Tuesday, 16 October 2007

More on LAC 's cut in opening hours

I had an extended conversation last Friday with LAC's Director General of Services, Michelle Doucet, who acknowledged that not consulting on the reduction in opening hours at LAC was a mistake. LAC have heard from a variety of users about the problems this has caused and are meeting with groups, both in Ottawa and elsewhere, to better understand the impacts of the cuts.

I asked for documentation on how the hours of service that were eliminated were chosen and was given the following paragraph.

"In determining the optimum mix of services to provide to our users, LAC must pay close attention to the actual behaviour of current users. To this end we have introduced new client feedback mechanisms, for both onsite and distance users. We also examined usage trends and patterns. For example, we noted that from October 2006 to May 2007, an eight-month period, there were no (0) occasions in which there were more than ten (10) users in our reading room at 9:00 pm or later and only eight (8) occasions when there were more than five (5) - an average of once per month. On all other dates there were less than a handful of people in the room. This does not translate into a high demand by graduate students or anyone else."

I asked for and expect to receive the full data from which this summary was compiled, which should be available under access to information if needs be, and including data for other times (morning and weekend reductions).

There was no indication LAC is yet ready to restore the previous opening hours.

There is the prospect of some flexibility. That could mean opening and closing earlier on some days, and later on others. Other options, not discussed, might be remaining closed one day -- La Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal and several comparable centres remain closed on Mondays. Another possibility might be making certain materials available for extended hours. Copies not vulnerable to damage or theft, and thus not demanding close supervision, would be obvious candidates.

Check back later in the week, or subscribe to the RSS feed, for further postings dealing with LACs ideas for improving consultation, the budget situation and digitization.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why wait for the LAC to provide information which will only be done in dribs and drabs and only support what they have already said (as demonstrated by your blog entry). Go for the Access to Information Request and in support of that here is some possible wording: All records including correspondence, briefing notes, presentations, reports or studies in final or draft versions leading to the Library and Archives management decision to change client services which came into effect September 1, 2007 and posted on the Library and Archives Canada site at http://www.collectionscanada.ca/whats-new/013-298-e.html under the header “New Hours of Operation.” Include related records dealing with the communication strategy supporting the public announcement of these changes to client services (e.g. media lines, etc.)