As Library and Archives Canada continues to make cuts to their programs and even worse, continues to sell off their collections to private collectors (many which are outside Canada), libraries such as ours are getting worried. Seriously worried. What this means to our patrons hasn’t yet hit home, we’re afraid.
Essentially, while Library and Archives begins to make all of their documents digital, the hard copies won’t be available for access until the digital copies go online. That means, if you want to look at an archived newspaper, for example, until everything has been digitized (which could take years), you’ll have to go to Ottawa and view it at the Archives. We won’t be able to order it in to our library for you. This is the same for anyone, country-wide, who wants to view a document. So, if you live in Manitoba and are working on your family history, say, you’ll need to “pop over” to Ottawa to view that document you need to finally figure out where your Great-Aunt Martha settled in Eastern Ontario back in the day. This is a simplistic explanation, but you get the idea.
Now, Lisa Fitzgibbons, Executive Director of the Documentary Organization of Canada, shares her thoughts on the matter. She believes we need a sustainable way to keep funding going to Library and Archives Canada in order to preserve our nation’s historical data and make it available to every Canadian Citizen, whether they live in a major city or a small town. Go, Lisa!