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Library at Biological Station to close as planned

posted Mar 28, 2013, 10:40 AM by SOS SaveOceanScience

St. Croix Courier – March 28, 2013

Library at Biological Station to close as planned
Barb Rayner


Despite all the efforts of the Save Ocean Sciences Committee (SOS) to persuade the federal government to change its mind, the library at the Biological Station will be closing as planned.

SOS is a group formed last spring to raise concerns about continuing cuts to the station's science capacity and the closure of the library.  

Since its formation, SOS has held a public information rally at­tended by 200 people and a demonstration with about 600 people in attendance who formed an SOS for an aerial photograph.

In an email Tuesday, New Brunswick Southwest MP John Williamson stated that closure of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans library at Saint Andrews will proceed as planned, with resources relocated to two library centres, one on each coast.  

Williamson said these two li­braries will reply to requests on a demand basis just as universi­ties do. For example, electronic copies will be available and when a physical document is required it will be sent, just as the law li­brarian at the University of New Brunswick requests and receives information from the Osgoode Law Library.

In total, seven DFO libraries will close. Williamson said these closures are happening to consol­idate information and expertise while realizing cost' savings for Canadian taxpayers.

With regard to a proposal from the Huntsman Marine Sci­ence Centre to assist in maintain­ing some services by staffing the library, he said

DFO was concerned over li­ability issues and working condi­tions, and rejected the proposal.

He claimed the current fed­eral government had made a sig­nificant investment to construct a modern building for the biologi­cal station.

That doesn't change the fact that seven jobs have been lost, stated Saint Andrews Mayor Stan Choptiany, who said the closure is "most disappointing news."

"The loss of these positions impacts the community. I think there is a well documented case that the removal of the library impacts the ability to do science and from the town's standpoint, it is regrettable. Carolyn (Davies - chair of SOS) has worked ex­tremely hard on this." Davies could not be reached for comment as she is away at present. .

At Monday night's St. Ste­phen town council, meeting, af­ter Nancy Aiken of SOS made a presentation, that town's council approved a motion to write a let­ter of support for retaining the library at the Biological Station.

She said the committee had requested a meeting with fisher­ies Minister Keith Ashfield to dis­cuss a proposal that would iden­tify an operational plan which would maintain the library and meet, if not exceed, DFO's federal cost reduction and efficiency ob­jectives but had yet to receive an acknowledgement.

She said closing the library will, contrary to Williamson's claims, end up costing money.


New Brunswick, especially the southwestern part of the prov­ince, has. a marine-based econo­my, said Aiken, and the research of nearly 20 organizations and agencies has been drawn to the resources of the Biological Station library. .

Some of the holdings will be digitized, said Aiken, but because of copyright laws, most cannot and there is no assurance that library resource access will be available to non-DFO users.

The committee's proposal to Ashfield stressed that organiza­tions such as the Huntsman, UNB, UNBSJ and the Atlantic Fish Farm­ers Association depend on the station's extensive library hold­ings but that information source may no longer be available.

"We have a strong econom­ic base in the fisheries in New Brunswick. The federal govern­ment should be helping to foster this industry, helping it grow, making it sustainable and more valuable."

Without the library, quality and relevant marine research can- . not be done and Canada will lose its place of respect in marine re­search in the world, said Aiken.

SOS has investigated the pos­sibility of alternate funding, she said, and is confident that non­government funding for library staff can 'be obtained - which would save taxpayers' money.

"This state-of-the-art, one­ year-old $4 million library needs to remain for the purpose it was built..., If the closure of the SABS library goes as planned, it will result in economic, social and cultural deterioration for Charlotte County."

Aiken, said when she heard Williamson's news Tuesday she was very sad and said "this will prove to have been an ill thought out decision."

"I am further disappointed that Williamson chose to make this announcement to the press before he acknowledged the SOS letter of Mar. 3 and I am further disappointed that this announcement came from MP Williamson and not from the Minister of Fish­eries Keith Ashfield."           .


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