On April 30, 2012, Library and Archives Canada announced that it had eliminated funding for the National Archival Development Program (NADP), a $1.7 million program administered by the Canadian Council of Archives (CCA) that distributed funding across the country to support a variety of projects in provincial and territorial archival communities.
In solidarity with the CCA and the other provincial and territorial archives councils, the Archives Society of Alberta (ASA) calls upon Library and Archives Canada to reinstate funding for the NADP immediately.
The elimination of this funding has profound impacts for Alberta’s archival community. Over the past 27 years, Alberta’s annual funding envelope of $83,475 has been used to support a variety of projects coordinated by the ASA on behalf of Alberta’s archives, including:
- Collaborative projects to organize, describe, and do other necessary work to preserve records and make them available, ensuring that NADP funding was made accessible to large and small archives alike. In the past three years alone, over 134 linear metres of textual records and 23,000 photographs, maps and other items were preserved and made available for researchers at a wide variety of small and large archives;
- Collaborative global assessment projects for archival institutions across the province, ensuring that all institutions have a plan to spend their preservation funding in the most effective way possible;
- Archives Week celebrations in Alberta, including the creation of virtual exhibits and calendars designed to highlight treasures of individual archives and promote their holdings to a broader audience.
Through these initiatives, every archival institution in the province has benefitted from the funding provided through the CCA, totalling a dozen communities around the province.
In addition to the ASA projects coordinated provincially, there have been numerous innovative projects undertaken by archival institutions over the years, including:
- Digitization of the entire oral history holdings of the Jewish Archives and Historical Society of Edmonton and Northern Alberta, including holocaust survivor testimony;
- Digitization of fragile township maps for preservation and greater researcher access;
- A records survey of the Peace River region to raise community awareness of archives and to ensure that community records were identified and preserved in the face of rural depopulation;
- Arrangement and description of aboriginal photographs, including a trip to the First Nations communities where the photographs were taken in order to identify people and build connections within the community.
Without NADP funding, these projects would not have taken place, and the elimination of this program jeopardizes future archival development in Alberta. The NADP is a prudent, cost-effective method of providing federal government support to the Canadian archives, and Library and Archives Canada cannot fulfill its mandate to assist the Canadian archival community without the NADP.
The ASA urges all its members to contact Minister Moore and local MPs through emails, letters, and in-person meetings to discuss how the elimination of the NADP will affect their archival institutions as well as the provincial and national archival communities as a whole. Please see the CCA’s website and its Call for Action for additional information: http://www.cdncouncilarchives.ca/action2012.html, visit the Archivists’ On to Ottawa Trek site (http://archiviststrek2012.tumblr.com/), or contact the ASA office (see “contact us” at www.archivesalberta.org). If you make contacts and receive statements, please forward copies to the ASA office so that we are aware of any ongoing continuing initiatives.