November 19, 2012 - 8:24pm By PAUL McLEOD Ottawa Bureau
OTTAWA — The merging of fisheries libraries in Nova Scotia and British Columbia is sparking some anger in the rest of the country.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will close most of its nine libraries across the country and split their collections between just two — in Sidney, B.C., and at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth.
A third Library in Ottawa will be reduced in size but retain a physical location.
At the same time, the federal department is digitizing its collection to make it available online.
That isn’t good enough for Quebec New Democrat Guy Caron, whose riding of Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques is losing a French-specific library.
Caron denounced the closure in the House of Commons on Monday as “ideological cuts” by the Conservatives, who he said are trying to “destroy our scientific institutions.”
Caron said the survival of the library is an official languages issue because it serves the francophone community.
Department spokeswoman Erin Filliter said the libraries hold one of the most comprehensive collections of fisheries and aquatic science in the world, and it will still be available to everyone.
“Essentially, we’re digitalizing the electronic services, so everything is going to be electronic,” she said. “Most of the requests nowadays come in electronically anyway, so we’re just kind of formalizing that.”
The physical collections will be moved to the two remaining libraries. Filliter said the department can’t say how many jobs will be cut because it is a low number that could identify specific employees, who must receive written notice first.
The Nova Scotia and B.C. libraries will stay open, but it’s not clear if they will have increased staff.
The transition is to be completed by next fall.
Fisheries and Oceans now has libraries in St. John’s, N.L., Moncton and St. Andrews, N.B., Mont-Joli, Que., Winnipeg, and Nanaimo, B.C.
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