CAUT is applauding the Royal Society of Canada’s decision to establish an expert panel to examine the status and future of Canada’s libraries and archives. The panel will be chaired by Patricia Demers, distinguished professor at the University of Alberta and a past president of the society.
“This investigation is coming at a crucial moment in the history of the institutions responsible for acquiring, preserving and making accessible Canada’s cultural heritage,” said James Turk, executive director of CAUT. “The federal government is in the midst of dismantling key parts of Library and Archives Canada, and undermining regional and local libraries and archives across the country.”
Turk said the initiative will be an opportunity for the information to be examined by leading experts. “We hope their report will offer critical solutions to mitigate the damage being done to Canada’s heritage institutions,” he said.
Owing to the wide geographical scope of the project, invitations have been sent to national and international authorities with expertise in archival practices and public, university and science librarianship.
“The aim is to be broad-based and consultative,” Demers said of the panel’s work, adding that she and her colleagues responsible for developing the initiative are “especially excited about plans to hold public meetings in selected centres across Canada.”
The panel’s final report on libraries and archives is due in the fall of 2014.
For more than a century Royal Society of Canada expert panels have been appointed to provide “independent, comprehensive, and evidence-based input” into Canadian public policy.
Information about what is happening to Canada’s libraries, archives and historical sites is available at CanadasPastMatters.ca