Posts Tagged ‘Ottawa Public Library’

makerspace intellectual

By spring 2014, the Ottawa Public Library will have its very own public makerspace complete with 3D printers, a laser cutter, a video/photo stage with a green screen and computer pods complete with the latest in video, photo and music editing software. The maker movement has been growing at an increasingly rapid pace and there are already many private or membership based makerspaces popping up in Ottawa. Located in the former circulation workroom at the Nepean Centrepointe branch, OPL’s makerspace will be the first and only fully public making facility in Ottawa. Members of the public will have a safe, comfortable space to collaborate, learn and create unique digital and physical artistic works. This new makerspace will be called Imagine Space.

The Library is pleased to announce that they are working with the Unites States Embassy to bring this space to life. As part of the agreement, the U.S. Embassy has provided funds to purchase equipment, tools, and computers, as well as funding for room preparation and programming. OPL will provide a space and funding for staff to manage and oversee the activities and programs of the makerspace. The agreement is for a one-year pilot.

But… what is a makerspace without people? Besides cool new technology, OPL’s space will feature a variety of programming, seminars and workshops. OPL hopes to recruit a pool of community mentors with expertise in areas such as 3D printing, video and music editing, photography, electronics, robotics, programming, physical arts, crafts, human-computer interaction, video game design, self-publishing and hobbies of every stripe. Much in the same way the Library hosts authors for book readings, our maker space will invite engineers and artists to demonstrate circuit board building or video editing.


ImageLibrarians without Borders has received a generous donation from one of the Ottawa Public Library‘s (OPL) Teen Advisory Groups (TAG). Based out of OPL’s Centennial branch, this group of socially conscious teens raised $175 to help support the literacy needs of students a half a world away.

Being heavy users and supporters of the Library, TAG members realised how big a hole their own lives would have if they did not have a library. They wanted to help other teens experience their love of books and the sense of community a library brings. On November 19th/2011, Centennial TAG held a two hour bake sale with contributions from TAG members, Centennial staff, and generous Centennial branch customers. In that short period of time, their community supported TAG’s efforts by purchasing $175 worth of cookies, tarts, and cupcakes! OPL’s customers, being huge supporters of the Library, were eager to chip in.

The donation will be put towards the Asturias Librarian Stipend Fund.  The financial resources we gather will help bring a librarian to the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy Library in Xela, Guatemala. The presence of a full-time librarian will help the Academy supply the quality books and programming students need in order to learn.

On behalf of LWB and the Asturias Academy, thanks to the Centennial branch teens for reaching out! Special thanks to Andrea Gowing, the OPL staff member who facilitates the group.

Event in Ottawa – Librarians Without Borders: International Service Learning in Guatemala

Thursday, March 24, 2011, 5:30 pm

Ottawa Public Library

Rideau Branch, 377 Rideau

In a few short months, myself, along with 25 other progressively minded librarians will be travelling to the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy in Xela, Guatemala.  The group is primarily made up of library students from McGill University, University of Toronto, University of Western Ontario and Dalhousie University, but several member of the Librarians Without Borders Executive Committee will be tagging along.

The Asturias Academy is a one-of-a-kind institution, catering to the literacy and educational needs of rural Guatemalans that may not otherwise have access to such services.  Their teaching philosophy is based on the writings of Paulo Friere, primarily his somewhat revolutionary text Pedagogy of the Oppressed.  Instead of being treated as vessels to be filled with knowledge, students are seen as co-creators of knowledge.

If anyone happens to be in the Ottawa area March 24th, I urge you to drop by and hear a pair of wonderful speakers espouse the merits of international service learning and regale you with their experiences of previous trips to the Academy.  The text below comes courtesy of the Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Services website:

Librarians Without Borders (LWB) is a non-profit organization that strives to improve access to information resources by forming partnerships with community organizations in developing regions. In this talk, Carolyn Doi and Robyn Maler will speak about the student-led collaboration between Librarians Without Borders and the Asturias Academy Library, a private, non-profit, K – 12 school in Guatemala that aims to create informed, critically-thinking, and socially conscious citizens through a unique model of education.


Carolyn Doi received her MLIS from McGill University in 2010 and is a Music Liaison Librarian at the same institution. She has been active in Librarians Without Borders (LWB) since 2008, and helped to co-organize a service learning trip for eleven LWB student members in 2010 to Guatemala to do fieldwork with the Asturias Academy Library. She is currently Asturias Library Project Manager.

Robyn Maler is the Chair of Librarians Without Borders McGill student committee and is currently finishing the MLIS program at McGill University. A participant in the April 2010 trip to Asturias, Robyn is excited to continue LWB’s hard work as this year’s Project Lead.”

Please register using the link below:

It’s been a while since my last post, but it’s also been a while since I’ve read an peer-reviewed academic journal article that cited The Big Lebowski.  Thus, the subject of this missive is the brilliant article “New shit has come to light: Information seeking behavior in the Big Lebowski”  by Karen L. Janke and Emily Dill.

