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Le générique du Bulletin
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March/April 2003
Vol. 35, no. 2
ISSN 1492-4676

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The 50th Anniversary of the National Library of Canada

Elizabeth A. Morton, 50th Anniversary Coordinator

On January 1, 2003, the National Library of Canada celebrated its 50th anniversary, a landmark in the history of library service to Canadians we can all take pride in. The Web site for the 50th anniversary went live at the beginning of this year with a specially commissioned overview of the history of the National Library of Canada by Professor Peter F. McNally, a backgrounder on the founding of the National Library, quotes from the press, and highlights of the activities planned for 2003. Material such as photographs and special initiatives are being added to our online "scrapbook."

"The heritage and service accomplishments of the National Library during its first fifty years can be attributed to the support of the Parliament and people of Canada and the dedication and leadership of its staff."

Professor Peter F. McNally

Throughout the year, the Library will feature a series of lectures, readings, exhibits and concerts to celebrate the anniversary. The International Forum on Canadian Children's Literature, which will be held in June of this year, is the highlight of the 50th anniversary celebrations and will attract participants from across the country and around the world. From May to October, the National Capital Commission will be including banners with the distinctive face reading a book from the Pellan mural in the second floor Reading Room in its annual Confederation Boulevard banner program on Wellington Street and on the Portage Bridge. Canada Post will be marking the anniversary with a set of postage stamps to be launched on September 8  -  International Literacy Day. The stamps will feature some of our country’s most celebrated authors.

With the Canadian Conservation Institute, the Library is hosting Symposium 2003: Preservation of Electronic Records: New Knowledge and Decision-making, from September 15 to 18. Reading Canada: The Public Good and Private Pleasures of Reading: A National Forum, which will explore the critical domain of reading, is being planned in conjunction with the Association for Canadian Studies for November.

For the major exhibition marking the 50th anniversary, current and former staff as well as members of the research community were asked to identify items in our collection that hold special meaning. The result is Our Favourite Things, being launched April 24 and running to January 11, 2004. On display are playing cards, comic books, newspapers, rare books, original illustrations, literary manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs, posters, programs and memorabilia demonstrating the strengths of the Library’s holdings in Canadian history, literature and music.

In the world of today, knowledge is the most valuable asset of any society, and the National Library works to ensure Canadians have easy access to our country’s knowledge resources. The celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the National Library of Canada give us the opportunity to celebrate the progress we have made up until now and to look forward to the progress we will make in the future as the Library and Archives of Canada.