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Notice to Library and Archive Communities: Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel on “The Status and Future of Canada’s Libraries and Archives”

Posted by Govt Library and Info Mgmt Professionals Network on 2013-09-10

As you may be aware, the Royal Society of Canada has established an eleven-member international expert panel to investigate the status and future of Canada’s libraries and archives. The panel’s mandate can be found at:

A key element of the panel’s work is to hear from Canadians generally about the value they place on libraries and archives, the services they receive and expect from these institutions, and the ways digital technology is transforming our knowledge universe. Similarly, we also wish to hear from those professionals charged with delivering library, information, and archival services to Canadians, including what challenges (including delimiters) these professionals currently face in determining and then delivering the services expected by Canadians. However, our interests are broad, and while we suggest framing submissions to the panel within the context of the questions below, we want also to hear from the community on matters that you believe are critical to our understanding and our mandate.

Submission to the panel can be made by way of email attachment to Jessica MacQueen at <> . The framing questions follow this letter.

In addition to receiving submissions from individuals or associations, these consultations have been established:

  • Yellowknife—September 13-14, 2013
  • Vancouver—September 19-21, 2013
  • Ottawa—October 4-5, 2013 (by invitation only)
  • Winnipeg—October 18-19, 2013
  • Montreal—October 24, 2013
  • Calgary (in conjunction with the Netspeed Conference)—October 24-25, 2013
  • Edmonton—October 28 and 29, 2013
  • Halifax—November 8-9, 2013
  • Toronto (in conjunction with The Archive Summit)—January 15-17, 2014
  • Toronto (in conjunction with The Ontario Library Association SuperConference)—January 29-31, 2014

If you wish to speak with panelists at one of these locations, please also contact Jessica MacQueen for venues and scheduling.

Thank you for your attention to this opportunity and for your consideration to participate.

Yours sincerely,

Patricia Demers, FRSC
Chair, Expert Panel on the Status and Future of Canada’s Libraries and Archives

Framing Questions:


  1. How would you describe the services Canadians, including Aboriginal Canadians and new Canadians, are currently receiving from libraries and archives in Canada?
  2. Libraries are currently hybrid operations, constantly pulled toward traditional services by many core users and pulled, equally, by a concern for relevancy from other users and potential users. What issues are libraries facing as they try to make the transition to new service models?
  3. How do libraries and archives measure outcomes of their service and community impacts?
  4. Are libraries the appropriate institutions to catalog, store, and provide access to research data? If not, which institutions should provide these services?

Community Outreach and Awareness

  1. Would Canadians know of, or understand, the contribution you make to library/archival service in Canada?
  2. Describe the services provided directly to users within your context, or whether they are consortial in nature; please describe the mechanisms in place to define, refine and measure the impact of the services.
  3. In the digital era, what support for patrons do/should libraries provide?
  4. What in your opinion are the specific roles of libraries and/or archives and/or museums and other heritage institutions in community building and memory building?

New Directions


  1. 1. What are the main challenges of born-digital material for your institution?
  2. 2. What will be the function and future of a brick-and-mortar library or archive in a paperless future?


  1. What changes, in your judgment, are necessary in the professional education and training of librarians/archivists in the 21st century?
  2. What conversations do you think need to take place with library, archival, and information studies programs about professional competency requirements, and have they begun?


  1. Public libraries are primarily funded by local municipalities, with little funding from any other level  of government. Many towns and rural communities are too small to support needed technology. How do we encourage the creation of library systems (or consortia) that can meet the increasingly sophisticated technology-driven needs of libraries—whether urban or rural?
  2. Assuming academic host institutions have financial resource constraints, and assuming academic libraries are equally constrained, how might these libraries attract funding adequate to meet the expectations of their users?
  3. What percentage increase to your current budget would permit you to realize the aspirations of your users? If you received an increased budget and consistent adequate resources, describe your library/archives in 2017.

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