Library and Archives Canada building in Ottawa
|Type|| National library and|
|Reference to legal mandate||Library and Archives of Canada Act|
|Items collected||Aboriginal magazines; albums and scrapbooks; architectural drawings; art; artifacts; Canadian children's literature; Canadian comic books; Canadian newspapers; Canadian periodicals; electronic publications; electronic records; English-language pulp literature; ethnic community newsletters; ephemera; fiction and non-fiction; films; globes; government publications; government records; government websites; Hebraica and Judaica; Indian residential school records; journals and diaries; livres d’artistes; manuscripts; maps; microfilms; photographs; poetry; portraits; rare books; sheet music; sketchbooks; sound recordings; stamps; textual archives; theses and dissertations; trade catalogues; videos|
|Size||20 million books, periodicals, newspapers, microfilms, literary texts and government publications; 167,000 linear metres of government and private textual records; 3 million architectural drawings, maps and plans; 24 million photographs; 350,000 hours of film; 425,000 pieces of art, including paintings, drawings, watercolours, posters, prints, medals and caricatures; 547,000 musical items; more than a billion megabytes of digital content|
|Criteria for collection||Canadiana, documents published in Canada and materials published elsewhere of interest to Canada; records documenting the functions and activities of the Government of Canada; records of heritage value that document the historical development and diversity of Canadian society|
|Staff||860 FTE (2013–14)|
Library and Archives Canada (LAC; French : Bibliothèque et Archives Canada ) is a federal institution tasked with acquiring, preserving and making Canada's documentary heritage accessible. It is the fourth-largest library in the world. LAC reports to Parliament through Steven Guilbeault, the Minister of Canadian Heritage since November 20, 2019.
The Dominion Archives was founded in 1872 as a division within the Department of Agriculture and was transformed into the autonomous Public Archives of Canada in 1912 and renamed the National Archives of Canada in 1987. The National Library of Canada was founded in 1953. Freda Farrell Waldon contributed to the writing of the brief which led to the founding of the National Library of Canada.In 2004, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) combined the functions of the National Archives of Canada and the National Library of Canada. It was established by the Library and Archives of Canada Act (Bill C-8), proclaimed on April 22, 2004. A subsequent Order in Council dated May 21, 2004 united the collections, services and personnel of the National Archives of Canada and the National Library of Canada. Since inception LAC has reported to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
LAC's stated mandate is:
LAC is expected to maintain "effective recordkeeping practices that ensure transparency and accountability".
LAC's holdings include the archival records of the Government of Canada, representative private archives, 20 million books acquired largely through legal deposit, 24 million photographs, and more than a petabyte of digital content.Some of this content, primarily the book collection, university theses and census material, is available online. Many items have not been digitized and are only available in physical form. As of May 2013 only about 1% of the collection had been digitized, representing "about 25 million of the more popular and most fragile items".
The collection includes:
Genealogists account for 70% of LAC's clients.
The building at 395 Wellington Street in downtown Ottawa is the main physical location where the public may access the collection in person. The building was officially opened on June 20, 1967.With the de-emphasis on physical visits, in-person services have been curtailed, for example since April 2012 reference services are by appointment only, and the role of this building is decreasing. There are also administrative offices in Gatineau and preservation and storage facilities throughout Canada for federal government records.
The Preservation Centre in the city centre of Gatineau, about 10 kilometres away from the Ottawa headquarters, was designed to provide a safe environment for the long-term storage and preservation of Canada's valuable collections. It was built at a cost of CDN$107 million, and the official opening took place on June 4, 1997. It is a unique building containing 48 climate-controlled preservation vaults and state-of-the-art preservation laboratories.In 2000, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada named it one of the top 500 buildings constructed in Canada during the last millennium.
