Thursday, 6 March 2014

Library professionals express concerns on LAC

On 1 March the Canadian Association of Professional Academic Librarians (CAPAL) submitted a brief to the Royal Society of Canada, Expert Panel “The Status and Future of Canada’s Libraries and Archives”. Here is an extract relating to Library and Archives Canada.

Recent changes at LAC have resulted in paradigmatic shifts that will have a deleterious impact on academic libraries across Canada, especially, at larger provincial institutions. CAPAL members consider the recent actions pertaining to the LAC and the National Archival Development Program (NADP) undertaken by the Ministry of Heritage in conflict with their responsibility to Canadian citizens to value, preserve and sustain this country’s documentary heritage. These actions and the long term ramifications deprive Canadian citizens of their rights to free and unrestricted access to information concerning their heritage. Current legislation to protect the mandate of LAC as a national library and archive for Canada seems to have provided little protection under the current government’s political agenda. This concerns CAPAL members.

Other negative changes at LAC have resulted in Canada being without a national bibliography, repository and archive. A national library and archive is an expression of national identity and a repository of Canada’s national heritage. Moving forward the CAPAL recommends the following:

 The Chief Librarian/Archivist of LAC needs to be a trained, experienced professional Librarian/Archivist who has had a career as a Librarian/Archivist

 LAC needs to be governed by an independent board which includes professional librarians and archivists that has an arms‐length distance from government interference

 New legislation needs to be formulated so that, under all circumstances, a national repository and archive is firmly secured and not subject to the priorities, political agendas or ideology of ruling political parties. Legislation which governs LAC must comply with Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom and Constitution of Canada.

LAC has a responsibility to:

 operate in a transparent manner and ensure the activities and projects of LAC are well known across the country, to citizens and professionals in the various fields

 ensure that LAC employees are actively engaged with library associations and have the freedom to openly discuss issues, share knowledge and concerns

 ensure collections and LAC are managed according to the core values and ethics of librarianship / archival practices and not superficial, monetary priorities which shift with the politicians

 work closely with associations in Canada, USA and Internationally

 ensure long‐term goals are maintained

 ensure LAC operates according the Canadian legislation

 ensure LAC truly is a national repository for Canadians

 ensure LAC is not threatened by changing political ideology

 ensure that LAC shows the proper respect for Canada’s heritage

Read the full brief at

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