Where’s the public in public library? The case for a downtown core location : Glebe Report June 2016 p.25
We're calling for a Central Library to be built in the core of downtown Ottawa. Councillor Nussbaum's latest analysis of the people traffic in downtown Ottawa, today and forecast for 2036, provides further evidence for our position. Please express your view by signing our petition and join the public conversation on the new Central Library. Read our statement in full here.
Update from Board meeting: Board clarifies that each public consultation session next week will conclude with a reporting back to the larger group and that a summary report of the raw data from the consultation will be sent back to participants. Great news and good process for this stage of consultation on site selection criteria.
Jevone Nicholas addresses the Library Board tonight regarding the proposed public consultation happening Monday, May 16th at both 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Think about attending - there is still time to register.
In preparation for the upcoming board meeting, the Library posted two documents specifically addressing public engagement for the new Central Library.
The first is a longer report to the Board from CEO Danielle McDonald recommending the Board adopt PACE Consulting's report on Public Engagement Framework for the Ottawa Central Library - A City Building Initiative. McDonald explains, "the [proposed] framework is intended to be robust, reestablishing a common understanding of the project vision and the opportunities for public input and dialogue" while also reassuring residents "that public engagement for projects of this magnitude aligns with the City of Ottawa’s Public Engagement approach."
Tonight, Ottawa Sun columnist, Sue Sherring posted her own take on the Library's framework.
The only opportunity residents will have to speak publicly and offer their ideas on the site of the new library, will be in person on May 16th. Participants will be invited to talk about what they think are the most important criteria for evaluating selection of a site for the new Library, though only in small table discussions. No summary report will be published nor made publicly available following this consultation. Instead, the Library's next step will be to ask the public to prioritize these criteria by completing an online survey, to be posted sometime in late May or early June. And that's about it for public input on how the site of the Central Library should be determined.
The Central Library is unequivocally Ottawa's most public of public, city-building projects. It is difficult to see how the minimum standards for public consultation are being met in this case.
At the April Library Board meeting, downtown resident Catherine Dubois gave this very moving testimonial about the life-long importance of the downtown library to her adult son's health and well-being. Here is Ms. Dubois' final message:
Just one closing thought. It is not easy to summon up courage to make a public presentation. Even for me. It is even harder to speak about personal experience of mental illness. People like my son are not likely to have the health, wellbeing and trust to disclose their private lives and routines to you. How can they compete with the architects, consultants and planners who will have strong and eloquent arguments for sites not in the downtown core? For that reason, I'm also asking you as committed Board volunteers and city councillors to remember who you see when you will visit the downtown library and to be their advocates.
Read the full statement here.
City Councillors Catherine McKenney and Tobi Nussbaum recently posted this piece online, adding thoughtful credible voices to the public conversation. They call for public consultation and offer key criteria for site selection. Councillor McKenney is also a member of the Library Board.
Once again Bookmark The Core presented remarks to the Library Board at their regular meeting of March 8, 2016. Thank you to Jevone Nicholas who spoke on our behalf. Read the full text here.
A huge shout-out to Riverview Park Community Association - the 14th community association (of course we're counting) to endorse our advocacy work. Onwards! #morethan5 #OttCity
Full text of news release here
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Read full news release here.