BY OLIVIA ROBINSON
Source: Report to Ottawa Public Library Board: Alternative Services Delivery Framework 2016-2020 (September 14, 2015)
The Ottawa Public Library’s bookmobile program runs from Monday to Saturday and makes 25 stops during the week. Some rural stops include Vars and Carlsbad Springs, where residents would otherwise have to drive almost 20 kilometres to reach a library branch, far beyond a walkable distance.
“We examine stop locations approximately every two years, and recently launched three new pilot stops in vulnerable communities,” said Alexandra Yarrow, Manager of Alternative Services at the Ottawa Public Library in an emailed statement.
Ottawa’s aging population is considerable cause for concern that the bookmobile program be fully operational, said Wilkinson. The soon-to-be replaced bookmobile is in constant need of repairs.
When the bookmobile breaks down, the service is temporarily replaced by one of the library’s minivans, or mini-bookmobiles. One of the main issues in replacing the bookmobile with the minivan, is that unlike the bookmobile, the minivan is not wheelchair accessible, said Wilkinson.
In a Nov. 7, 2017 report submitted by Monique Désormeaux, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ottawa Public Library, the library stated that the new bookmobile will “promote literacy and learning through programming.”
Wilkinson echoed the library’s position that the bookmobile program is also essential to bring library services to low-income housing and immigrant families.
“We are trying to encourage reading. It’s important for children to get them to learn the language,” Wilkinson said.
The new bookmobile will be put into circulation sometime in 2019.