BIBLIOCRACY

Musings of an archivist / librarian.
Possibly deranged; definitely political.
All original content on this site is copyleft: cc by-sa

Q-785: Order Paper on Federal Library Closures

The attached order paper, dated 19 June 2013, is a response to parliamentary inquiry Q-785 regarding the closure and consolidation of federal departmental libraries. Appended are responses from every ministry; the document is searchable.

The question reads:

With regard to government libraries: (a) since January 1, 2012, which departments or agencies have closed, or will be closing, their departmental or agency libraries; (b) what is the rationale for each closure; (c) what evaluations, studies, or assessments were conducted and used to make the decision to close; (d) what are the dates and file numbers of those evaluations, studies, or assessments; (e) what are the plans for the disposition of the holdings of the libraries; (f) what evaluations, studies, or assessments were conducted and used to make decisions concerning the disposition of holdings; and (g) what are the dates and file numbers of those evaluations, studies, or assessments?

Of particular note are the responses regarding plans for identifying and disposing of library materials at the affected departments, especially in light of recent controversy over library closures and cutbacks at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Library and Archives Canada (LAC). In almost all cases, departments pointedly avoided revealing what, if any, rationale they followed in identifying or assessing what materials in their collections would be discarded. This raises real questions about the degree of planning and thought that went into what has been, by all accounts, a haphazard and rushed process.

When asked what assessments the Department of Fisheries and Oceans conducted to make decisions regarding the relevance and disposition of their holdings, for example, the response was a single  nonsensical sentence: “The options for disposition of holdings were determined in alignment with Library and Archives Canada’s authorities granted to the Department.” The response then goes on to tacitly acknowledge that no formal assessment was undertaken (see [g], page 29). Earlier in their response, the DFO also revealed that the decision to close their libraries predated any assessment to determine whether this represented sound policy (see [c], p. 28).

Many thanks to Lorne Bruce of the Ex Libris association for digging this up and passing it on to me.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus