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RE: Save Library and Archives Canada

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  • Xenia Stanford
    Thank you Laura for taking an investigative rather than knee-jerk approach. I would like to be on any committee that is struck. I can attend meetings through
    Message 1 of 8 , Nov 4, 2011
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      Thank you Laura for taking an investigative rather than knee-jerk approach. I would like to be on any committee that is struck. I can attend meetings through conference call.

       

      I also do and have done research at LAC in a professional capacity. I have had and continue to have positive responses to information requests – some have gone above and beyond the call of duty. I have had responses to information requests that were not helpful – e.g. the first Stanford over from England was hired by Molson’s as a ship’s architect and overseer of their shipyards. I talked to the archivist at Molson’s to access any records that might be of interest to me. She said the archives have been sent to LAC so talk to them. I did and they said the files are not indexed due to lack of staff but if I wanted to come to their warehouse and look through their many boxes, I was welcome to do so. I declined! That was close to 20 years ago. Now more records have been indexed than ever before and actual images are online which had not been done before. The Molson archives are still among those in the backlog. Library and archives staff always have a backlog. It annoyed my boss so much once that he said I never want to hear the word backlog again and no you are not getting more staff to reduce the backlog.

       

      I never said we would hear from LAC archivists and librarians about the sad state of affairs. I belong to several library and archives associations and what I said was these associations usually sound the alarm if anything is heard or experienced that affects any of our sister organizations in those circles. They are mainly dismissing the claims of CAUT or ignoring them – maybe that is one and the same.

       

      I personally did PR work for/with the head librarian/archivist at LAC. One was a librarian and one was neither librarian or archivist. Both were wonderful to deal with. I agree the librarian (who is still there) was more familiar with processes and needs than the one who was not, but he was eager to learn. So at least one professional librarian is still there. I would have to do some investigation to see if there are still professional archivists on staff.

       

      I have to run now but why are we not crying the alarm to save the Glenbow Library and Archives? They have taken serious hits in terms of the economy. The staff has been reduced to two people – the head and a librarian. You no longer get a person at the end of the telephone call. You leave a message and you are lucky to hear back in a reasonable time. There is no one who knows much about the Metis/First Nations collection. The displays are horrible. I took a visiting genealogy speaker from England to them a few years ago and I was embarrassed at how bad the collections were. They were much better many years ago. I called an archivist to ask about certain items I had donated to see where they were. He said he was the last person left and he had no idea and no time to check.

       

      Just my 50 bucks worth for now.

       

      Xenia

       

      From: owner-dist-gen@... [mailto:owner-dist-gen@...] On Behalf Of Laura A Kirbyson
      Sent: November-04-11 9:35 AM
      To: 'Lois Sparling'; 'Charles W Aubin'
      Cc: dist-gen@...
      Subject: RE: Save Library and Archives Canada

       

      I have taken Lois' email to heart. My initial response was that the CAUT was using this topic in a self-serving way. Perhaps they are, perhaps they are not, but I believe it's important to find out the truth and act accordingly.

       

      The bulk of the work I do on a daily basis uses LAC files and resources. I work with many other researchers in the same situation. Because of connections to LAC, many of us have established relationships with  individuals at LAC. I've contacted some of them to see if the CAUT position is accurate. I expect to hear back about this topic over the weekend.

       

      Initial thoughts are as follows:

      - staff reductions of actual archivists is accurate. The Department with whom I have a close working relationship now hires at least 3 archivists who left in the past 3 years due to what I will characterize as poor working conditions. I've heard these archivists were replaced by admin staff (not confirmed, just a rumour).

      - The new Mikan system is terrible. In my own experience there are files which I know exist and which do not appear as results on the new search screen. As they're old files, I go back to using ArchiviaNet where I can find them.

      - I gather (through a social network) that the changes made in the past few years have been imposed on archivists and they were not consulted about the new system.

      - I’ve seen a few comments about how we would have heard from the people at LAC if all this was going on. I’m going to suggest that if people want to keep their jobs, we probably wouldn’t hear from them on the news. From what I gather through conversations with other researchers, archivists have been quietly complaining  for the past 3 years. Suggestions were made to associates of mine that emails to the general lac address were (are?) ignored and that they should actually be addressed to the head of LAC, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Dr. Daniel J. Caron. His biography can be found at,  http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/lac/index-e.html. His background is in economics and he has been in the federal public service since 1982.

       

      Is this a topic for which we might strike a committee? I don't really have any idea how it works, but I'd be very happy to participate because if it’s true I’m horrified. I would think that we first need to find out the truth. If this is all true, I'd like to think we could affect positive changes through our organization and sister organizations. I've no idea if that's at all realistic, but I am willing to try.

