List:This applies to many of us who use the resources of the Library and Archives of Canada for research.
As you may know, the LAC funding from the Federal Government has been severely cut, and several of its resources had already been cut over the past two years. There are some serious implications for researchers. One of the great ironies of this move (and, incidentally the moves against Parks Canada) is that the LAC and PC are under the control of the Heritage Ministry - go figure.
1. Visits for research purposes are now by appointment only. The reference staff has been severely weakened. There will be no "walk-ins".2. Private "fonds" and acquisitions (letters, books, etc.) have been severely curtailed. In fact the acquisitions budget was drastically cut two years ago. This would mean that should the papers of well-known authors in the field of 1812 be offered to the LAC for cataloguing and storage, they would probably be rejected. 3. The Government has given priority to government documents - but those which they deem "significant".4. Inter-library loans have been or will be abolished. A service which could obtain materials from the Library of Congress, the British Library, state archives in the US and other valuable sites will no longer available.5. There is a programme of digitalization in the works, but it is still in its infancy, and established priorities will probably determine that early historical documents relevant to "our" period will be low on the list.6. According to recent announcements researchers can e-mail the Library and Archives with questions, but with the cutbacks in on-site researchers this would suggest that those who do e-mail should not hold their breath while waiting for a response.
Several national historians, librarians of provincial libraries and archives have protested, but, it seems, in vain.
Incidentally in the newspapers this morning there was an article about the Government of Manitoba's decision to charge for material gained through the Access to Information Act. One newspaper was told it would cost them 1.8 million dollars. One lawyer's opinion is that this is illegal.
Best regards to allRay H
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