Acquisition Strategy for Private Archives


  • Five-year strategy
  • High-level statement of Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC) intentions in 25 subject or thematic acquisition areas that reflect Canadian society
  • Based on analysis by LAC subject matter experts and consultations with LAC advisory committees
  • Aligns with Government of Canada priorities, such as reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and the LGBTQ2 community


  • A statement of intentions. No legal mandate to compel donations from private individuals.
  • Identifies areas of Canadian society that are underrepresented in the current collection, such as recent immigrant communities, to which LAC can reach out proactively.
  • Intended to be neutral and comprehensive.
  • A basis for collaborating with national partners—helps ensure a consistent approach to finding the most appropriate repository for private archives. There are challenges in applying the concept of national significance to private archives. Private archives and their creators can be of local or regional importance, as well as of national significance. Language and culture must also be considered in the interpretation of national significance.
  • In 2016, the National, Provincial and Territorial Archivists Conference (NPTAC) signed a declaration on guiding principles relating to the acquisition of private archives (Statement of Guiding Principles for Identifying ‘Best-Fit’ Repositories for Private-Sector Archival Records). Overall, these principles encourage a collaborative, rather than competitive, approach to private archives acquisitions among memory institutions. Private archives staff commit to have regular discussions with their counterparts in other institutions about specific cases that could fit more than one institution’s mandate.

Key public messages

  • LAC has acquired private archives since 1872
  • Regular analysis and updating of orientation helps ensure LAC’s intentions align with evolutions in Canadian society
  • Orientation document identifies LAC’s areas of interest within a national network of partner institutions


Kathryn Lagrandeur, Director, Social Life and Culture Private Archives
Mireille Miniggio, Director, Science and Governance Private Archives
Tel: 613-325-6402

Date modified: