Musings of an archivist / librarian.
Possibly deranged; definitely political.
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Mike Ridley's "Way Forward" for LAC & the Professional Community.

I’m down, if it can be so. I somehow doubt I’ll be invited, that’s aight. A couple important points, though:

First, we need to be very clear that the onus for acting in good faith does not rest with Canada’s librarians and heritage professionals in this. We have been ready and willing to sit down at the table from the beginning. LAC management, on the other hand, has already rejected two very respectful proposals from the CCA to meet and discuss working together productively. Canada’s heritage professionals feel - rightly - that LAC has shown us serious ill will. In light of this, what can LAC do to show us that it is now ready and willing for such a discussion to take place?

Second, if the library and archives community must accept that “the political policies under which LAC operates have changed” it doesn’t follow that we have to think those changes are acceptable or that we should stop trying to inform the public about why they run counter to the civic good. We have to be careful to avoid seeming to endorse this new direction for LAC and for Canadian society. Otherwise we can just throw all that stuff in my InfoManifesto about being “prominent advocates” right on out the window. We need to get better at confronting our own internal hypocrisies on a lot of fronts, really.

Furthermore, Mike also correctly points out that something very like a PCDHF already exists in Canada. Information professionals totally invented this idea and have been implementing it without a lot of fanfare for some time. Let’s acknowledge this and stop investing in the insipid rhetoric that this represents some kind of revolutionary LAC brainchild for the future of Canada’s heritage. LAC is not the author of this idea, nor should LAC management receive any kind of special consideration for initiating or participating in it. If it’s really the right thing to do, perhaps LAC could leave it at that rather than pointing petulantly to the PCDHF as a shining example of its willingness to engage with the community. Please.

Finally, Mike’s oblique reference to closed-door deals is on point. That’s gotta stop. If we’re going to have a forum, let’s have a forum. A formal apology and call for a fresh start from LAC over the PCDHF so far would be a place to start, but the CLA have more or less made sure that won’t happen by undercutting the entire professional community to reach a (whoops!) closed-door deal with LAC.

Let’s look to the CCA and ACA for leadership on this - I very much look forward to reading the ACA resolution passed yesterday. Stay tuned.

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