TIME LINE: The Closure of Canadian Government Libraries, Archives and Research Collections 5

Documents:  First LAC Code of Conduct (has since been revised) LAC Code of Conduct Jan 2013

Since 2007-2008 the argument of digitizing collections by politicians as a solution for cutting costs and closing libraries in Canada has resulted in the dismantling of collections, laying off specialists, librarians and archivists, closing libraries and restricting access to collections. Professionals who work on the digitization of collections knows this is never a simple task nor a permanent solution. As it has turned out, there are now many accounts surfacing in the media which indicate that not all collections were assessed before dismantling, not all materials could be digitized (due to copyright issues) and not all materials have been preserved. In the Order Paper, House of Commons, October 24, 2013 ’0′ copies are indicated as having been digitized because the DFO was unable to determine the figure (see report added below).

Bibliocracy notes “It is worth noting that items were offered to these external libraries only after being offered to other government departments; the response indicates that not a single item was accepted into the collection of any other federal institution or department, apparently including Library and Archives Canada. In other words, these items – all of which were bought and paid for with taxpayer money – have been lost forever from public ownership.” see http://bibliocracy-now.tumblr.com/post/74860540852/order-paper-reveals-dfo-library-situation-far-worse

There has been a lot of media reports and open discourse amongst scholars and researchers in the past year over the actions of the current government concerning library resources and collections. Libraries are at the ‘core’ of society’s advancement and our ‘economic’ health. Libraries are required by researchers in all fields of research – they are the bricks which build the foundations for industry and a healthy economic base in a prosperous society. Libraries and archives preserve Canada’s history and ensure accountability. The following is a list of some of the changes, closures and resources on what has been transpiring. If there are events missing, send them to us:

Media Reports

Mercer Report on Books and Scientists http://www.cbc.ca/player/Shows/Shows/The+Rick+Mercer+Report/ID/2433502885/

Resources for Information

2013 October 24 – HOUSE OF COMMONS  – 202910721-Q-110-Order-Paper-on-DFO-Library-Closures.pdf

2012 REPORT Parliament Inquiry on Library Closures PDF copy (courtesy of Lorne Bruce, circulated on BIBSOCAN: Bibliographical Society of Canada)

Librarians Blog on Media Releases on Closing of Government Libraries (has full list of media reports)

http://scienceblogs.com/confessions/2014/01/10/the-canadian-war-on-science-a-chronological-account-of-chaos-consolidation-at-the-department-of-fisheries-oceans-libraries/

1999       

Report on the Future Roles of the National Archives and the National Library (1999) by Dr. John English to the then Heritage Minister Sheila Copps. One of its many recommendations was that “recommend that the National Library and the National Archives be separate institutions with distinct leaders.” This report went unheeded five years later. A copy of the report is attached.

April 22, 2004

National Archives of Canada Act (repealed);National Library Act (repealed); Library and Archives of Canada Act.

 April 22, 2004

The Library and Archives of Canada Act, when describing the appointment of the Chief Librarian and Archivist, did not specify what qualifications that individual should hold. This led to the later hiring of a non-librarian and non-archivist. See An Act to establish the Library and Archives of Canada, to amend the Copyright Act and to amend certain Acts in consequence (S.C. 2004, c. 11):

 May 21, 2004

The amalgamation of the National Archives of Canada and the National Library occurred, and the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) was created.

2004

British Columbia advocacy group for librarians forms and launches blog, http://concernedlibrarians.blogspot.ca/

2007

American Library Association survey notes that “212 library support staff, 73% stated that they are now performing tasks previously performed by Masters of Library Science (MLS) librarians at their libraries, or have the same or similar duties as MLS librarians at other institutions.” (Source: CAUT report on McGill academic freedom issue, see below and Quoted in Concerned Librarians of British Columbia, “Deprofessionalization, Updated Figures,” March 26, 2007.)

