Chair, British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) Information Policy Committee; BCLA Second Vice President; Librarian, Burnaby Public Library, BC
Master of Archival Studies and MLIS, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 2012; MA, Honors in history, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, 2006
Never bothered to learn to drive and bikes everywhere. Distracts himself from his ever-growing collection of books and musical instruments with cooking and historical swords
Photo by Victoria Ostrzenski
Librarian Myron Groover attracted attention in Canada by speaking truth to power on his blog Bibliocracy. Not long after he received his MLIS, he challenged the Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC) new Code of Conduct governing federal employees.
Groover and other critics say the Values and Ethics Code, adopted in March 2013, stifles intellectual discourse by requiring federal librarians and archivists to seek permission for so-called “high risk behavior” occurring during their personal time, such as teaching and attending conferences. The code also imposes a “duty of loyalty” to the elected government. “The more I worked to raise awareness about the situation at LAC, the more I realized that restrictions on librarians’ freedom to frankly discuss their work are actually quite widespread,” Groover says.
While he was not alone in taking a stand against the cash-strapped LAC’s code and other issues, Groover’s advocacy drew the attention of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) national radio show As It Happens, says Deb Thomas, a former British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) president (2007–08). Groover also was “instrumental in encouraging BCLA’s strong stand on the LAC,” says Thomas, Burnaby’s deputy chief librarian and Groover’s supervisor.
Despite the May 2013 resignation of librarian and archivist of Canada Daniel Caron, which led to some improvements in the code, Groover says more work is needed to protect the rights of Canada’s librarians. “One of the best outcomes, as far as I’m concerned, is that the whole debacle has created some space for a wider debate around freedom of expression within libraries,” Groover says.
Groover’s concerns extend to privacy on library computers as well. “If we don’t let the government snoop into our patrons’ borrowing records,” he asks, “why…would we be comfortable with nonconsensual third-party surveillance of what they are doing on our computers?”