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Feds stand by decision to consolidate fisheries libraries

posted May 1, 2013, 7:38 PM by SOS SaveOceanScience

Telegraph Journal May 1. 2013 – DERWIN GOWAN


Government Ashfield, however, says official can discuss the issue with group against move


The federal government stands by its deci­sion to consolidate fisheries library servi­ces on the east and west coasts.
However, a senior official "is prepared to discuss the matter" with a group opposed to the change, Save Ocean Science (SOS) member Nancy Aiken said jn an interview Thursday.
"Welcome to confusion city here” the former St. Andrews mayor said. SOS in­tends to take up the invitation from fish­eries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield ­for the group to meet with Faith Scattlon, regional director general for the depart­ment's Maritimes Region, based in Hali­fax.
SOS asked to meet the minister to present a proposal to keep the library at the St. Andrews Biological Station,, Aiken ­said. This week, Ashfield sent an email regretting that he could not meet with SOS, but inviting the group to meet with the regional director general, Aiken said; "So we are pursuing that;' she said following an SOS meeting Thursday morning.
Both Ashfield and New Brunswick Southwest MP John Williamson say the consolidation will go ahead.
"Services from libraries in Nanaimo Vancouver, Winnipeg MB, Mont-Joli QC, Moncton, St: AJ1drews, and St. John's-will be consolidated into libraries in Sidney, BC and Dartrmouth, NS. The library at na­tional headquarters will also be 'reduced in size;' an email from Ashfield's  press sec­retary Barbara Mottram states.
"Regrettably, the closure of Department of Fisheries and Oceans libraries will pro­ceed in St. Andrews and elsewhere as planned;' Williamson stated in an email forwarded by his constituency office.
SOS, which came together after the fed­eral government announced plans last year to consolidated fisheries libraries, forwarded its proposal on March 3 to keep the library at St. Andrews, Aiken said. "It would not be a cost to Fisheries and Oceans and we would keep the library;' she said.
However, the proposal did not pass mus­ter, Williamson understood. " DFO was concerned over liability issues and work­ing conditions. As such, it was rejected by the department his email states.
"It's a very ill thought-out plan;' Aiken said, predicting that processing requests and photocopying will eat up any savings.
"More and more Canadians are turning to" electronic sources and the Internet for resources and information;' Mottram's email states
"DFO's libraries contain .one of the world's most comprehensive bilingual col­lections of information on fisheries, aqua­tic sciences and   nautical sciences and that information will now be available online.
"Materials will be scanned and emailed or shipped to requesters. Modernizing our library resources allows for easier and cost efficient search and access, no matter the location.
"The public can search through the DFO library collection through our online catalogue. All currently available bilingual resources will remain available to employ­ees and the public, the only change is the process to search for and acquire them;' the email states.
"That's not going to happen;' Aiken said. Aside, from the cost of digitizing a mas­sive volume of data collected since the 19th century; copyright issues would pre­vent electronically storing some of the re­search, she said.
Conservation organizations, industry, research scientists, university students and others consult this material, she said. The consolidated, libraries will be able to send hard copies to people who need them, Williamson said.
"DFO management believes it can of­fer better research and library services at two larger centers than it can at numerous smaller institutions;” his email states.
 It will not be the same, Aiken said.
The government built a new climate­ controlled facility at the St. Andrews Bio­logical Station, Aiken said. "It's a state-of­ the-art library that they opened less than a year ago?”
"The critical mass of the Biological Sta­tion has been harmed; Aiken said. "It's not .good for St. Andrews or Charlotte County or southwest New Brunswick, just not good?”
The new facility guarantees the future of the Biological Station, Williamson said.