Cuts to Statistics Canada are Harming Canadians

The CLA recently released a statement in response cuts at Statistics Canada. The below text is an abstract – please click here for the full statement.

“… Recent programme cuts and policy changes at Statistics Canada have made it more difficult than ever for Canadians to track changes to critical issues that affect their communities, such as unemployment rates or the education of our children. The replacement of the mandatory long-form census with the National Household Survey, at a significantly greater cost, and the cancellation of many social surveys has made it increasingly challenging, if not impossible, for municipalities, hospitals, schools, and government agencies to administer social programmes and to track their success. In some cases, municipalities are financing their own surveys to gather the critical data they once had access to through StatCan (see full article for reference). StatCan cuts and changes are continuing to impede effective planning for all agencies, making future programming a costly gamble. Additionally, with all levels of government focused on social and economic innovation, it is imperative that municipalities have the ability to look back on trends in order to plan for the future with reliable data…”

CLA Statement regarding Federal Government Library Consolidation and Closure

Read the full statement here.

… Canadians across the country have expressed their concern to CLA regarding these Government of Canada library closures. They are worried that these important knowledge centres are being dismantled with very little thought being given to the future generations of Canadians who might benefit from the wealth of accumulated information built up over generations.

CLA recognizes that every sector of the library community is facing financial pressure; however, in addressing fiscal challenges, the core mandate of libraries must not be sacrificed. The current approach to federal library closures risk doing just that.

CLA remains gravely concerned about the lack of transparency and potential loss of valuable materials. It is vital that the government involve library professionals in any process relating to collection management. Librarians have specialized training in evaluating and consolidating information for preservation. Their expertise can provide important insight into this process, both streamlining approaches and ensuring that the
best information is retained.

CLA is calling on the Government of Canada to provide a more thorough description of the processes taken when reviewing collections. CLA is also calling on the Government of Canada to actively engage with CLA, the archival and research communities, and other stakeholders to work on a more transparent process for the management of the valuable publicly-owned collections held by Departmental libraries and LAC.

Given CLA’s long history of partnership with LAC and our broad representation, it would be pleased to facilitate this discussion.

CBEC Closing

Closing of operations at the Canadian Book Exchange Centre

The Government of Canada has introduced a new expenditure management system as part of an ongoing commitment to sound management of government spending. The new system is focused on managing results and on the ongoing assessment of all direct program spending, or strategic review, to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and value for money.

Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC) strategic review concluded that the Canadian Book Exchange Centre (CBEC) program was not appropriately aligned with the priorities of Canadians and with core federal responsibilities.

LAC has come to the conclusion that it can no longer financially support the operations of CBEC. Consequently, effective immediately, CBEC will no longer accept publications from the private sector or from government and international organizations for redistribution among libraries. CBEC will shut its doors permanently effective June 30, 2008.

LAC recognizes that many libraries appreciated the services provided by CBEC. However, a review of the Centre’s activities showed a very high discard rate since many of the materials received were either in poor condition or did not fit the donation guidelines. It also confirmed that the amount of materials received and distributed has been steadily declining in recent years. Given the context, it was difficult to justify maintaining CBEC’s operation. LAC’s decision also reflects the trend in libraries towards online materials, including e-publications and periodicals that are becoming increasingly available.

To ensure the best possible use of the materials in inventory, libraries will continue to have access to the existing collection until June 30, 2008. Details will be announced shortly.

LAC continues to support and contribute to resource sharing activities both at a national and international level. Furthermore, the savings and realignment opportunities that LAC has identified through the strategic reviews will be reinvested in higher-priority programs related to core federal government business.

LAC will work with the federal library community over the coming months to put mechanisms in place which will facilitate the disposal of their surplus publications. A letter will be sent to the senior officials responsible for information management in federal departments and agencies.

For information, please contact:

Alison Bullock
Acting Director, Resource Sharing and Rights Management Programs and Services Library and Archives Canada