Join us for the 125th celebration


One week today is the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the formation of the North Gower library.

The library is open next Monday from 5:30-8:30 PM, and the formal celebrations take place from 7-8:30. Chair of the City of Ottawa Library Board Tim Tierney will be there to mark the occasion.

Staff is dressing in fashions from different decades over the 125 years, so if you have a costume or vintage clothing, put it on and drop in!

Formed by the Mechanics Institute –educational institutes designed to provide education to working men (and an alternative to gambling and drinking)–the library became a service for the general community. The North Gower Library moved several times in its lifetime, once it was in the General Store, and for another period it was in the coach house of the local doctor, but it has provided continuous library service for 125 years.

The North Gower Branch of the OPL is now housed in what was the Rideau Township Fire Hall. Next door are the Rideau Township Archives, in the former Town Hall.

Drop in, and celebrate, and show how much North Gower loves our Library!


NOTE: the distinguished and beautiful lady pictured in the 125th anniversary bookmark is the late Coral Scharf Lindsay, local educator and historian. Also pictured is OPL staffer Julie, and below, co-chair of Friends of the North Gower Library and Coral’s Corner bookstore manager, Jane Wilson


North Gower’s Karen Craig retiring

Learning at the Library! With North Gower supervisor Karen Craig (left) and Sparks leader Lyra.

Learning at the Library! With North Gower supervisor Karen Craig (left) and Sparks leader Lyra.

A special drop-in event will be held at the North Gower Branch of the Ottawa Public Library tomorrow, January 28th, between 4 and 6 PM, to celebrate North Gower resident Karen Craig’s 24 years with the library as she retires this week.

Karen was the librarian for the North Gower Library prior to amalgamation with the City of Ottawa, and has been the supervising staff member for North Gower, and recently the Richmond Branch as well.

A “memory book” is available if you wish to share and stories or recollections, as we all wish Karen well in her new adventures!

North Gower Library’s $60,000 facelift in 2016

Ottawa Community News

North Gower library to receive $60,000 facelift

Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association to donate $55,000 for upgrades

Manotick News

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.”


Artist of the Month features secret codes

October 16, 2015

The Artist of the Month in North Gower’s branch of the Ottawa Public Library is Elena Khomoutova.

Read more about Elena in this week’s edition of the Ottawa Community News, here.

The Artist of the Month program has been running in North Gower for more than 20 years; it was started and still managed by North Gower library manager and resident Karen Craig.

Richmond artist puts owl, ‘seven’ in paintings

Stittsville News

Richmond artist Elena Khomoutova always includes two features in her paintings, no matter what the subject.

One is the image of an owl while the other is a representation of the number “seven.” The owl could be in a tree in a landscape scene or could be an outline randomly placed in the painting. The number “seven” could be seven of something, for instance, children in a painting or it could be the numeral “7” incorporated into the artist’s signature on the painting. In one painting showing Parliament Hill, the Peace Tower clock is showing seven o’clock. So there are numerous possibilities but both the owl and “seven” are there in some form in all of her paintings.

The owl is meant to represent and convey wisdom while the number “seven” is meant to bring luck to the viewer.

To identify where the owl and “seven” are in a painting, Elena writes a note on the back of the painting explaining where the two images are located in the painting.

Elena also paints all of her paintings in the presence of an angel-shaped candle holder which she lights whenever she is painting. She uses this as a way to impart luck and joy to people through her art.

She also gets inspiration in her painting from a pet budgie bird which is allowed to fly around her studio, sitting at times not only on various perches set up around the studio but also at times on her brush as she paints. The budgie’s name is “Joy” and the bird’s presence helps Elena convey that feeling in her paintings.

Indeed, Elena’s art has been bringing joy to many around the world ever since 1995 when her artwork first appeared on UNICEF greeting cards. These cards with her artwork on them have been distributed in 67 countries around the world over the years.

And this exposure on the UNICEF cards led to approaches from Canadian greeting card companies and now both Elena and her husband Alexander Khomoutov, a photographer, are providing their art for greeting cards. This year alone, there are 19 different cards with their art being produced by three Canadian greeting card firms.

Alexander notes that providing images for greeting cards allows both himself and Elena to bring the joy of art to as large an audience as possible. He confirms that having the images on greeting cards has not led to any sales of the original artwork but that is fine with him and his wife. He says that bringing joy to more people through their art on the cards is reward enough for them.

He says that the cards are not just regular cards but rather each one is “a good luck energy card,” conveying good luck and positive energy to the recipient.

And these cards with their artwork helps in spreading the art to everyone. Anybody can afford a card, Alexander says.

Elena has done a number of paintings featuring hockey scenes. She was the official artist for the Ottawa Senators in the 1998-99 season, producing a painting showing hockey being played on the Rideau Canal which was used by the hockey club for promotional purposes. In that same season, she was commissioned by the Ottawa Citizen to do a painting featuring some of the Ottawa Senators and which was featured on a two-page spread in a special edition of the newspaper. She even put the faces of herself, her husband Alexander and some friends in the crowd around the players.

Elena and Alexander are from Russia. Elena remembers being interested in art since she was about six years old, albeit just as a fun pastime in her youth. She eventually worked for a scientific journal publishing house but she wanted to do something more creative in art.

