April 26, 2018: Rosemount Library Gets a Band Aid;
Added space is what’s needed.
By Blaine Marchand, R.E.A.D.
It goes without saying that Rosemount branch library is a very busy branch. Our community library has the highest circulation of items per square foot of all the 33 OPL branches. And it’s not surprising given that Rosemount currently serves an area of more than 40,000 residents. But with in-fill development taking place, the number of residents will continue to increase on a steady basis. Within its catchment area, almost 16,000 residents are library card holders which makes it the eighth highest of all the branches in the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) system.
Rosemount users often state how over-crowded and under-resourced their local library is. Built in 1918 and expanded in 1936, it was last significantly upgraded in 1984. But little can be done as a result of its size, which is 6,089 square feet. It sits proudly but overshadowed by a condominium development which envelops it, building on one side, underground parking entrance on the other.
The OPL statistics indicate that there are six other branches in the system that can be compared with Rosemount. These are Alta Vista, Carlingwood, Elmvale Acres, Emerald Plaza, North Gloucester, and St. Laurent. But in terms of square foot, this is somewhat misleading. A quick look at the area for each raises the question… how comparative? The Carlingwood branch has19, 690 square feet, Alta Vista has 15,198 square feet, North Gloucester 14,300, St-Laurent 13,540 and Emerald Plaza 10,528. Only Elmvale Acres comes close to be comparative in square footage at 7,493. Interestingly, Elmvale circulates only 70% of what Rosemount does.
These statistics come from a recent compilation put together by the Rosemount Expansion and Development (READ) group: tinyurl.com/y93jhjez .
These come from the most recent figures available from the OPL and the Canadian Urban Libraries Council. The statistics, accompanied by photos, show how poorly the Rosemount branch compares with other branches in terms of space and service capacity. It also illustrates that our community needs and deserves more and better space for our branch.
Other figures in these informative charts indicate that Rosemount has no publicly available or bookable meeting rooms. Twenty-five of the 32 other branches have at least one or more public meeting rooms. Rosemount has significantly fewer seats with only 31 places to offer to users. There is no teen zone for young adults as is found at other branches.
A mere 7 computer workstations are offered, although interestingly the use of public access computers at Rosemount ranks fifth highest of all OPL branches. In contrast, the comparison branches are abundant; Carlingwood with 21, Alta Vista 18, North Gloucester 17, St-Laurent 14, and Emerald Plaza 12. Even Elmvale Acres, our closest rival in terms of square footage, has double the number than Rosemount at 14 computers. Rosemount hardly seems a library fit for the 21st century.
The OPL and the City have allocated $2 million for renovations to begin in this autumn.But what will this achieve? Hemmed in, with no land and little if any space within the library to expand, the allocated funding seems merely a Band-Aid solution to the real need — more space.
Photo Caption: Library photos are courtesy of R.E.A.D.