Catherine McKenna
Hon. Catherine McKenna
Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre

This week for as part of #OwnOurOttawa, I am highlighting the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association. Since 2003, this association has been working hard to support our awesome local libraries. Learn more about them below!

Tell me a little bit about your organization/initiative.

The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association, or FOPLA, is one of the leading library friends groups in Canada. FOPLA leads a community of over 300 volunteers in support of the Ottawa Public Library (OPL). We do this by promoting the programs and services of the Ottawa Public Library, and by donating funds to OPL through the sale of used books in library branches across the city.

Since 2003, FOPLA has expanded from four original bookstores to an organization that has donated more than $3 million to the Ottawa Public Library. FOPLA donations help enhance OPL’s programs and services, and are used for materials, equipment, and programming not covered by OPL’s municipal budget.

FOPLA has also provided $85,000 in library sciences scholarships and bursaries to the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College, with the goal of inspiring the next generation of library advocates.

What do you do to #OwnOurOttawa?

As library Friends, we believe in the value of a strong public library system in Ottawa. Programs and services offered by the Ottawa Public Library help improve literacy, access to education, and provide valuable resources for members of our community.

Funds donated to OPL by FOPLA are used to support community-building programs and services, like the Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest or older-adult programming. FOPLA donations are also used to upgrade equipment, furniture, and materials at library branches across Ottawa, including improved shelving, seating, or computer equipment.

In 2017, FOPLA was proud to give our largest single donation to date to OPL of $360,000, and we hope to continue growing our support for the Ottawa Public Library for years to come.

Why do you think it’s important to #OwnOurOttawa?

Strong communities are built on the foundation of citizens who choose to support services and initiatives that make their home a better place. The volunteers, members, and personnel of FOPLA all believe that the work OPL performs in our community makes it a better place. Anyone can #OwnOurOttawa in the same way – find a cause that’s meaningful to you and volunteer however you can, whether it be time or support.

If someone wants to get involved or get more information, where can they go?

If Ottawa’s public libraries are important to you, #OwnOurOttawa with us! Get involved by buying used books or becoming a Member or Volunteer. For more details, visit our website at

Main office - Ottawa
107 Catherine Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K2P 0P4


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Hill Office
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6


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