April 12, 2018: Rosemount Library’s Future?; A book depot during renovations.

April 12, 2018: Rosemount Library’s Future?;
A book depot during renovations.

By Blaine Marchand, R.E.A.D. Group.

In the upcoming months, the Rosemount branch library will close while renovations take place.

Neither the date nor the length of time of the closure has been specified. The Rosemount Expansion and Development (READ) group contacted the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) for information on the closure and the services that will be available to users in the catchment area.

The OPL indicated that Rosemount will operate as a depot, a model used during other renovations, such as the Beaverbrook branch renovation and expansion, which saw it go from10,000 square feet to 25,000 square feet. READ was informed that there will be a small collection of books, including express material. The automated check-in and return system will be in use. And rather than having desktop computers available for use, Chromebooks will be available.

According to OPL officials, any programming would be off site. The OPL is exploring potential sites within the neighbourhood. Whether this means users will be directed to a community facility, such as the Hintonburg Community Centre or to another facility is not certain. READ hopes that programing will be available at a nearby site that is accessible to primary and secondary students, the physically challenged and the seniors who are regular users.

When READ pressed for information on the design process, the OPL responded that the Request for Proposals (RFP) to engage an architect will be done by the City. No input will be sought on the RFP.

READ was told the engaged architect will be fully aware of Rosemount’s spatial limitations and the limited budget for the project. The current building was built in 1918, expanded in 1933/4 and given a facelift (elevator, more washrooms) in 1982.

Even with these, the library with a square footage of just a shade over 6,000 square feet to serve an estimated catchment population of 40,000 simply does provide enough space. In READ’s view, this renovation, at best, will be a band aid.

In reply to READ asking whether the community will be allowed input, the OPL indicated there will be public engagement prior to the design phase but details of the time and structure of these consultations were not provided.

With regard to Rosemount, the community needs to be on the alert and follow the process attentively. For years, Rosemount was the priority for the OPL Board but somehow other branches across the municipality inexplicably superseded it.

Key questions remain. How long will Rosemount users rely on a temporary depot for their library services? How will the renovation re-configure a building with limited space? In the longer term, does the OPL Board and the City have a concrete plan for library services?

For a comparison of Rosemount library to other OPL branches, please visit http://www.READRosemount.ca .

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