May 27, 2022

Montreal Gazette Publishes Q&A Interview With Guy Berthiaume, New Librarian and Archivist of Canada

The Montreal Gazette has published an interview with Guy Berthiaume who was recently named the new the Librarian and Archivist of Canada. He will formally take the job on June 23rd.

Berthiaume heads to LAC from Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) where he has been chairman and director for the past five years.

From the Article/Interview:

With 2.5 million visitors each year, the downtown library (BAnQ) has the highest attendance in the francophone world and is among the most popular in North America. A bustling hub that has innovated in digital book-lending and the digitization of Quebec’s provincial archives, the BAnQ, which opened in 2005 and has an annual budget of $90 million, is a runaway success.

Here’s one question and response from the full interview.

Gazette: What aspects of your experience here at the BAnQ do you think will prove the most relevant and useful at Library and Archives Canada?

Berthiaume: It’s all the work we did on the digitization of documents. Because what is radically different between the two institutions is that LAC is a national library and a national archives, but it does not have the mandate to serve as a public library as we do here. So it’s like the BAnQ without the Grande Bibliothèque.

We created a scanning service. We created a digitization budget of $1.5 million per year. We raised digitization to a professional level, because this is really the future of our collections and of our ability to render services with respect to heritage documents.

The other transferable skill is the capacity to work as a network, as a link in a chain. When you want to have access to our documents, whether the physical document is in Rimouski or Chicoutimi or in Trois-Rivières makes no difference to you. You just want to see it on your computer screen.

The same thing is true for Canada’s archival documents. Whether the original is at the University of Toronto or the University of Victoria or in the public archives in Ottawa, that’s not important. What you want is to see it on your screen.

Read the Complete Interview

See Also: Guy Berthiaume Appointed as Librarian and Archivist of Canada (April 14, 2014)

See Also: Guy Berthiaume Bio

Reaction to Berthiaume’s Appointment

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.