May 2013


Amid all the controversy surrounding the budget reductions and staff cuts at Library and Archives Canada, is the reality for public library users.

If you are trying to research your Canadian heritage by using your public library to access the holdings of LAC, sadly, you are out of luck. 

In December 2012, LAC completely stopped interlibrary loans. You are no longer able to interlibrary loan anything from the collection at LAC, as funds have been re-directed to digitization of the collection.   Whether you are looking for newspapers on microfilm  in an effort to find great uncle Fred’s obituary, or that one book on your family history that can only be located at LAC, the only way you are going to see it is to actually go to LAC.  It is beyond comprehension that they think traveling to Ottawa is an acceptable option for 90% of Canadians, while their digitized content is practically nonexistent!

If you are lucky, the item that you want to borrow may be found at a University that will let you interlibrary loan it……..for a price.  So, you wouldn’t want to be guessing too often that it might be the book you’re looking for.  That could get expensive in very short order, as the average price per item is around $10.00.

The following excerpt from the May 3rd edition of the Ottawa Citizen (Record Breaking) exemplifies the frustration being felt by library staff and patrons over the withdrawal of LAC interlibrary loan service:

“In February, Bibliographical Society of Canada president Jane Friskney sent a four-page letter to Caron in which she poured out her frustration over his decision to cut the inter-library loan program while LAC’s online presence remained such a “dog’s breakfast.”

“Most businesses would not dream of terminating an existing platform for service delivery without first ensuring that a new one — one which offers equal and preferably better service — was immediately available,” she wrote. “And yet that is precisely what has happened.”

Read more:

Jane Friskey’s comment says it all! 

Public libraries are all about access to information and service to the public.  LAC’s present course of action is unreasonable as it denies the majority of  Canadians access to their heritage.  There is only one thing to do.  Interlibrary loans need to be reinstated so that all Canadians have reasonable access to ‘our’ heritage.  Of course, digitization needs to proceed, but at a more moderate rate, ensuring future access to the collection.  It’s time to stop putting the cart before the horse!

Please contact the following people if you would like to voice your opinions on the lack of interlibrary loans at Library and Archives Canada :

Contact : The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage

Contact  :  Daniel J. Caron, Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada

Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada
Library and Archives Canada
Office of the Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada

550 de la Cité Blvd
Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0N4

Telephone :  819-934-5800

Fax :  819-934-5888

E-mail :

Contact:  Scott Reid, MP, Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington

Email: //
Carleton Place Office
224 Bridge Street
Carleton Place, ON
K7C 3G9Tel: (613) 257-8130
Fax: (613) 257-4371
Toll-Free: 1-866-277-1577

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