Some unfortunate news to begin the weekend. Let’s hope new funding for IA Canada will allow the program to cancel the need to let workers go or if the staff decrease does happen proper funding returns ASAP.
If they had a million dollars, they’d buy more time. But a vast online library doesn’t have that kind of cash, so it is drastically reducing its devoted workforce.
Internet Archive Canada, a small non-profit company, fired 35 of its 47 employees on Wednesday due to a massive drop in donations. Most will leave Aug. 12 unless a white knight appears soon.
The company relies chiefly on funding from Canadian universities, which just isn’t as available now. Its monthly operating budget is about $100,000, which will be reduced to $30,000.
The Toronto operation has converted 350,000 books since it started in 2006. Prior to that, it experimented with a robot, which couldn’t adapt to the varying sizes of books.
“You don’t turn pages like you flip burgers,” Juszel said. “There is plenty of care involved.”
Update: Here are a few thing we’ve learned since we posted this item:
1. The Internet Archive Canada is located at and receives funding from the University of Toronto (and other universities) where a change in library leadership is now underway. Carole Moore, the legendary Dean of University Libraries at U. of Toronto, has just retired. She’s being replaced by Larry Alford, who moves to UT from Temple U. During these types of transitions support can sometimes decrease. Once the changeover in leadership is complete (if not sooner) funding will increase and staffing levels can return to what they once were.
2. Internet Archive Canada is an independent organization that’s affiliated with the larger Internet Archive in San Francisco.
3. No other IA scanning centers are impacted.
4. There are no plans to completely shutdown the entire IA Canada program.
5. Internet Archive itself is actually growing with plans to begin work in China and as we posted a few weeks ago just opened a physical archive in Northern California.