Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is one voice among many in the Canadian documentary heritage community. Many issues of interest to LAC and to stakeholders—such as reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, digitization and the digital environment, demonstrating the value of documentary heritage institutions, sustainability of memory institutions, and key policy issues like intellectual freedom and copyright—are wide-ranging, long-term, and complex. Effective, meaningful engagement between LAC and stakeholders is therefore essential in order to find better solutions, build the foundation for solving problems in future, and strengthen the community as a whole.
In 2014 and 2015, two studies on the state of Canada's libraries and archives were releasedFootnote1 that urged LAC to re-engage with Canadian documentary heritage institutions and networks, as well as to re-establish linkages with the global community of libraries and archives.
Since then, LAC has worked hard to renew and strengthen its working relationships with stakeholders by establishing forums, advisory committees, and working groups that ensure an open, collaborative and fully engaged dialogue in identifying common problems, finding shared solutions, and contributing to joint initiatives.
In January 2017, LAC held a discussion with stakeholders to explore how it could formalize its engagement efforts. Feedback from that discussion has been incorporated into this document.
This document includes engagement activities undertaken by LAC with stakeholders in the Canadian documentary heritage community. Activities that fall outside the scope of this document include those undertaken with Government of Canada entities, official consultations with the public, engagement and collaboration with Indigenous peoples, or formal collaborative activities involving partnerships, contracts, memoranda of understanding, etc.
Foundations of stakeholder engagement
LAC's commitment to engage with stakeholders is enshrined in the Library and Archives of Canada Act (2004). The Act sets out LAC's mandate to “facilitate in Canada cooperation among the communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge” (preamble (c)).
The Act also lists as one of LAC's objectives to “support the development of the library and archival communities” (section 7(f)) and states that LAC may “provide professional, technical and financial support to those involved in the preservation and promotion of the documentary heritage and in providing access to it” (section 8(i)).
Principles / values
LAC engages with stakeholders in a way that demonstrates the following values:
- Transparency and Openness: LAC conforms to Government of Canada legislation, policy, and other commitments related to openness and transparency, such as the Open Government Action Plan. LAC recognizes that openness and transparency are fundamental for building and maintaining trust.
- Proactive and Timely: LAC actively seeks out opportunities for collaboration with stakeholders and solicits their input at an early stage of strategic, policy and operational direction.
- Respect: LAC recognizes stakeholders have different contexts, challenges, purposes, and experiences. LAC acknowledges the value that those different perspectives provide.
- Everyone has a role to play: LAC is one of many organizations in the community and recognizes that others also have an important role in finding solutions to common issues and challenges. LAC recognizes that broad, complex, and long-term problems can only be solved when multiple voices are heard.
When engaging with stakeholders, LAC may take on a variety of roles as appropriate:
- Leader: As the national library and archives, LAC occupies a unique position in the documentary heritage community due to its national scope, its role on the international stage, and the expertise and resources available within the organization. As such, LAC plays an important leadership role on library and archival practice as well as on strategic, policy and operational issues.
- Participant: LAC acknowledges that other stakeholders from Canada's documentary heritage community may be better placed to lead discussions on certain issues. LAC participates in a number of stakeholder committees and working groups. In this capacity, LAC contributes as an equal member working alongside stakeholders.
- Enabler: Where possible and appropriate, LAC may play the role of facilitator, supporter, broker and/or ally to stakeholders.
In accordance with the Library and Archives of Canada Act as well as LAC's mandate and 2016-2019 three-year plan, LAC has four key activities related to engagement:
- Inform / Share: Through the Stakeholders' Forum, advisory committees, website, social media, and other fora, LAC keeps stakeholders informed of its national and international priorities, direction, and activities of interest. LAC shares knowledge and best practices of interest to stakeholders.
- Consult: Through the Stakeholders' Forum, advisory committees and other venues, LAC seeks early feedback and input from stakeholders on strategic, policy and operational directions.
- Collaborate: LAC works with stakeholders to identify common problems, find shared solutions, and contribute to joint initiatives.
- Facilitate: LAC supports opportunities that facilitate information sharing and cooperation, strengthen and increase capacity in the community, and highlight the value of documentary heritage institutions. LAC acts as a conduit between stakeholders and the Government of Canada. LAC may also leverage its networks to make connections between stakeholders and its contacts within Canada and abroad.
LAC recognizes the value of maintaining solid relationships with stakeholders and the documentary heritage community. LAC is proud of the work it has accomplished so far and is committed to continuing to foster productive engagement with stakeholders.