I’m going to take it as a given that everyone’s familiar with Joel and Ethan Coen‘s sublime crime comedy The Big Lebowski.  If not, run down to your nearest branch of the Ottawa Public Library, borrow it, watch it twice, then return to my blog.  Once you can grasp the full meaning of the phrase “that rug really tied the room together”, you may proceed.

Authors Janke and Dill have an obvious fondness for the quirky Lebowski-universe characters.  Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) and his dysfunctional bowling buddies Walter (John Goodman) and Donnie (Steve Buscemi) charge through a Raymond Chandler-esque mystery with only the most rudimentary information seeking skills.  Lebowski is a degenerate alcoholic who stumbles upon clues by sheer luck.  Walter runs purely in instinct and Donnie is so wrapped up in preconceptions and conspiracy theories he often misses what’s right under his nose.  Anyone who has worked in the information or library field will immediately recognize these information seeking behavior archetypes.  Information seeking and detective work have an awful lot in common, and Janke and Dill do a great job of making that connection.

To read the original source material head over to the Indiana Purdue University Scholar Works for a downloadable PDF.  It weighs in at round twenty-five pages, but it’s a quick and enjoyable read with a slew of great insights.   The article is currently in pre-peer review and is set to appear in an upcoming edition of The Journal of Popular Culture.

Further Reading:

Comentale, Edward P. (ed).  (2009). This Year’s work in Lebowski studies. USA: Indiana University Press.

  • A series of Lebowski-themed academic articles.

Falsani, Cathleen. (2009). The Dude abides: The Gospel according to the Coen brothers. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.

  • A great overview of the many recurring themes in Coen brothers films.  You can trace the common threads through Blood Simple, Fargo, Lebowski and beyond.

Green, Bill. (2007). I’m a Lebowski, you’re a Lebowski: The Big Lebowski and what-have-you. USA: Bloombury.

  • A great step-by-step guide on how to Lebowski-ize your life.  Includes bowling tips, fashion advice (why can’t bath robes be fashionable?) and a recipe for the perfect White Russian.

Tyree, J.M., & Walters, Ben. (2007). The Big Lebowski. UK: British Film Institute.

  • Tyree and Walters examine the film and it’s impact on modern cinema.  Special attention is focused on the annual Lebowski-fest underground bowling tournament.

Be sure to take a look at other journal articles by Karen L. Janke and Emily Dill on subjects such as inter-library loans policy and archiving practices.

Thanks to my friend Alexandra, who alerted me to this article via Facebook.  Check out her blog here:

Good news everybody!

I’ve been invited by the Librarians Without Borders (LWB) executive to speak at an upcoming event in Ottawa.  Since its inception in 2005, the LWB has worked to increase fair and equitable access to information, regardless of geography, politics or religion.  Both the LWB executive and its student groups have forged relationships with community organizations and individuals interested in promoting literacy in developing regions.

The event will showcase the accomplishments of our student chapters from the University of Western Ontario, the University of Toronto and McGill University.  Together, we’ve sent students to Guatemala and Costa Rica, hosted guests from Tanzania and raised funds for worthy local causes.  I urge anyone interested in learning more about information access in developing countries to come out and share our experiences.

Below is the official invite from the LWB website:

Event in Ottawa: Putting Information in the Hands of the World

Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

Over the last year, Librarians Without Borders‘ Student Committees have been  involved in a number of local and international information access projects. LWB has undertaken these projects in order to improve access to information for the people in these communities. Specifically, LWB students have been engaged in a number of projects to build libraries in Canada, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.

To celebrate the accomplishments of our students,  Librarians Without Borders is pleased to partner with   CLA-CASLIS to offer an evening program in Ottawa, where representatives of various student committees will be talking about their work.

Please join us! Come learn about their amazing projects and hear how MLIS students are helping to put information in the hands of the world!


LWB-McGill Committee: Valli Fraser-Celin and Carolyn Doi

LWB-University of Toronto Committee: Mark Gelsomino

LWB-University of Western Ontario Committee: Erin Walker, Aubrey Kirkpatrick, and Kris Meen

When: Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Where: Ottawa Public Library Auditorium (120 Metcalfe St)
Admission: By donation (suggested amount: $5 – $10).

Donors will have the chance to win a copy of Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools by Greg Mortenson!

All proceeds from this event will go to Librarians Without Borders
Register at <>
For more information, contact or

Further Reading:

Check out these links to find out what our student groups have been up to and to learn more about the groups and individuals we’ve partnered with.

The event is being graciously hosted by the Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Systems (CASLIS).

Here’s the Librarians Without Borders main site.

Paul Francescutti, a television producer/director, has produced Remote Access, a documentary chronicling his travels to remote libraries in Kenya and Peru.

One of the several worthy causes we’ve raised money for.  The Children’s Book Bank operates out of the ethnically diverse Toronto neighborhood of Parkdale and supplies books, literacy support and programming to children in need.

Read about the LWB McGill chapter’s trip to Guatemala…

…and the LWB Western chapter’s trip to Costa Rica!

Many thanks to Jessica, who recommended me to the people organizing the event.  Check out her library blog here: