Library and Archives Canada

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Library and Archives Canada
Library and Archives Canada.JPG
Library and Archives Canada building in Ottawa
Type National library and
national archives
Established2004
Reference to legal mandateLibrary and Archives of Canada Act [1] [2]
Location Ottawa, Ontario
Collection
Items collectedAboriginal 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 [3]
Size20 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 [4]
Criteria for collectionCanadiana, 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 [5]
Legal deposit Yes [6]
Other information
Budget CDN$98,346,695 (2013–14) [7] [8]
Director Leslie Weir [9]
Staff860 FTE (2013–14) [8]
Website www.bac-lac.gc.ca

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. [1] 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.

Contents

History and mandate

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. [10] In 2004, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) combined the functions of the National Archives of Canada and the National Library of Canada. [11] [12] [13] 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. [14] Since inception LAC has reported to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage. [15]

LAC's stated mandate is: [1] [9] [16]

LAC is expected to maintain "effective recordkeeping practices that ensure transparency and accountability". [17]

Collection

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. [4] [18] Some of this content, primarily the book collection, university theses and census material, is available online. [19] Many items have not been digitized and are only available in physical form. [20] 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". [21] [22] [23]

The collection includes: [24]

User profile

Genealogists account for 70% of LAC's clients. [32]

Facilities

The Secret Bench of Knowledge sculpture by Lea Vivot,
395 Wellington Street, Ottawa Sculpture Lea Vivot LAC BAC.jpg
The Secret Bench of Knowledge sculpture by Lea Vivot,
395 Wellington Street, Ottawa
Preservation Centre,
625 du Carrefour Boulevard, Gatineau Gatineau Preservation Centre.jpg
Preservation Centre,
625 du Carrefour Boulevard, Gatineau

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. [20] [33] 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. [34] [35] [36] There are also administrative offices in Gatineau and preservation and storage facilities throughout Canada for federal government records. [20] [24] [37] [38]

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. [37] [39] [40] [41] In 2000, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada named it one of the top 500 buildings constructed in Canada during the last millennium. [42]

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. [43] The collection contains 5,575 film reels dating back to 1912, including some of the first Canadian motion pictures and photographic negatives. [24] [44] 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, [45] is an eco-designed building featuring an environmentally friendly roof that provides better insulation and minimizes energy expenditures. [46]

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. [8] [47] The facility will feature a high bay metal shelving system with a suitable environment to better protect Canada's published heritage. [48] [49] [50] 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. [51]

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. [19] [52] [53] 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. [54]

Modernization and budget cuts

In June 2004 LAC issued a discussion paper Creating a New Kind of Knowledge Institution, [55] and after consultation in June 2006 it issued LAC Directions for Change, a document setting out five key directions to define the new institution: [56]

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. [57] 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. [58] [59] [60] 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. [61] 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. [62]

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. [57] [58] [63] Federal funding cuts since 2004 have also impacted on LAC services and acquisitions. [22] [23] [63] [64] [65] A detailed timeline of relevant developments and the decline in LAC services since 2004 has been compiled by the Ex Libris Association. [66]

Impact on employees

Following the announcement in the 2012 federal budget of a CDN$9.6 million funding cut over the three years commencing in 2012–13, [67] 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. [36] [68] [69] [70] 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. [71] [72] [73] [74]

Public criticism

Changes introduced under the management of Ian E. Wilson and Daniel J. Caron have been the subject of controversy and public criticism. [63] [75] 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. [74] [76]

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": [75] [83]

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. [64] [65]

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

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. [84] Ultimately, LAC did provide the records, but many were not in digitized and searchable formats as required by the commission. [85]

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." [86] [87]

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. [88] However, Indigenous-led organizations have drawn attention to the fact that Indigenous communities have been conducting this type of work for decades. [89]

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. [90]

Librarians and Archivists

The Librarian and Archivist of Canada has the same seniority level as a deputy minister of a federal department. [9]

Current Librarian and Archivist of Canada

On May 27, 2019, Leslie Weir was appointed Librarian and Archivist of Canada for a four-year term commencing August 30, 2019. [91] Ms. Weir is the first woman to hold this role.

Former Librarians and Archivists of Canada

Former National Librarians

Former National Archivists and Dominion Archivists

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. [99]

See also

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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.

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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 historian

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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 Canadian librarian

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.

References

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  75. 1 2 Karstens-Smith, Gemma (May 24, 2013). "Librarians give heritage minister wishlist for top job". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved May 31, 2013. '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.
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  94. "Mr. Wilson's Biography". LAC. Retrieved May 30, 2013. 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.
  95. 1 2 "Fellows of ICA: Ian E. Wilson". International Council on Archives. Archived from the original on June 8, 2013. Retrieved May 30, 2013. 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.
  96. 1 2 Gagnaire, Catherine (July 5, 1999). "Appointments to the Positions of National Archivist and of National Librarian" (Press release). Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage. 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.
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  99. 1 2 Chabot, Victorin. "Jean-Pierre Wallot, The Historian Archivist, 1985-1997". LAC. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 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.
  100. Wilson, Ian E. (2005). "'The Gift of One Generation to Another': The Real Thing for the Pepsi Generation". In Blouin, Francis X.; Rosenberg, William G. (eds.). Archives, documentation, and institutions of social memory : essays from the Sawyer Seminar (1st pbk. ed.). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. p. 341. ISBN   9780472114931. 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.
  101. 1 2 Laplante, Normand. "Before Mr. Lamb and Mr. Smith went to Ottawa". LAC. Retrieved May 30, 2013. 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.
  102. "Wilfred I. Smith fonds [multiple media]". LAC. Archived from the original on June 28, 2013. Retrieved May 30, 2013. 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.
  103. Bélanger, Claude. "Quebec History – Gustave Lanctot (1883-1975)". Marianopolis College. Retrieved May 30, 2013. In 1937 he was appointed deputy minister and Dominion Archivist, a position he would hold until his retirement in 1948.
  104. . Archivaria https://archivaria.ca/index.php/archivaria/article/view/10966/11899 . Retrieved October 18, 2020.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  105. "Sir Arthur George Doughty (1860-1936)". LAC. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  106. "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online – Brymner, Douglas". University of Toronto. Retrieved May 30, 2013.

Further reading

Coordinates: 45°25′11″N75°42′28.5″W / 45.41972°N 75.707917°W / 45.41972; -75.707917