A Nitrate Film Preservation Facility on the Communications Research Centre campus in Shirleys Bay, on the outskirts of Ottawa, houses Canada's cellulose nitrate film collection.The collection contains 5,575 film reels dating back to 1912, including some of the first Canadian motion pictures and photographic negatives. The film material is highly sensitive and requires precise temperatures for its preservation. The state-of-the-art facility, which was officially opened on June 21, 2011, is an eco-designed building featuring an environmentally friendly roof that provides better insulation and minimizes energy expenditures.
A planned key activity for 2013–14 was to rehouse analogue (non-digital) information resources in a new state-of-the-art high-density storage facility in Gatineau, where the national newspaper collection and records of Second World War veterans will be stored.The facility will feature a high bay metal shelving system with a suitable environment to better protect Canada's published heritage. In January 2019, Library and Archives Canada announced that negotiations for a new facility to be built next to the existing one in Gatineau were starting, with an opening date in 2022.
LAC's online collection is accessible via its website and LAC provides ongoing information online via its blog, podcasts, the Twitter and Facebook social networking services, the Flickr image-sharing site, and the YouTube video-sharing site. RSS feeds provide links to new content on the LAC website and news about LAC services and resources.A new modernized website is being developed and is scheduled for completion in 2013, with both new and old websites accessible during the transition period.
In June 2004 LAC issued a discussion paper Creating a New Kind of Knowledge Institution,and after consultation in June 2006 it issued LAC Directions for Change, a document setting out five key directions to define the new institution:
LAC's modernization policy provides for transformation from an institution focused on the acquisition and preservation of analogue (non-digital) materials to one that excels in digital access and digital preservation.A Documentary Heritage Management Framework developed in 2009 seeks the right balance between resources dedicated to analogue and digital materials and is based on:
Eight pilot research projects were initiated to validate the framework, including projects on military documentary heritage, aboriginal documentary heritage, and stewardship of newspapers in a digital age.In March 2010 LAC issued its final report on Canadian Digital Information Strategy stakeholder consultations initiated in accordance with its mandate to facilitate co-operation among Canadian knowledge communities. In the same month it issued Shaping Our Continuing Memory Collectively: A Representative Documentary Heritage, a document which outlines how it plans to achieve its modernization objectives.
Despite LAC's stated objectives of continuing to fulfill its mandate by adapting to changes in the information environment and collaboration with others, the actual experience since 2004 has been a reduction in both services and collaboration.Federal funding cuts since 2004 have also impacted on LAC services and acquisitions. A detailed timeline of relevant developments and the decline in LAC services since 2004 has been compiled by the Ex Libris Association.
Following the announcement in the 2012 federal budget of a CDN$9.6 million funding cut over the three years commencing in 2012–13,more than 400 LAC employees received notices which indicated their jobs may be affected and the department announced a 20% reduction of its workforce of about 1,100 over the following three years. The "harsh" wording of a 23-page code of conduct for employees effective January 2013, which "spells out values, potential conflicts of interest and expected behaviours", has been criticized by the Association of Canadian Archivists and the Canadian Association of University Teachers among others. The code describes personal activities including teaching and speaking at or attending conferences as "high risk" activities "with regard to conflict of interest, conflict of duties and duty of loyalty" and participation in such activities is subject to strict conditions. In a section on duty of loyalty, it also cautions employees about expressing personal opinions in social media forums. Only authorized LAC spokespersons may issue statements or make public comments about LAC's mandate and activities, which includes controversial changes related to modernization and budget cuts.
Changes introduced under the management of Ian E. Wilson and Daniel J. Caron have been the subject of controversy and public criticism.Caron asserted that radical change is needed to cope with the influx and demand for digital material and they are subject to federal budget constraints.
Following Caron's resignation in May 2013, a stakeholder coalition issued a joint statement on the qualities of a successful Librarian and Archivist of Canada for official consideration in what they consider a "matter of great national significance":
A broad coalition of Canadian stakeholder organizations has developed the following list of qualities we believe the Librarian and Archivist of Canada should have in order to be successful in this critical position of public trust and responsibility. We believe it is essential that the person appointed to this position at this time possess the necessary qualities to meet the tremendous challenges of dealing with the complex issues of the digital environment in an era of limited financial and human resources and the demands of providing increased public access to the irreplaceable treasures of Canadian documentary heritage.
