North Gower library to receive $60,000 facelift
Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association to donate $55,000 for upgrades
Quality over quantity
Submitted/Ottawa Public Library
The North Gower branch of the Ottawa Public Library is due for some improvements, and improvements it will receive – about $60,000 worth.
The Friends of the North Gower Library announced on Dec. 12 that the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association will contribute $55,000 to pay for the replacement of most of the library’s shelving.
While that project is underway next spring or early summer, the library’s walls will also receive a fresh coat of paint, in addition to other possible improvements to aspects of the library that suffer from regular wear and tear.
“We’re also right now looking with the city into lifecycle projects for the North Gower Library to see if there’s anything else that’s coming up that we may as well do while we’re doing these changes,” said Catherine Seaman, OPL’s division manager of branch operations.
The branch will close for up to 10 days during renovations, but Seaman hopes that by summer, 2016 the changes will have transformed the public space into a brighter, more attractive environment.
“Right now we have a medley of different kinds of shelving,” Seaman said. “So now the shelving will all be uniform. I think it’s really going to brighten the branch. And we’ll be able to market our collections a lot better.”
The new shelves, Seaman said, will be shorter in height than the current shelving units, and constructed from wood rather than metal. In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing, the lower shelf heights will make the shelves more accessible. Because shelves in the children’s section of the library are shorter in height, those shelves will not be replaced.
“The new shelving is basically the new Ottawa Public Library standard for shelving which is lower, making the collections more accessible,” she said. “But it also means that we have more visibility around the branch, that we have more light coming in.”
While the height reduction will inevitably reduce the number of books the shelves can hold, Seaman said the change will give library management a much needed opportunity to consolidate the collection and weed out less popular volumes.
“It’s always a good time to look at the collections and ask, ‘What does our community need? What is the community about? What do they like to read?’” she said.
“So there’ll still be a great collection there. It’s just that it’ll be a freshened collection. And usually what’s not being used goes back into the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library book stores to be sold to raise funds to be reinvested into the library.”
The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association, separate from the similarly named Friends of the North Gower Library, raises funds through the sale of used book, and then donates those funds back to Ottawa Public Library branches across Ottawa.
Seaman said that although there are currently no plans to relocate the North Gower branch, the new shelving units can be moved easily, should the library ever find a new home.
“There’s always been interest to relocate it somewhere else, but there’s just no where to relocate it to now anyway,” Seaman said.
“So this is really just to make sure that it’s refreshed, that it’s looking much better and that it’s got a little more space to it. And brighter, it’ll be much, much brighter.”