March 26, 2007

Concerned Librarians of British Columbia, “Deprofessionalization, Updated Figures,” March 26, 2007, see http://concernedlibrarians.blogspot.ca/2007/03/deprofessionalization-updated-figures.html

 2008  12 Libraries Closed. Environment Canada concolidated 5 staff libraries and 7 unstaffed minor sites. Source: Reported Jan. 9, 2014. by Danny Kingsberry, Sr. Media Relations, Government of Canada to Margaret Munro.

2009

Daniel J. Caron appointed Librarian and Archivist at the LAC.

June 2011

CAUT issues Open Letter to Daniel J. Caron, LAC. http://www.caut.ca/uploads/CAUT_to_Caron_LACv2.pdf

June 29, 2011

Progressive Librarians Guild issues a response to McMaster University Librarian Jeff Trzeciak from the Edmonton Chapter, see http://plgedmonton.blogspot.ca/2011/06/response-to-mcmaster-university.html

November 18, 2011

Symposium, “Academic Librarianship: A Crisis or Opportunity?” University of Toronto, see http://journal.lib.uoguelph.ca/index.php/perj/article/view/1678/2239

 November 2011

CAUT launches Save the LAC site, http://www.savelibraryarchives.ca/default.aspx

2012 Lay off of specialists: Library and Archives Canada (LAC) dropped from 144 “library science” positions in 2005 to 73 in 2012.     http://www.ipolitics.ca/2013/10/15/the-war-on-knowledge-notes-from-the-front/

2012. 1 Library Closed.  National Capital Commission Library closed in 2012. CAUT: http://www.canadaspastmatters.ca/public-libraries/federal-library-cuts-and-closures.aspx

2012 1 Library Closed.  Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration library: Staff at the Ottawa-based library received notice in April 2012 that the site would close that September. Sources :  Andrea H Inquiry of Ministry, David McGuinty, June 12, 2012.ill, Postmedia News http://www.canada.com/Library+cuts+more+than+dozen+government+departments+trigger+fears+lost+knowledge/9431889/story.html

April 30, 2012

LAC presented 450 members of its staff with affected notices, with 215 of those positions to be eliminated. Elimination of 21 of the 61 archivists and archival assistants that deal with non-governmental records (source: CAUT)

May 2, 2012

The following government libraries are reported to be closing: Citizenship and Immigration, Agriculture, Environment, Industry, Transport Canada, National Defence, Public Works and Government Services, the National Capital Commission and the Public Service Commission (source: OLA Timeline)

March 31, 2012. 1 Library Closed. Citizenship and Immigration. Source: CAUT site http://www.canadaspastmatters.ca/public-libraries/federal-library-cuts-and-closures.aspx

April 30, 2012

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) eliminates the National Archival Development Program (NADP), a 1.7 million contribution program administered by the non-for-profit Canadian Council of Archives (CCA) for LAC .(Source: OLA Timeline)

May 7, 2012

LAC staff confirm that the current Inter-Library Loan (ILL) service will end February 15 2013 (source: OLA Timeline)

June 12, 2012.    4 out of 5 librares closed. Parks Canada will be consolidating five regional libraries into one national Parks Canada library. Regional libraries located in Calgary, Winnipeg, Quebec City and Halifax will be consolidated into the Agency’s Cornwall, Ontario location in order to streamline Parks Canada’s operations. Source: Inquiry of Ministry, David McGuinty, June 12, 2012.

June 12, 2012 1 Library Closed.  The Federal Budget 2012 announced the elimination of the NRTEE; as a result the NRTEE library will be closed by March 31, 2013. National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy was eliminated. Its library was closed on March 31, 2013. Source: Inquiry of Ministry, David McGuinty, June 12, 2012. CAUT site http://www.canadaspastmatters.ca/public-libraries/federal-library-cuts-and-closures.aspx

June 12, 2012. 7 out of 11 Libraries Closed. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has made a decision to consolidate its library services into two principal and two subsidiary locations. The consolidation is to be complete by September 30, 2013. As part of the consolidation, seven libraries will close. The current plans for the disposition of holdings are as follows: materials in excess of requirements will be identified for removal. They will then be offered to Library and Archives Canada as appropriate and to other stakeholders.  Source:  Inquiry of Ministry, David McGuinty, June 12, 2012.

