Since the 1950s debate has raged about the impact of new technologies on print culture in the broadest sense and on the publishing industry, libraries, and archives in particular. Succinctly put, “The Death of the Book” has been both proclaimed and denied. Meanwhile, notions of what constitutes a library or an archive have been challenged and transformed by new communications competencies and needs. In response to these realities, the Royal Society of Canada established an Expert Panel. This collection archives its materials and provides a digital appendix to the panel's report, “The Future Now: Canada's Libraries, Archives, and Public Memory”, released in November 2014.
Libraries and archives throughout Canada have many overlapping obligations. They collect, preserve and disseminate knowledge, and provide access to information and intellectual resources for civic engagement. Libraries and archives are actively meeting the challenges of unfolding digital technologies, changing cultural practices, and society’s expectations. The Expert Panel of the Royal Society of Canada had as its mandate:
- To investigate what services Canadians, including Aboriginal Canadians and new Canadians, are currently receiving from libraries and archives.
- To explore what Canadian society expects of libraries and archives in the 21st century.
- To identify the necessary changes in resources, structures, and competencies to ensure libraries and archives serve the Canadian public good in the 21st century.
- To listen to and consult the multiple voices that contribute to community building and memory building.
- To demonstrate how deeply the knowledge universe has been and will continue to be revolutionized by digital technology.
- To conceptualize the integration of the physical and the digital in library and archive spaces.
Public consultations took place in Halifax, Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary/Edmonton, Vancouver, and Yellowknife.
Read the Panel's letter of invitation to the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages here.
Dr. Patricia Demers, FRSC, Chair - University of Alberta; Dr. Guylaine Beaudry - Concordia University; Pam Bjornson - National Research Council; Dr. Michael Carroll - American University Washington College of Law; Prof. Carol Couture - Université de Montréal; Charlotte Gray, FRSC - Carleton University; Judith Hare - Halifax Public Libraries; Ernie Ingles, FRSC - University of Alberta; Prof. Eric Ketelaar - University of Amsterdam; Gerald McMaster - Art Gallery of Ontario; Ken Roberts - Hamilton Public Library