"Tales of pioneer hardship and deprivation have been told many times. Yet still we remember in wonder, that people accomplished so much with so little; that men and women with simple tools, their bare hands, and their own inventiveness cleared the land, drained the swamps, made their own clothing and provided their own food. Through all these difficulties God was with them and they wanted their children educated intellectually and spritually." from Norfolk Street United Church history

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cuts at Library and Archives Canada devastating for preservation of Canada's history

1920 Post Office in Guelph, Ontario photo credit: Library and Archives Canada (LAC)

OTTAWA, May 2, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Recent cuts to staff and programming at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) will have devastating effects on our nation's ability to acquire and preserve its history.

On April 30, LAC presented 450 members of its staff with affected notices, with 215 of those positions to be eliminated.

"The cuts to jobs at Library and Archives Canada are an attack on one of Canada's most important cultural institutions," said James L. Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. "Staff at our national archives and library are the stewards of our collective memory."

"These cuts will further undermine the capacity of Library and Archives Canada to fulfill its legislated mandate to acquire, preserve and make accessible Canada's history."

The announced cuts include:

...the elimination of 21 of the 61 archivists and archival assistants that deal with non-governmental records,

...the reduction of digitization and circulation staff by 50%,

...a significant reduction in the number of staff that deal with preservation and conservation of documents,

...the closure of the interlibrary loans unit.

The National Archival Development Program (NADP), which supports programming at provincial, regional and university archives across Canada, will also be eliminated. Many of these are the small, local archives were to be part of LAC's new distributed Pan-Canadian Documentary Heritage Network.

As a result of the NADP cut, the Canadian Council of Archives office will be closed in Ottawa and many summer work projects already planned across the country will be cancelled.

"Canadians must act now to protect their cultural heritage," said Turk.

Please visit www.savelac.ca for updated information and to view the new video by historian Craig Heron on the importance of Library and Archives Canada.

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