November 19, 2011

CAUT Campaign to Save Library & Archives Canada

Canadian Association of University Teachers launches campaign to Save Library and Archives Canada

(OTTAWA: November 2, 2011) - The Canadian Association of University Teachers today unveiled a national campaign to protect Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

The “Save Library and Archives Canada” is being launched by CAUT in response to funding cuts and internal managerial decisions that are threatening the quality and integrity of Canada’s only national public library and archives.

“Badly conceived restructuring, a narrowing of its mandate, and financial cutbacks are undermining LAC’s ability to acquire, preserve and make publicly available Canada’s full documentary heritage,” James L. Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers said at a news conference in Ottawa today.

These changes, Turk added, have already led to a reduction in the number of specialist archivists and librarians, reduced public access and services, and the loss of rare and important materials.
Liam McGahern, president of the Antiquarian Booksellers of Canada, said a growing number of Canadian materials are not being collected by LAC because of reduced funding and a change in its acquisitions policy.

“Canadians recently lost a unique and irreplaceable set of journals chronicling late 19th Century stories of settlers and First Nations people of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Labrador Coast. This is just one of many examples,” McGahern explained. “Rare military documents, sheet music, and literature that would otherwise have gone to Library and Archives Canada are quietly all slipping away.”

CAUT is calling on the federal government to amend the LAC Act to ensure its mandate includes developing a comprehensive, not selective, collection of Canadian material.

“Our nation’s artistic, historical, and cultural heritage is at stake,” said Turk. “Genealogists, historians, researchers, graduate students, Aboriginal communities, and the general public are all affected by what is happening at LAC.”

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is the national voice of 66,000 academic and general staff at 120 universities and colleges across the country.

More information on the campaign can be found at www.savelibraryarchives.ca

Contact: Angela Regnier, Communications Officer, 613-726-5186 (O); 613-601-6304 (cell); regnier@caut.ca (email)

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