AAOEe Presents: A Speaker Panel with the Partners of Ādisōke, the new Ottawa Public Library and LAC Joint facility

  • 18 Jan 2022
  • 7:30 PM
  • Zoom (virtual)


AAOEe Presents: A Speaker Panel with the Partners of Ādisōke, the new Ottawa Public Library and LAC Joint facility


When: Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Time: 7:30 P.M.

Cost: Free

Where: Online via Zoom. This session will NOT be recorded. 

Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMpdu2gqT4jGtCxufSX_X8ImJhAFcSXnIaP

(Instructions are sent automatically after registration by Zoom.)


In 2012, the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) Board made its Main Branch a top priority for renewal. In 2016, it began exploring an innovative partnership with Library and Archives Canada (LAC) about creating a new space together. The result is Ādisōke, the 216,000 square foot, net-zero carbon facility being built in the LeBreton Flats area of Ottawa.

Having the two organizations join together brings the best of what they both have to offer: an exciting Ottawa Central Branch joining the national library and archives with its rich collections and programs. The joint programs and services will make this a truly unique offering in Canada.

The facility represents unprecedented public consultation; the design reflects one of the most inclusive and in-depth engagement processes for any public building in Canada. Ottawa residents, Indigenous Peoples, and Canadians from across the country participated in the design at every stage. More than 7,000 people contributed.

A key piece of this consultation has been engagement with the Anishinabe Algonquin host Nation, other First Nations, Inuit, and the Metis Nation. Engaged at the early stage, members and Elders of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation and Kitigan Zibi Anishinābeg have been partners throughout, including naming the facility Ādisōke, an Anishinābemowin word for the telling of stories.

Join us for this panel session about how partners are coming together to build not just a library and archives but a gathering place where people can connect to each other, their history, the resources they seek, and the discoveries they make.


Speaker Bios:

Della Meness, Manager, Education Services, Pikwakanagan First Nation

I’m Della Meness and I am a member of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation.I became Manager, Education Services on October 23, 2009. My dad was in World War II and his father comes from Kitigan Zibi. On my dad’s side of the family, we come from a long line of Chiefs, starting with my great-grandfather and last one being my niece. My dad’s sister, Aunt Anna, is known as the “first Algonquin woman Chief” in the 1960’s. We are many cousins from the same family line who have been chiefs, including my great uncle, Matt Bernard, well known for the “World’s Largest Algonquin Birch Bark Canoe”. My maternal grandfather and great-grandfather also come from Kitigan Zibi. All of mom’s sibling were taken away to the Spanish, Ontario residential school. I am first generation of the residential school survivors. The last family survivor of the residential school passed away in 2020 when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

I received my Bachelor of Science, Major American Indian Studies with a minor in Justice from Arizona State University (ASU) in 2005. Continuing my studies there, I received my Master of Education in Indian Curriculum and Instruction in 2006.

My work experience is working for our people, with the various Indigenous organizations, First Nations, and within the Government of Canada such as Native Employment at the Public Service Commission, National Native Drug/Alcohol Program at Health Canada, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Sudbury Area Post-Secondary Counselling Unit for Nipissing First Nation, Anishinabek Nation (Union of Ontario Indians), Salt River Pima Maricopa Tribe, Cleveland Indian Friendship Centre.

During my employment experiences, education played an important role in my decision to work in the educational field. Education Services and its 12 employees provide support to our elementary, secondary, and post-secondary students.

Anita Tenasco, Director of Education, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg

Anita Tenasco is Anishinabe Algonquin from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg community (an Anishinabe Algonquin community located about two hours north of the Ottawa area). Anita was born and raised in the Kitigan Zibi community. She is a djo djo (mother), kokomis (grandmother), and the Director of Education for the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg. As Anita is the daughter of a Residential School Survivor and an Indian Day School Survivor, she fully supports First Nations Control of First Nations Education and educating non-Indigenous people about the impacts of the Residential School system in Canada. Ms. Tenasco values promoting and sharing the brilliance, talents, and ongoing strength within the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation.

Kaya Fraser, Library Planning Consultant, Special Projects, Ottawa Public Library

Kaya Fraser has worked in public libraries for over 15 years--first in Montreal, Victoria, and Vancouver, and now at Ottawa Public Library. She holds an MA in English Literature and completed four years of a PhD in that field before deciding to switch career paths to librarianship, earning her MLIS at UBC in 2017. Her library career has included digital literacy work, accessible services for homebound library users, and program development. She is also an independent musician with two professionally produced albums released. Since early 2020, she has been working with the Special Projects team at OPL on the development of the OPL-LAC joint facility, Ᾱdisōke.

Johanna Smith, Director General, Public Services Branch, Library and Archives Canada

Johanna Smith is Director General of the Public Services Branch at Library and Archives Canada where she has worked for 15 years. She is responsible for leading LAC’s reference teams in Ottawa, Halifax, Winnipeg, and Vancouver, as well as exhibitions, on-line content, managing LAC’s major access-based digitization projects, the operational transition to LAC’s new service headquarters Ādisōke and she is the co-lead on LAC’s Indigenous Initiatives related to language and culture. She has been deeply involved in LAC’s recent Indigenous initiatives and has led strategic policy and legal files such as working with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the acquisition of digital records and publications, Access to Information and Privacy, as well as the development of international standards related to archives and recordkeeping. She is chair of the International Council on Archives’ Expert Group on Research Services and Outreach. Prior to LAC, Ms. Smith worked as an archivist at the International Monetary Fund and was the archives advisor for Nova Scotia. She holds a Masters in Information Studies from the University of Toronto.

The Archives Association of Ontario (AAO) is led by a committed community of volunteers from across the province. 

411 Richmond Street East, Suite 200, Toronto, ON, M5A 3S5

aao@aao-archivists.ca  |  (647) 343-3334

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