What is FOPLA?

The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA) was created through the amalgamation of three previous library friends groups: the Friends of the Nepean Library; the Friends of the Cumberland Library; and the Friends of the Ottawa Library.

Since amalgamating in 2003, FOPLA has expanded from four original bookstores to an organization that now donates more than $350,000 annually to Ottawa’s public library system. 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.

Because of our dedicated volunteers, FOPLA now manages five bookstores, more than 20 self-serve book shelves, a central Distribution Facility, and specialty sales including our popular monthly Mammoth Sale.

As a Registered Canadian Charity (119234193 RR0001), FOPLA is proud to be one of the leading library Friends groups in Canada. Read more below about our mission, vision, and how you can become a Friend of the Ottawa Public Library.


Our Mission

Our mission is to lead a community of friends in support of the Ottawa Public Library through fundraising and advocacy.

As advocates of a strong public library system, we participate in annual budget debates at Ward and City Council meetings, and take every opportunity to publicize the library and its programs and services.

Since 2003, FOPLA has donated more than $3 million to OPL with funds from the operation of used bookstores, self-serve book shelves, and specialty sales run by volunteers in library branches across the city. These funds help cover the cost of programs and services not covered by OPL’s municipal budget.

Our Vision

Our vision is to be a fundraising organization of excellence that builds a growing community of library supporters and offers a fulfilling experience to its volunteers.

As promoters of literacy, we help build library collections in both official languages, improve library accessibility, and sponsor reading and writing programs, such as OPL’s Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest.

Our Board members, personnel, volunteers, and members all know the value of Ottawa’s public libraries, which are highly efficient and operate at reasonable cost when compared to similar municipal libraries across Canada. We hope to protect and build upon that achievement.

Our Organization

FOPLA is over 99% volunteer-run, and operates with the help of more than 300 Ottawa community members. Our Volunteers operate and manage our bookstores, or serve on our Board of Directors and Committees. We could not be successful without the time and talent our volunteers contribute.

FOPLA’s Board of Directors carries out and coordinates advocacy efforts, and allocates funds raised towards any activity or program deemed appropriate. FOPLA also has one part-time employee and a finance consultant who provide a constant link between our volunteers, the Board of Directors, and the community.