The Ottawa Public Library met that demand when it held the 13th annual Kids’ Lit Café on Saturday, October 19th at the Greenboro branch along with Children’s Literature Roundtable. The family-friendly event included a craft table, book signings and programs hosted by authors such as a storytelling session with three-time Governor General's Award nominee Jan Andrews and a writing and illustrating workshop held by Kevin Bolger and Ben Hodson. The showcase of local authors and illustrators of books for children and teens attracted a crowd of 360 people! FOPLA provided refreshments for the event.

Seventh Edition of pot-pourri Launched with New Cover Designed by Local Teen


Photos: Rheal Doucette, OPL

In the auditorium of the Main Library, in front of an audience of parents, siblings, extended family and friends, six young writers read their poems and short stories, giving attendees a hint of the writing skill exhibited in pot-pourri 2013. Now in its seventh year, this anthology features the winning poems and short stories from this year's Ottawa Public Library Awesome Authors youth writing contest. 

Thirty of the 48 authors featured in the collection joined us on October 8th to celebrate the publication of their writing. School friends chatted excitedly and both children and adults leafed through the pages of the new book before the ceremony began, reading works by the young writers surrounding them. On the stage, representatives from FOPLA, the Ottawa Public Library (OPL), and the OPL Board congratulated the writers in the room and presented the featured authors with their own copies of the book.

This year's pot-pourri launch also brought with it the excitement of a new cover, designed by 15 year-old Naheen Ahmed, winner of our pot-pourri Cover Design Contest. The colourful drawing displays an assortment of writers dreaming up stories at various stages of the creative writing process. The design beautifully captures the spirit of the Awesome Authors contest and of the pot-pourri anthology.

Support budding talent and fill out our order form to order a copy of pot-pourri today. All money raised from the sale of pot-pourri is used to support the Ottawa Public Library and the Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest. Books can be purchased for $12.95 (no tax). Makes a great gift for teachers and family members of Awesome Author winners!

2014 submissions to the Awesome Authors contest will be accepted  by the Ottawa Public Library until February 2014, so please encourage aspiring writers between the ages of 9 and 17 to send in their writing. Perhaps their works will be featured in next year's edition of pot-pourri.

See photos from the event


Aboriginal Graphic Novel Author and Illustrator at the Library

Photo: Rob Brown

The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library have sponsored visits from Aboriginal author, David Alexander Robertson, to increase outreach initiatives to the Aboriginal community of Ottawa. David Alexander Robertson will be holding six workshops and lectures at the Library next week to discuss his award-winning graphic novel series 7 generations. The series examines Aboriginal history as well as contemporary issues. Reviews of his work have suggested that the graphic novels are insightful, powerful and deal with difficult sensitive subjects. No doubt the participants will enjoy learning what it means to create a work from scratch and have it published in Canada as well as having a chance to discuss the subject matter presented. Robertson will begin his tour at the Mamidosewin Centre at Algonquin College where he will present to over 30 college students. Several high schools in Ottawa will have the opportunity to participate in a workshop with Robertson and will participate in writing and illustrating exercises.

Watch his book trailer here.

Find his books at the library.

A Gift of Books


The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library recently received a generous gift from the estate of Anne-Laure Levain Viner. Michael Tinkler contacted our Friends group to make arrangements to donate 24 boxes filled with an excellent selection of gently used and rare books.  Anne-Laure was an avid supporter and patron of the Sunnyside library branch and often mentioned how much she enjoyed visiting the branch after moving to Ottawa from Montreal. She asked that her beloved books be donated to our organization to benefit the Ottawa Public Library. Thanks to her act of charity, her books are now making their way into book lovers’ homes and hearts. We are tremendously grateful for this gift.

pot-pourri Gets a Makeover!


Congratulations to Naheen Ahmed, winner of our pot-pourri cover design contest!

Naheen's drawing will be used as inspiration for the cover of pot-pourri 2013 and Naheen will be credited for the cover design on the back cover of the book.

Carp Friends Receive $1000 Donation from Nordion


The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA) has received a $1000 donation from Nordion. As part of its Employee Giving Program, “each quarter, Nordion makes up to three donations of $1000 each to not-for-profit organizations nominated by employees.” Bonny Houghton, a FOPLA volunteer at the Carp branch, has nominated our organization for the past year and we were one of the winners of Nordion’s most recent draw. Thank you, Bonny, for thinking of us!

Our volunteers at the Carp branch have been fantastic advocates for FOPLA – regularly getting involved in community events and seeking opportunities to raise funds for their beloved library. Kirsten Smith, Carp Book Corner’s volunteer bookstore manager, stated, “We are the little branch that thinks big!” And that’s no understatement. In just 5 years, the handful of FOPLA volunteers operating the Carp branch’s used-book store has raised over $30,000 for the Ottawa Public Library! Now they have another $1000 to donate to the Carp branch.

