Top 12 Public Libraries in Ottawa

Top 12 Public Libraries in Ottawa

Back in the day, libraries like the Library and Archives of Canada served as my second home, especially when I had to work on major school projects. I think I wouldn’t have survived my college years if it weren’t for these places I considered sanctuaries. 

Luckily, Ottawa has a lot of public libraries across the region. To help you easily find one, here’s a quick list for you.

Please take note that a card is required to gain access to all public library resources and services. While card application for local residents is free, those who live outside Ottawa may have to pay a fee between $10 – $90 to acquire one.

Beaverbrook

Beaverbrook

Website: https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/branch/beaverbrook 
Location: 2500 Campeau Dr, Kanata, ON K2K 2W3, Canada
Amenities: All-Gender Washrooms, 24-Hour Book Drop, Chromebooks, Free Parking, Scanning, Wheelchair Accessible, Second-Hand Bookstore
Contact Details: +1 613-580-2940
Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 AM – 9 PM; Friday 10 AM – 6 PM; Saturday and Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM

A visit to this library will give you access to years of resources that have been amassed since the early 1960s. 

Upon entry, you will be greeted by rows of shelves that are packed with fiction and non-fiction books, which can all be borrowed for home use. 

Alongside these tons of books are small rooms that visitors can use for group work. You’ll also find two large public meeting rooms for seminars and larger group discussions. 

The friendly staff members are always there to conduct one-on-one tutorials that address the varying needs of their visitors. You just have to book an appointment to have it via phone or in-branch.

Also found within its premises is a bookstore managed by Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA). So if you’re interested in purchasing used books at affordable prices, this is the place to be. 

Pro Tip: 

On your visit, you might want to bring your camera to take photos of the library’s awesome turtle mural and thirteen concrete structures created by local artist Christopher Griffin. 

Carlingwood

Carlingwood

Website: https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/branch/carlingwood 
Location: 281 Woodroffe Ave, Ottawa, ON K2A 3W4, Canada
Amenities: All-Gender Washrooms, Battery Recycling, Chromebooks, Free Parking, Gaming, Scanning, Wheelchair Accessible, Second-Hand Bookstore
Contact Details: +1 613-580-2940
Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 AM – 8:30 PM; Friday 1 PM – 6 PM; Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM

Located near a public school, it won’t come as a surprise to see a lot of students buzzing around here, especially on weekdays. But with its three floors of facilities, there’s pretty much ample space for everyone. 

On your visit, you’ll be welcomed by a lovely atmosphere created by its countless windows and beautiful layout. 

You’ll also find rooms that are specially designed for one-on-one tutorials that are conducted by its accommodating staff. Holding meetings here is made extra convenient with rooms equipped with projectors, flip boards, and DVD players. 

With many Chromebooks with reliable internet connections available on the floor, it is easier to find the things you need online. Equipped with gaming systems, you may also use these computers for games should your brain need a quick break.

But this library is not only great for adult students and working people. With a designated children’s section, kids flock here with their parents or guardians to have fun singing, reading stories, and interacting with audiobooks.

Also within its walls is a second-hand bookstore, which is perfect for thrifty bookworms. 

Pro Tip: 

If you’re coming in with a private vehicle, please take note that the parking space within the library premises easily gets full. There are, however, a lot of available lots nearby where you can leave your car.

Centennial

Centennial

Website: https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/branch/centennial 
Location: 3870 Old Richmond Rd, Nepean, ON K2H 5C4, Canada
Amenities: All-Gender Washrooms, Battery Recycling, 24-Hour Book Drop, Chromebooks, Free Parking, Gaming, Scanning, Wheelchair Accessible, Second-Hand Bookstore
Contact Details: +1 613-580-2940
Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 AM – 8:30 PM; Friday 1 PM – 6 PM; Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM

One of the things I found interesting about this library is its unique octagon building, which was designed by esteemed architect Hans Stutz. But as a popular landmark, this place has more than just a distinctive structure to offer.

Browsing through its shelves, you will find countless fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books. Complementary to these volumes are furnished and comfortable workspaces where students and professionals can find everything they need in one place.

This library also provides one-on-one tutorials. Should you need assistance on some topics, I suggest taking advantage of this free service.

