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OLA People Here and Now

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A Chapter Closes


Ottawa – City Librarian of the Ottawa Public Library, Barbara Clubb, has announced that she will retire from the position of City Librarian effective December 2011. Ms Clubb’s remarkable career as a librarian and library leader spans four decades. She has provided two major urban public libraries and three provincial library development agencies with her leadership and insights into the ever-changing world of library service.


"Our award winning City Librarian is a champion, an educator, a leader, and a strategist” says Councillor Jan Harder, Chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board. “Working with Barb is immensely satisfying. Barbara Clubb leaves us having delivered to the citizens of Ottawa a top notch library. In fact, our system here in Ottawa is North America's largest bilingual system, one with leading edge technology, and growing every single month. On behalf of the Ottawa Public Library Board and Staff I offer sincere thanks to Barbara Clubb."


Barbara Clubb was appointed City Librarian and CEO of the amalgamated Ottawa Public Library on January 1, 2001. She arrived in Ottawa with well-honed skills as a leader and manager of public libraries and organizations through rapid change and challenging fiscal conditions. She is a passionate and articulate advocate for libraries and their role in literacy, life-long learning, community building and as a democratic forum for citizens. She has a keen interest in the use of social media to engage citizens and promote the public library and the communities it serves.


Under Ms Clubb’s leadership, the amalgamated Ottawa Public Library is one of the success stories of the 2001 creation of Ottawa as the second largest city in Ontario. Circulation alone is now 60% greater. The new library system and its employees have won many prizes and awards. She has overseen the opening of two new branches and has ensured that ten branches have received significant renovations. In the most recent City of Ottawa citizen satisfaction survey the OPL scored the highest satisfaction ratings of all city services. The OPL circulates more than 10.6 million items and citizens make more than 33.6 million uses of the library annually.


Ms Clubb is an active librarian. She has held, and continues to hold executive positions in key library organizations. These include national, provincial and international associations: the Canadian Library Association, the Manitoba Library Association, the Canadian Association of Public Libraries, Canadian Urban Libraries Council, and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. She is currently a member of the external advisory committee to the University of Ottawa’s new School of Information Studies / École des sciences de l’information.


Ms Clubb is a Paul Harris Rotary Fellow, a member of the boards of the Ottawa Citizen Literacy Foundation and the Canadian Writers’ Foundation. She has served as an adjudicator for OCRI’s Capital Educator Awards. She is an ex-officio member of the boards of the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library and the Ottawa Public Library Foundation. Since 2007, she has served as the chief judge (regional) for the Post-Media’s National Spelling Bee. Many CBC listeners recall her broadcasts as a long-time member of CBC-Ottawa Radio 1’s All in a Day regular book panel.


Ottawa is not alone in recognizing the skills of its exceptional City Librarian, over the course of her career Ms Clubb has been the recipient of numerous awards including: Winnipeg’s St. Mary’s Academy Marian Award recognizing outstanding achievement by the school’s alumnae (2011); Canadian Library Association’s highest honour - the 2009 Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award; American Library Association’s Allie Beth Martin Award for extraordinary knowledge about books or other library materials and distinguished ability to share that knowledge (2009); Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for significant contribution to fellow citizens, community and Canada (2003).


And that’s not all, she is also the recipient of the Ontario Library Association W.J. Robertson Medallion as Librarian of the Year in recognition of her dynamic and innovative leadership in the advancement of public library service (2001); University of British Columbia Distinguished Alumna Award for outstanding contributions to library and information services in Canada (1997); Canadian Public Library Association’s Outstanding Public Library Service Award (1990).


When she arrived in Ottawa, Ms Clubb said that she looked forward to her time with the Ottawa Public Library board and serving the city of Ottawa. As she leaves this position she says that she sees it as the highlight of her library career. She thanks the board, staff and colleagues for the privilege of having the opportunity to serve her community in a job and profession that she loves.


OPL is the largest bilingual library system in North America. Serving over 900,000 residents, OPL helps build a strong, vibrant and sustainable community by supporting literacy and life-long learning, fostering inspiration and enjoyment, and connecting people to each other and the world.


OPL’s collection includes 2.3 million current items ranging from books to online resources to museum passes. Materials and resources are available in English, French, Braille and many other languages and are accessible at 33 branches, two bookmobiles and at BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca. A complete list of programs is also available on the website.



For more information:


Councillor Jan Harder

Chair, Ottawa Public Library Board



Maureen McEvoy

Manager, Communications and Community Relations

613-580-2424 x41240 or 613-222-9462

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