       

      This morning, I looked at the LAC web site. The home page has a link to Modernization Within LAC - Find out more... Clicking on that takes you to LAC's mandate, as well as the framework now being worked on. This link will take you straight to the meat of it, http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/modernization/012004-900-e.html.

       

      The Introduction indicates that consultations are on-going. At the bottom of the screen, a link to further information is provided. The page says, "Comments on these drafts are invited and consultations with key internal and external stakeholders will take place over the coming year as part of Library and Archives Canada's response to the changing environment." The page is not dated so I can't tell if this is already completed or is in progress.

       

      Earlier today or last night, Joan provided a link to Anglo-Celtic connections. I've seen this blog before and John Reid has had references to LAC surveys on his site. As I work with many researchers, a couple of months ago, I disseminated that survey link to others in order to get some kind of voice. It's, www.laclistens.ca. The blog reference is, http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com/2011/08/lac-consultation-milestone.html.  

      I am not at all convinced it's the survey described on the blog because the survey is pretty tame but it’s the one the LAC rep gave me when I called to find out more about it. 

       

      I look forward to on-going discussions!

       

      Thanks,

      Laura

       

       

       

      -----Original Message-----
      From: owner-dist-gen@... [mailto:owner-dist-gen@...] On Behalf Of Lois Sparling
      Sent: November-03-11 10:57 PM
      To: Charles W Aubin
      Cc: dist-gen@...
      Subject: Re: Save Library and Archives Canada

       

      Since we live in the Reform/PC Heartland, perhaps we have a special

      responsibility to find out whether these complaints are fair and, if so,

      tell our MPs that we don't like this.

       

      Lois Sparling

       

      On 03/11/2011 9:15 PM, Charles W Aubin wrote:

      > Here is an additional article by Rick Roberts

      >  

      > Subject: Save Library and Archives Canada

      >  

      >  

      >> Save Library & Archives Canada Movement Gaining Traction

      >> Posted 03 November 2011

      >> By Rick Roberts,   Biography & Archived Articles

      >>  

      >>  

      >> Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in Ottawa has been quietly removing

      >> services, reducing staff and taking a "aggressive" approach with

      >> those attempting to help it retain its budget. This according to

      >> heritage groups, LAC employees, and indivual Canadians who are

      >> becoming increasingly alarmed by what they see happening at our

      >> national library and archives.

      >>  

      >> The 66,000 member Canadian Association of University Teachers is

      >> ramping up its effort to bring this important issue to public

      >> attention citing LAC management being "defensive, aggressive and

      >> unhelpful" to Canadian Association of University Teachers' attempts

      >> to retain funding for Library and Archives Canada.

      >>  

      >> Plans to reduce LAC's budget by at least an additional 12 million

      >> dollars over the next three years guarantees continued cutbacks to

      >> the collection and supporting services. This, on top of the current

      >> government recently killing the long form census, sends a strong

      >> signal that we are in a period of time when Canada's historical

      >> record is in serious jeopardy.

      >>  

      >> The executive director of the Canadian Association of University

      >> Teachers, James Turk is quoted extensively in an article in the

      >> Ottawa Citizen today. It's well worth reading.

      >>  

      >> If you care about Canada's historical records, read up on this issue,

      >> decide how you feel about it, and then call, write and email your MP

      >> and let them know what you think.

      >>  

      >> More on this topic:

      >>  a.. Save Library and Archives Canada Campaign

      >> www.savelibraryarchivescanada.ca

      >>  

      >>  

      >>  b.. CBC article: Historians campaign for Library and Archives Canada

      >>  

      >>  

      >>  

      >>  

      >>  

      >>  

      >  

      >  

      >  

       

    • Mary Arthur
      The difference btw the Government Archives and the Glenbow situation, among other things is where the money comes from - I believe Glenbow lives off private
      Message 2 of 8 , Nov 4, 2011
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        The difference btw the Government Archives and the Glenbow situation, among other things is where the money comes from - I believe Glenbow lives off private grants/donations, and the Government Archives is OUR'S.






        On 2011-11-04, at 11:26, Xenia Stanford wrote:

        why are we not crying the alarm to save the Glenbow Library and Archives? They have taken serious hits in terms of the economy. The staff has been reduced to two people – the head and a librarian. You no longer get a person at the end of the telephone call. You leave a message and you are lucky to hear back in a reasonable time. There is no one who knows much about the Metis/First Nations collection. The displays are horrible. I took a visiting genealogy speaker from England to them a few years ago and I was embarrassed at how bad the collections were. They were much better many years ago. I called an archivist to ask about certain items I had donated to see where they were. He said he was the last person left and he had no idea and no time to check.
         
