May 24, 2022

Text of Speech by Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada: “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Library and Archives Canada But Were Afraid to Ask”

Here’s the text of a speech by Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, that  was delivered at the 2015 Conference of the Association des archivistes du Quebec on May 29, 2015 and posted online yesterday.

The speech is titled, “Unmasked: everything you always wanted to know about LAC [Library and Archives Canada] but were afraid to ask.”

From the Speech:

Currently there are more than two hundred professionals at LAC who have been trained as archivists or librarians.

While a large number work within their discipline, others have transferred their knowledge and skills into other areas of our organization, for example, communications, IT, programs, services, policy, and, of course, management.

The role of archivists and librarians has evolved and continues to evolve as the gap narrows between the user and the information itself.

This evolution creates interesting opportunities.

Berthiaume’s speech also shared some statistics about LAC collections:

  • 20 million books, the weight of 42 and a half blue whales!
  • 250 kilometres of text records, which, lined up, would take us from Tadoussac to the edge of the earth’s atmosphere!
  • 3 million maps
  • 30 million photographs, one for every person living in Canada… or almost
  • 550,000 hours of audio and video recordings, enough to keep you occupied for the next 63 years
  • an archive of all the stamps issued by Canada Post since its creation
  • a unique collection of medals
  • and the largest collection of Canadian art in the world, with over 425,000 works, including sculptures, illustrations from children’s books, comic books, political posters and iconic portraits.

Direct to Full Text Speech (Approx. 3500 Words)

See Also: Progress on the Government Record Backlog (via LAC Website)

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.