Ottawa Public Library receives community award

Ottawa (June 1, 2007) - The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) was recognized for its contribution to the community with the presentation of the People with Disabilities Award at the United Way’s annual Community Builder Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 31. The OPL’s Homebound Services was singled out for delivering library materials to the homes of those who cannot get out on their own to enjoy the library.

“At a time when the city is holding discussions about transformation and renewal, the services that the Ottawa Public Library offers for individuals who are either unable to come to the library or who are unable to read traditional books are an example of a city service that is fulfilling its mission,” said Michael Allen, President, United Way/Centraide Ottawa. “As the recipient of this year’s Community Builder of the Year Award - People with Disabilities, the Ottawa Public Library is being honoured for their leadership and dedication to ensuring that all of the residents of Ottawa have equal access to the books and resources that the library has to offer.”

The OPL was nominated by Homebound Services client Penny Leclair, “I am not able to go to the library myself, but having books delivered means I can keep myself up-to-date on several issues and I can be connected to my community through contact with the library.” Ms. Leclair is one of more than 700 Ottawa residents who benefit from the services provided by the Homebound Delivery Program, which provides access to library materials including large print books, audio-books on tape and CD, audio-descriptive videos; also available are audio books and players in a fully digital format called DAISY. These items are available to anyone who cannot easily visit an OPL branch or bookmobile stop. “A library is an important part of the community and the way our library works with various residents shows that the OPL cares about reaching out to everyone in the community,” adds Ms. Leclair.

City Librarian Barbara Clubb accepted the award on behalf of the OPL, “This award is a well deserved tribute to the dedicated staff and volunteers who deliver this service. It is as well, a welcome affirmation of the OPL’s success in delivering on the core values of freedom of access and building community.” The Homebound Services office at the Main Library is supported by staff at branches in Kanata and Stittsville as well as a team of dedicated volunteers in rural and suburban areas.

The Ottawa Public Library also participates in the CNIB’s Visunet Canada Partners Program, which provides easy access to the CNIB collections of audio-visual and Braille materials, offers Zoom Text magnification software at most library branches and will be introducing new technology in seven branches this year including optical character recognition software for persons with physical and perceptual disabilities, screen reading software, and speech recognition software that allows users to compose text with a microphone rather than a keyboard.

The Homebound Service and other services for people with special needs are indicative of the Ottawa Public Library’s commitment to free basic library services for every citizen of Ottawa.

Alan Roberts, Manager
Community Partnerships and Programming
Ottawa Public Library
613-580-2424, ext. 41240

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