Ottawa Public Library Board


Meeting #:
Champlain Room, 110 Laurier Avenue West, and by electronic participation
  • Chair Matthew Luloff, 
  • Vice-Chair Kathy Fisher, 
  • Trustee Mary-Rose Brown, 
  • Trustee Rawlson King, 
  • Trustee Catherine Kitts, 
  • Trustee Harvey A. Slack, 
  • and Trustee Adam Smith 
  • Trustee Jessica Bradley 
  • and Trustee Alison Crawford 

Notices and meeting information are attached to the agenda and minutes, including: availability of simultaneous interpretation and accessibility accommodations; in camera meeting procedures; information items not subject to discussion; personal information disclaimer for correspondents and public speakers; notices regarding minutes; and remote participation details.


  1. The meeting began at 5:06 pm.
  2. Vice-Chair Fisher participated electronically.

Chair Luloff welcomed member and attendees to the Ottawa Public Library Board meeting and delivered the Indigenous land acknowledgment statement.

The Chair proceeded with roll call by voice in random order.

Trustees Bradley and Crawford sent their regrets.

No Declarations of Interest were filed.

There were no communications.

Ādisōke Update

Chair Luloff provided an update on the progress of Ādisōke. The branch columns were completed, which is an exciting milestone as the building takes shape. The mezzanine and Level 1 west structure was also completed. On the outside of the building, work is ongoing on the façade steel, plywood, panels, and stonework. Inside the building, masonry work continues, as do mechanical and electrical rough-ins, as well as work on the feature staircase. The Chair encouraged everyone to follow construction progress by visiting or the Central branch web page on the OPL website.

Freedom to Read Week Recap

Chair Luloff provided a summary of OPL activities for Freedom to Read Week (FTRW), an annual opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the importance of free expression in society. The Chair noted that the web page for the Book Sanctuary online collection had been active and titles in the collection on display at Main branch were also being borrowed. Chair Luloff said there were active discussions on OPL’s social media platforms and website, and the t-shirt giveaway helped reach over 32,000 people on Facebook and Instagram. Lastly, close to 450 people participated in the events with journalist John Ibbitson and author Lawrence Hill, and many stayed to get their books signed and to talk to the speakers. The Chair recognized Trustee Slack’s continued support of OPL events.

Solar Eclipse

Chair Luloff thanked the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association for contributing funds for OPL to purchase ISO-approved solar eclipse glasses for the Library to distribute for personal use during the upcoming partial solar eclipse occurring in the region on Monday, April 8. Noting that the Ottawa Valley will be temporarily dark, he reminded everyone that looking directly at the sun without protection should be avoided at all costs. This is especially important to remember during an eclipse, when, during the temporary mid-afternoon darkening of the sky, people may instinctively look skywards. Clients can learn all about the eclipse at their local branch as they pick up their glasses before April 8.

Hours of Operation during Easter

Chair Luloff reminded everyone that OPL will be closed on Friday, March 29 (Good Friday), Sunday, March 31 (Easter), and Monday, April 1 (Easter). He highlighted OPL’s online resources, available over the long weekend, and commented that those celebrating the Easter holiday may wish to stream the soundtrack to the 1948 hit movie, ”Easter Parade”, while cooking or baking!

MOTION OPL 20240312/1

That the Ottawa Public Library Board receive the Chair’s verbal update for information.

Results: Received

Fund Development Special Recognition

Sonia Bebbington, Chief Librarian and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), began her report by announcing a generous donation of $1,000 per month for the next 18 months to the “Unlock Potential” campaign for the Ottawa Central Library at Ādisōke by the Mr. Arch Campbell. In June 2023, Mr. Campbell donated a generous $10,000 in loving memory of his late wife, Marg Campbell; this additional donation brings Mr. Campbell’s total gift to $28,000. Ms. Bebbington mentioned that Mr. Campbell is the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Gloucester Public Library, as well as a former CEO of Ontario Library Service North (which was subsequently amalgamated to the Ontario Library Services or OLS). Ms. Bebbington noted the Campbells have deep roots in the library community: Marg Campbell enjoyed her professional career at the Library of Parliament, and her brother, David, was the editor of Canadian Subject Headings at the National Library of Canada, as it was then called. Ms. Bebbington thanked Mr. Campbell for his continued support of the Central branch at Ādisōke and his commitment to the importance of the public library in Ottawa, adding that receiving such a generous donation from such strong library champions means a lot to OPL.

March Break Programming

Ms. Bebbington reminded clients to drop by OPL’s branches during the remaining days of the March break, to take advantage of special programs for children and teens. Activities are a mix of online and in-person events, and clients can learn about science, animals, and the arts (including dance and ukulele-playing)! Ms. Bebbington encouraged everyone to visit OPL’s website to learn more.

