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History of the May Court Club

The May Court Club of Ottawa is Canada’s oldest service club and was founded in 1898 by Lady Aberdeen, wife of the Governor General of Canada. The more than 300 women who belong to the May Court Club dedicate their work to community service. May Court members contribute more than 17,000 volunteer hours each year to the Ottawa community and respond to countless needs through fundraising projects and management expertise. Club members work with Meals on Wheels, the Early Literacy Program, the Hospice at May Court, the May Court Bargain Box, the May Court Library, the Emergency Food Box program, the Women’s Breast Health Centre, as well as in support of many other organizations.

History of the Library

Established in 1925, the library service includes lending books and magazines to patients, sorting and distributing magazines to all waiting areas of the hospital and lending recorded books and music cassettes to patients on the recommendation of hospital staff.

Volunteers visit all the wards once a week offering books and magazines to patients. The honour system is used and patients are asked to simply leave the materials they’ve borrowed for the volunteers to pick up at a later visit. Mobile patients and staff are also welcome to visit the library in person to sign out books.

All materials are donated or purchased with money raised through books sales. Each year The Ottawa Hospital Civic Auxiliary makes a donation to enable new recorded books or equipment to be purchased.

Hours of Operation

The library is open Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Contact Us

  • By telephone within the hospital : dial extension 16717
  • From outside the hospital : 613-798-5555, ext. 16717

How to Donate Books and Magazines

All donations of books in good condition and current magazines are gratefully accepted at the Information Desk at the Civic Campus (Norman Paterson Building entrance) or you can deliver them directly to the library.


The library is located in the basement of section C in the Civic Campus of The Ottawa Hospital. The elevator facing the cafeteria (Tulip Café) is the easiest access point to the library. The library is wheelchair accessible.

Book Sales

The May Court Library conducts biannual used book sales to raise money for subscriptions to news magazines and other materials.

Last updated on: November 3rd, 2017