On November 13, 2014, the Royal Society of Canada’s Expert Panel on the Status and Future of Canada’s Libraries and Archives published The Future Now: Canada’s Libraries, Archives, and Public Memory. The Royal Society commissioned the report to explore what Canadians expect of libraries and archives in the 21st century and what needs to change to ensure that libraries and archives “continue to serve the ‘public good’ well into the future.” The report begins with three fundamentals, followed by a lengthy list of recommendations for different sectors that engage with libraries and archives in Canada to undertake in order to achieve the panel’s fundamentals. The three fundamentals are:
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 heritage and to develop and maintain digital access, institutions and 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.