Friends of Library and Archives Canada (FLAC) was formed as a not-for-profit organization in May 2003, combining what had been until then two separate organizations, the Friends of the National Archives of Canada (1995) and the Friends of the National Library of Canada (1991). FLAC was created in anticipation of the integration of the National Archives and the National Library into a single organization, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in 2004. Ms. Marianne Scott, former National Librarian of Canada (1984-1999), has been the President of FLAC since 2009.
FLAC Mission: FLAC actively supports LAC in the delivery of its mandate with these objectives:
- to promote and encourage public awareness of, interest in and support for the work of LAC as a preserver of the documentary heritage of Canada;
- to provide interested persons and organizations with the opportunity to share in the programs and activities of LAC;
- to attract donated collections of published Canadiana and archival material as gifts to LAC; and,
- to generate revenues, raise funds and organize fundraising events in support of a variety of LAC endeavours, including special acquisitions.
FLAC Activities and Contributions: LAC and FLAC have cooperated to promote access to LAC’s holdings and to further LAC’s strategic and business priorities related to Canada’s documentary heritage through various initiatives:
- Book Sale—Volunteers sell books and music on various occasions and have raised $3,400.
- Public events—Volunteers supported eight LAC-sponsored events (e.g., Reception with the NCR Authors Association, LAC Foundation launch, IFLA Global Vision Regional Workshop: North America in April 2018, Doors Open Ottawa).
- Bibliographic project—The bibliographic team worked on our major bibliographic project of providing enhanced access to the LAC database of First World War Expeditionary Force Attestation Papers.
- Acquisition—A gift from FLAC to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation was a Tupper Family Bible that belonged to the son of Sir Charles Tupper, a Father of Confederation. The many family notations in the Bible are of considerable historical interest.
LAC–FLAC MOU: To formalize FLAC’s collaboration to further LAC’s mandate and priorities, to increase public awareness of, and access to LAC’s holdings, programs and services, a three-year MOU between LAC and FLAC was struck in 2016 for 2016-2019.
The next iteration of the MOU will be signed at the beginning of September 2019 for 2019-2022. LAC will provide FLAC $25,000 per year for a total of $75,000 to support collaborative opportunities between LAC and the FLAC, and other cultural heritage institutions; to increase discovery of and access to LAC’s holdings; to foster greater awareness of LAC’s holdings, programs and services by undertaking joint activities (e.g. public events); and to build a representative documentary heritage collection by collaboratively acquiring library and archival materials (e.g. purchase, donation).
Relationship with LAC: FLAC has multiple points of contact within LAC:
- Stakeholder Relations and International Affairs has been acting as the liaison office for the different needs of FLAC (e.g., contracting, supplies, translation, etc.).
- Communications Branch works with FLAC in different capacities for public programming and other events including book and exhibitions launches at 395 Wellington Street.
- Operations Sector’s Acquisition staff, has been helping acquire items for LAC’s collections (e.g. Tupper Family Bible).
- Corporate Secretary has been acting as a strategic liaison office between FLAC, the offices of the Librarian and Archivist of Canada and other members of LAC senior management, and external stakeholders.
Office Space at 395 Wellington Street: Presently, FLAC occupies a few offices for their staff, office equipment and a small bookstore on the main floor. With the upcoming move of 395 Wellington Street to the new OPL-LAC facility in 2024, LAC, OPL and their respective “Friends” organizations are planning how they can work together and are discussing future space requirements.
LAC Foundation: With the launch of the new LAC Foundation, FLAC is currently exploring how the LAC Foundation and FLAC can work together in the near future, and over the long-term.
Annual Book Sale: FLAC’s Annual Book Sale was the largest and most successful fundraising activity over the last several years. As the main space for the book sale (St. Laurent Shopping Centre) was no longer available as of 2017, new locations (395 Wellington Street, 550 Place de la Cité) were found. However, the income earned from these locations was significantly less compared to previous years. As a result, there is a large number of unsold books in multiple storage boxes at 395 Wellington Street.
Anne Chartrand, Analyst, Stakeholder Relations and International Affairs (SRIA)
Francesco Manganiello, Director, SRIA