March is Francophonie Month

Ms. Bebbington mentioned that “Mois de la francophonie” activivities at OPL celebrate the richness of the French language and culture. She highlighted a children’s storytelling program at the St. Laurent branch on March 15 with the 10th Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Marie-Célie Agnant, as well as film screenings of French-language National Film Board productions at several branches. In closing, Ms. Bebbington encouraged browsing OPL’s extensive collection of books, eBooks, resources, and services in French throughout the year.

Division Manager, Client Services

Ms. Bebbington was pleased to announce that Sarah Macintyre won the Division Manager, Client Services competition and assumes the position permanently. Sarah has been acting in the role since February 2023 and brings a breadth of experience, having previously held a variety of management positions since joining OPL in 2019. Ms. Bebbington mentioned that Sarah leads a division that includes the departments of Content Services, and Community Development and Client Services. The Board, along with Ms. Bebbington, congratulated Sarah!

MOTION OPL 20240312/2

That the Ottawa Public Library Board receive the Chief Librarian/Chief Executive Officer's report for information.

Results: Received



File Number: OPLB-2024-0213-10.1 

En réponse à une question du membre King sur ce qui explique la baisse des revenus de location des installations (salles de réunion), sur les tarifs et sur la possibilité d’augmenter ces revenus, Mme Bebbington explique que la baisse est attribuable à une diminution des locations et que les tarifs sont conformes à ceux de la Ville. Mme Basile ajoute que les locations n’ont pas atteint les niveaux d’avant la pandémie – citant l’exemple des salles de la succursale Centrale qui étaient souvent louées par des organismes gouvernementaux –, ce qui affecte donc les revenus. Elle indique que rien ne devrait changer à court terme. Le membre King remercie le personnel pour la réponse et souligne que les dons inattendus contribuent à compenser cette perte de revenus.

Au terme de la discussion, le rapport est REÇU et ADOPTÉ tel quel.

MOTION No OPL 20240312/3

Que le Conseil d’administration (C.A.) de la Bibliothèque publique d’Ottawa (BPO) :

  1. Prenne connaissance du présent rapport à titre d’information;
  2. Approuve le transfert de 1 870 475 $ de l’excédent de fonctionnement de la Bibliothèque au fonds de réserve pour la Bibliothèque;
  3. Dirige le personnel, une fois le transfert de l’excédent de fonctionnement de la Bibliothèque approuvé par le C.A., à collaborer avec l’Unité des services financiers de la Ville pour transmettre le rapport au Conseil municipal d’Ottawa, pour examen dans le cadre du rapport sur le règlement de l’excédent / du déficit de 2023 des opérations financées par les recettes fiscales et les redevances, rapport à soumettre au Comité des finances et des services organisationnels.

Résultat: Reçu et Adopté



Note: The In Camera meeting began at 5:40 pm due to technical difficulties.

MOTION OPL 20240312/4

Moved by Vice-Chair Kathy Fisher:

That, in accordance with the Public Libraries Act, the Ottawa Public Library Board resolve in Camera pursuant to 16.1 (4)(b), personal matters about an identifiable individual, to consider the Chief Librarian/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) 2023 performance - In Camera Reporting Out Date: Noting that the specific matters related to the Chief Librarian/CEO's 2023 performance will not be reported out as they relate to personal matters about an identifiable individual.

Results: Carried

Upon resuming in open session at 6:48 pm, the Board moved the following:

MOTION OPL 20240312/5

That the Ottawa Public Library Board approve the 2023 Chief Librarian/CEO’s Performance Rating identified in the Closed Session and forward it to the City of Ottawa’s Human Resources department to be included in the Chief Librarian and CEO’s personnel file.

Results: Carried

There were no Inquiries.

Sarah Macintyre, Division Manager, Client Services is reading The Black Angels, by Maria Smilios. The story follows nurses recruited from the Southern US states to work in some of New York City’s poorest neighbourhoods. Sheri Riviere, Administrative Assistant, Corporate Services, is about to start “Becoming”, by Michelle Obama. Trustee Brown shared that she is reading “London”, by Edward Rutherfurd. She is also reading “A Little Life”, a novel by Hanya Yanagihara, a coming-of-age story about four classmates from a small Massachusetts college who move to New York. Craig Ginther, Division Manager, Service Planning, shared that he is listening to “The Covenant of Water”, by Abraham Verghese, a multi-generational saga set in southern India. Chair Luloff mentioned that during Freedom to Read Week, he read a number of challenged titles including “Mao’s America”, by Xi Van Fleet and “How to Be An Antiracist”, by Ibram Kendi. Trustee King is reading ”2020” by Eric Klinenberg (a keynote speaker at the recent Ontario Library Association conference) that focuses on profiles of seven ordinary people in New York and their experiences during the pandemic.

The Chair thanked everyone for sharing their reading recommendations and encouraged everyone to get a library card and choose a great book from OPL’s collection.

Be It Resolved that the Ottawa Public Library Board meeting be adjourned at 6:54 pm.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024