Farewell from the Council of Federal Libraries Planning & Priorities Committee

To: Federal Libraries
From: Council of Federal Libraries, Planning & Priorities Committee
Date: Monday, October 29, 2007
Re: A Message to our Colleagues

At the Annual General Meeting of the Council of Federal Libraries (CFL) in June, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) announced that there will be significant changes in the way it liaises with the broader federal library community. It was clear that this would impact the role and mandate of the Council of Federal Libraries, and a membership vote tasked the Planning and Priorities Committee to prepare a report on the governance issues resulting from the new structures.

However, the Committee subsequently met with staff of the Library and Archives Canada and heard their plans for an entirely new approach to coordination of federal libraries. This means that the Council of Federal Libraries will be disbanded as of September 2007, and will be replaced by a new body. You will receive an announcement from the Librarian and Archivist of Canada shortly which will provide more detail on the role and structure of the new organization.

So, instead of being a report on governance, this communication is more in the nature of a farewell.

History of the CFL
For 30 years, CFL has been successful in achieving two goals. It provided a way for the National Library to fulfill its legislative mandate to coordinate federal libraries while simultaneously providing a focus for libraries within the federal government to address and solve problems collaboratively.

Since its institution in 1976, the Council has undertaken a long list of activities and projects, including organizing annual seminars, annual awards, negotiating cross-government purchase discounts, setting up an inter-library delivery system in the National Capital Region, representing the views of the library community to central agencies, and keeping its membership informed of emerging issues and problems.

A New Beginning
More recently, however, CFL has had difficulty in moving the federal library agenda forward. The interest and support that had always been forthcoming from the National Library was less evident in the new Library and Archives Canada, as its managers focused on their own internal re-organization, and as new policy areas and issues came to the fore.

The nature of the problems facing libraries has also changed. Many of the issues we face today – procurement of databases and serials, succession planning, responding to the Federal IM Framework and library service models – can not be solved within our own community. Increasingly, we need to partner with other key departments such as Public Works and Treasury Board to move our agenda forward.

It is time for a fresh approach

As individuals and as members of the Planning and Priorities Committee, we feel privileged to have had the opportunity to be part of the Council, and to work with and for the members of our community. We, like you, are looking forward to hearing more about the new organization being planned by LAC, and to participating in its activities.

The Library community already benefits from a strong network of national and international professional organizations, coordinating bodies, and communities of interest. This initiative from Library and Archives will provide a new and influential forum for coordination and cooperation within the federal government.

As our last official act, we are encouraging the library community to support the new organization with energy and enthusiasm, to articulate the issues that need to be raised, and to be ready to contribute time and effort to its projects and committees.

We have been informed that Library and Archives plans to host an information session on the new organization this Autumn. See you all there !

Council of Federal Libraries, Planning & Priorities Committee
Heather Moore, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (Chair)
Julia Finn, Indian and Northern Affairs
Susan Hodges, Export Development Canada
Ingrit Monasterios, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Greg Renaud, Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat
Jean Weerasinghe, Courts Administration Service
Cabot Yu, Citizenship and Immigration Canada

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