National Library of Canada and National Archives of Canada to Merge

by E.B. Lapointe

Ottawa - The latest news from Ottawa is that the National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada, which are currently two separate bodies (although housed in the same building located at 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa), will now merge into one body, likely to be called the Library and Archives of Canada (LAC).

A bill was introduced into the Canadian House of Commons by the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Sheila Copps, on 08 May, 2003 after the announcement of the merger was made by the Government of Canada in its Throne Speech in September, 2002.

Minister Copps said in her press release that "The newly created agency will make greater use of 21st century technologies to reach Canadians." She added that "It will also be in a better position to improve access for all Canadians to our country's documentary heritage."

Changes have already taken place at the Library and Archives of Canada. For example, separate research passes, one for the library and one for the archives, have now been combined into one research pass. The pass is still applied for and issued at the Registration Desk in the lobby of the Library and Archives of Canada, which is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is still free and is good for one year.

The hours of operation for the new facility have been combined, and are as follows -

Reference Rooms of both the library and archives are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday only. They are closed on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on Canadian statutory holidays and Ontario civic holidays.

Reading Rooms of both the library and archives are open from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., seven days a week. These are the rooms where the microfiche and microfilm are located, along with the readers and printers. The finding aids for the microfiche and microfilms are also here.

Exhibit Rooms are open from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days a week.

Finally, there have already been changes made to the website of the National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada.

For example, even though the pages of both the National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada are still separate, the Internet gateway to the archives (http://www.archives.ca) is now a combined opening page with the icons for the library and archives at the bottom right of the page. Press either one and it will take you to the appropriate website. However, as a reader of this column so rightly pointed out to me, after consulting my February article, "1906 Census Released Today", the census is no longer on the front page of the archives website.

So please note, that at this point in time, while the websites are being revamped, the Census of the Northwest Provinces, 1906 is located on the Canada Genealogy Centre website at . Just click on the "Genealogical Research" section in the menu and from there to the "Directory of Resources" to the "Browse by Subject" section and the Census of the Northwest Provinces, 1906 is No. 6 on the list.

Patience should be advised on the part of the researcher while this merge of websites and the facilities themselves takes place over the next couple of months. It is expected that once the merge is complete, research will be easier and hopefully, more of the resources will be placed online.

<< Canadian Connections

Additional Articles

  • Canadian Genealogy Centre Opens
  • Canadian Land Records
  • Canadian Church Records

    "A former newspaper reporter in Canada's capital, Ottawa, I became interested in writing about genealogy when researching my own ancestor, Andrew Barclay, an American Loyalist from Boston, Massachusetts, early in 1990. Quickly, my interest spread beyond my own family, and by 1994, I was editing a genealogy newsletter and by 1997, I was editing the Sourcing Canada series of books. Since then, I have gone on to write "My Ancestor Was French Canadian" and a series of booklets on Canadian genealogy. I love to travel the Canadian and American countryside looking for interesting people and places to photograph and to write about." - E.B. Lapointe

  • What's New in Genealogy ... Today!
    click to view original photo