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The CHA and LAC's Modernization
 
March 2011

As you probably know, Library and Archives Canada is currently in the process of a major modernization project (draft) affecting all of its programs. 

Over the last year LAC has posted numerous papers on aspects of this project on its web site. Some of these documents need further elaboration in order to understand the precise nature of the changes which are being undertaken or contemplated.

The CHA is interested in all major aspects of LAC’s modernization program, especially appraisal and acquisition, and services to the public. Many of our concerns were outlined in correspondence between President Mary Lynn Stewart and Librarian and Archivist of Canada Daniel Caron, and other LAC executives, which are posted on the CHA’s web site.

At the request of LAC, the Canadian Historical Association participated in a Stakeholders’ Forum convened in Ottawa on 21 October 2010. The meeting received reports by consultants on archival programs and library programs at LAC, and provided initial feedback. In November 2010 the Council also invited Assistant Deputy Ministers Doug Rimmer and Jean-Stéphen Piché to make a presentation on LAC’s draft plan for appraisal and acquisition of archival records, to which we provided detailed comments in President Stewart’s letter of 29 November 2010. President Stewart followed up by responding to LAC’s list of 12 priority actions in a letter to Dr. Caron, dated 22 December 2010. These documents are posted on the CHA web site.

LAC is still developing the structure of several consultative bodies pertaining to services, appraisal and acquisition. The CHA has indicated it has important concerns in these and other areas. We have offered to participate in the consultative bodies to help ensure that LAC’s initiatives are designed to foster the optimal retention of historical records of value to the history of Canada, and that accessibility for researchers to our documentary heritage is retained and enhanced for all user categories.

We invite all CHA members and others with an interest in LAC’s programs to read our position statements and letters to LAC on our web site and give us feedback. We invite your views on any of the enumerated issues, which will help us better evaluate LAC’s initiatives and respond as effectively as possible on behalf of our members to ensure the optimal delivery of LAC’s programs to the historical and other research communities. Any and all comments are welcome, so please send your letters or e-mails to our Executive Director Michel Duquet, who will ensure they are forwarded to the CHA Executive and its LAC committee for consideration.

As well, we have received indications that LAC will be approaching the CHA with a more concrete proposal for our possible involvement in the next few weeks, and we will keep you regularly informed as this process unfolds.

Lyle Dick
CHA Vice President
LAC Portfolio Chair for the CHA

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