By Maxine Betteridge-Moes –
The Rosemount Expansion And Development Group (READ) met for their monthly meeting on April 13 to discuss the next steps in spreading the word about and allocating funds for the much-needed renovations of the Rosemount Public Library.
For the past few months, Chair Richard Van Loon has been meeting with members from various community associations as well as concerned citizens who have recognized the need for an expansion and renovation of the highly used and well-loved branch.
“I can see how important the Rosemount library is to this community. It’s very striking that it’s the most used library in the city in terms of circulation and visits per square foot but it hasn’t been fixed up since 1982,” says Van Loon.
The branch was built in 1918 and it is the last remaining building funded by Scottish-American businessman Andrew Carnegie, however it has not undergone any significant renewal for over three decades. The Ottawa Library Board (OLB) ranked Rosemount as the second highest priority for renovations next to the city’s main branch in 2012, but three years have gone by and library staff and users are still faced with an overcrowded and dysfunctional facility. Van Loon says the group wants to keep the fire burning in terms of raising awareness of the need for renovations and pushing the library board and the city to provide funding.
Kitchissippi Ward Councillor Jeff Leiper says the expansion and renovation of the Rosemount branch is a very important issue in the community.
“The library plays a central role in our community and the current building is not large enough to accommodate all the people that are trying to use it. I am very keen to see it expanded,” says Coun. Leiper.
At the Kitchissippi Forum on April 18, Coun. Leiper said citizens were encouraged to keep the pressure on politicians to ensure an expansion remains on their plates and on the agenda of the library board. However, he added that one of the main challenges is acquiring enough support from the city when their main focus is on improving the central branch.
“The Rosemount library is really a ward focus and the challenge for me is to try to find the budget to expand and renovate that library when so much of the city’s attention is focused on the central library,” says Coun. Leiper, adding that he’s on the lookout for any development opportunity that comes along.
The OLB has set aside $100,000 for a planning study of the Rosemount branch to discuss what is feasible and necessary in terms of renovations. Van Loon says READ’s main objective is to provide a fully functional and up-to-date library for the community and it is a matter of professional consideration to determine the best plan for the future of the branch. Plenty of discussion and consultation remains to be had, but Van Loon and the READ group are confident that plans are heading in the right direction.
The next READ meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 11 at the Hintonburg Community Centre. For more information about READ, go to facebook.com/READRosemount or follow them on Twitter at @READRosemount.