To all CLA members:
The Canadian Library Association is aware of the concerns being expressed by the Canadian Association of University Teachers about Library and Archives Canada. CAUT has raised 5 main issues facing LAC: modernization, mandate, acquisitions, services and decentralization. CLA is also aware of the Treasury Board's strategic and operating review which is looking for budget reductions of 5-10% in the direct program spending of federal government departments, including LAC.
CLA has responded directly to communications we received from CAUT regarding their concerns. Our letter is reproduced below.
CLA is participating in LAC's Pan Canadian Documentary Heritage Forum meetings and is committed to working with LAC to ensure that our national institution is meeting the needs of the Canadian library community. We recognize the need for Library and Archives Canada to fill a very broad mandate in an environment of decreasing resources.
If CLA members have specific questions or concerns about the CAUT campaign or the issues raised, you are invited to bring them to the attention of Executive Council through me or Executive Director Kelly Moore.
Wayne Peters, President
Canadian Association of University Teachers
2705 Queensview Drive
Ottawa, ON K2B 8K2
4 November 2011
Dear Dr Peters
Thank you for your letters of 27 June and 12 May 2011 to former CLA President Keith Walker, expressing concern with recent developments at Library and Archives Canada. We have also read the LAC response to your initial letter to them, as well as your subsequent open letter to Dr Caron from 27 June.
While the Canadian Library Association shares some of the concerns outlined in your correspondence, particularly in the areas of acquisitions and the provision of services by qualified professional staff, we also understand that Library and Archives Canada must adapt to the digital age and address competing demands from its mandate as well as from the political realities of the day. With all federal departments facing increased scrutiny and requirements to produce significant budget reductions, LAC has to take difficult decisions with regard to its collection and services.
The Canadian Library Association, in collaboration with library associations across the country, will continue to work with the Management Board at Library and Archives Canada to highlight the needs of the library community, and define the roles which our community expects its national institution to fill.
CLA played a key role in the establishment of the former National Library of Canada in 1953, and our professional community continues to have a vested interest in the activities and direction of LAC today. We have a long-standing position to advocate to government for the position of Librarian and Archivist of Canada to be filled by an individual who holds library or archival professional qualifications.
Library and Archives Canada has made a concerted effort over the past couple of years to engage with a variety of stakeholders to assist its Management Board to make strategic decisions regarding the direction of the institution. CLA and libraries across Canada will continue to work with LAC to develop options that best serve our rich national collection of library and archival materials, with specific consideration for access and preservation. This is not to say that we will always be happy with the results; but we expect that continued active engagement will be the most effective means to achieve the best possible models for the development and maintenance of, and access to, the whole of Canada's documentary heritage.
On behalf of the CLA Executive Council, I would be pleased to discuss these issues with you further at your convenience. Please contact me, or CLA Executive Director Kelly Moore, through the CLA Office.