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About OPL

Ottawa Public Library (OPL) serves a national capital city of more than one million residents. OPL is the largest bilingual (English/French) public library system in North America. OPL offers access to information and services through 33 physical branches, a robust virtual channel (BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca) as well as three bookmobiles (two full-sized and one mini), a home delivery service for customers unable to visit in person, and a vending machine-style lending library service at one location. OPL is the second largest public library system in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. 

Vision, mission & values

OPL’s vision is to build community and transform lives; our mission is to inspire learning, spark curiosity, and connect people; our core values are Community, Inclusion, Integrity, Intellectual Freedom, and Literacy. Notably, intellectual freedom is a cornerstone tenet that underpins the Library’s role as a curator of information and a champion of information literacy. OPL supports intellectual curiosity and enquiry as well as the free and open exchange of lawful information and ideas in a democratic society, respecting individuals’ rights to privacy and choice. OPL is a shared public service, part of the cultural, educational and community fabric of the nation’s capital city.

Services

OPL’s Service Delivery Framework includes three service channels: virtual, facility, and mobile, through which OPL delivers five categories of service: collections, expertise, programs, spaces, and tools. 

Collections

OPL has a collection of more than 1,851,000 physical and digital items. The collection provides the foundation for literacy, cultivating the joys of reading, learning, exploring and creating for all ages. OPL’s collection contains English, French, Indigenous and other world languages. The OPL collection includes multiple formats, both to provide equitable access to individuals with disabilities, and to provide a wide range of digital content such as eBooks, eAudiobooks, streaming (for film, television, music), high-calibre online learning tools, as well as reference and research databases. Of the more than 1.8 million collections, 72 per cent are books. However, OPL also lends musical instruments (banjo, guitar, keyboard, mandolin, percussion, ukulele, violin), telescopes, access passes to museums and parks, and other items for public use.

Expertise

Library staff, including librarians, library technicians, and other experienced employees support information and literacy needs of customers through Reader’s Advisory (knowledgeable reading recommendations), assistance with research, support for technologies including eReaders, hardware, and software, creative spaces and resources, as well as through management of cardholder accounts, etc.

Programs

OPL creates cultural, creative and literacy programming that helps customers explore the depth and variety of resources in the collection, and hosts events that connect people, spark curiosity, and meet diverse community needs. Check out OPL's event listings

Spaces

OPL provides access to defined areas for customer use such as reading spaces, seating, reference areas, zones for children, teens, and/or seniors. There are also areas where specific collections, tools, or furnishings are made available to customers. OPL provides creative spaces and tools such as a maker space called Imagine Space, and a digitization lab with music editing and VHS conversion stations.

Tools

OPL provides equipment or technology for use on-site. Tools range from everyday essentials (such as photocopying and printing) to new technologies for learning and experimentation. A prime example is the creative technology at OPL’s maker space, which includes 3D printing and modelling, laser cutting, audio-video editing, green screen and video gear, hand tools and electronics, a wall-to-wall whiteboard, and more.

Fun facts

  • OPL has a service area of 2,700 km2
  • The longest distance between branches is 88 kilometers between Vernon and Fitzroy Harbour
  • OPL was the first to provide publicly-accessible Wi-Fi in Ottawa (in 2008), well before Tim Hortons (2012) or Starbucks (2010) introduced it across Canada!

  • The Ottawa Room’s collection includes over 1,200 maps, from 1856 to the present
  • ‘Reading’ a book is offered in many forms at OPL: in print, as an audiobook, as an eBook, in Braille or in picture format.
  • Thirteen branches are located in or beside recreational City buildings:
    1. Beaverbrook (John Mlacak Recreation Centre)
    2. Constance Bay (Constance/Buckham's Bay Recreation Centre)
    3. Cumberland (Ray Friel Recreation Centre)
    4. Fitzroy Harbour (Fitzroy Harbour Recreation Centre)
    5. Greely (Greely Community Centre)
    6. Greenboro (Greenboro Recreation Centre)
    7. Metcalfe (Larry Robinson Arena and Metcalfe Community Centre)
    8. North Gloucester (Splash Wave Pool)
    9. Osgoode (Stuart Holmes Arena and Osgoode Community Centre)
    10. Rockcliffe Park (Rockcliffe Park Recreation Centre)
    11. Ruth E. Dickinson (Walter Baker Sports Centre)
    12. St-Laurent (St-Laurent Complex)
    13. Vanier (Richelieu Vanier Recreation Centre)