Our title boldly asserts that the future must be acknowledged. We are not assuming the role of prophets, but rather of alert communicators. The library and archive sector needs institutional reform to improve efficiencies, foster more effective collaboration, and provide clearer, more reliable leadership. The Report synthesizes what we have heard and learned from Canadians. It conveys verbal and visual snapshots of transformative, energetic, forceful cultural institutions, either already flourishing or in planning stages. It also underlines the urgency of the present moment when disregard or neglect must be challenged and countered. First and foremost, in the digital era, libraries and archives are as vital as ever to Canadian society, and they require additional resources to meet the wide variety of services they are expected to deliver. Equitable societies remove barriers between citizens and the material they need to enrich, inform, and improve their lives. Second, while librarians and archivists must work more concertedly in nation-wide partnerships to continue to preserve our print different levels of government must invest in digital infrastructure to advance these projects. Third, a national digitization program, in coordination with memory institutions across the country, must be planned and funded to bring Canada’s cultural and scientific heritage into the digital era to ensure that we continue to understand the past and document the present as guides to future action.
Citation: Demers, Patricia (chair), Guylaine Beaudry, Pamela Bjornson, Michael Carroll, Carol Couture, Charlotte Gray, Judith Hare, Ernie Ingles, Eric Ketelaar, Gerald McMaster, Ken Roberts. (2014). Expert Panel Report on The Future Now: Canada’s Libraries, Archives, and Public Memory. Royal Society of Canada, Ottawa, ON. ISBN: 978-1-928140-01-6