In June 2013 the Heritage Minister said speeding up the digitization of records will be a priority for the new Librarian and Archivist of Canada. Moore also said he will ask the person appointed to revisit the termination of the National Archival Development Program.
During the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Library and Archives Canada initially failed to produce records requested by the commission in a timely and comprehensive manner and was ordered by an Ontario Superior Court judge to do so.Ultimately, LAC did provide the records, but many were not in digitized and searchable formats as required by the commission.
The Calls to Action of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission explicitly referenced Library and Archives Canada as follows:
"We call upon Library and Archives Canada to: fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations Joinet-Orentlicher principles, as related to Aboriginal peoples' inalienable right to know the truth about what happened and why, with regard to human rights violations committed against them in the residential schools; ensure that its record holding related to residential schools are accessible to the public; [and] commit more resources to its public education materials and programming on residential schools."
Library and Archives Canada has begun to address these concerns by dedicating funding to hire Indigenous archivists, build relationships with Indigenous communities, and support digitization efforts.However, Indigenous-led organizations have drawn attention to the fact that Indigenous communities have been conducting this type of work for decades.
LAC also holds and provides access to archival copies of the websites of organizations related to the TRC, in collaboration with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, the University of Winnipeg Library, and University of Manitoba Libraries.
The Librarian and Archivist of Canada has the same seniority level as a deputy minister of a federal department.
On May 27, 2019, Leslie Weir was appointed Librarian and Archivist of Canada for a four-year term commencing August 30, 2019.Ms. Weir is the first woman to hold this role.
The head of Canada's national archives was known as the Dominion Archivist from 1872 to 1987 and the National Archivist from 1987 to 2004.
Ottawa is the capital city of Canada. It stands on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of southern Ontario. Ottawa borders Gatineau, Quebec, and forms the core of the Ottawa–Gatineau census metropolitan area (CMA) and the National Capital Region (NCR). As of 2016, Ottawa had a city population of 934,243 and a metropolitan population of 1,323,783 making it the fourth most-populous municipality and the fifth most-populous CMA in Canada. In June 2019, the City of Ottawa estimated it had surpassed a population of a million.
An archive is an accumulation of historical records – in any media – or the physical facility in which they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization's lifetime, and are kept to show the function of that person or organization. Professional archivists and historians generally understand archives to be records that have been naturally and necessarily generated as a product of regular legal, commercial, administrative, or social activities. They have been metaphorically defined as "the secretions of an organism", and are distinguished from documents that have been consciously written or created to communicate a particular message to posterity.
The National Library of New Zealand is New Zealand's legal deposit library charged with the obligation to "enrich the cultural and economic life of New Zealand and its interchanges with other nations". Under the Act, the library is also expected to be:
The Canadian Museum of Nature is a natural history and national museum in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The museum's exhibitions and public programs are housed in the Victoria Memorial Museum Building, a 18,910 square metres (203,500 sq ft) structure in Centretown, Ottawa. The building itself was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990. The museum's administrative offices and scientific centres are housed at a separate location, the Natural Heritage Campus, in Gatineau, Quebec.
The National Capital Commission is the Canadian Crown corporation responsible for development, urban planning, and conservation in the National Capital Region, including administering most lands and buildings owned by the Government of Canada in the region. The NCC reports to the Parliament of Canada through whichever minister in the Cabinet of Canada is designated responsible for the National Capital Act, currently the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
An archivist is an information professional who assesses, collects, organizes, preserves, maintains control over, and provides access to records and archives determined to have long-term value. The records maintained by an archivist can consist of a variety of forms, including letters, diaries, logs, other personal documents, government documents, sound and/or picture recordings, digital files, or other physical objects.
