Jian Gomeshi weighs in on the LAC Code of Conduct

Jian Gomeshi, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation broadcaster has posted an audio essay in regards to the “controversial new code of conduct at Library and Archives Canada”.

Jian’s opening essay on Library and Archives Canada

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LAC Code of conduct firestorm

Library and Archives Canada
The issue of the Library and Archives Canada Code of Conduct has turned into one of the more media-visible library issues in Canada this year. I won’t weigh in with my own opinion, but instead share the links I have found recently.

Balance of freedom, responsibility

Library and Archives Canada’s Code of Conduct for its employees is wholly consistent with the values of the Public Service of Canada.

Practices at LAC still encourage employees to participate in events in accordance with the institution’s business requirements, plans and needs. LAC’s Code of Conduct does not prevent LAC employees from engaging in external activities.

Federal librarians fear being ‘muzzled’ under new code of conduct that stresses ‘duty of loyalty’ to the government

Federal librarians and archivists who set foot in classrooms, attend conferences or speak up at public meetings on their own time are engaging in “high risk” activities, according to the new code of conduct at Library and Archives Canada.

Given the dangers, the code says the department’s staff must clear such “personal” activities with their managers in advance to ensure there are no conflicts or “other risks to LAC.”

The code, which stresses federal employees’ “duty of loyalty” to the “duly elected government,” also spells out how offenders can be reported.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/03/15/library-and-archives-canada/

Canada’s federal librarians fear being ‘muzzled’

Federal librarians and archivists who set foot in classrooms, attend conferences or speak up at public meetings on their own time are engaging in “high risk” activities, according to the new code of conduct at Library and Archives Canada.

Given the dangers, the code says the department’s staff must clear such “personal” activities with their managers in advance to ensure there are no conflicts or “other risks to LAC.”

http://www.canada.com/news/Federal+librarians+fear+being+muzzled+under+code+conduct/8105500/story.html#ixzz2Ne7xGfkq

Canadian government muzzles librarians and archivists, creates snitch line to report those who speak online or in public without permission

Canada’s Conservative government has issued new regulations to librarians and archvists governing their free speech in public forums and online media. According to the Harper government, public servants owe a “duty of loyalty” to the “duly elected government” and must get permission from their political officers managers before making any public utterance — or even a private utterance in an online forum that may eventually leak to the public, to prevent “conflicts” or “risks” their departments.

The Tories have also rolled out a snitch-line where those loyal to the party line can report on their co-workers for failing to maintain ideological purity.

http://boingboing.net/2013/03/19/canadian-government-muzzles-li.html

Creeping Canadian Totalitarianism

But now on to another odd story making the news here in libraryland: muzzled Canadians!

They’re not really muzzled, so don’t fear for their physical safety. They’re metaphorically muzzled. No, that’s not quite right, either. They fear being metaphorically muzzled. I have that fear, too, although it’s nothing compared to my fear of being metaphorically tied to a railroad track by Snidely Whiplash.

Nevertheless the fear is real, and the metaphorical muzzle is weirdly totalitarian. “Federal librarians and archivists who set foot in classrooms, attend conferences or speak up at public meetings on their own time are engaging in ‘high risk’ activities, according to the new code of conduct at Library and Archives Canada.”

http://lj.libraryjournal.com/blogs/annoyedlibrarian/2013/03/20/creeping-canadian-totalitarianism/

Canadian Urban Libraries Council eContent Task Force

From the “about” page of the “Uncovering eBooks” blog maintained by Christina de Castell:

Library staff across Canada are discussing eBooks, talking to vendors and publishers, and looking for solutions for buying, storing and lending eBooks. Under the umbrella of the Canadian Urban Libraries Council, the eContent Task Force began by developing a vision statement for portable and downloadable eContent in late 2010. Since then, CULC members have been meeting with publishers to share libraries’ vision and communicating current issues to library staff and publishers at conferences and meetings.

http://pwp.vpl.ca/culc/

ReadersFirst works for “open, easy and free access to e-books”

Top Libraries in U.S. and Canada Issue Statement Demanding Better Ebook Services

By on June 5, 2012 7 Comments
From

Over 70 library systems from the United States and Canada — including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Toronto, and Chicago — today issued a joint statement demanding vastly improved ebook services for library users in North America.

The statement, dubbed the ReadersFirst Initiative, outlines four principles the libraries want e-content providers — the middlemen between publishers and libraries — to follow in order to lift content restrictions and also make the borrowing experience less cumbersome.

“Libraries have a responsibility to fight for the public and ensure that users have the same open, easy and free access to ebooks that they have come to rely on with physical books,” the statement reads. “They face two major challenges. The first is that, unlike print books, publishers are not required to sell e-books to libraries – and many do not. This is a complex and evolving issue. The second, addressed here, is that the products currently offered by e-content distributors, the middlemen from whom libraries buy ebooks, create a fragmented, disjointed and cumbersome user experience.”

I believe Ranganathan would agree. The website for ReadersFirst is: http://readersfirst.org/