November 20th, 2012.
RE: The Proposed Cutbacks in DFO Libraries
In the article (CH, A4, Nov. 20th) about the merger of DFO libraries, Quebec NDP Member Guy Caron decries the cuts as being a move “to destroy our scientific institutions”. He is completely correct. The plan is to eliminate 9 of 11 libraries in the research laboratories and headquarters (see www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/libraries). Downsizing the libraries cuts the heart out of vibrant productive institutes. Libraries, staffed by trained information science and management professionals, are critical to research. They cannot be replaced by digitized collections of books and journals. Libraries are where research starts and ends, where advice is offered about how and where to find reliable information, where productive conversations occur between researchers, and where quiet time occurs, critical to writing original papers and reports. Moving collections of archival materials, important regionally but not nationally, may lead to irreparable loss of information of scientific and historical importance. Objections were raised this summer by the community of St Andrews, NB, where the Biological Station is losing its library. As well, Canada’s once proud international reputation in the aquatic and marine sciences is being dealt another unnecessary blow. The policy of downsizing the DFO libraries and their staff should be immediately investigated and reversed.
International Ocean Institute, Dalhousie University,
Dr. P G Wells
15 Westgate Drive,
Halifax, NS. B3P 1T7
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