- Library and Archives Canada (LAC) serves a wide variety of research clients made up of the general public, as well as specialized researchers such as historians, genealogists, journalists, artists, writers, filmmakers, public servants, departmental researchers, professors, students, editors, lawyers, litigation experts and others.
- Registered clients are able to avail themselves of LAC’s bilingual services in-person at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa or at one of LAC’s regional service offices in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Halifax. Clients also receive research and orientation help via telephone and various online channels.
- LAC’s general public and researcher services include bibliographic and archival reference services, general orientation and site tours, dedicated genealogical research support, collections consultation and reading room support, specialized workshops and outreach activities and events, reprography (including the DigiLab), client registration and loans to institutions.
- Frontline services staff also work behind the scenes, developing research guides, testing platforms, applications and research tools, liaising with specialist staff in other areas, and supporting and leading special projects.
- Service staff are guided by LAC Access Policies as well as the LAC Strategy for Services to the Public. The strategy will be renewed in the years leading up to our move to the new joint facility with the Ottawa Public Library (555 Albert Street).
- Among LAC Staff, those on the frontline in Ottawa will be the most impacted by the relocation to a new facility and the partnership with the Ottawa Public Library. As LAC moves forward with the building design, attention to plans for service changes, staff engagement, training and change management are crucial to ensure an effective transition.
- Researchers are able to access the reference and reading rooms at 395 Wellington Street from the early morning until late into the evening. However, staff services and certain research rooms are not available at all times. The difference between service and non-service hours can be confusing for new users, but it allows LAC to offer extended access hours. Researchers are attached to the LAC’s extended operating hours, and change in that area has always been and remains a sensitive issue.
- LAC recently reviewed its procedures relating to access to restricted documents in order to be better aligned with the Government of Canada’s security standards. Starting July 29, 2019, staff will always be present in the restricted documents consultation room at 395 Wellington Street to supervise consultation, and room hours are consequently impacted. Accessibility and service hours for all other rooms at our Ottawa location remain unchanged.
- Staffing of frontline services requires constant attention to ensure full staff complement at all times to avoid service delays.
- Frontline client services strongly relies on consultation to target necessary improvements or to test potential changes. Feedback is received from clients via multiple channels, including an annual comprehensive survey, and stakeholder bodies such as LAC’s Youth Advisory Committee, the Services Consultation Committee, and the BC Indigenous Research Forum.
- According to the most recent client experience survey conducted at LAC, the vast majority of clients were satisfied or very satisfied with their interactions with LAC employees.
- The role of Reference Services as an interface between Indigenous researchers, or on Indigenous content, is an element retained by LAC to support reconciliation, and is part of the Indigenous Heritage Action Plan.
Key Public Messages
- LAC’s expert reference and orientation employees are unmatched in their knowledge of LAC’s collection and their dedication to our clients. They ensure that the documentary heritage of Canada is accessible and available to all Canadians.
- LAC prides itself on offering services that are open, collaborative knowledgable, and responsive. More than ever staff are adapting to new technologies, leveraging social media and partnerships, going out into communities, and looking at innovative ways to bring Canada’s documentary heritage to the people.
- LAC’s new joint facility with the Ottawa Public Library at 555 Albert Street will house all of the services currently offered at 395 Wellington Street, and more. Our current clients can expect the same high level of expertise and customer service they have grown accustomed to at 395 Wellington Street, and visitors to 555 Albert Street will benefit from new, dynamic and interactive service areas that will appeal to all Canadians interested in their history and heritage, and to guests from all over the world.
Lisa Tremblay-Goodyer, Director, Reference Services