With the potential collaboration, the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) and Library and Archives Canada (LAC) worked together to develop a functional program for a Joint Facility, with the objective of bringing together the Central Library and LAC’s public services and programs (currently at 395 Wellington St.) to create an enhanced customer experience for all visitors.

The overall size of the facility is estimated at 215,458 gross square feet, with 132,786 gross square feet  allocated to Ottawa Public Library (61%) and 82,672 gross square feet allocated to Library and Archives Canada (39%).  Ideally, the facility will be built over four levels (above-ground).  Referred to as the OPL – LAC Joint Facility, it is made up of 21 different components, each describing activities that will occur in the various internal and external spaces. 

The 21 components of the OPL – LAC Joint Facility are divided into OPL-only spaces, LAC-only spaces, and shared spaces, that will enhance the complementary but unique nature of the two institutions.

In-person open house sessions were held in June 2016 to obtain public feedback on the components.  A breakdown of the functional components, such as the title, description, and estimated size in gross square feet (gsf) can be found below.  For complete details on the Master Program, as well as a summary of public feedback, please see the documents attached to the January 31 Board report.

Shared Spaces:

  • Exterior spaces – a shared outdoor space for program and activities, gathering, and the entrance plaza (size: N/A);
  • Main Entrance and Town Square – a shared entrance spaces with access to OPL and LAC spaces, meeting spaces, and featuring a café and Friends shop (size: 10,489 gsf);
  • Public Forum and Meeting Spaces – large multi-purpose spaces for programming and events for OPL and LAC, as well as the community (size: 16,646 gsf);
  • Exhibition Gallery  - large multi-purpose spaces featuring exhibitions of rare and unique LAC collections, travelling exhibitions, and OPL and Ottawa community exhibitions (size: 5,327 gsf);
  • Genealogy Centre - a one-of-a-kind research space offering OPL and LAC services and collections (size: 7,425 gsf); and,
  • Building Services / Materials Handling – secure materials handling, building management, materials and supplies storage (size: 21,596 gsf).


OPL-only spaces:

  • Library Entrance and Express – library entrance, self-service, stairs and elevators, popular materials (size: 8,296 gsf);
  • Community Services – newcomers, adult literacy, learning languages, removing barriers to use (size: 10,578 gsf);
  • Children’s Discovery Centre: learning, playing, discovering, story area, collections, gaming (size: 12,622 gsf);
  • Creative Centre: teaching, experimentation, new technologies, materials, design, creation (size: 8,232 gsf);
  • Teens’ Centre: spatially and acoustically contained, noisy and quiet (size: 4,208 gsf);
  • Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction: collections, business, careers, science, health, sports and recreation, stories and imagination (size: 30,623 gsf);
  • Living Ottawa: past, present and evolving community history, community exhibits, collections and programs (size: 8,974 gsf):
  • Service Coordination Centre: research, collaboration, program and service design and planning (size: 5,757 gsf); and,
  • Corporate Services: system-wide service and operations management, library board and City interfaces (size: 9,900 gsf);

LAC-only spaces:

  • LAC Entrance: informative exhibits, quick research, movement to secure areas (size: 5,133 gsf);
  • Reference Services: collections and finding aids, expert assistance, identify goals, and form research plan (size: 8,350 gsf);
  • Reading Room: representative and Lowy collections, document delivery, client research, displays, digitations (size: 26,911 gsf); and,
  • Preservation Lab – window on operations, showcase, conservation of resources (size: 1,550 gsf).