The legality of closing libraries

Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands and Leader of the Green Party, investigates the legality of the recent culling of federal government libraries and collections:

The Act covering publications and records held by the Government of Canada is the Library and Archives of Canada Act. In reviewing it, it seems clear the act was not followed. The Library and Archives of Canada Act exists to protect and preserve our ‘documentary heritage’. The Act’spreamble makes it clear that Parliament recognizes the importance of protecting knowledge as a critical part of any democratic society.

The Act established a set of protections for all government records held by any and all departments. The mandate to protect and maintain the documentary heritage of Canada is held by the Librarian and Archivist for Canada. The current Librarian and Archist is Hervé Déry—appointed in May 2013 on an interim basis.

According to the Act,

12. (1) No government or ministerial record, whether or not it is surplus property of a government institution, shall be disposed of, including by being destroyed, without the written consent of the Librarian and Archivist …..

Under s. 16, all publications (even if surplus) must be moved to the care and control of the Librarian and Archivist.

I decided to phone the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, who has a very clear responsibility to protect the ‘documentary heritage’ of Canadians. It took over a week to get the current interim Librarian and Archivist on the phone. And when I did, it turned out two officials from Heritage Canada were in the room as ‘observers.’ Mr Déry confirmed that he has not provided any written authorizations for the destruction of documents. He claimed it is none of his business if records, books and research are destroyed as it is in the ‘discretion of the ministers.’


LAC head job posting released

Top librarian job up for grabs; head of Library and Archives Canada could bag a $226,500 salary |

Later that month, the Canadian Council of Archives sent then-heritage minister James Moore a comprehensive list of qualities that Canada’s next librarian and archivist should have. The three-page document stressed that the successful applicant should have expertise in libraries, archives and documentary heritage — something Caron lacked.

The job posting from the Library and Archives Canada says such expertise is an “asset,” but is not required.

Status and Future of LAC investigated

From Library Boy

448px-RSC_Crest“The Royal Society of Canada has established an eleven-member expert panel to investigate the status and future of Canada’s libraries and archives.”

The Status and Future of Canada’s Libraries and Archives

Since the 1950s debate has raged about the impact of new technologies on print culture in the broadest sense and on the publishing industry, libraries, and archives in particular. Succinctly put, “The Death of the Book” has been both proclaimed and denied. Meanwhile, notions of what constitutes a library or an archive have been challenged and transformed by new communications competencies and needs. In response to these realities, the Royal Society of Canada is establishing an Expert Panel on “The Status and Future of Canada’s Libraries and Archives”.

Hervé Déry Named Interim Librarian and Archivist of Canada… still

Some old and yet current information about the interim Librarian and Archivist of Canada

All below from…

Hervé Déry Named Interim Librarian and Archivist of Canada.

From Canadian Heritage:

The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, today announced that Hervé Déry will be the interim Librarian and Archivist of Canada until an appointment is made.

“I am pleased that Mr. Déry has agreed to act as Librarian and Archivist,” said Minister Moore. “His senior executive service at Library and Archives Canada along with his leadership and extensive experience in the public sector will serve the organization very well in the interim.”

Since March 2012, Mr. Déry has been the Assistant Deputy Minister and Corporate Secretary, Policy and Collaboration Sector, at Library and Archives Canada.  Mr. Déry has also held several other senior positions within the federal government since 1982.  He holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Montreal.

See Also: Librarians give heritage minister wishlist for top job (via Ottawa Citizen)

In a statement sent to Minister of Canadian Heritage James Moore on Friday, 19 organizations listed the visions, values and competencies they believe the next Librarian and Archivist of Canada will need to save the institution.

“The community has great concerns about the direction of Library and Archives Canada, and has had for a few years now. So we want to be sure that the input of the community is available to the minister and to the privy council in the naming of the new person,” said Nancy Marrelli of the Canadian Council of Archives.

Leak suggests 10-year plan to digitize documents


Library and Archives paywall delayed until fall

An internal document from Library and Archives Canada suggests the department is considering a paywall to help pay for digitizing its content, but that plan has been delayed until at least the fall.

Part of a plan posted on an archivist’s Tumblr blog involves a 10-year agreement with non-profit group

“The agreement … provides for 10 years of exclusive rights for Canadiana to monetize the collections in exchange for making them accessible online,” the document said.

The proposal was supposed to be announced on Friday, according to the document, but Heritage Minister James Moore said during Question Period Tuesday it’s being delayed because of the recent resignation of former Library and Archives head Daniel Caron.

“Now the new president, when he comes in … probably this fall, we’ll look at the digitization aspect. We’ll look at these questions and make sure that Library and Archives is modernized in a way that will benefit all Canadians,” Moore said.


Library and Archives Canada head Daniel Caron resigns

Nitrate Film Preservation Facility Canada

Library head Daniel Caron resigns as $170,000 in expenses found.

OTTAWA — The head of Canada’s National Library and Archives resigned Wednesday, surprising librarians and archivists who say they hope his replacement as the country’s top librarian is a better advocate for the trade.

Daniel Caron landed in hot water with Heritage Minister James Moore this week after it was revealed that he spent nearly $5,000 of taxpayer funds on private Spanish lessons last year.

On Wednesday, the NDP released a document outlining what Heritage critic Pierre Nantel called Caron’s “titanic expenses” over the past two years.

The publicly available figures show Caron expensed $87,000 in each of 2011 and 2012, dwarfing Moore’s own expenses, which averaged $46,000 in each of those years.

Expenses ranged from business meals, vaguely described as “lunch with a consultant” at expensive Ottawa restaurants such as the Rideau Club (31 visits costing more than $2,000), to stays at pricey hotels in Quebec City and Puerto Rico, and travel costs to Toronto, Europe and Australia.

While he was not available to comment on the numbers released Wednesday, Caron had earlier defended his efforts to learn Spanish on the public tab, saying he was trying to reach a basic competence in the language for attending international conferences, including the Forum of National Archivists in Toledo, Spain, and the International Federation of Library Associations in Puerto Rico.

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