On Monday April 30, the National Archival Development Program (NADP) was axed by Library and Archives Canada. You might not have heard of this program, but it was worth $1.7 million each year to archives all over Canada. For every dollar received from the fund, archives raised another dollar through matched funding, meaning that the total value of the program to Canadians was $2.5 million every year.
This is what the program supported:
· Outreach and educational activities in communities to help small institutions manage their archival materials
· Development of the national on-line catalogue of archival descriptions, and its provincial and territorial counterparts, so all archives, including the very small, can reach Canadians to tell them about their holdings
· Provision of archival and preservation advice to archives of all sizes
· Work experience for new graduates from Canada’s archival and information studies programs
· Cataloguing of archival materials to make them accessible to the public
· Training opportunities for local archives
· Site assessments to both urban and rural archives, to safeguard Canada’s documentary heritage
· Preservation of at-risk documents and other archival materials, including electronic records
Locally, the Prince Edward County Archives has benefited in the past from the work of Ontario’s Archives Advisor, Carolynn Bart-Riedstra; Preservation Consultant, Iona McCraith; and former Archeion Coordinator, Sharon White (now Archivist for the new Community Archives in Belleville).
“We have called upon them at least a half a dozen times for unusual circumstances,” says Barbara Sweet, CEO of the County of Prince Edward Public Library and Archives.
All three of these advisory positions have now been suspended as a result of the NADP cuts, along with similar posts across the other provinces and territories. This will affect small archives particularly, as the advisors were a much-used resource for information and training.
If you’d like to support the reversal of this decision, there are a few things you can do:
- Sign the petition against the cut
- Share the news with your friends and colleagues
- Email your MP (Daryl Kramp if you’re in Prince Edward-Hastings)
- Send a message to the Minister for Canadian Heritage, the Honourable James Moore ["The promotion of our culture...is at the heart of what I do every day"]
- Read more in the Canadian Council of Archives’ Call to Action
Archives are not well-funded institutions and the NADP was one of the few sources of external funding available to support the work of archivists. Without this funding, it is going to be harder for Canadians to get access to the information they need.