Borrowing The Mall

Following the success of the in-mall Carlingwood Branch, the Ottawa Public Library decided to replicate the success at Elmvale. Source: City of Ottawa Archives CA024723.
Following the success of the in-mall Carlingwood Branch, the Ottawa Public Library decided to replicate the success at Elmvale Acres. Gosh, I love that lettering. Source: City of Ottawa Archives / Peter Brosseau CA024723.

On January 14, 1957, the Ottawa Public Library made history.1”Library Branch To Open Jan. 17, Ottawa Citizen, December 14, 1956, p. 7. As I wrote about previously, the recently-completed Carlingwood Shopping Centre was reputedly the first in Canada to host a public library branch.2”Locating Branch Library In Carlingwood Centre,” Ottawa Journal, May 12, 1956, p. 4. Encouraged by the success of that branch, the city’s library board sought to repeat it elsewhere. The second one, which was located in the Hampton Park Plaza and opened in 1961, was the third in Canada.3I have yet to locate where the second Canadian mall branch was located. “Library Board Okays Shopping Centre Branch,” Ottawa Journal, February 13, 1960, p. 14. The city’s third, a branch located at the Elmvale Acres Shopping Centre, was opened in 1963. The space was a design of Craig, Madill, Abram, and Ingleson,4Ottawa Journal, March 30, 1963, p. 32. and the $11,870 contract was awarded to Russ Wilson.5Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: 50 Years of Change on Sparks Street,” Ottawa Journal, April 27, 1963, p. 51. Work on the new branch progressed through the Spring6Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: Wellington Used to be a Fine Business Street,” Ottawa Journal, May 25, 1963, p. 28. and it officially opened for business on July 15.7”New City Library Opens,” Ottawa Journal, July 16, 1963, p. 3. Just as it was the case with the branch at Carlingwood, the branch at Elmvale Acres proved exceptionally popular: the 6,500 volume branch saw an August circulation of more than 14,000.8”Big Hike in Library Circulation,” Ottawa Journal, September 16, 1963, p. 20. Though few mall branches remain in the city’s 33-branch system, the board’s approach to “go where the people are” appears to have been both cunning and successful.

Notes   [ + ]

1. ”Library Branch To Open Jan. 17, Ottawa Citizen, December 14, 1956, p. 7.
2. ”Locating Branch Library In Carlingwood Centre,” Ottawa Journal, May 12, 1956, p. 4.
3. I have yet to locate where the second Canadian mall branch was located. “Library Board Okays Shopping Centre Branch,” Ottawa Journal, February 13, 1960, p. 14.
4. Ottawa Journal, March 30, 1963, p. 32.
5. Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: 50 Years of Change on Sparks Street,” Ottawa Journal, April 27, 1963, p. 51.
6. Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: Wellington Used to be a Fine Business Street,” Ottawa Journal, May 25, 1963, p. 28.
7. ”New City Library Opens,” Ottawa Journal, July 16, 1963, p. 3.
8. ”Big Hike in Library Circulation,” Ottawa Journal, September 16, 1963, p. 20.

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