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Libraries and Cultural Policy

Canadian libraries contribute to and support cultural policy and development. Library collections provide access to works published in Canada and abroad. The services of Canadian libraries address the research and knowledge needs of Canadians. Libraries' public programs -- exhibitions, readings, concerts -- offer information and entertainment, and promote awareness of literature, music, art, history and other aspects of culture.

The role of libraries with regard to culture and cultural policy and development has been examined in a number of studies, including the Report of the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences (the Massey commission, 1949-1951), Resources of Canadian University Libraries for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences (the Williams report, 1962), and the Report of the Federal Cultural Policy Review Committee (the Applebaum/Hébert report, 1982).* Strategic planning documents, such as the National Library's Orientations: A Planning Framework for the 1990s, and articles like Francess Halpenny's "The National Library of Canada and Canadian Cultural Development", published in The National Library of Canada and Canadian Libraries: Essays in Honour of Guy Sylvestre, also offer ideas and information on libraries and culture. As well, the National Library has submitted a brief, The Role of the National Library of Canada in Support of Culture in Canada, to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage for its study of the federal government's evolving role in Canada's culture.

Canadian libraries and Canadian culture are joined by many ties. Without culture, there would be no libraries; in turn, libraries promote and support culture. Each is necessary to the other.

* Consult your local library for more information on these reports.