OPL-LAC Service Transition


  • To prepare for the joint facility project of Ottawa Public Library (OPL) and Library and Archives Canada (LAC), Public Services Branch must adapt, improve and expand its client services.
  • As part of the overarching Joint Facility Project being led by Real Property Branch, LAC Operations Sector has identified seven transition projects to make LAC more agile and to improve services to Canadians. The focus will be on adapting and expanding our services to meet the demands of an expanded clientele in a new, modern environment. Public Services Branch is coordinating and facilitating the budget requests for the seven projects related to the multi-year transition to 555 Albert Street in 2024.
  • The seven projects include:
    • Collections security Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): LAC is examining options to electronically track the movement of collection items that will be housed in the new facility.
    • Collections moves: Reference materials, the Jacob M. Lowy Collection and items to be included in the Curated Collection will all need to be securely moved from 395 Wellington Street and other locations to the new facility.
    • Orientation venue development: The LAC Orientation Venue will showcase the LAC collection and guide casual visitors to the collection via various pathways.
    • Curated collection development: A collection of 30,000-50,000 books and other media will be available for onsite browsing and consultation in LAC’s reading room.
    • Digitization of reference materials: To save space and to enhance access to LAC reference materials in Ottawa and across Canada, LAC is digitizing finding aids, directories, newspapers and other materials.
    • Virtual reading room: Digitized reference materials and tools will be available electronically onsite through a dedicated virtual space.
    • Strategic services renewal: Operational planning and change management will be based on robust, strategic analysis that considers environmental trends, client and staff input, statistical projections and LAC’s strategic priorities.


  • Sound transitional planning will ensure that LAC can hit the ground running in 2024. While media coverage has been focussed primarily on building design to date, we can expect significant scrutiny of LAC services (including joint operations) when the facility is operational.
  • Limited budgets for only certain projects such as the collections moves and RFID are being provided via (withheld pursuant to s. 69 of ATI). Therefore, significant funding from LAC’s regular operating budgets will be required to support the projects over the next five fiscal years.
  • LAC estimates it will need to expend approximately $2 million per year on transition projects from its regular operating budgets between now and 2024. These estimates do not include certain infrastructure and equipment costs where service options are not yet determined.

Key Public Messages

  • LAC will take advantage of its new service facility to improve and expand its in-person services. This includes the development of a new, general-interest orientation area, an expanded genealogy/family history centre and the selection of a curated collection for onsite use.
  • LAC’s service transition projects all have the same goal to improve client services, client experience, and accessibility to our holdings.


Johanna Smith, Director General, Public Services
Email: johanna.smith@canada.ca
Tel: 613-897-4742

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