During summer and winter breaks, the library turns into an interactive place where children can have fun while learning. You might want to register your kids to experience some of the best children’s programs it offers. 

If you’re into sharing thoughts on books, its adult book club – the longest-running in the country – might interest you. It would be a great experience to learn from other people’s varying ideas and perspectives. 

This public library is also home to a FOPLA bookstore, which sells used books at cheaper prices. 

Pro Tip: 

This library’s opening hours are likely to change during the summer season, so I recommend calling in first before visiting. 

Emerald Plaza

Emerald Plaza

Website: https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/branch/emerald-plaza 
Location: 1547 Merivale Rd, Nepean, ON K2G 4V3, Canada
Amenities: All-Gender Washrooms, Battery Recycling, 24-Hour Book Drop, Chromebooks, Free Parking, Scanning, Wheelchair Accessible, Second-Hand Bookstore
Contact Details: +1 613-580-2940
Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 AM – 8:30 PM; Friday 1 PM – 6 PM; Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM

Unlike other public libraries, this one is located in a shopping mall. That means extra convenience for you when you suddenly run out of school supplies or need to buy some groceries before heading home.

Upon entry, you’ll be greeted by shelves containing a vast selection of popular titles for children, students, and professionals. Alongside these are workspaces and furnished meeting rooms with projectors and whiteboards.

There are also a lot of computers available for both online research and entertainment.

But apart from its valuable resources and modern equipment, many frequent the place because of its friendly and helpful staff members. I must say that the people working here have the immense patience to assist everyone with their requests.

This branch also has a FOPLA bookstore that offers used books at cheaper rates.

Pro Tip:

Because of its location, you should expect this branch to be packed with people on most days. 

Greenboro

Greenboro

Website: https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/branch/greenboro 
Location: 363 Lorry Greenberg Dr, Ottawa, ON K1T 3P8, Canada
Amenities: All-Gender Washrooms, Battery Recycling, 24-Hour Book Drop, Chromebooks, Free Parking, Gaming, Scanning, Microfilm or Microfiche Readers, Wheelchair Accessible, Second-Hand Bookstore
Contact Details: +1 613-580-2940
Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 AM – 9 PM; Friday 10 AM – 6 PM; Saturday and Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM

A 29,000-square-foot public library attached to a community center, a visit to this place allows one to experience other services that include recreational activities. So if you love books as much as you love sports, this place is perfect for you.

This library offers a wide range of books and other resources for children, students, and adults. There are many available computers with internet access as well.

There are well-lit private study spaces where you can work quietly without prying eyes to worry about. 

The best part is that the entire place is kept at a perfect temperature during the summer season. You may opt to stay at its main level should you prefer a cooler place to study.

Equipped with a microfilm reader, this library is a good place if you’re planning to access archives stored the conventional way. 

Within its walls is a bookstore managed by FOPLA – a perfect addition when looking for a book for less. 

Pro Tip: 

This branch holds organized events that are great for kids. For interested parents, I recommend visiting or calling in to learn more about the upcoming events and their respective schedules and fees.

Hazeldean

Hazeldean

Website: https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/branch/hazeldean 
Location: 50 Castlefrank Rd, Ottawa, ON K2L 2N5, Canada
Amenities: All-Gender Washrooms, Battery Recycling, 24-Hour Book Drop, Chromebooks, Free Parking, Gaming, Scanning, Wheelchair Accessible, Second-Hand Bookstore
Contact Details: +1 613-580-2940
Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 AM – 8:30 PM; Friday 1 PM – 6 PM; Saturday and Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM

After going through some renovations in January 2012, this library now has more sitting spaces, bigger study rooms, and a dedicated children’s section. It also has a special area where one can comfortably skim through newspapers and magazines.

Alongside a diverse and extensive collection of books, magazines, and other media are Chromebooks, which can be used with reservation. You can use these computers to play games for a quick break. 

With its newly installed Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system, borrowing books in this library has been made extra easy. Returning them is also hassle-free with its 24-hour Book Drop facility.

The knowledgeable employees here are always there to assist you in finding the information or materials you need. They even provide recommendations based on your research or academic purposes.

