Royal Society of Canada and Canada’s Libraries

The Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel on the Status and Future of Canada’s Libraries and Archives sent a notice about consultations on the value Canadians place on libraries and archives.

The panel’s mandate is:

1.To investigate what services Canadians, including Aboriginal Canadians and new Canadians, are currently receiving from libraries and archives.
2.To explore what Canadian society expects of libraries and archives in the 21st century.
3.To identify the necessary changes in resources, structures, and competencies to ensure libraries and archives serve the Canadian public good in the 21st century.
4.To listen to and consult the multiple voices that contribute to community building and memory building.
5.To demonstrate how deeply the knowledge universe has been and will continue to be revolutionized by digital technology.
6.To conceptualize the integration of the physical and the digital in library and archive spaces.

In addition to receiving submissions from individuals or associations, dates and cities for public consultations have have been announced:

Yellowknife—September 13-14, 2013
Vancouver—September 19-21, 2013
Ottawa—October 4-5, 2013 (by invitation only)
Winnipeg—October 18-19, 2013
Montreal—October 24, 2013
Calgary (in conjunction with the Netspeed Conference)—October 24-25, 2013
Edmonton—October 28 and 29, 2013
Halifax—November 8-9, 2013
Toronto (in conjunction with The Archive Summit)—January 15-17, 2014
Toronto (in conjunction with The Ontario Library Association SuperConference)—January 29-31,

Submission to the panel can be made by way of email attachment to Jessica MacQueen (jlmacqueen @ and you can also email her for information about the public consultation nearest to you.

The Panel has put together some framing questions for libraries and library associations, though their interests are broad. You may find the types of questions that the panel is looking at interesting.

1. How would you describe the services Canadians, including Aboriginal Canadians and new
Canadians, are currently receiving from libraries and archives in Canada?
2. Libraries are currently hybrid operations, constantly pulled toward traditional services by
many core users and pulled, equally, by a concern for relevancy from other users and potential
users. What issues are libraries facing as they try to make the transition to new service models?
3. How do libraries and archives measure outcomes of their service and community impacts?
4. Are libraries the appropriate institutions to catalog, store, and provide access to research
data? If not, which institutions should provide these services?

1. Would Canadians know of, or understand, the contribution you make to library/archival
service in Canada?
2. Describe the services provided directly to users within your context, or whether they are
consortial in nature; please describe the mechanisms in place to define, refine and measure the
impact of the services.
3. In the digital era, what support for patrons do/should libraries provide?
4. What in your opinion are the specific roles of libraries and/or archives and/or museums and
other heritage institutions in community building and memory building?

1. What are the main challenges of born-digital material for your institution?
2. What will be the function and future of a brick-and-mortar library or archive in a paperless

1. What changes, in your judgment, are necessary in the professional education and training of
librarians/archivists in the 21st century?
2. What conversations do you think need to take place with library, archival, and information studies
programs about professional competency requirements, and have they begun?

1. Public libraries are primarily funded by local municipalities, with little funding from any other level
of government. Many towns and rural communities are too small to support needed technology. How
do we encourage the creation of library systems (or consortia) that can meet the increasingly
sophisticated technology-driven needs of libraries—whether urban or rural?
2. Assuming academic host institutions have financial resource constraints, and assuming academic
libraries are equally constrained, how might these libraries attract funding adequate to meet the
expectations of their users?
3. What percentage increase to your current budget would permit you to realize the aspirations of
your users? If you received an increased budget and consistent adequate resources, describe your
library/archives in 2017.

Law being an information profession, Slawyers may be interested in sharing information with the panel.

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