What is the reality behind the recent announcement of cuts to the Library and Archives Canada? CAUT has released the following information which shows the serious impact the cuts will have on the collection and use of Canada’s cultural heritage. Check out this page, and please direct faculty to it: http://www.savelibraryarchives.ca/ Urge all members of our community to sign the petition, and take a pro-active stance on this matter.
- The staff resource centre at LAC (what used to be the departmental library) is being closed;
- The interlibrary loans unit (which works with-all Canadian libraries) is being closed;
- Most of the cataloguing librarians have been surplused.
- Circulation staff for analog holdings are being reduced by 50%,
- Digitization staff are being reduced by 50%;
- Conservation staff are being reduced significantly for all media;
- Private sector archivists and archival assistants are being reduced from 61 to 40 staff;
- No archivists working on federal government records are being affected.
- Some of the archivist positions that will be eliminated include: Social Cultural, Political, Music, Literary and A-V
Other positions cut include: Loans and Exhibitions Coordinator, Manager of Microfilm Preservation and Imaging Services, Manager of the Digital Preservation Office, Preservation Registrar, Conservation Technician in Textual and Visual Records,
This is on top of changes that the administration of LAC is already putting into practice:
- To have a “representative” rather than a “comprehensive” collection;
- To impose a moratorium (now called a “pause” on purchased acquisitions. Among the records lost to the LAC collection because of this “pause” are:
- Military History
- 2 original speeches to the House of Lords regarding developments in the Seven Years’ War. No other copies in Canada. Sold to US.
- Royal proclamation ordering that American non-combatant living on the frontiers not be molested during War of 1812 hostilities. No other copies in North America. Sold to US.
- Music History
- Possibly the earliest Canadian publication of Jewish liturgical music from 1915 12 page of chants with words and music written in Hebrew and Yiddish composed by Rev. L. Herzig, Montreal. The only known copy.
- Children’s Literature
- 2 books of nursery rhymes and engravings by Catharine Parr Traill (one of “Canada’s most important 19th-century writers” according to LAC’s website) from 1825 and 1830. First Editions. No other copies located.
- Aboriginal and Settler History
- From 1903-5 a series of journals containing detailed information on history & legends of settlers & First Nations people of north shore of Gulf of St. Lawrence & Labrador Coast. Contains geographical description, First Nations’ lore, missionary activity & was the journal published in this region. Previously unrecorded. No other copies.
- To not fill vacant positions (this was before Monday’s announcement of further cuts). Vacant positions include:
o Vacant archivist positions: Cartography, Moving Images and Sound Archives, Government Archives, Art and Photo archives, No archivists remain in the Multicultural portfolio (the archivist who was there left about several weeks ago for another position so it is officially empty), Aboriginal treaties and affairs
o Vacant Librarian positions: Newspaper specialist, Government document specialist, Library Sciences specialist
- To decentralize the collection. Daniel Caron has announced that “the new environment is totally decentralized and our monopoly as stewards of the national documentary heritage is over.” LAC will be decentralizing a large portion of its collections to both public and private institutions. LAC documents refer to this voluntary group of “memory institutions” as a “coalition of the willing.” Regional libraries and archives across Canada have been subject to a series of severe cuts over the past two decades. They do not have the resources to adequately house and preserve our nationally significant material. This is all made worse by Aug 30 announcement of the elimination of the National Archival Development Program (NADP) which provides support for programming undertaken by provincial archival associations as well as grants to small and medium archives across Canada.