Pro Tip: 

As Hazeldean is situated near several bus lines, getting here is easy and convenient. But if you’re visiting with your car or bike, it has ample parking spaces you can utilize free of charge.

Main

Main

Website: https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/branch/main 
Location: 120 Metcalfe St, Ottawa, ON K1P 5M2, Canada
Amenities: All-Gender Washrooms, Battery Recycling, 24-Hour Book Drop, Chromebooks, Gaming, Local History Collection, Microfilm or Microfiche Readers, Scanning, Wheelchair Accessible, Second-Hand Bookstore
Contact Details: +1 613-580-2940
Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 AM – 9 PM; Friday 10 AM – 6 PM; Saturday and Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM

Main is considered the hub of public libraries. It has the biggest selection of resources and the most number of public internet stations in the area. 

Upon entry, you’ll find row after row of shelves containing large volumes of fiction and non-fiction books and other materials that are suitable for all ages.

There’s also a special kids’ section where children can play, sing, color, and do other activities. The occasional scavenger hunt that the library holds brings a lot of fun for its young visitors. 

The library has an extensive collection of local historical documents that are always readily available upon request. So if you’re looking for some historical references, this is where you ought to be. 

Among its other amenities include microfilm/microfiche readers and gaming systems for those who need a quick break. 

Recent renovations done in 2014 have equipped the library with more public space and RFID technology, which makes borrowing books easier. Returning them is also convenient as it has a 24-hour Book Drop facility.

Just like the other public libraries, this branch offers one-on-one tutorials for interested individuals and houses a FOPLA bookstore that sells used books. It’s also a great place for people with disabilities as the facility allows service animals.

Pro Tip: 

This library can be a bit loud, especially on weekdays when it is often packed with a lot of people. 

Nepean Centrepointe

Nepean Centrepointe

Website: https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/branch/nepean-centrepointe 
Location: 101 Centrepointe Dr, Ottawa, ON K2G 0B5, Canada
Amenities: Battery Recycling, 24-Hour Book Drop, Chromebooks, Free Parking, Gaming, Local History Collection, Meeting Rooms, Microfilm or Microfiche Readers, Scanning, Wheelchair Accessible, Second-Hand Bookstore
Contact Details: +1 613-580-2940
Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 AM – 9 PM; Friday 10 AM – 6 PM; Saturday and Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM

Nepean Centrepointe can be found within the Ben Franklin Place complex along Centrepointe Drive. 

It’s known for its large children’s department, which hosts games and programs designed for kids. There are craft tables and a musical instrument section where kids can play and have fun when they get bored reading. 

Also worth noting are the tables in its adult section that are spaced out well to minimize distractions while working. 

But what sets this branch apart from the others is its Imagine Space. This special room has various machinery like 3D printers, laser cutters, and photo/video editing tools to support local residents.

Also within the premises is a small section that offers tasty and affordable snacks and refreshments. So if you happen to feel hungry while working on some school stuff, you won’t have to go far to look for quick bites.

Pro Tip: 

With its spacious rooms, this library is also ideal for business people wanting to have a nice place to conduct meetings. You just have to book reservations in advance to secure slots. 

Rideau

Rideau

Website: https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/branch/rideau 
Location: 377 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5Y6, Canada 
Amenities: All-Gender Washrooms, Battery Recycling, 24-Hour Book Drop, Chromebooks, Free Parking, Scanning, Wheelchair Accessible, Second-Hand Bookstore
Contact Details: +1 613-580-2940
Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 AM – 8:30 PM; Friday 1 PM – 6 PM; Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM

Apart from having patient and polite staff members, this well-organized library has a lot of other things to offer visitors. 

For starters, being here takes you to one of the oldest buildings in the region. The historic vibe of this heritage edifice is something that makes the visit worthwhile.

It is also home to substantial collections of both fiction and non-fiction books. Alongside these resources are many computers and copy machines that provide additional convenience.

As a lending library, Rideau allows people to borrow books that can be used in the comfort of their homes. Borrowed materials can be conveniently returned through its 24-hour Book Drop.

But this library is more than just books and online references. Guests are also in for some non-book resources that come in awesome pieces of artwork that date between 1945 and 2015.