Investing in Our Future Librarians


Faezeh Khatami is the most recent recipient of the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Bursary at Algonquin College which provides financial aid for students of the Library and Information Technician program. In a letter thanking FOPLA for its financial aid, Faezeh wrote: 

"I cannot express how much this bursary will make a positive change in my life. Having this considerable amount of money on hand will assist me in paying for my school expenses and will release a lot of my financial pressure. Assisting students financially plays a significant role in their acaden1ic success, and I cannot thank you enough for this generosity…  I truly appreciate and admire your exceptional work."

A Bright Future for Libraries in Ottawa


Photo: Christopher Ryan

As part of the Apt613 Talks series, on June 26th Apartment613 assembled a panel of local librarians to discuss the future of libraries in Ottawa, and to share some of their recent innovations with a room packed with library users and advocates. On the stage were:

Jennifer Stirling, Division Manager for System-Wide Services & Innovation at the Ottawa Public Library

Leslie Weir, University Librarian at the University of Ottawa and former executive with the Canadian Association of Research Libraries

Mary Cavanagh, Assistant Professor in Information Studies at the University of Ottawa

Places and Spaces

A key discussion topic was the changing role of libraries in terms of how library space is used. The University of Ottawa’s library has relocated 60% of its collection in order to enable students to make use of shared space in support of collaboration and research. This solution has served library users well, as materials are easily retrieved by library staff on the same day a request is made. We have seen a similar value placed on space in Ottawa Public Library (OPL) branches. When library furnishings are replaced the OPL purchases desks, shelving and seating that can move easily so space can be repurposed for library programs and community events. 

A library’s function as a community space is becoming ever more essential, and this is reflected in the OPL’s Strategic Plan. The OPL offers a wealth of programs, workshops, and information sessions to its customers. It also works to cater its offerings to each branch’s tastes, analyzing user data to deliver the right programs to the right branches.  

Sharing Knowledge in the Communities We Serve

Related to the discussion of library space was the concept of sharing our libraries’ value in the larger community. Ms. Cavanagh advocated for mobility in library services; Ms. Weir explained that university librarians are now ‘embedding’ themselves all over campus so researchers can benefit from a librarian-in-residence of sorts; Ottawa’s public libraries have a number of outreach programs – from newcomer and student services, to homebound visits and bookmobile stops in communities without library branches. 

Ms. Cavanagh urged the librarians in the room to set up shop in any space, posting a sign that reads “The librarian is in” and encouraging strangers to take advantage of their skills as information professionals. Many might not fully realize the value libraries and library staff provide. Libraries provide information as well as access, which is just as important in the Internet age as at any other time. While Ms. Weir acknowledged that almost everything can be found online, she stated that 80% of it is locked behind paywalls. Libraries make available content that is otherwise locked up. Library staff can also help users find the most relevant information for their needs, from an authoritative source. At the OPL, business librarians provide resources and advice for entrepreneurs and job seekers; genealogists help people explore their family histories; and library staff teaches customers how to use digital devices. Ottawa’s public libraries also provide information through community partnerships, such as Ottawa Public Health, Citizen and Immigration Canada and Invest Ottawa.

The Digital Shift

Another issue discussed by the panel was the tension between digital and physical materials in libraries. Digital materials like e-books, music, and online databases are highly used by OPL customers, and staff is trained to help users navigate new tools and devices. Of course, physical materials have not declined in popularity so libraries must give weight to both physical and digital items when purchasing new materials. But publishers have made purchasing e-books for library use difficult. 

Jennifer Stirling explained that the OPL is advocating for easier access to e-books and fairer terms for libraries, as a member of the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC). Ms. Stirling shared that the current terms vary, with some publishers setting limits for the number of times a book can be checked out to 26 (at which point the title would need to be repurchased) and others raising the cost of e-books significantly. Ms. Stirling explained that an e-book might cost $89 and if the library requires 10 copies to meet demand almost $900 of its budget must be spent on only one title. Ms. Weir noted that university libraries have been able to negotiate favourable terms with academic publishers because they are the largest purchasers of their products, but public libraries are competing in the same marketplace as individuals. Ms. Cavanagh stated that publishers of e-books are holding libraries hostage. There is certainly a lot of work to be done on this front, but negotiations are underway and libraries remain hopeful. Regardless of the struggles they face, libraries recognize that users are demanding digital content and libraries will strive to provide it.

And that was the most consistent message of the night. The future of libraries is in the hands of library users. Libraries will always provide essential services, but the way they provide those services will change as their customers’ needs change. It is up to us to state our desires. Out libraries will adapt to meet them.

