Monday, 2 February 2009

LAC open, but not for service

Helping Celebrate Genealogy Gripe Week

With the bus strike it has been a trial getting to Library and Archives Canada. Parking, challenging at the best of times, has been a headache. A couple of weeks ago I was lucky, found parking in a one hour zone and was able to submit an order. Having waited to take the order form into the fishbowl the clerk looked at me, pitifully, and told me, with strained regulation civility, that I should put it in the box outside. This didn't seem to allow for delivering the material to a storage locker, but I didn't worry as I believed I could come back and collect the material during the new open hours on a Saturday.

I made it in last Saturday, but when I got to the 3rd floor found there was no retrieval service, even for pre-ordered materials which are presumably waiting behind locked doors on the same floor. The only Saturday service available is digital copying self-service and microfilm reproduction.

If you scrutinize the service and opening hours on the LAC website here, and your eye doesn't zoom past the asterisk, you can read that limitation on Saturday service. My eye was moving too fast.

Why does it have to be that way? It would be really helpful if the asterisk note stated explicitly, and clearly, the parts of regular service that will not be provided on Saturday as well as those that will. Asterisks make sense in black and white printed material, but it doesn't cost extra to add colour on the web so why not highlight the limitation in service in colour.

Better yet would be to provide that Saturday service.


M. Diane Rogers said...

Saturday service! I certainly agree - even minimal retrieval service would be a help to those many, many Canadians like myself who do not live in Ottawa, can only visit infrequently and want to make the most of our time researching in our Capital City.

Brenda said...

I hope you eventually retrieved your order, John. This Saturday I will be able to spend the morning at LAC but was griped to see it doesn't open until 10 a.m. I could have used at least an extra earlier hour.