23 September 2014

A message to Canadian genealogists from Library and Archives Canada

Last Friday evening, at the opening of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa annual conference, Cecilia Muir, LAC's Chief Operating Officer brought greetings from the new Librarian and Archivist: M. Guy Berthiaume.

He also asked that she share the five key priorities he has outlined for LAC. He does not see these changing in the foreseeable future, nor does he see this as a ‘vision’- a concept he feels is too grandiose.

These priorities are:
1. to acquire resources that represent Canada;
2. to improve the way we preserve both analogue and digital items;
3. to offer quality services to Canadians and to ensure access;
4. to adopt a more collaborative approach;
5. and to develop the 21st century strategies and infrastructure we need to manage our heritage.

He also asked that she share his four commitments, which he sees as the way in which LAC can fulfil our obligations as an organization and to help achieve those priorities:

1. First, LAC will be an institution dedicated to serving our clients, all our clients, including government, donors, universities, researchers, students, genealogists and the general public.

2. The second commitment is to be an institution that, drawing on the strength of all its staff, is at the leading edge of archival and library science and new technologies (such as web harvesting, digitization, digital preservation, etc.)

3. The third commitment is to be an institution proactively engaged with national and international networks in an open and inclusive way.

4. Finally, our fourth commitment is to be an institution with greater public visibility, highlighting the value of our collection and services.

Cecilia Muir added that:

  • LAC needs to connect the dots for a public which has lost track of who we are, what we do, and why we matter. 
  • There is a need to re-brand LAC as it were, promoting our place in the life of Canada and all Canadians. To tell our story in new ways. 
  • Genealogists are an important clientele for LAC, and are therefore part of that story. Your research brings a very human and personal dimension to our collections and to Canadian history.  Your work brings to life the individual stories that make up our national fabric. 
These are encouraging words which we look to be followed up by action and meaningful continuing consultation with all client communities.


Janice Nickerson said...

Wonderful news, John! Thanks for sharing this.

Jean said...

Sounds like an admirable track to get back on!

Old Census Scribe said...

Perhaps they could start by looking at the introductory paragraphs or pages for databases and editing out the library-ese.