Library activists were asked to leave the Canadian Librarian Association (CLA) conference in Ottawa, according to a blog for the University of Ottawa’s unionized librarians. In response to budget cuts at Library and Archives Canada (LAC), the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) launched the Save LAC campaign and designated May 31 as a “Day of Action.” Volunteers passed out ribbons, leaflets, and bookmarks at the conference, where Dr. Daniel J. Caron, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, delivered the opening keynote address. According to CAUT, Kelly Moore, executive director of CLA, told the demonstrators that their actions were “inappropriate”; they were told to stop, that the conference was “not the right venue,” and asked to leave the area.
The CAUT blog claims two of the librarians asked to leave were registered to attend the conference and were readmitted later, something Moore disputes. “None of the demonstrators who were registered delegates for the conference was asked to leave,” she told LJ. “In fact, the first question we asked each of them was where they had a delegate badge. None of the demonstrators, whether they were delegates or not, was prevented from handing out their materials. The non-registered delegates were asked to move to another part of the conference center, outside of the space contracted to CLA. At no time was anyone removed from the building.”
CLA’s statement on the conference said “before his presentation, two conference delegates as well as several non-delegates handed out black ribbons in support of CAUT’s day of action [...] CLA had to ask the non-delegates to leave the conference space, as is common practice for associations holding a trade show.”
CLA has itself made several statements protesting the cuts, including a press release issued on May 2; a letter to The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, on May 7; and a statement on May 29 that said “Executive Council concluded that enhanced engagement with LAC management and with relevant federal Ministers and Members of Parliament is the best way for CLA to influence the impact of the budget reductions.”
The latter also referenced the CAUT action at the CLA conference, as well as a mock funeral held in front of the main public LAC building by “the archival community,” the Association of Canadian Archivists’ withdrawal from the Pan Canadian Documentary Heritage Network, and CAUT’s SaveLAC campaign.
For more on the impact of the cuts, see INFOdocket.com’s 105 Jobs Will Be Cut At Library and Archives Canada and Canada: “Cuts to Archives Threaten Our Ability to Preserve Our Precious Heritage.”