According to Cecilia Muir of Library & Archives Canada (LAC) :

“On November 18, 2013, LAC will implement a “lender of last resort” service…our own approach to loans will focus on items that are unique to LAC’s holdings that are not available through other institutions, through digital channels, or through paid service options.”

Southern Ontario Library Service explains what this means for public libraries in terms of acquiring materials from LAC for their patrons:

“They did state in their original announcement that if they adopted this policy, they would only be lending if they were absolutely the only location that held a given item, so if there were locations that held the item required, even lenders that charged for ILL, (newspapers on microfilm included), they will not lend it, so even if this ever happens, actually getting anything on ILL from them will still be pretty unlikely.”


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


Here comes the end of requesting interlibrary loans directly from Library and Archives Canada.  At least, that seems to be what they are saying:

End of ILL Services :

“Interlibrary Loan (ILL) services at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) will end in December 2012. Users of LAC’s current services should note the following dates:

  • November 13, 2012: End of loan requests from international libraries.
  • November 16, 2012: End of renewals. All items loaned after this date will be non-renewable.
  • December 11, 2012: End of loan requests, location searches, and ILL-related photocopying services.

LAC’s ILL listserv (CANRES-L) and Canadian Library Gateway also will be archived in December 2012.

LAC will continue to facilitate interlibrary loan activities among other institutions through the ILL form in AMICUS, and through ongoing administration of Canadian Library Symbols.

Through our modernized service channels, LAC will emphasize increased digital access to high-demand content. LAC is working with Canada’s ILL user community in order to inform this approach to accessing the institution’s unique holdings.”


Could it be that AMICUS, (the Canadian National Catalogue), will be our salvation?  Is the fussing all for nothing?

Amicus allows us to search over 30 million records from 1,300 Canadian libraries including LAC – but we still have lots of questions about how it will all work, and whether we will be able to access the same materials as before, like periodicals, or whether charges might apply.  We just don’t know yet. Hopefully our Southern Ontario Library System will have some definitive answers for us, and for you, soon.  Stay tuned!

Below are two independent reviews, December 4, 2012, about the new LAC budget, and the changes coming for public access:

Article by Tom Schwarzkopf, from the Ottawa Citizen:

Article from John Reid, Anglo-Celtic Connections: