Opinions on OPL Main?

Libraries are Great Work Spaces

I’m a big fan of Libraries, and since moving to Ottawa I’ve seen how amazing they can really be. The Ottawa Public Library is the largest bilingual public library system in North America, with 24 branches, two bookmobiles, and even a book vending-machine service. I’m also a big supporter of their used bookstore, run by the Friends of the OPL.

As a writer, I love getting out of the house to work, and I love that no matter where I am in the city I can open up the OPL app and find the nearest location where I can find a work station that suits my needs. Granted, I can always go to a coffee shop, but there is something special about working at a library (and not needing to buy an expensive drink or avoid the stink-eye of people waiting for a seat).

The latest OPL expansion happened over at the Beaverbrook branch, and it did not disappoint. The location closed in February 2013 and reopened in August 2014 as a new amazing workspace. It is equipped with two public meeting rooms (each with 45 person capacity), numerous small rooms for group work, an abundance of electrical outlets, and plenty of open seating by large windows to give you wonderful natural lighting while you work. Prior to the Beverbrook Branch reopening in August, my favorite work place was the Stittsville branch, which has one little closed-off room which always had space available for you to work in peace and quiet.

What Will Happen to the Central Branch?

Now on the forefront of OPL news is the central branch location.

Located downtown, at Laurier and Metcalfe, this 44-year-old branch was opened in 1971 and is currently badly outdated and it has outgrown its 81,000 square feet of space. It is often criticized for being much less user-friendly and accommodating than the neighboring coffee shops, especially when you consider that it is very difficult to get cell reception or reliable Wi-Fi.

Last summer a consulting firm was brought in and reported that it would be an estimated $70 million to renovate the current location. This renovation would strip the building down to its shell and rebuild with new glass facades, upgraded heating and electrical systems, better internal accessibility (including fixing the current one-way escalators) and increased room for meeting rooms and work areas. There is a lot being said about looking into a Public-Private Partnership (P3) to make these enhancements a reality.

OPL just announced that discussions concerning the Central Library are open to the public and set to start soon. If you would like to be a part of it, join in one of these three ways:

  1. Participate in the open public session on March 31 at 7pm at City Hal. Register at OttawaCentralLibrary.ca
  2. View the public session live webcast on OttawaCentralLibrary.ca and then submit your input online through April 6
  3. Visit the Main Branch from March 21-27 to write comments on the “idea board”

The results of this input will be made available to all in June 2015 through a report to the Ottawa Public Library Board.

Take a bit to think about what you would like to see in the central library upgrades, and make sure you chime in with your thoughts!




Writing Spots: OPL East Ottawa

April 18

Writing Around Town

As a writer, I love to find new places to write. I have my old favorites, but there is something about going somewhere new that shakes up my routine and gets me in a productive mood. That’s just one excuse though, the truth is that I’m just a huge fan of the Ottawa Public Library system, and I want to be able to visit all of the branches before we are posted out of the city! As a small-town girl growing up, we only had a TINY public library, and then our own school libraries and the local College Library. The OPL system is HUGE to me!

Cumberland Library

OPL-Cumberland-Ottawa-Library-Review

Cumberland

The Cumberland Branch is the farthest West branch of the Ottawa Public Library. One of the things I look for in a good writing spot is nearby refreshments, and this one has a Metro, Booster Juice and Tim Horton’s. They also have lots of parking.

One of my favorite things about working at the Library is the opportunity to use a table to spread out the book I’m taking notes from, my laptop, and any papers, etc.

One of the things that put Cumberland over the top for me? The separate area for Children! This kept the noise way down in the rest of the building.

This place has a ton of natural light, several small rooms to do group work, two table areas for study, and even a section of chairs next to a heater/fireplace for reading!

Orleans Library

OPL-Ottawa-Library-Orleans-Review

Unlike Cumberland, the Orleans Library is in a residential location. This means there doesn’t seem to be food or drink in immediate walking distance. There is parking though. So if you’re planning on spending the day there just pack a cooler and go eat in your car.

North Gloucester Library

OPL-Ottawa-Library-North-Gloucester

This library was busier, as it was in a more densely populated area. There was plenty of working space though. I’m guessing it would be super busy at the end of the day during the school year.

Ottawa Flowers

Today’s post is a bit different than my usual posts – today I’m sharing some beauty that can be found in Ottawa here in the spring! I regretted last year when I missed the Ottawa Tulip Festival, and I almost missed it this year too! Today was the last day of the festival (although the flowers can still be enjoyed after the festival ends), and I was so happy that I allowed myself the break from work to go out and enjoy the beauty of nature. Make sure you make time to do the same – don’t let life pass you by while you are chained to your computer!

jessicar-ripley-ottawa-tulip-festival

In addition to the tulips, the cherry blossoms are also blooming around Ottawa right now. These beautiful pink or white trees only bloom for about a week (although they may start to bloom at different times, so we will see them come and go for a few weeks). These flowers are well-loved and representative of both the beauty and shortness of life. Their meaning is not lost on the small business owner – if you miss out on the chance to enjoy them this month then you may end up with your whole life passing you by while you slave away.

These flowers are related to the rose, so just as the saying goes – make sure you stop and smell the cherry blossoms!

jessica-ripley-ottawa-cherry-blossoms