The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) currently has underway a campaign to protect Library and Archives Canada (LAC). The Campaign, launched in November 2011, is in response to funding cuts and internal managerial decisions that are threatening the quality and integrity of Canada’s only national public library and archives.
The changes in the name of “modernization,” which include restructuring and a narrowing of the LAC mandate, have already led to a reduction in the number of specialist archivists and librarians, reduced public access and services and the loss of rare and important materials. There has been a decentralization of materials to third party providers and a compromising of LAC’s collections because of cuts to the acquisition of materials.
This narrowing of LAC’s role and cutting back on services will dramatically affect Canadians who rely on LAC, including researchers, authors, documentarians, historians, and individuals tracking their family heritage.
It’s important that USFA members make a point of being a part of the Campaign to save LAC. Not only that, it’s important for you to let others know about the campaign and for you to encourage them to take action. LAC is the only national institution with the mandate and capability to preserve our culture and heritage.
CAUT is calling for:
- Amendments to the Library and Archives Canada Act to more clearly specify LAC’s obligation to maintain a comprehensive collection of Canada’s documentary heritage
- The funding required to fulfill this obligation
- Restoration of LAC’s comprehensive acquisition of published material and archival records
- Restoration of public services, including access to archivists and librarians; access to general reference collection; and re-establishment of specialist positions
- An end to fragmentation of collections resulting from decentralization.
You can learn more about the Campaign to Save Library and Archives Canada and ways for you to take action by visiting the Campaign website (http://www.savelibraryarchives.ca/).