The Information Policy Blog

The (unofficial) blog of the BCLA Information Policy Committee

Library and Archives Canada Code of Conduct Followup Post 4 – Second Week

This week didn’t have quite the same amount of excitement and media attention towards the muzzling of Library and Archives Canada’s professionals that last week did, but that isn’t to say nothing happened for us to link to.

The most interesting and detailed piece I’ve seen this week was by Priya Sarin in a column on Rabble.ca. I’ve reproduced a small chunk, but the whole article is well worth your time:

Section 4.2 refers to the obligation to report “high risk” activities such as a teaching position at the college or university level to the Conflict of Interest Administrator. Further, section 4.4.2 of the Code in relation to the personal, off‑duty conduct of the employee, requires the employee to obtain permission before he or she is able to accept an invitation to teach, speak at a conference, or even to merely attend a conference. These activities have all been classified as “high risk”. In all cases, regardless of whether the personal engagement has anything to do with the activities of LAC or whether the employee is presented in association with LAC, clearance from the employee’s Manager is required. This appears to be an unnecessary intrusion into the personal activities of the employee and an unreasonable limit on freedom of expression.

Can’t you just tell by the section numbers there that it’s not just some person saying “this seems wrong”? It gave me shivers.

Which is not to say that emotional support isn’t welcomed too, especially when it comes as the lead editorial in the Calgary Herald on March 25th:

One would think that librarians and archivists are at grave risk of selling secrets to Canada’s enemies in their spare time, rather than helping to educate their audiences about history.

One of my favourite things about LAC being in the news the past little while has been that teaching and presenting at conferences and sharing information (in non-checking-out-books-to-people ways) as part of librarchivists’ jobs is trying to work its way into the consciousness of people who aren’t infopros themselves (or close friends with one). It’s crappy it has to become visible because it’s under attack, but it’s a hook to hang our discussion of policy on for the future. We have to fight this kind of thing because as Effie Patelos said the other day:

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