Ottawa's future central library named Ādisōke

The Ottawa Public Library's new signature branch, which is a partnership with Library and Archives Canada, will be named after an Anishinaabemowin phrase for storytelling.

New name is Anishinaabemowin phrase that means 'storytelling'

Name of Ottawa’s new central library revealed

2 years ago
Duration 0:39
The name of the new Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada joint facility will be Ādisōke, an Anishinaabemowin word that refers to storytelling. Della Meness, manager of education for the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, and Anita Tenasco, director of education for Kitigan Zibi Anishinābeg, made the announcement Thursday.

The Ottawa Public Library's future flagship branch will change from its current utilitarian name "main" to "Ādisōke", an Anishinaabemowin phrase that means storytelling.

A group including representatives from the Algonquin communities of Kitigan Zibi and Pikwàkanagàn, Ottawa's mayor, and the Canadian heritage minister made the announcement Thursday beside the excavated site where the new building will be erected.

The name is pronounced "AW-de-SO-keh."

"We care deeply about revitalization of our language and we are honoured that this new facility will have a beautiful name in our language," said Mariette Buckshot of Kitigan Zibi. "Our language must be spoken and heard."

Members of the two Algonquin communities helped choose the name during meetings with the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada.

Those two institutions will share the new $192-million facility to be located at Albert and Booth streets at the edge of LeBreton Flats, near Kichi Sibi — or the Ottawa River as it was later known.

The Ottawa central library final design, including this preview of the west view from the plaza, was presented during a board meeting in April 2021. (Ottawa Public Library Board Meeting)

It is being designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects from Toronto and Ottawa's KWC Architects in consultation with the Algonquin Anishinaabe communities, on whose traditional territory the city sits.

The heads of Library and Archives Canada and the Ottawa Public Library lauded the circular gathering areas and museum-quality exhibition spaces that are planned.

Kitigan Zibi's education director also called on the national and municipal libraries to help their people learn the Anishinaabemowin language and share their stories.

"We are losing our speakers. We are very concerned about this. So we are wanting to document our language, record our language, and share the stories that we see fit," said Anita Tenasco.

The Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Leslie Weir, said she looked forward to working with the First Nations to do exactly that, and to share their stories with visitors to Ādisōke.

Ottawa Public Library CEO Danielle McDonald also said the communities would be involved in the programming that takes place in the new building when it opens, likely in late 2024.

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