In Russia, her husband Alexander worked as a scientist but loved photography which was a hobby for him at the time while Elena pursued her art career.

While in Russia, Alexander as a scientist came to the attention of the National Research Council here in Canada and he was invited to work at the NRC for six months. His time at the NRC kept getting extended and extended and eventually he and Elena went through the immigration process and became residents of Canada.

In 2009, Alexander decided to follow his passion and became a professional photographer and digital artist. He now is totally focussed not only on promoting Elena’s work through their website but also in creating his own photographic art and writing books. He has just finished one book, not yet published, dealing with art and how art influences people.

Elena currently has some of her art on sale at the Koyman Gallery in Ottawa, although the art there features just Ottawa scenes. She enjoys painting Ottawa scenes but she also enjoys painting works that are more spiritual in nature, focussed on joy and good luck.

Elena admits that she sometimes gets ideas for her paintings from dreams. Indeed, she now keeps a notebook and pen beside the bed so that she can write down or sketch about the dream right away during the night. She began this after she found that sometimes she could not remember the dream if she waited until the morning.

Library volunteers at North Gower Farmers Market “Family Day”!

Saturday July 18th is “Family Day” at the popular Farmers Market in North Gower and there will be plenty to see and do … including a visit to the Friends of the North Gower Library table, staffed by volunteers, inside the Big Red Barn.

We will have registration kits for the TD Kids Summer Reading Club which you can then take to the Library (it will be open Saturday 10-2!), and get a head start on your children’s/grandchildren’s summer reading.

When you visit the Library be sure to look at the tote board for the friendly competition among three local branches: Richmond, Munster and North Gower are all vying to see whose kids can read more books this summer. (Munster is currently leading—THAT has to change!)

Prizes are awarded weekly at the Library — just fill out a ballot with the number of books read, and staff do a draw at the end of each week.

Don’t have a card? Volunteers will also have the kits for you to fill out and drop off at the Library so you can get YOUR Library card, and access to all the services. Did you know that Library patrons can access for free? That’s worth about $30 a month, alone.

Did we mention “fun”? We will have a giant jar of jelly beans—guess how many are in it, and YOU win the JAR!

Last, but not least, Councillor Scott Moffatt ( a father of four!) will be our celebrity guest reader for a special Family StoryTime on Family Day at the Market. Storytime starts at 11:30 a.m.—don’t miss it!!

The Market runs from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday.

[This website and all activities associated with Friends of the North Gower Library are managed by volunteers. To contact staff, call 613-580-2940]


Donations wanted for used book sales

Donations of gently used books and magazines help the Library.

In North Gower, our “Coral’s Corner” performs the double duty of honouring Coral Lindsay, renowned historian and author, while providing an opportunity to recycle books within the community, and benefit the Library.

If you have books or magazines to donate, here are a few guidelines as to what the Library can accept:

  • recent publications
  • must be in good condition, i.e., not soiled or mouldy or broken
  • NO textbooks, please
  • magazines
  • children’s cooks
  • “Classic” publications welcome

Donations should be dropped off at the Library during open hours: please don’t leave books outside—we love books and would hate to find them damaged by the weather!

The book sales are managed by Friends of the Ottawa Public Library volunteer and North Gower resident Carol.

Don’t forget to take a look at what’s on offer at Coral’s Corner next time you stop in at the Library—very interesting finds can be had!

Karin Rabuka Artist of the Month North Gower

"Land and Sea-4" by Karin Rambuka

“Land and Sea-4” by Karin Rabuka

Artist of the Month on display at the North Gower Branch of the Ottawa Public Library is Karin Rabuka. While many locals know Karin as the proprietor of NoGo organic and locally roasted coffees (she prepared the special Library Blend coffee we had available at Christmas), Karin is a Fine Arts grad who has been creating art her whole life.

I am constantly reminded that our landscape and the communities that we live in are so closely tied to one another in a fragile relationship. Through our favorite past time of accumulating “stuff”, our Canadian landscape is greatly compromised and changed. Where a field in my neighbourhood once stood still with deer grazing upon it, it now supports a row of houses that barely differ from one another. It seems that the more we acquire, the better off we think we’ll be. My artwork attempts to herald the opposite with a twist of visual comic relief attached to it. I choose to paint scenes that I am familiar with — scenes from my neighbourhood. These illustrate the tension between the accumulation of what we desire, and the result of that on our landscape, all the while using a lighthearted visual style of painting that is both easy to look at through simplification and arresting colour.

Karin Rabuka

Karin has been awarded several awards for her work, including First Prize Best of Show at UxShow in Uxbridge (one out of over 600 applicants), Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grants, the Leading Edge Award, Kitchener, Ontario, and the Waterloo Regional Arts Foundation Exhibition Assistance Grant.

Karin’s work has been in exhibitions at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, Grimsby Public Art Gallery, Dale Smith Gallery, Ottawa, and the Robert Langen Gallery at Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario.

Karin’s work is part of many private collections in Canada including British Columbia, Toronto, Windsor, Kitchener and Ottawa.

Visit the North Gower Library to see Karin’s work from now until the end of June.