The Canadian Federation of Library Association / Fédération canadiennes des associations de bibliothèques (CFLA-FCAB) is pleased to see the investment committed to reconciliation through much needed support to communities and creating spaces for open dialogue. The investment of $1 million over five years ($200k/yr) will support Indigenous communities to participate in traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions discussion at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
The $73.3 million that will be invested in to the joint facility for Libraries and Archives Canada and the Ottawa Public Library demonstrates the government’s recognition of the importance for Canada to have a world-class Library and Archives Canada. This will strengthen Canada’s position on a global scale on the importance of obtaining, making available and preserving Canadian heritage, in a way that other G-7 countries are already doing.
However, we want to ensure that this investment does not overshadow, nor replace, our request to invest $50 million over 5 years in a targeted Library Upgrade Investment Fund, which will allow libraries of all formats in all communities to improve their facilities and services, and be welcoming places where all Canadians can find the resources they need to contribute to our society and to the economy.
We also want to reiterate our support for the National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) for the Government of Canada to invest $30M over the next five years (2018-2022) to support a coordinated national initiative to digitize content and to build the digital infrastructure required to make Canada’s rich documentary heritage available to all Canadians.
Another aspect of the budget to note is the increased investment committed to the Canada’s Research Granting Councils to support the Fundamental Science Review Report published in 2017 as well as the creation of a new pillar “Harnessing Big Data”. The provision of $572.5 million over the next five years to implement a Digital Research Infrastructure Strategy, and the tools that will support this endeavor, including IT infrastructure and networking have the potential for profound impacts on academic institutions and research libraries.
We would also like to recognize the government’s investment in to rural broadband connectivity. CFLA-FCAB has been actively promoting the position of libraries that rural and remote communities could be well-served by extending broadband service to libraries as community hubs that support learning, growth and exploration. While the government took a different approach in its decision to address the issue of rural broadband access with networks of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, libraries will continue to explore ways in which our already established relationship in rural communities can benefit this plan.
While our request to fund the Library Materials Service was not addressed in this Budget, CFLA-FCAB remains committed to ensuring affordable library materials delivery and as we look to engage in discussions on the review of the Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials) we will continue to advocate for proper funding to effectively support this program.
Our nation’s libraries fuel the knowledge economy by nurturing curiosity and empowering creativity. The activities they enable lay the foundation for innovation that is a key objective of this government. By ensuring these institutions and the people who make them run have crucial resources at their disposal the government will ensure that Canadians can reach their fullest potential.
The Canadian Federation of Library Associations/Fédération Canadienne des associations de bibliothèques (CFLA-FCAB) is the national voice of Canada’s library associations. Our purpose is to advance library excellence in Canada, champion library values and the value of libraries and influence national and international public policy impacting libraries and their communities.
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