Canadian Federation of Library Associations Update (Spring 2021)
April 10, 2021
The Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) has provided an update on its recent activities.
CFLA-FCAB Spring Update
Thank you for the continued support of CFLA-FCAB during these past tumultuous months. We are pleased to continue the important work of the Association on behalf of our 25 member associations, influencing public policy, advancing library excellence and raising the visibility of libraries in Canada to advance our national intellectual, social and cultural success.
February’s AGM brought 5 new members to the Board, replacing retiring representatives from Quebec, the northern territories, British Columbia and the Atlantic provinces as well as a representative from the Francophone community. We continue the work with association members and members of the Indigenous Matters community to search for a representative to fill the Indigenous Ancestry role on the Board. Todd Kyle is the new Board Chair and Kirk MacLeod is the new Vice Chair. Board Liaison officers have been selected who will act as conduits of communication between the Board and CFLA-FCAB’s four strategic committees.
The Copyright file has seen a lot of action during the winter months. The ongoing efforts to facilitate access to Crown materials is gaining momentum as the Copyright Committee Chair and Executive Director have engaged with numerous MPs from across the country to offer expertise and assistance in advancing necessary changes. Additionally, these meetings have expanded to include advocacy efforts at the provincial level, and meetings with provincial association Executive Directors have been instrumental in creating a groundswell of support for these advocacy efforts across the country.
The federal government has invited submissions in a consultation on how to implement Canada’s CUSMA commitment to extend the general term of copyright protection. The expertise of the working group has been supported by a legal opinion provided pro bono by the law firm Clark Wilson LLP. The joint submission with CARL will inform and influence policy decisions that impact libraries of all types and sizes across the country.
Cataloguing and Metadata Standards Committee
The ongoing work of the Cataloguing and Metadata Standards Committee has resulted in a Final Report of the Canadian BIBFRAME Readiness Task Force, which was shared with the CFLA-FCAB Board in December of 2020.
Behind the Canadian BIBFRAME Readiness Task Force mandate is the idea that the Canadian library community will be more successful in adapting to BIBFRAME and a linked data environment by coming together and moving forward together. The working group has identified the common understandings of the Canadian library community around linked data, as well as the foundations required for each group to make decisions about when, how and if each of the institutions will ultimately make the transition from MARC to the BIBFRAME format.
Intellectual Freedom Committee
The committee of subject matter experts in the field of intellectual freedom has been a boon for consultation and dialogue in a supportive environment for the library community. This committee is responsible for ongoing maintenance and data collection of the Challenges Survey, the singular, national repository for challenges to intellectual freedom in libraries across the country, and a significant resource for researchers on the topic. The knowledge of this committee of volunteers informs CFLA-FCAB’s submission to the Freedom to Read annual initiative. Thanks for this year’s submission entitled “The Shifting Landscape for Intellectual Freedom: Recent Challenges in Canadian Libraries,” go to committee member Deb Thomas.
Indigenous Matters Committee
CFLA-FCAB is grateful for the work and expertise of the many Indigenous Matters committee members. Ensuring that the voices of the First Nations, Metis and Inuit are integral to the work in libraries, archives and cultural memory institutions, committee members work to advance and implement meaningful reconciliation as addressed by the CFLA-FCAB Truth and Reconciliation Committee report. Currently, a Joint Working Group of the Cataloguing and Metadata Standards and Indigenous Matters committees is working to develop a flexible, responsive, community-led Indigenous cataloguing ontology that complements ongoing efforts by Library and Archives Canada.
The expertise of committee chair, Stacy Allison-Cassin was recently called upon to present to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in support of Bill C-5 on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
In addition to the work of the strategic committees, CFLA-FCAB continues to play an important role in advocacy for matters of importance to libraries across the country. Recent statements in support of the work of the Canadian School Library Association, the Canadian Collective Print Strategy and the Internet Archive are examples of how CFLA-FCAB works to advocate on behalf of its members and their work in the national arena.
CFLA-FCAB receives and responds to requests for information and research assistance from library communities around the world. An example from a recent request from Australia: “I’ve long heard about the Canadian Libraries being ahead of the trends in terms of expanding from traditional library services into new forms of service delivery that supports their community.” We are pleased to provide resources, direct inquiries to member associations and maintain a source of international recognition for the work of our colleagues and members. Media requests, such as the recent CBC story on the fine free movement in public libraries, are managed through the lens of national scope and promotion of the work of member associations.
We nurture a close relationship with Libraries and Archives Canada on library matters of national significance and are a first point of contact for information dissemination from the federal government to member associations.
A significant area of member benefit is CFLA-FCAB’s membership and participation with IFLA. In addition to coordinating nominations and participation from libraries and associations across the country, CFLA continues to be considered as the national voice of Canada’s libraries at this international table. Subject matter experts from both the Indigenous Matters committee and the Copyright committee are well respected international contributors to IFLA Sections.
CFLA-FCAB is a leanly resourced organization whose potential is limited only by its current fiscal restraints. Member fees are the sole source of funding for the work of the association. The Board understands the risks involved in this scenario and have investigated avenues to diversify revenue streams. Personnel change and the pandemic have delayed the launch of these efforts which we will endeavour to unroll by Q3 2021.
We encourage feedback from member associations and always welcome the opportunity to engage and express our appreciation