Canadian scientists fear that the Conservative government is destroying access to research libraries and are frantically building unofficial libraries of their own.
According to a report obtained by CBS News, the government is ignoring reports to keep libraries open and books and research was taken to the rubbish tip.
The government claims that the libraries are not being used, but some of that might be down to the fact that inter-library loan functions were outsourced to a private company called Infotrieve and physical collections have been rendered less accessible.
“Staff requests have dropped 90 per ent over in-house service levels prior to the outsource. This statistic has been heralded as a cost savings by senior HC [Health Canada] management,” a report said.
“The system is so rubbish that information does not arrive in due time, or it is unaffordable due to the fee structure in place.”
This has led some scientists to claim that the government is justifying the closer of libraries by first making access difficult and then claiming it is hardly used.
Scientists had to borrow university student library cards to overcome their access problems and were using university libraries.
In other cases they were building unsanctioned libraries. One group moved its 250 feet of published materials to an employee’s basement. When you need a book, you email ‘Fred,’ and ‘Fred’ brings the book in with him the next day.
Librarians were also being made into an endangered species. The number of in-house librarians went from 40 in 2007 to just six in April 2013.
The person being blamed is Health Minister Rona Ambrose who seems to be uninterested in reports about what is going on in her department.
The last report warning of the dire state of research in Canada’s libraries and moving the physical collections back to Health Canada and increasing library staff from six to between 15 to 20 were considered “flawed” and sent back for correction.