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National Library of Canada-Threatened removal to Québec

From the destruction of the ancient Library of Alexandria to the looting of the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad, from the loss of precious state records held in the Four Courts in Dublin to the zealous burning of books at various periods in numerous countries, human civilization crawls towards the realization that national libraries, archives, and museums deserve protection at all times, in all countries, from all kinds of harm.

A sharp contrast between the treatment accorded the National Libraries of Canada and Ireland has come to light in the spring of 2003.

Canada's National Library is under threat of being removed from the capital city, Ottawa, to a remote site in Aylmer, Québec. A public outcry against its removal from downtown Ottawa, just blocks away from Canada's Parliament, has been raised. It is one of a trio of buildings fronting Wellington Street which are symbolic of the federal state that is Canada, the other two housing Parliament and the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Irish National Library is located next to Dáil Éireann, the Irish Parliament, in Kildare Street, Dublin. Like its counterpart in Ottawa, it requires expansion. Unlike its counterpart in Ottawa, that expansion is taking place at its present location with judicious use of the limited space available.

Physical accessibility is of paramount importance to the citizens of Ottawa and Dublin alike. There is more than enough space to accommodate expansion of Canada's National Library on Wellington Street.

We encourage Canadian readers, particularly Ottawa residents, to make their views on this issue known to their elected Members of Parliament, whose e-mail addresses are available on this e-zine web site.


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