Letter from CLA to the Clerk of the Privy Council Regarding the appointment to the position of Librarian and Archivist of Canada

Mr. Kevin G. Lynch

Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet
Privy Council Office
Langevin Block, 80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A3

April 21, 2009

Dear Mr. Lynch

The Canadian library and archival communities have just learned of the retirement of Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, effective 24 April 2009.

As President of the Canadian Library Association (CLA), and on behalf of the library and information professionals across the country, I wish to express our hopes for the next appointment to the position being vacated by Mr. Wilson.

The membership of the CLA, which represents academic, school, public and special librarians and library trustees from across the country, has taken the position that any appointment to the position of Librarian and Archivist of Canada be a librarian or an archivist with recognized professional qualifications.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is a vital institution for our professional communities, with both national and international obligations to fulfill. While LAC is a department of the Government of Canada, with mandated responsibilities to government, it is also, and must continue to be, a functioning library and a functioning archive.

According to the Library and Archives of Canada Act, the Objects of the Library and Archives of Canada include: “to acquire and preserve the documentary heritage; to make that heritage known to Canadians and to anyone with an interest in Canada and to facilitate access to it; ... [and] to support the development of the library and archival communities.”

It is essential, therefore, that LAC is led by talented and dedicated professionals from the library and archival communities. We are particularly concerned at this time as, in addition to Mr. Wilson's departure, Ingrid Parent, Assistant Deputy Minister, and the only professional librarian on the LAC Management Board, is also leaving the institution. The result is that there is no qualified librarian or archivist in the highest management level of LAC.

This situation is untenable. It would never come about that the Supreme Court of Canada would have no lawyers in the highest positions of authority; it should be no different for our national library and national archive.

We therefore call upon the Government of Canada to ensure that any individual being considered for appointment to the position of Librarian and Archivist of Canada be a qualified member of either the library or archival professional community.

If you wish to consult the national library community on possible candidates for the appointment, CLA would be very happy to provide any assistance you may require. Please contact me or Kelly Moore, CLA Executive Director, if you would like further information.


Ken Roberts
Canadian Library Association

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