With that, make sure that you tag a camera with you to take snapshots of these awesome works of art before heading home. 

Conveniently located close to Byward Market, a visit to this library also gives access to different shopping malls and restaurants within the area. So if you intend to go on a shopping spree after some school work, this is one place to consider.

Pro Tip: 

You may also take your books and leisurely read at the library’s beautiful garden just outside the main building.

St. Laurent

St. Laurent

Website: https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/branch/st-laurent 
Location: 515 Coté St, Ottawa, ON K1K 0Z8, Canada 
Amenities: All-Gender Washrooms, 24-Hour Book Drop, Chromebooks, Free Parking, Gaming, Scanning, Wheelchair Accessible, Second-Hand Bookstore
Contact Details: +1 613-580-2940
Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 AM – 8:30 PM; Friday 1 PM – 6 PM; Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM

As a public library, St. Laurent is best known for its large collection of French-language materials that are always kept updated and organized. 

Typical of a library, it has meeting rooms and equipment like computers with internet access. While the spaces here are comparatively smaller, its peaceful environment makes it an ideal study place. 

But what’s not quite usual, though, is that this library also has a pool or an arena. Nestled within the Don Gamble Community Centre, a visit to this library gives one access to these amenities. 

There’s also an open field at the back of the building – a perfect place for letting your dog off leash to exercise and have fun while you relax away from school stuff. 

Pro Tip: 

Make sure to book the library’s amenities in advance.

Stittsville

Stittsville

Website: https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/branch/stittsville 
Location: 1637 Stittsville Main St, Ottawa, ON K2S 1A9, Canada 
Amenities: All-Gender Washrooms, Battery Recycling, 24-Hour Book Drop, Chromebooks, Free Parking, Gaming, Local History Collection, Microfilm or Microfiche Readers, Scanning, Wheelchair Accessible, Second-Hand Bookstore
Contact Details: +1 613-580-2940
Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 AM – 8:30 PM; Friday 1 PM – 6 PM; Saturday and Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM

Alongside the history documents this library is known for are countless fiction and non-fiction books that can be used inside the library or borrowed for use at home. There are available DVDs, CDs, and other media that can be accessed as well.

Apart from having other amenities like Chromebooks with internet access, Stittsville is also equipped with microfilm readers and a section where you can drop off old batteries for disposal. 

But what I love the most about this cozy place are the comfortable chairs and couches that are placed near a fireplace. The isolated and placid study area makes this library an ideal place when working on a research project.

As this branch offers various programs and activities for kids, this is a perfect place for children and parents to spend time together. 

The staff members here are also friendly and helpful, which is another reason why I drop by this place whenever I get the chance. They are always ready to help you find the books you need and answer all the questions you have.

Pro Tip: 

Just like Main, this library is also home to some of the biggest local history collections. So if Main is a little far from your location, this might be more convenient to get to.

Sunnyside

Sunnyside

Website: https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/branch/sunnyside 
Location: 1049 Bank St, Ottawa, ON K1S 3W9, Canada 
Amenities: All-Gender Washrooms, Battery Recycling, 24-Hour Book Drop, Chromebooks, Free Parking, Scanning, Wheelchair Accessible, Second-Hand Bookstore
Contact Details: +1 613-580-2940
Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 AM – 8:30 PM; Friday 1 PM – 6 PM; Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM

Located along Bank Street, this neat and well-maintained library features a great collection of fiction and non-fiction books. The friendly and informative staff here also provides one of the best services in Ottawa.

Known for its children’s department, this library is packed with resources and a full range of programs that are ideal for kids. I recommend calling in to find out more about these programs. 

As its playroom is separated from the rest of the library, kids can have things their way and won’t have to worry about making so much noise.

As you go around, you’ll find cozy, well-lit spaces where you can quietly work. I particularly love the comfy armchairs near the windows, which provide a pleasant reading environment.

While here, you should take advantage of its Chromebooks and other equipment like scanners. You may also bring in some old batteries at home and have them recycled here. 

Alternatively, you can visit the bookstore for some used but cheaper copies of books you desire.

Pro Tip: 

Since this library is situated near the Rideau Canal, you might want to bring a camera to capture some scenic views.