        Just my 50 bucks worth for now.

      • Xenia Stanford
        Like all things that live off donations or are publicly supported is that there is a limit to money and resources. This is not in the value or loss of the
        Message 3 of 8 , Nov 4, 2011
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          Like all things that live off donations or are publicly supported is that there is a limit to money and resources. This is not in the value or loss of the resources.

           

          As far as I can tell between my current use of LAC and my past use is that there has been an improvement over the years. I can’t tell what impact the last three years have had on it. I can tell what the last year or so the impact at Glenbow has been. So for LAC, where would you take the money from to save it? Which program or programs would you be willing to have reduced or would you prefer to pay more taxes to rectify the situation.

           

          I think one of the donors to the Glenbow is the City of Calgary and again your tax dollar at work but, as we know in our own finances, a dollar will only stretch so far.

           

          I believe the Glenbow is in a more serious situation – it just has not been pumped up to a disaster because it doesn’t suit a political agenda. CAUT is anti-conservative government and want to pin the whole problem on Harper. I am not saying I support Harper and I have never voted conservative, but I am very suspicious of CAUT motives. If they want to prove me wrong, then send out a press release that has more specifics or proof in it. We would not listen to rumours or stories we hear about our ancestry without checking it out. So why are we so ready to believe a Press Release without checking it out? I’m not saying it might not be true but I am very sad that genealogists are spreading the rumours, which might be false, from a single press release, not from any verifiable data. That is why makes me shake my head when the library and archive communities are not broadcasting this press release. That’s my main problem with this situation. Not it may be true or not, but that we send out as proof a single press release and anyone can write a press release to say anything. I wrote press releases for LAC and other government/non-government organizations. Even though I always strove for accuracy, there are times when I had to go with what the organization wanted to be said without the in-depth research I wanted to do before completing it. I didn’t get to say everything I wanted to say and I had to write what the client expected.

           

          Please check it out! This is what Laura is doing and I suggest we do the same before we jump on the bandwagon.

           

          Besides, how is CAUT going to miraculously save the day? Will they put money where their mouth is? What are they proposing? Have you heard one iota of how they plan to save LAC from whatever evil has befallen it? I suggest they are trying to topple the current government rather than propose any other plan to save LAC. Have you read their other literature about the evils of the current government and Harper?

           

          Let’s stop and do what we should be doing best: research!

           

          Xenia

           

          From: owner-dist-gen@... [mailto:owner-dist-gen@...] On Behalf Of Mary Arthur
          Sent: November-04-11 10:32 AM
          To: Xenia Stanford
          Cc: dist-gen AFHS
          Subject: Re: Glenbow Archives

           

          The difference btw the Government Archives and the Glenbow situation, among other things is where the money comes from - I believe Glenbow lives off private grants/donations, and the Government Archives is OUR'S.

           



           

           

           

          On 2011-11-04, at 11:26, Xenia Stanford wrote:



          why are we not crying the alarm to save the Glenbow Library and Archives? They have taken serious hits in terms of the economy. The staff has been reduced to two people – the head and a librarian. You no longer get a person at the end of the telephone call. You leave a message and you are lucky to hear back in a reasonable time. There is no one who knows much about the Metis/First Nations collection. The displays are horrible. I took a visiting genealogy speaker from England to them a few years ago and I was embarrassed at how bad the collections were. They were much better many years ago. I called an archivist to ask about certain items I had donated to see where they were. He said he was the last person left and he had no idea and no time to check.

           

          Just my 50 bucks worth for now.

           

        • Lois Sparling
          We need to do our own investigation and then, probably, compare notes with the Ottawa Branch of the OGS and other professional genealogists who work in LAC
          Message 4 of 8 , Nov 5, 2011
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            We need to do our own investigation and then, probably, compare notes with the Ottawa Branch of the OGS and other professional genealogists who work in LAC before asking for appointments with our local MPs (mine is Harper) to discuss our concerns.  Some people may have forgotten how determined and effective the family history community in Canada can be.

            Lois

            On 04/11/2011 10:34 AM, Laura A Kirbyson wrote:

            I have taken Lois' email to heart. My initial response was that the CAUT was using this topic in a self-serving way. Perhaps they are, perhaps they are not, but I believe it's important to find out the truth and act accordingly.

             



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