Archives and Land Claims


The past just got a bit closer for anyone wanting to dig deeper into history.

Vancouver Public Library’s new partnership with the Library and Archives Canada, will bring Canadian historical documents within arms reach of professional and amateur historians. The agreement will bring over 5,000 boxes to the seventh floor of the central branch of the library.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for patrons.” said Chief Librarian Sandra Singh. She said having these resources at the library will help students with history projects, patrons wanting to learn local first nations history and anyone researching their family histories.

It goes beyond the convenience of location, however. According to Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, the shared values and goals of the organizations also helps.

“Our clients will benefit from shared expertise, complimentary public programs, extended reference services, and outreach, and, of course, a more accessible location,” he said.

The two librarians were at the Vancouver Public Library to shake hands and announce the new relationship that will give library patrons direct access to the Library and Archives Canada staff, its digital archives, and physical access to documents related to local first nations history.

“I think its great that they are keeping all this material and giving ordinary people access to things that we never would have access to,” said Adele Makcrow, the manager of the Vancouver Public Library Store.

According to Kristina Lillico, director, regional services and ATIP division at the Library and Archives Canada, this move will increase the archives visibility and reach.

“We’ve almost been one of the best kept research secrets in the Vancouver area,” she said. “People who have known us have come to us, but I think we’re now on the cusp of an opportunity where we want to try to meet and reach some new audiences.”

Berthiaume said that the Library and Archives Canada had served as a hub for research related to our indigenous peoples, including land claim rights, and works of reconciliation while in Burnaby. He and Lillico both expect continue these serves in Vancouver.

“We’ve had a very traditional research base who know that we are there and have come to us,” Lillico said. “But now we are in are much more public space so there will be people who might be walking in the library and drop by to come see us and find out about what the Library and Archives Canada is and what we do for all Canadians, in an expanded way.”

Singh expects doors to open next May.


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