June 13, 2013
The Honourable James Moore, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Heritage and Official Languages
House of Commons
CC: Mr. Pierre Nantel M.P.
CC: Mr. Scott Simms M.P.
Dear Minister Moore,
The Progressive Librarians Guild — London Chapter wishes to express our concern over the appointment of a new Librarian and Archivist of Canada. In light of Daniel Caron’s recent resignation, we believe that special considerations are warranted in hiring a new director at this time.
Under past directors, Canada’s documentary heritage has been compromised through various means, including removal of inter-library loan services, reduced visitor hours, and a questionable code of conduct. These are the consequences of appointing directors inexperienced in managing information organizations such as Library and Archives Canada (LAC).
By choosing a new director who is experienced in dealing with libraries, archives, and/or documentary heritage, LAC will be a more prosperous and efficient organization. Such a director would be able to recognize the processes and requirements of undertaking library initiatives such as the digitization and modernization of Canada’s heritage documents. A director who is understanding of current and past library and archival issues is another quality necessary of the position. By being immersed and up-to-date with issues in the information science field, the director is able to engage with the library and information science community and be able to consider challenging decisions at LAC in an educated and informed way. Another key quality of any director is to be passionate and vocal on library and archival issues; especially with the value of libraries being questioned. By advocating for issues such as access to information, intellectual freedom, and censorship the director can display LAC as an internationally-renowned organization, and show the value of libraries and archives to a broad audience.
The appointment of a qualified and experienced Librarian and Archivist of Canada is a matter of national importance. As you move forward in the selection process, we hope that you will communicate with the library and archive communities across Canada and take their concerns and suggestions under consideration. The qualities in a director that we have proposed – knowledge, experience, and advocacy – are desirable and necessary qualities that we hope you will consider in your selection of Canada’s next Library and Archives director.
Progressive Librarians Guild, London Ontario Chapter