The National Capital Region, also referred to as Canada's Capital Region and Ottawa–Gatineau, is an official federal designation for the Canadian capital of Ottawa, Ontario, the neighbouring city of Gatineau, Quebec, and surrounding urban and rural communities. The term National Capital Region is often used to describe the Ottawa–Gatineau metropolitan area, although the official boundaries of the NCR do not precisely correspond to the statistical metropolitan area.
Gatineau Park is a federal park located in the Outaouais region of Quebec, Canada. Administered by the National Capital Commission as part of the National Capital Region, Gatineau Park is a 361 square kilometres (139 sq mi) wedge of land extending north and west from the city of Gatineau. With a perimeter of 179.2 kilometres (111.3 mi), the park includes parts of the municipalities of Chelsea, Pontiac, La Pêche, and the City of Gatineau. The main entrance to the park is 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) north of downtown Ottawa, Ontario.
The Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec or BAnQ is a Quebec government agency which manages the province's legal deposit system, national archives, and national library. Located at the Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal, the BAnQ was created by the merging of the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec and the Archives nationales du Québec in 2006. The Bibliothèque nationale du Québec had previously merged with the Grande Bibliothèque du Québec in 2002.
The Department of Canadian Heritage, or simply Canadian Heritage, is the department of the Government of Canada that has roles and responsibilities related to initiatives that promote and support "Canadian identity and values, cultural development, and heritage". To fulfill these tasks, the department coordinates a portfolio of several agencies and corporations that operate in a similar area of interest. While the roles and responsibilities of the Department of Canadian Heritage have remained relatively constant over the years, the department and composition of its portfolio remain in flux due to continuing structural changes.
In library and archival science, digital preservation is a formal endeavor to ensure that digital information of continuing value remains accessible and usable. It involves planning, resource allocation, and application of preservation methods and technologies, and it combines policies, strategies and actions to ensure access to reformatted and "born-digital" content, regardless of the challenges of media failure and technological change. The goal of digital preservation is the accurate rendering of authenticated content over time. The Association for Library Collections and Technical Services Preservation and Reformatting Section of the American Library Association, defined digital preservation as combination of "policies, strategies and actions that ensure access to digital content over time." According to the Harrod's Librarian Glossary, digital preservation is the method of keeping digital material alive so that they remain usable as technological advances render original hardware and software specification obsolete.
The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) of the United States was an archival program led by the Library of Congress to archive and provide access to digital resources. The program convened several working groups, administered grant projects, and disseminated information about digital preservation issues. The U.S. Congress established the program in 2000, and official activity specific to NDIIPP itself wound down between 2016 and 2018. The Library was chosen because of its role as one of the leading providers of high-quality content on the Internet. The Library of Congress has formed a national network of partners dedicated to preserving specific types of digital content that is at risk of loss.
In library and archival science, preservation is a set of activities aimed at prolonging the life of a record, book, or object while making as few changes as possible. Preservation activities vary widely and may include monitoring the condition of items, maintaining the temperature and humidity in collection storage areas, writing a plan in case of emergencies, digitizing items, writing relevant metadata, and increasing accessibility. Preservation, in this definition, is practiced in a library or an archive by a librarian, archivist, or other professional when they perceive a record is in need of care.
Ian E. Wilson is a former chief Librarian and Archivist of Canada. Appointed in 2004, he had previously been National Archivist of Canada. With Roch Carrier, the then National Librarian, he developed and led the process to link the National Archive and National Library as a unified institution. His distinguished career has included archival and information management, university teaching and government service. In addition, he has published extensively on history, archives, heritage, and information management and has lectured both nationally and abroad. Wilson retired as head of LAC in April 2009.
GLAM is an acronym for "galleries, libraries, archives, and museums", and refers to cultural institutions with a mission to provide access to knowledge. GLAMs collect and maintain cultural heritage materials in the public interest. As collecting institutions, GLAMs preserve and make accessible primary sources valuable for researchers.
