September 30, 2014

Special Libraries: Canada: Human Resources Library Closure Part of Troubling Trend

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From the Ottawa Citizen:

The announcement that the departmental library at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada will be closed in little more than a year is “a generic problem,” says the member of a group protesting recent cuts and changes to the Library and Archives of Canada.

“The federal government is really cutting back on its obligations to provide library and archive services both for its own staff and for the public,” says James Turk, who is also executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. “It’s going to do damage that’s not going to be reparable.”

The HRSDC library, which operates out of Gatineau and Montreal, will be shut down and its contents relocated or sold, a departmental spokesperson said in an email.

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Kelly Moore, the executive director of the Canadian Library Association, said the decision came as a surprise, but it was not entirely unexpected in an environment in which government departments are trying to make difficult cuts. “All government departments are looking for savings wherever they can get them,” she said.

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As well, the decision to close the library may not save money in the long-term, said Carla Graebner, a government information librarian at Simon Fraser University. Without those specialized librarians to help staff research effectively, she said hours spent searching for documents could increase significantly. “I think in the long run it’s going to have an impact on their bottom line,” she said.

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.