14 July 2020

News of The Opening: How to do it. Why not at LAC, AO and others?

Here's the first paragraphs from the informative July Newsletter from the National Library of Scotland

"We hope to welcome you back soon

We are planning to open our reading rooms on a pre-booked basis at our George IV Bridge and Causewayside buildings from Tuesday 11 August. This is in line with the Scottish Government’s route map for reopening services following the COVID-19 lockdown.

We anticipate that we will open the Library at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow on Tuesday 15 September.

As your safety is our main concern, we will be offering a limited service in the first phase of our reopening. Equally, if the situation changes beyond our control, we will of course delay reopening in line with the latest government advice."

Simple, informative.

Why not the same type of information from Library and Archives Canada? On its website, the latest information is from 28 May. Has nothing happened in 45 days?

Why not the same type of information from the Archives of Ontario? On its website the undated information is "Following the guidance of public health and government authorities on the evolving COVID-19 situation, the Archives of Ontario in-person services will be closed until further notice."

Why not the same type of information from the City of Ottawa Archives? The best it can manage is a link to a general city COVID-19 site which has no reference to the Archives. The City of Toronto Archives website is equally uninformative.

The same goes for the museums in the Ottawa  Museum Network with the sole exception of the Diefenbunker.

While nobody wants the facilities we use to open without safety as an overriding concern, for staff and clients, the lack of information makes it appear those organizations are satisfied to not move to institute the type of measures we see at commercial and other facilities so that as much of the full range of services as possible can be provided.

If other organizations are opening up on a new (and hopefully temporarily modified) basis, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Ingenium museums, the British Library and the UK National Archives why no up to date information from our archival organizations?


The following was posted by the City of Ottawa Archives this morning

COVID-19 Update
The highest priority of the City of Ottawa Archives is the safety and well-being of our visitors, volunteers, and our staff. Consistent with Ottawa Public Health guidance related to the spread of COVID-19, we are closed until September 7. As the City begins a phased reopening, more details will be provided as services resume.


Bob H said...

The apparent lack of action by our Canadian facilities is disappointing. Do they receive your blog? Perhpas all those affected should email these institutions.

Sophronia said...

As a senior who is most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, I applaud the Government of Ontario and many of its institutions for being so cautious about re-opening. Countries that have done so appear to have had a dramatic increase in infections, something which Ontario cannot afford. What needs to be done is better access to the contents of archives online, not having a bunch of people attending at the archives and passing the virus around. Just my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

As a senior who has used the facilities at LAC for many years I am a little puzzled (or maybe not) by the lack of any plan to reopen. I share the desire for more of the Archival resources to be available online and I understand the reluctance of many to be in any sort of crowded (or semi-crowded) research room. As another researcher said recently, LAC is the perfect place for social distancing. The small number of researchers there whenever my husband and I have worked there in recent years can easily stay a good distance apart.
Elizabeth Vincent