Daniel J. Caron was the Librarian and Archivist of Canada from April 25, 2009 until May 15, 2013. He is also a professor, author and public speaker.
Guy Berthiaume is Librarian and Archivist of Canada Emeritus. A Canadian historian specialized in the study of Classical Antiquity, he served as Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec from June 22, 2009 to June 21, 2014, and, from June 23, 2014 to August 29, 2019, he served as Librarian and Archivist of Canada.
Hervé Déry was the Interim Librarian and Archivist of Canada from May 24, 2013 until June 22, 2014.
The Archives Association of Ontario (AAO) is a professional network of archives and archivists based in Toronto, Ontario.
Leslie Weir is a Canadian librarian, one of the founding architects of Scholars Portal and former president of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries. Ms. Weir was the University Librarian at the University of Ottawa from 2003 to 2018. On May 27, 2019, she was appointed Librarian and Archivist of Canada, effective August 30, 2019. Ms. Weir is the first woman to become Librarian and Archivist of Canada since the National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada were merged to form Library and Archives Canada in 2004.
The LAC collection... 20 million books, periodicals, newspapers, microfilms, literary texts and government publications; 167,000 linear metres of government and private textual records; 3 million architectural drawings, maps and plans; 24 million photographs; 350,000 hours of film; 425,000 pieces of art, including paintings, drawings, watercolours, posters, prints, medals and caricatures; 547,000 musical items; more than a billion megabytes of digital content
Following his appointment in the spring of 1985, he was given the task of reviewing the Public Archives Act of 1912, which led to the federal institution’s first name change. The institution that had been known as the Public Archives of Canada since 1872 was renamed the National Archives of Canada.
In 1872, the Canadian government created an Archives Division within the Department of Agriculture; its mandate was to acquire and transcribe documents related to Canadian history. In 1912, parliamentary legislation transformed this division into an autonomous organization, the Public Archives of Canada, and confirmed its responsibility to manage government documents. The mandate of the new institution focused on the acquisition of documents on all types of media, putting into practice the innovative concept of 'total archives.' Further legislation in 1987 clarified and reinforced the role and responsibilities of the Public Archives of Canada, which was then renamed the National Archives of Canada. In October 2002, in order to improve access to Canada’s documentary heritage, the government announced the creation of a new institution, Library and Archives Canada, which united the National Archives of Canada and the National Library of Canada (founded in 1953).
Last Stage Completed: Royal Assent (2004-04-22). Coming Into Force: Her Excellency the Governor General in Council hereby fixes May 21, 2004 as the day on which that Act comes into force, other than sections 21, 53 and 54, which came into force on assent.
Much of Library and Archives Canada's collection has not been digitized and is only available in physical form. To use this material, you will have to visit one of our locations.
This original copy of the Proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982 is the one which was signed by HM Queen Elizabeth II on Parliament Hill, 17 April 1982. Damaged slightly by rain during the signing ceremony, this version is informally known as the 'raindrop' copy.
Our website now gets close to half a million visits per month. In contrast, LAC’s in-person service hub located at 395 Wellington Street, receives about 2,000 visits per month. These two service points are also trending in opposite directions, with online consultations increasing rapidly, and in-person visits declining slowly but steadily.
A spokesman for Library and Archives Canada confirmed to The Globe and Mail that the current workforce of 1,065 will be reduced to 850 people over the next three years, as a result of the 2012 federal budget cuts.
As part of a composite project to respond to the needs of the National Archives of Canada, including the need to arrest the deterioration of records in existing storage facilities, a new conservation and laboratory building was constructed in the city centre of Gatineau, Quebec, at a total project cost of $107 million.
It was recently announced that funding was received from Treasury Board to convert a building (formerly, a Zellers department store) in Gatineau into a high-density storage facility.
Much of the $20-million decrease in the Library and Archives Canada budget is accounted for in the conversion of the building in Gatineau to a high-density shelving collection storage facility, which is nearly complete.