June 12, 2012. 8 out of 9 Libraries Closed. The Candian Revenue Agency  intends to consolidate its nine existing libraries into one, the location of which has yet to be determined. This initiative builds on the CRA’s natural evolution to a virtual service environment and replaces the traditional notion of a library as a self-contained storehouse of knowledge. The consolidation of libraries will reduce costs of the physical holdings and space, generate efficiencies and improve service delivery as clients will have a single window to access electronic specialized tax research services. Source: Inquiry of Ministry, David McGuinty, June 12, 2012.

June 12, 2012. 2 Libraries Closed. Human Resources and Skills Department: Taking into account this trend while ensuring it is using taxpayers’ dollars wisely, HRSDC will no longer operate the libraries physically located in Gatineau, Quebec and Montreal, Quebec as of March 31,2013. This closure was part of the 2010 Strategic Review. Source:  Inquiry of Ministry, David McGuinty, June 12, 2012.

June 12, 2012.    1 Library Closed. Public Service Commission (a) As of June 19, 2012, the Public Service Commission (PSC) is in the process of closing its library. The decision was guided by two main principles: (1) an assessment of the overall demand on library services compared to other research activities performed through other means (eg. self service via electronic research); and (2) the potential overlap of some of the library services with the Information Management functions. The consensus was that the best use of scarce resources was to rely on electronic research tools to perform Policy Research, and to further save money by merging the remaining functions with the Information Management Office; As of April 2013, the Public Service Commission (PSC) was in the process of closing. Plans regarding the disposition of PSC’s Library collection had not been finalized. Source: Inquiry of Ministry, David McGuinty, June 12, 2012.; CAUT http://www.canadaspastmatters.ca/public-libraries/federal-library-cuts-and-closures.aspx

June 12, 2012. 1 Library Closed.  Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), including its Special Operating Agencies, and  Agencies:  (a) PWGSC closed its Departmental Library on May 31,2012 A formal assessment was not conducted. Source:  Inquiry of Ministry, David McGuinty, June 12, 2012.

June 12, 2012. 1 Library Closed.  Transport Canada will be closing its library in fiscal year 2012 – 2013. Transport Canada is not disposing of the library holdings. Users of the library, such as other federal organizations, industry stakeholders, academia, and international organizations will be encouraged to contact Transport Canada directly at http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/contact-us.htm  to obtain information about the Department’s programs. The contents of Transport Canada’s Library will be redistributed to responsible authorities within and outside the Department as applicable; Transport Canada closed its library in 2012. Sources: Inquiry of Ministry, David McGuinty, June 12, 2012.; CAUT at http://www.canadaspastmatters.ca/public-libraries/federal-library-cuts-and-closures.aspx

August 30, 2012

LAC withdraws from the Association of Research Libraries (ARL)

Nov. 1, 2012. 1 Library Closed. Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has a Staff Resource Centre that provided some library functions. This centre is closing on November 1,2012, and the services are being redistributed.  Inquiry of Ministry, David McGuinty, June 12, 2012.

March 31, 2013. CIG will formally close its departmental library by March 31, 2013. Most employees have access to a library on their desktop and use the physical library less and less. Source: Inquiry of Ministry, David McGuinty, June 12, 2012.

May 15, 2013. Daniel J. Caron leaves his post at LAC as Librarian and Archivist.

2012 1 Library Closed.  Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration library: Staff at the Ottawa-based library received notice in April 2012 that the site would close that September. Sources :  Andrea H Inquiry of Ministry, David McGuinty, June 12, 2012.ill, Postmedia News http://www.canada.com/Library+cuts+more+than+dozen+government+departments+trigger+fears+lost+knowledge/9431889/story.html