In my email on Wednesday came information from two researchers.
One reported ordering a volume of open records from a Prime Minister’s papers from Library and Archives Canada and being told they would not be available for 7 months.
The other ordered three volumes for First World War research. The next day came information that all three volumes are not available until the third week of October 2022 because records are being moved from one preservation centre to another.
Why such a long dark period? I’m told the last time a major move was made records were not available for 2 weeks.
Did LAC consider those, like graduate students needing to complete a thesis and without the luxury of waiting around for 7 months at the convenience of LAC? Why would LAC not even give notice prominently on the website of the prolonged unavailability of material?
If you are faced with this denial of timely access to legitimate requests for public records I suggest filing a formal Access to Information application with LAC. It will cost you $5. By law, you should receive the information requested in 30 days. Extensions are permitted for cause, but one can appeal to the Information Commissioner who would likely hold that such an extended delay is unreasonable given that it’s due to the way LAC chooses to manage the move.
The last and now Emeritus Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume was quoted as saying that “preservation without access is simply hoarding.”
To reflect reality, will the organization change its name to Hoarding Canada?