Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, spoke at the Ontario Library Association’s “Annual Institute on the Library as Place” on July 11. 2019.
A copy of his speech is now available online.
From the Speech:
As the custodians of our distant past and of our recent history, national libraries and national archives are key resources for all who wish to gain a better understanding of who they are, individually – thanks to genealogy – and collectively – thanks to history.
And in this world of misinformation and so-called fake news, these institutions find themselves endowed with renewed relevance.
Indeed, whereas people look more and more to the media for support of their biases, for “affirmation rather than information,” libraries and archives are still perceived as places where one can find information that is authentic.
The unprecedented traffic we are seeing today at places such as the British Library – with 1.5 million visitors per year – and the Bibliothèque nationale de France – with well over 1 million visitors per year – are but two examples of that phenomenon.
So that is the general context in which we decided to explore – with Ottawa Public Library – the opportunity to create a new kind of knowledge centre that combines the strengths of a large urban public library with those of a national library and archives.
I have told you in my opening remarks of the blurring of the distinction between national libraries and public libraries.
Over the past few years, LAC has plunged head first into this movement by bringing itself physically closer to public libraries.
Direct to Complete Speech (1872 words)