Our mission is crucial

Stephen Marche’s article from The Guardian, Our mission is crucial’: meet the warrior librarians of Ukraine” is an interesting read with lessons for all.

“The battles of the 21st century are hybrid wars fought on any and all fronts: military, economic, political, technological, informational, cultural. Often ignored, or relegated to marginal status, the cultural front is nonetheless foundational. The wars of this century are wars over meaning. As American forces learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, if you lose on the cultural front, military and economic dominance swiftly erode. The terrible battles for Kyiv and Kharkiv, the destruction of Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, Europe’s struggle to heat and feed itself this winter, spiralling inflation, the brutal material horrors of the struggle, might make any cultural reading of the conflict seem fantastical or glib. But at its core, and from its origin, this Ukrainian conflict has been a war over language and identity. And Ukraine’s libraries are the key.”

If you think an attack can’t happen in Canada you’re delusional. Think the Four Courts of 1922 Dublin, or the burnt WW1 service files in the UK lost in the Blitz. Contemplate how much better off we’d be if digitization had been an option back in the day. Are our purpose-build preservation buildings any protection from a targetted attack by modern weapons.

The time to digitize cultural treasures for preservation  is before the attack … well before the attack … now. Secure them in a digital vault … many copies geographically distributed. Once digitized for preservation it’s a short step to online availability.

How well do Canadian institutions, federal, provincial, and local, rate in securing our Canadian heritage?

One Reply to “Our mission is crucial”

  1. Not only that John. Think about how the idiot right-wing protest last February knocked out our downtown core so nobody in their right mind would even try to access LAC. Cheers anyway,


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