OPL Collection Preparation and Move


  • To prepare for the OPL-LAC joint facility project, the Digital Operations and Preservation Branch must prepare the collection for increased circulation, which involves making sure that the material is properly documented and secure.
  • Four Library and Archives Canada (LAC) collections will be featured in the new OPL-LAC joint facility set to open in 2024: Genealogy, Reference, Curated, and Lowy collections. Approximately 150,000 items will be relocated to OPL-LAC’s joint facility. The cost of this phase of the project is estimated at $1,479,000, and is already funded in years 3 and 4 through the LAC-OPL facility Treasury Board submission.
  • As the collections being moved to the new facility will be placed in a self-serve environment, LAC wants to ensure the security of its collections. The use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is being investigated as the preferred solution to address this risk. The total estimated cost of this solution is currently being analyzed by LAC’s Digital Operations and Preservation Branch, and Innovation Chief Information Officer Branch.
  • Having our collections so freely accessible is a new concept for LAC. Ensuring the safety of the LAC collection is our primary concern, while seeking efficiencies in operations via the automation of certain scanning activities.


  • $25,000 has already been spent to hire a RFID specialist consultant to provide a report outlining three potential high-level RFID options (minimal, acceptable and preferred) and their estimated cost.
  • As system development, procurement and implementation of a new technology requires time, LAC must prioritize this project to be ready for the opening of the new facility.
  • LAC’s RFID solution for the joint facility could be a “pilot project” should we consider implementing RFID throughout all of LAC’s buildings. It would be a great opportunity to innovate LAC’s business processes.
  • Most media coverage and communications are expected to focus on the building of the OPL-LAC facility itself and less on this sub-project. During the move phase, internal and external client service standards for access to collections may be temporarily changed to allow collections to move effectively.

Key Public Messages

  • By preparing the collection ahead of the move and making sure all the physical and catalogue data is accurate, Canada’s documentary heritage will remain safe and accessible to all.
  • Throughout the project, delays or changed service standards for delivery of collection material to internal and external clients will be minimal. Due to strict control throughout the move, LAC will continue to respond to legislative enquiries within required timelines.


Jean-Michel Smith, Manager, Collection Services
Email: Jean-michel.smith@canada.ca
Tel: 613-894-4006

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