Health Canada scientists setting up unofficial libraries as national libraries fail

More from the Canadian Harper government's War on Libraries (see also: literally burning the environmental archives). Dave writes, "Health Canada scientists are also facing difficulties with government controlled libraries. It takes an insanely long time for them to receive any materials due to third-party delivery companies; they've started opening up their own unsanctioned libraries and have started taking advantage of external sources (industry and universities). This is turning into an insane story. There's obviously demand for the material within government circles, but policy and cuts are making it impossible to access, resulting in statistics of diminished use, which results in more cuts."

Health Canada used to have 40 librarians. Now it has six.

Before the main library closed, the inter-library loan functions were outsourced to a private company called Infotrieve, the consultant wrote in a report ordered by the department. The library's physical collection was moved to the National Science Library on the Ottawa campus of the National Research Council last year.

"Staff requests have dropped 90 per cent over in-house service levels prior to the outsource. This statistic has been heralded as a cost savings by senior HC [Health Canada] management," the report said.

"However, HC scientists have repeatedly said during the interview process that the decrease is because the information has become inaccessible — either it cannot arrive in due time, or it is unaffordable due to the fee structure in place."

A recently retired Health Canada pathologist agreed with this assessment.

"I look at it as an insidious plan to discourage people from using libraries," said Dr. Rudi Mueller, who left the department in 2012.

"If you want to justify closing a library, you make access difficult and then you say it is hardly used."

Health Canada library changes leave scientists scrambling [Laura Payton and Max Paris/CBC News (Thanks, Dave!)

Notable Replies

  1. jerwin says:

    It's a total non-story.

    In addition, the department says it has consulted with employees and addressed many of their concerns.

    Now, isn't that reassuring? Think Positive, and stop being such a Gloomy Gus.

  2. It's probably something to do with Dear Leader Harper being an employee of the Oil Sands industry. There's an unsourced story going around about a map being taken down in the Ronald McDonald House in Calgary. It was originally put up and the cancerous kids there were encouraged to put a pin in the map showing where they had come from. But then all the pins were clustered around Oil Sands installations so the map had to go.

    Easy to confirm or deny if anyone had access to the data on the geographic distribution of juvenile cancer cases but, oh look, someone's set fire to that library too. How convenient.

  3. Dear Canadians,

    In the spirit of fraternal exhortation, I beg you not to go down the path of being a dysfunctional petro-state. Not only is that path way less fun than the money would suggest, you are right next to the United States, perhaps the world's leader in poorly considered foreign relations with dysfunctional petro-states.

    Turn back, while there is still time, lest you find yourselves being herded in as extras for a photo-op of US 'liberation' forces pulling down a giant statute of Harper!

    Sincerely yours,
    A Concerned American

  4. It isn't 'pediatric cancer' it's 'juvenile cellular exuberance'. Defeatist.


    These are the people who, a few weeks ago, walked right up behind him at a conference in BC and unfurled climate posters. They're pretty intense.

Continue the discussion

6 more replies