On the Edge of Change

FOPLA president, Colin Plows, presents OPL CEO, Danielle McDonald, with a cheque for $350,000
Photo: Rheal Doucette (OPL)

At our Annual General Meeting on June 18th, FOPLA president, Colin Plows, shared our organization's 2012 successes with an audience of volunteers and announced that thanks to their contributions we will be donating $350,000 to the Ottawa Public Library in 2013. This year, FOPLA will also see two new bookstores in the Manotick and Emerald Plaza library branches! We have a lot to look forward to in the coming months.

Our membership also approved a new Board of Directors:

Colin Plows, President 
Ben Godby, Vice-president of Operations
Melissa Nisbett, Vice-president Advocacy and Public Relations
Matthew Geigen-Miller, Secretary
Sean Ingutia, Treasurer
Shelly McQuillen, Member-at-large
Anne Rutherford, Member-at-large
Stanley Lowe, Member-at-large
Cindy Streefkerk, Past-president

Local Committee Representatives:
Carol Kerfoot (Ottawa Local Committee) 
Anthony Beck (Goulbourn - Rideau Local Committee) 
Judy Wisking (Nepean Local Committee) 
Heather Murphy (Kanata Local Committee) 
Colin Plows (Cumberland - Orleans Local Committee) 
Richard Bellaire (Greenboro Local Committee)
The Vanier Local Committee does not have a representative at this time.

In addition to electing new Board members and recognizing outstanding volunteers, FOPLA's membership was treated to a behind the scenes look at the Library's strategic plan and the library of the future from the Ottawa Public Library's CEO, Danielle McDonald. Her enthusiasm was unmistakable as she discussed the Library's recent Imagine campaign, which sought feedback from library users about what they'd like our branches to offer. The Library received hundreds of responses and is excited to implement some new ideas. These are very exciting times for Ottawa's libraries.

Carp Friends Celebrate 5 Years!


On June 7th, our Friends at the Carp library branch celebrated their bookstore’s 5th anniversary and revealed that since the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library started volunteering at the branch they have raised $30,066.32!

Lori Fielding, Supervising Librarian at Carp’s library, stated that volunteers are “the lifeblood of the Carp library branch” and shared that before the Friends started operating “Carp Book Corner,” the library earned about $500 from used book sales in a year. Through their efforts, the Friends at the Carp library branch have raised that amount to over $5000 per year.

“Not bad when you’re selling books for a toonie,” volunteer bookstore manager Kirsten Smith quipped. Kirsten went on to say, “I know every cent of it has been muchly appreciated and well spent.” She noted that the astounding amount raised over the past 5 years was “a testament to the wonderful volunteers.”

FOPLA is proud to have such dedicated volunteers on our team!

Looking for documents for our Annual General Meeting?


President's Letter

AGM Agenda

Proxy Vote

FOPLA's 2012 Annual Report

Minutes of 2012 AGM

Annual General Meeting - Tuesday, June 18th at 7:00 p.m. in the Main Library Auditorium at 120 Metcalfe Street.

FOPLA Sponsored Teen Tech Video Contest

MCs: Ahmed and Youssef, Teen Advisory Group (TAG) members at the Carlingwood branch
Photo: Rheal Doucette

The Teen Tech Week Video Contest Awards Night took place on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at the Centrepointe Studio Theatre.

Young filmmakers and their friends and fans came out to view the top 10 videos created by Ottawa teens. The audience was treated to a viewing of the top 10 film entries and a performance by local band, The Riot Police.

The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library is happy to support the Teen Tech Video Awards. This contest offers local teens a unique way to share their love of reading, and allows an enormous online community to enjoy the videos produced for the competition. Teen Tech Week also  raises awareness of the library's digital offerings, including e-Books, audio-books, OPL blogs and OPL apps.

Contestants 13-18 created one-minute videos about their favourite books and three winners were selected.

1st Place: Zachary Spence (Curious George Rides a Bike) - Winner of an Apple iPad and SAW Video package

2nd Place: Liam Jackson (Silver Wing) - Winner of a $150 Best Buy gift certificate

3rd Place: Adrianna Chang (13 Reasons Why) - Winner of a $75 gift certificate for Best Buy

View photos from the awards night.

National Volunteer Week


Ottawa Poets A-Twitter



The “Ottawa Poets A-Twitter Contest” ran from April 6-16, and now the results are in!

Local authors Rob Mclennan and Christine McNair had the challenging task of sifting through the 35 submissions and choosing the winning entries. Without further ado, in no particular order, these are the winners:

JC Sulzenko: April / Winter conspires with Spring / in a caprice of snow. / Robin-red on white, / their pennant defies the sun to shine.

