Looking forward: The next Librarian and Archivist of Canada
The resignation of the Librarian and Archivist of Canada has created an opportunity for the federal government to appoint a successor who has a proper vision for Canada`s national library and public archives and provide leadership in undoing the damage of the past several years. This will require a person of exceptional vision and skill and, given the controversies of the recent period, someone from outside the ranks of current Library and Archives Canada (LAC) management.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers believes that LAC’s next head must:
- Be committed to the acquisition and preservation Canada’s full documentary heritage;
- Value LAC librarians and archivists as vital to the institution and the wider archive and library communities in Canada;
- Recognize the importance of both on-site and on-line services;
- Engage, consult, and communicate with its various user-communities;
- Defend the role of LAC and of libraries and archives more generally;
- Be willing and able to reverse the destructive changes that have taken place over the last 4 years. This involves:
- Advocating for an amendment of the LAC Act to more clearly specify LAC’s obligation to maintain a comprehensive collection of Canada’s documentary heritage
- Advocating for the resources LAC requires to support its full mandate
- Restoring LAC’s comprehensive acquisition of published material and archival records
- Restoring public services, including access to archivists and librarians; access to the general reference collection; and re-establishment of specialist archivist positions
- Re-committing LAC to its central role as the steward of Canada’s documentary heritage
- Restoring the National Archival Development Program (NADP) to support local archives
- Restoring LAC’s Inter-Library Loans program
- Scrapping LAC’s Code of Conduct
- Restoring the staff positions lost through recent budget cuts.
Under new direction, LAC has the opportunity to recommit to providing all Canadians on-site and on-line access to a comprehensive collection of this country’s documentary heritage. CAUT hopes that the next Librarian and Archivist of Canada will be able to face the enormous challenges ahead with knowledge, vision, courage, integrity, and respect for the importance of Canada’s cultural and historical heritage.