Time to take over Library and Archives Canada?
Posted by CLA Govt Library and Info Mgmt Professionals Network on 2012/05/14
In response to the recent news from Library and Archives Canada, Mike Ridley offers a proposal:
My suggestion is not to save LAC but to repatriate it.
Not to try to fix it, but to take it over.
I want Canada to form a distributed, collaborative network of academic libraries and archives to take on the national responsibility of a memory institution. Maybe institutions like LAC are old school anyway. There are other ways to do this work in the 21st century.
Remember, the collections beyond to Canadians, not the government. The services should support citizens, not the bureaucrats. The legacy is not ideological but social and cultural. LAC is ours. Let’s run it.
To do this we need to form a collaborative organization linking libraries, museums, and archives to operate this distributed collection and service. We need to take on the long term responsibility that this government is refusing to do. Yes I know we have no money or space or staff; we need to do it anyway.
Shouldn’t we partner with LAC on this? OK but let’s be careful. Not being harsh here. LAC has a history of not always playing nice with others. The wonderful and visionary Alouette Canada initiative (now part of Canadiana.org; a good model for at least part of this mission BTW) was launched with strong support from LAC; they enthusiastically offered to seek federal funding for this national, collaborative project. Money they did get and it went to LAC digital projects not those of the consortium. Lesson: Don’t get fooled again.