40-Watt Spotlight: He was sorry, but not like she thought. He was wrong, but not like she thought. They were happy, but not like they hoped.

Pearl Pirie: Lacing showier air-holes. latticework, let us work lettuce work, rabbitting puckered verbs, smocked nouns between needlings

The winners received a prize pack provided by the Friends of Ottawa Public Library.


Winners of Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest Announced

Photo: Rheal Doucette, OPL/BPO

The winners of this year’s Awesome Authors youth writing contest, which ran from December 2012 to February 2013, were announced March 26th at an Awards Ceremony in The Chamber at Ben Franklin Place. Young writers and their parents, grandparents, siblings, and best friends filled the seats to find out who had won. 

The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) holds the contest annually, with sponsorship from FOPLA.

Judges, J.C. Sulzenko,  Michel Lavoie, and Brenda Chapman made their way through hundreds of poems and stories in French and English, whittling down to 46 winners who, they felt, produced the most impressive works. They announced the winners in the categories they judged, and treated the audience to an excerpt from each winning text. There were some returning winners and some new faces, but all of the Awesome Authors who received awards grinned from ear to ear.

The winners’ works will be included this fall in pot-pourri, an anthology of short stories and poems published by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library (FOPLA). The anthology will be available in October, so be sure to join us for the book launch to purchase your copy and see for yourself how incredible Ottawa's young authors' talent can be. If you want to guarantee a copy, you can pre-order now.

Leo Yerxa and James Bartleman

Leo Yerxa

In December 2012, Jennifer Johnson, Librarian at Rosemount Branch, arranged for James Bartleman, literacy advocate and former Lieutenant-Governor for the province of Ontario, and Leo Yerxa, a local author and illustrator and winner of a 2006 Governor General’s Literary Award, to speak to children and youth in our community at the Odawa Native Friendship Centre. Following the events, FOPLA received a letter from Ms Johnson, acknowledging our gift of funding. Ms Johnson was happy to report that the presentations had been well-received and she thanked “the members of the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library for their generous support.” In her letter, Ms Johnson included a brief summary of each event.

In a presentation to a group of local youths, Mr Bartleman shared accounts from his childhood and his professional life to communicate the importance of resilience. He championed the power of literacy and education and offered students a personalized experience, asking each attendee to introduce himself or herself and greeting everyone in return. Ms Johnson shared, “As a strong advocate for literacy, he told them his first library consisted of the comics found at the local dump, which he and his brother rescued, read and re-read.” The students were moved by his stories.

At a separate event for children, Ms Johnson wrote, “Mr Yerxa very generously brought original artwork from two of his books.” When sharing his artwork from Last Leaf, First Snowflake to Fall, Mr Yerxa “recounted the late fall when he and his father would go out on the trap line together, travelling by canoe.  He explained his use of perspective in sometimes making the natural creatures larger than the people, to emphasize their significance.” Mr Yerxa also brought several three-dimensional models, which he had created for Ancient Thunder “in paint and tissue paper collage,” to show the children. He invited questions and allowed the children to touch the artwork on display, “to help them better experience his techniques.”

Both events sound like they were a delight for everyone involved and FOPLA is pleased to have been able to support such powerful programming, offered by the Ottawa Public Library.

Goodbye to a library Friend


The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA) would like to recognize Betty Bradley (nee Argue), a long-time friend of the Ottawa Public Library, who passed away at 81 in February 2013. A retired teacher and a voracious reader, Betty was born and raised in the Carp area and loved her local branch, supporting the library by walking in the annual Diefenbooker. We thank her friends and family members for making donations in her honour to our organization.

Freedom to Read Week


February 24-March 2, 2013

Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Freedom to Read Week is organized by the Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council.

Family Literacy Day


January 27th is Canada’s Family Literacy Day, and what better way to celebrate than with a visit to one of our Friends bookstores for a treat? Peruse the shelves at one of our book sale locations and pick up something for every member of the family for just a few dollars. In the gloom of winter all of us can appreciate a break. So make the day a special occasion; enjoy a new story and share your love of reading with the ones you love.

Be a Friend to Your Library


Are you looking to gain valuable leadership experience while helping out in your community? Join our Board of Directors!

The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA) is seeking dedicated volunteers to serve on the Board of Directors for a two-year term.
The ideal candidates will have experience in one or more of the following areas of Board governance: policy, finance, programs, personnel and advocacy.
Available positions (beginning June 2013):

  • President      
  • Vice-president Operations 
  • Vice-president Advocacy and Public Relations
  • Local Committee Representative – Ottawa

Our organization advocates for a strong public library system in our city. We raise approximately $250,000 for the library annually, with most funds coming from the operations of used bookstores in library branches, run by local committees.