Under the guidance of the new Deputy Head, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has identified new strategic directions for the organization and implemented a change management agenda. More broadly, LAC continues to adapt to technological changes in dealing with its mandate to preserve and make available the documentary heritage of Canada. LAC has commenced a modernization initiative and has also established a "Documentary Heritage Management Framework" to meet the challenges of collecting and preserving information in an environment that is transitioning from analogue production to digital production.
Caron oversaw $10 million in budget cuts in recent years, laying off dozens of staff, eliminating grants to independent archives across the country and, most controversially, ending an interlibrary loan program that massively expanded the reach of the government collections.
The federal government's 2012 budget outlined cuts of $9.6 million over three years to Library and Archives Canada
The federal government is eliminating a series of libraries and archives throughout different departments as part of the latest budget cuts. Library and Archives Canada alone has received or will still receive more than 400 affected notices and the department announced 20 per cent of its workforce would be let go.
The code says employees may accept speaking invitations as long as they don’t speak about LAC’s mandate and activities. Caron has countered criticism by saying he has to work within the budget imposed by the federal government and his focus must be less on collecting artifacts and books and more on preserving Canada’s digital record.
'The community has great concerns about the direction of Library and Archives Canada, and has had for a few years now.' ... Those concerns include where cuts are being made and how modernization is occurring, Marrelli said.
Hervé Déry, assistant deputy minister of policy and collaboration at LAC, will temporarily replace Caron, who had been critical of the archivist and librarian community for resisting the necessary push to collecting digital born material and digitizing more popular items at LAC.
He was appointed the Librarian and Archivist of Canada on April 24, 2009.
Ian E. Wilson has just retired as the first Librarian and Archivist of Canada. Appointed as National Archivist in 1999, he and the National Librarian, Roch Carrier, OC, developed and led the process to create a new knowledge institution for Canada in the 21st century, the integrated Library and Archives of Canada. When the legislation came into force in May, 2004, Ian Wilson took on this new responsibility.
Dr. Wilson served as National Archivist of Canada, 1999 to 2004, and then as head of the newly amalgamated Library and Archives Canada. He retired in 2009 and received the unusual honour of being named Librarian and Archivist of Canada Emeritus.
Minister of Canadian Heritage Sheila Copps announced today the appointments of Ian Wilson to the position of National Archivist of Canada and Roch Carrier as National Librarian of Canada. Mr. Carrier will replace the current National Librarian, Marianne Scott, who has held the position since 1984.
He was Associate National Librarian (1956-1968) and then National Librarian (1968-1983) at the National Library of Canada.
Dr. Lamb was appointed as Canada's first national librarian in 1953 ... Dr. Lamb retired as national librarian in 1968 and as Dominion archivist in January 1969.
After lengthy consultations with government departments, a Bill was tabled in the House of Commons and was enacted into law on March 25, 1987. The institution which had been known as the Public Archives of Canada since 1872 was renamed the National Archives of Canada, and the Federal Archivist became the National Archivist.
The position of national archivist was vacant for more than two years, from the retirement of Dr. Jean-Pierre Wallot on June 6, 1997, to the announcement of my appointment on July 5, 1999.
The first is known as a pioneer of archival administration in Canada whose work as Dominion Archivist from 1948 to 1968 made the Public Archives of Canada a truly modern institution ... Most of their personal papers kept at the NA relate to the period in which they led the institution from 1948 to 1984.
He joined the Public Archives of Canada in Ottawa in 1950. From 1963 to 1968, Smith held various managerial positions within the Archives: chief of the Manuscript Division (1963-1964), director of the Historical Branch (1964-1965), Assistant Dominion Archivist (1965-1968) and Acting Dominion Archivist (1968-1970). In 1970, he was appointed Dominion Archivist, a position he held until his retirement in 1984.
In 1937 he was appointed deputy minister and Dominion Archivist, a position he would hold until his retirement in 1948.
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