Thursday, 3 May 2012

LAC cancels National Archival Development Program

One impact of Harper government budget reductions is the elimination of the National Archival Development Program, funding for which came through Library and Archives Canada. The Canadian Council of Archives (CCA) was responsible for providing advice to LAC on the direction of the program, as well as for its administration, including managing the adjudication of applications and the funding process.
The program, worth  $1.7 million in 2011-12, had as its objectives:

  • Increase access to Canada's archival heritage through the national catalogue;
  • Increase awareness and broaden use of Canada's archives;
  • Increase the representation of Aboriginal peoples and under-represented ethno-cultural groups in Canada's archives;
  • Increase the capacity of archival networks to undertake strategic and development activities; and
  • Increase the capacity of archival institutions to preserve Canada's archival heritage.
$1.1 million was used by provincial and territorial organization to these ends, the remainder for Canada-wide initiatives.

The program is now ended. The following letter from CCA Chair Lara Wilson was sent to provincial and territorial archives associations on Tuesday.
By now you will have heard of the budget cuts at the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and the elimination of the National Archival Development Program (NADP) program. Like you, the CCA Board is stunned by this news. This is not only devastating to the archival community but will impede access to Canada's documentary heritage by Canadians for the foreseeable future.
Very shortly, CCA will provide you with more in-depth information, but the immediate impact is that there is no NADP funding for 2012-2013. Also, with the exception of the minor capacity needed to administer Young Canada Works (YCW) and the National Archival Appraisal Board (NAAB), the current CCA staff will no longer be in place and our office will be closing.
In preparation for CCA actions to be undertaken shortly, we would ask all of you to review the impact of the NADP, and the CCA generally, in your jurisdiction and institution over the years. Identify how that impact enabled you to provide the public with better service. Such examples are critical because they put a face on how archives serve many facets of the general public, and how the NADP assists archives to serve Canadians.
Such examples could include:
  • books and other outputs that have utilized holdings made accessible by NADP
  • non-traditional users whose access has been facilitated by NADP
  • achievements realized through expertise made available to you through archives advisors, preservation services, training opportunities.
  • how has ARCHIVESCANADA.ca and provincial/territorial networks helped users find you
  • what holdings have been preserved through NADP and in what ways has that had public acknowledgement
  • what activities by other groups have been assisted through the results of NADP funded projects
  • what federal initiatives have benefitted by records that were preserved or made accessible through NADP 
The CCA response and any community response needs to be driven by concrete examples and we understand that pulling these together will take some time. We will communicate shortly with a strategy of how all of this information can be utilized. In the meantime if you have questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact any member of the CCA executive.
NADP has flown below the radar for most of us but the impact will be on archives users, genealogists, scholars, writers across Canada according to Lara Wilson.

In Ontario the Archives Association of Ontario which received NADP funds will not be in a position to provide the level of advice and training it has done in the past. For an overview of AAO activity see here (pdf). Paul Henry, Ottawa City Archivist, mentioned that the advice of a AAO preservation expert, funded through the NADP, had been of great assistance in developing the new Ottawa city archives.  Larger archives, like Ottawa, will be in a relatively better position than the smaller ones that rely more heavily on shared resources and expertize at the provincial level through AAO.

Listen to an interview with James Turk of the Canadian Association of University Teachers at http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2012/05/02/ottawa-libraries-archives-closing-budget-cuts.html?cmp=rss

I'm informed the CBC was unable to reach anyone at LAC for comment.

UPDATE
Here`s a shocking summary of what`s happening at LAC from the Canadian Association of University Teachers. http://utlibrarians.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/serious-situation-developing-at-lac-alert-your-colleagues-and-faculty-news-from-caut/
Stay tuned for more.

1 comment:

Ellen Conrad said...

These changes are of great concern. Questions come to mind, such as: How will it affect the much anticipated release of the 1921 census? Will local societies be able to 'step up' and fill some of the gap? Will they be able to access records, obtain records - if there is no one there to receive the request? Who DOES get an opportunity to get the records chosen to not be kept - and how?
Ellen Conrad