News Archive - 2015

Donating to United Way? You Can Give to Your Library!

The United Way Campaign is underway and people across the city are pledging to support much-needed services in our community. But did you know you can donate to any charity you wish, while still participating in the pledge drive?
If you are interested in donating to the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA), you need only indicate your desire when asked where you would like your donated dollars to be directed. There is an option on the pledge form that reads, “I want to designate my gift to another registered Canadian charity.” Simply select that option and fill in Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association and our registered charity number: 119234193RR0001. It’s as easy as that!

FOPLA donates over $250,000 each year to the Ottawa Public Library to purchase library furnishings and materials and sponsor services not covered by the regular municipal budget. Most funds are raised through the operation of used bookstores, self-serve bookshelves in library branches, and specialty book sales run by volunteers (such as our Monthly Mammoth Used Book Sale at the James Bartleman Archives and Library Materials Centre). But we also rely on donations and membership applications from library supporters throughout the year.

If you would like to find out more about how our Friends group supports the Ottawa Public Library, visit our website:

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


Photos: Natalie Wilson,

On October 22nd, in front of an audience of largely family and friends, six young writers read their published poems and short stories (three in English, three in French), giving attendees a hint of the writing skill exhibited in pot-pourri 2015. Now in its ninth year, the pot-pourri anthology features the winning poems and short stories from this year's Ottawa Public Library Awesome Authors youth writing contest. 

Twenty-five of the 51 authors featured in the collection joined us for the celebration and book reading. We also revealed a new cover, designed by the winner of this year’s pot-pourri Cover Design Contest, Milong Wang. Support budding talent and fill out our order form to order a copy of pot-pourri

2016 submissions to the Awesome Authors contest will be accepted  by the Ottawa Public Library until February 2016, 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

We’re Helping Students on Their Way to Library Careers!


The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA) created a bursary through the Algonquin College Foundation 2011. Each year since its establishment a student in the Library and Information Technician program in his or her second semester and in financial need is awarded $1000 from our bursary to help ease the financial strain of tuition and study materials. In recognition of the great value our volunteers bring to our organization, recipients must also demonstrate community volunteerism in the past year.  

Here, we share some letters of thanks from recent recipients.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude for this bursary. Thank you so much! It is with great relief that I accept this assistance with paying for my studies. This bursary relieves a great amount of stress for me. This generosity will allow me to truly focus on my studies so that I may succeed. I feel one step closer to reaching my dreams of working in the library field.


Alexandra Vantyghem

I would like to thank you for your generosity. I have been really enjoying the LIT program here at Algonquin. I can’t believe that I’m halfway to my dream job. Financial worries and stress can hinder success. Thank you so much for helping to relieve some of these worries. 

Crystal McCrossin

Thank you for selecting me as one of the students receiving the bursary for this semester! The bursary will be put to good use for the rest of the semester!

Thank you,

Kara Seguin

A New Central Library Coming to the Capital


A central library that meets the modern needs of users is long overdue in Ottawa, and after years of dreaming of a welcoming and accessible space that holds the capacity for contemporary learning it appears the dream that we wished may come true. With Central Library Development recently approved as a strategic initiative by City Council, we are one step closer to seeing the vision of a new Central Library come to fruition. We look forward to working with the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) to bring this vision to reality.

Here is a timeline of central library developments:

• July 7, 2014: OPL board asked staff to investigate the possibility of a partnership for a library rebuild after a report from Ajon Moriyama Architect revealed the high cost of renovating the current library.

The modernization options presented were:

- Renewal: 109,000 sq. ft of usable space with a lifespan of 15-20 years and a cost of $40 million;

- Renovation: 115,000 sq. ft. of usable space with a lifespan of 25-35 years and a cost of $50 million; and,

- Redevelopment: 131,000 sq. ft. of usable space with a lifespan of at least 40 years and a cost of $70 million.

• March 31, 2015: The public was invited to provide input into the spaces and services of a future central library at a public forum held at Ottawa City Hall. The public was also invited to share their ideas through an online discussion and on an “ideas board” at the library’s main branch.

• June 9, 2015: The OPL Board approved the next stages of the Ottawa Central Library project, recommending the city build a new central library rather than renovate the existing branch to best meet programming needs, based on a consulting firm’s business case which identified that the options to renew, renovate, or redevelop wouldn’t fully address the deficiencies of the current space.  

• July 8, 2015: Ottawa City Council approved the Central Library Development strategic initiative in its 2015 – 2018 Term of Council Priorities.

