Journal May 1. 2013 – DERWIN GOWAN
Government Ashfield, however, says official can
discuss the issue with group against move
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,
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
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