Sunday, 2 September 2007

LAC reduced service hours in effect

A reminder that the reductions in service hours previously announced came into effect at the start of the month. Hours of full service are now 10am - 4pm, weekdays. The response to the reduction of service from genealogists and other users was apparently sufficiently muted that LAC management had no problem with implementing them. If users are not prepared to speak out against service reductions they can be expected to continue.

I was pleased to see that not all users are not so passive. A review in today's (Sunday, 2 September) Ottawa Citizen of "An Unlikely Hero", Phil Jenkins' new book on George Dawson, sees him taking aim at LAC:

"I am obliged to say, on behalf of my fellow researchers present and future, that despite the staff's best efforts, the systemic and logistical obstacles at the National Archives, though under assault, remain frustrating."

In the interview, Jenkins moaned about 48-hour delays in retrieving documents, 24-hour delays in getting photocopies and other inconveniences that complicated his research.

"Logistically, I am walking into every sharp corner you've got in the building," Jenkins said he told the archives staff one day. "From the moment you walk in, there's some grumpy vet who looks at you as if you're there to steal everything they've got. I hate it. I go down to other archives, the McGill archives, and they're like, 'What do you need?'"

Jenkins blames the problems on inadequate funding. "The past is a minor deity in the Canadian coffers."

Would there were more users prepared to speak out in this way.

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