Web-extra (June 28, 2018): Rosemount Library; Users deserve better.

Web-extra (June 28, 2018): Rosemount Library;
Users deserve better.

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

The months ahead are critical ones for the future of the Rosemount library. The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) has indicated that, prior to Rosemount’s renovation, a public consultation with Kitchissippi residents will take place in September 2018 (dates to be confirmed).

As readers of Newswest know, the OPL will spend $2 million to “renew” the one hundred year old branch. During this renovation, the branch will be closed for approximately one year. A “depot” library situated in a store front on Wellington Street will serve our community. The “Renovation” will not provide much needed additional space. The branch size will remain 6089 square feet.

The Rosemount Expansion and Development (READ) group has nothing but praise for the work done by our librarians in the local branch. They work in constrained circumstances. But with the population of Kitchissippi swelling to 44,262 at the end of 2017 and continuing to increase over the upcoming years due to intensification and natural growth, meeting the needs of the community in such a small space becomes an issue.

Rosemount Library will continue to be 66 percent smaller than branches in other comparable neighbourhoods. As a result, it cannot provide the programs or the amenities that are available in other branches. Elmvale Acres is a comparably sized branch at 7,493 square feet, but in that space there is seating for 40 users and a meeting room which can hold 59 people. Meeting rooms are a staple at most OPL branches, but Rosemount has no meeting room for its community. A fully functional and accessible program room is a must-have and the renovation must provide for one.

A modern library must provide sufficient space and services to adequately respond to the community, not just for the present generations but the future ones. In READ’s view, the $2 million allocated for Rosemount is neither an efficient use of taxpayers’ money, nor will it meet the future social and cultural needs of our rapidly expanding community.

The current City of Ottawa administration is unwilling to adequately fund infrastructure in the urban core despite its advocacy for intensification. The Rosemount renovation decision is a prime example of the short-sightedness of city officials. READ believes strongly that Ottawa Library Board staff might like to do better but cannot do so.

Before consultations take place, READ encourages Rosemount Library users to consider several issues. What services do they most desire? What is the best use of the space to assure these are provided? Given the limited space, should there be more hours per week to spread services out and meet be increased demands? Can some services be provided through partnerships and synergies with other service-providers and locations, such as the Innovation Centre or the Hintonburg Community Centre? Raising these important issues will ensure Rosemount library users receive the services they deserve.

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