A spooky horde of zombies surrounded the offices of Library and Archives Canada in Gatineau on Wednesday, October 31st around lunch time. Witnesses said that the zombies were hungry for brains, and were in search of the dead and dying.
It was the search for the dead and dying that led the zombies to Library and Archives Canada offices where management has cut 215 positions in recent months – a cut of 20% of total staff. Blood from those cuts still runs fresh through the hallways of LAC, and slowly bleeds the heritage of all Canadians dry.
Members of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada joined the zombies in their search for brains. Historical Researchers at LAC, along with library colleagues, were looking for a workplace where brains are valued!
After years in which use of their professional knowledge and expertise has been constrained by LAC management, our members want to use their brains again. They need them to make important decisions on what documents, media, and artefacts of our common heritage should be preserved for future generations.
In a massacre of the private collections’ functions announced on April 30, 2012, twenty (20) archivists with expertise in Canada’s social, political, and cultural history were eliminated. Severe cuts were made to archivists who preserve Canada’s art, photographic, cartographic, and film and broadcasting history.
Libraries and Archives Canada management plans to further deprofessionalize Historical Researchers and neutralize the expertise that archivists, as well as librarians, have developed in their subject areas. Management plans a re-organization to create generalists where decisions about Canada’s heritage will rest with senior management who do not have the operational or professional expertise. Contrary to management’s assertions, technology will not resolve the many problems facing LAC, unless it is informed by experts who understand archives and libraries.
The common heritage of all Canadians is impoverished by this narrow-minded approach of LAC management and the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages James Moore.
You can help save our heritage and speak out against the cuts to the important work of Libraries and Archives Canada staff at http://www.savelibraryarchives.ca/.