Residents share what they think is most important for finding a site for the new Ottawa Central Library

More than 175 residents took part in two working sessions at Ottawa City Hall yesterday to help shape the criteria that will be used to evaluate potential locations for the new flagship Ottawa Central Library. The general public will have a chance to provide further input into the site criteria in an online questionnaire starting May 26, 2016.

The session was led by OPL Board Chair Tim Tierney, and participants heard from Mayor Jim Watson and OPL CEO Danielle McDonald.  Participants also had an opportunity to hear from Judith Hare, the retired Halifax Public Library CEO who oversaw the redevelopment of that city’s central library. She told participants about the transformative impact the new central library has had on her city.

Next steps for finding the best possible site for the Ottawa Central Library

The process to find a site for the new central library includes the development of an inventory of potential sites in Ottawa’s Central Area, a detailed listing of site criteria shaped by public input and technical expertise, and an analysis of those sites against approved criteria.

In June 2015, the Board unanimously approved the Central Area as the geographic location for the Ottawa Central Library. The boundaries of this area include: the Ottawa River to the North; Wellington / Albert / Gloucester / Lisgar to the South; King Edward to the East; and, the Trillium Line to the West.

The Board will be asked to approve the evaluation criteria in July. The sites in the inventory will then be evaluated and analyzed. This will result in a short-listing of sites, followed by financial analysis and due diligence. The OPL Board will make a decision before the end of the year regarding location, along with decisions regarding financial framework, partnership and delivery method. The Board will recommend a best approach to Ottawa City Council.

Upcoming consultation on spaces and services

In addition to helping to shape the criteria for where to build, the public will have another opportunity to help the OPL finalize its plans for what to build. Community consultations on the spaces and services offered at the new Ottawa Central Library will take place June 15 and 22. Information will be available shortly on this website.

Ground-breaking for the Ottawa Central Library is expected in the spring of 2018 with official opening of a new iconic library in 2020.