This autumn, OPL will be seeking public input on building design concepts and site characteristics. Information on how to get involved will be made available at, where you can subscribe to the mailing list to receive updates on the project.

Richmond Bookstore Looking for a Name


Our volunteers at the Richmond library branch have launched a book sale operation with a competition inviting local residents to suggest a name for their new book store. The entrant whose bookstore name is selected will win a “bagful of bestsellers” (for an adult) or a lunch bag of books (for a child), including stationary items. We look forward to having a new creative bookstore name to add to our collection.

A new cover for pot-pourri!


Congratulations to Milong Wang, winner of our pot-pourri cover design contest!

Milong's drawing will be used as inspiration for the cover of pot-pourri 2015 and Milong will be credited for the cover design on the back cover of the book.

Looking for documents for our Annual General Meeting?


President's Letter

AGM Agenda

Proxy Vote

FOPLA's 2014 Annual Report

Minutes of 2014 AGM

Annual General Meeting - Tuesday, June 16th at 7:00 p.m. in the Main Library Auditorium at 120 Metcalfe Street.

Way to go Rideau Goulbourne!


This April the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) thanked the Friends volunteers who work so hard at in the Rideau Goulbourne Local Committee, which includes the Stittsville, Manotick, and North Gower library branches, to support the OPL system. 

Local volunteers raised $15,349.43 for OPL in 2014. Way to go!

Happy National Volunteer Week!


Winners of Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest Announced at 20th Anniversary Ceremony

Photo: Rheal Doucette, OPL/BPO

This year the Ottawa Public Library celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Awesome Authors youth writing contest. The competition, which is sponsored by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA), ran from December 2014 to February 2015 and winners were announced March 31st at an awards ceremony at the Centrepointe Theatre. 

Judges, J.C. Sulzenko,  Michel Lavoie, and Caroline Pignat read and evaluated 466 poems and stories in French and English, eventually identifying 51 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 along with a few words of encouragement for all of the writers in the audience. 

The winners’ works will be available for purchase this fall in pot-pourri, an anthology of short stories and poems published by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library (FOPLA). Be sure to join us for the book launch and readings on October 22nd 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.

Remembering Mr. Ernest Côté


We would like to recognize Mr. Ernest Côté, who died on February 25th, 2015 at the age of 101, for all of his work supporting and championing the Ottawa Public Library in his lifetime.

Mr. Côté, a WWII veteran and senior federal public servant, was a longstanding member of the OPL Board of Directors, serving as Board Chair for several years in the 1980s. During his tenure he co-founded our library’s Friends group (FOPLA) and established the FOPLA trust fund with his own funds, convincing others to contribute as well. He then served on the trust fund committee, managing its growth for many years. 

Later, in recognition of FOPLA’s 25th anniversary in 2006, Mr. Côté co-created the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Scholarship along with FOPLA, providing a generous donation to establish the fund. This scholarship was created to benefit students of the Information Studies program at the University of Ottawa. FOPLA aimed to add to the fund incrementally until it became self-sustainable but, after receiving a Christmas card from Lori Nash (a former FOPLA president) in December 2009, Mr. Côté committed to a second sizable donation to help the scholarship fund achieve sustainable status. 

Mr. Côté challenged FOPLA and the Ottawa Public Library Foundation to match his contribution, and all contributions were subsequently matched by the University of Ottawa, bringing the scholarship fund’s total to $100,000. This allowed for scholarships for future librarians from the National Capital Region to be awarded from the interest earned from the fund. One (and sometimes two) eligible student(s) can now receive a $2000 scholarship each year.

Mr. Côté will be remembered as a notable advocate and benefactor of libraries and librarianship in this city.

A Blog Post from a Book Sale Fan!

Photo: Maple Books

There's a large community of bibliophiles across the city, and our Monthly Mammoth Used Book Sale is a regular haunt for those looking for special gems to add to their book collections. We were delighted to find a blog post celebrating our book sales from one such fan.

Read it here: The Mini-Mammoth, the Eight Books and the Guilty Loonie

FOPLA Books Find New Homes in Guatemala


In February our volunteers at the James Bartleman Centre collected excess Spanish books to sell to the Guatemala Stove Project (GSP), a charity that enables girls in Guatemala to continue their education. A GSP volunteer, Janet Allan, shared, “I have distributed the 210 books and they were appreciated everywhere. We have a special partner in Xela and her three daughters were delighted to get a storybook. Five schools received about forty books where no fiction books are available. We also gave a few “private” books which we gave to each of our special bursary students.”