National Library of Canada

The National Library of Canada, located on OTTAWA's Wellington Street, was originally established by an Act of Parliament in 1953. It joined with the NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF CANADA in 2004 to become LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA. The post of National Librarian (W.K. LAMB 1953-68; G. SYLVESTRE 1968-83; M. Scott 1984-1999; R. CARRIER 1999-2004) was a Governor-in-Council appointment reporting to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The Library's original mandate to acquire, preserve, promote and provide access to the published heritage of Canada for all Canadians is continued through Library and Archives Canada. In achieving this mandate, the National Library dedicated itself to the following objectives: Building a world-class national resource that will enable Canadians to know their country and themselves through their published heritage; and Facilitating access for all Canadians to national and international networks of information resources.

As the National Library, the institution played a prime role in acquiring through legal deposit and preserving a comprehensive collection of literary and musical works published in Canada, about Canada or written by Canadians. This unique collection of Canadiana continues to serve as an information and cultural resource for Canadians both now and in the future, as it is now an integral part of Library and Archives Canada.

During its over 50-year existence, the National Library created Canada's national bibliography by building a bibliographic database to serve as a comprehensive record of Canadian publishing output, to facilitate access to the collection, and to assist libraries, the book trade and other information providers in identifying, acquiring and making available Canadiana materials. Reference, research and referral services to Canadians and to Canadian libraries are based on the former National Library's comprehensive collection of Canadiana.

Library and Archives Canada continues to offer the client services of the former National Library. For instance, Library and Archives Canada inherited the former National Library's bibliographic database, AMICUS, which includes records of items in the National Library's collection as well as holdings reported by over 350 Canadian libraries. Over the years the National Library had acquired an international reputation in forums such as the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) for its leadership on issues such as the development of standards for the exchange of bibliographic data, the preservation of library materials, the application of information technology to library services, and the promotion of universal and equitable access to basic information services. Library and Archives Canada continues to build on the groundbreaking work of its predecessor.