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Library of Parliament


Annual Report

2018–2019

Library of Parliament logo
Parliamentary Librarian Dr. Heather Lank

Message from the Parliamentary Librarian

Since I arrived in this office in June 2018, I have had the privilege and honour of presiding over an extraordinary time of transition at the Library. And what a ride it has been. Early in 2019, Centre Block closed for renovations, which meant that the Library’s iconic Main Branch also had to close. It will be many years before these spaces reopen.

Senate BranchThe Library’s focus throughout 2018–2019 was to manage a massive change while we continued serving clients to the highest possible standards. Did the closure create some upheaval? Certainly. But, through it all, our employees rose to the challenge, and I’m fiercely proud of what we’ve achieved. Even as we relocated 80% of our collections to a storage facility in Gatineau and opened or reopened Library branches across the Parliamentary Precinct, our clients had access to our products and services without interruption.

When conceptualizing our new Library locations, we had an ideal opportunity to rethink our service model. The result is five technologically sophisticated workspaces with services tailored to the needs of parliamentarians. The new branches are equipped with such amenities as meeting rooms, reading lounges, computers, tablets and other electronic devices, and media walls that stream parliamentary proceedings and news channels – and we provide face‑to‑face client services at reference desks in all of these locations. The spaces are modern, accessible and comfortable, and we are thrilled that parliamentarians and their staff are making use of them.

In our work behind the scenes, we continued to make improvements to ensure that the Library remains a trusted source of information. We offered enhanced training to employees in areas that matter to parliamentarians, including gender‑based analysis, international affairs and the delivery of complex information through high‑quality visual elements. As always, we supported parliamentary committees and associations, and produced research publications. We improved various Library tools that give clients access to our collections, and expanded our public outreach effort by redesigning how we welcome visitors to Parliament.

To keep our employees at the top of their game during a demanding time, the Library moved forward with our Healthy Workplace Strategy, which focuses on fostering an inclusive and respectful work environment, where employees are motivated and equipped to provide excellent service. All of our work in 2018–2019 was rooted in the Library’s strategic priorities of ensuring that we remain relevant to our clients, demonstrate agility in the face of rapid change, and nurture a healthy workplace.

As the new Parliamentary Librarian, I focused this year on getting to know our clients. I reached out to the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament, and made a point of meeting in person with newly appointed or elected parliamentarians.

Reading room in the Interim Main Library (125 Sparks St.)In some less formal activities, I sat down with the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of Canada, for a conversation about his commitment to an accessible and transparent court system. The public affairs outlet CPAC broadcast an episode on the closing of the Main Library, and we hosted events to say goodbye to our Centre Block home and to welcome people to our Interim Main Library at 125 Sparks St. I also visited the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information, where I spoke to students, faculty and alumni about the role of the Library in supporting Parliament and about the many exciting professional opportunities that exist here. I want graduates to know that the Library is modern and relevant, and a deeply rewarding place to work. We want Canada’s best and brightest to consider a career here.

Throughout the year, we heard from parliamentarians about how important the Library is to the effective functioning of Parliament. We worked hard to communicate who we are, what we do and where they can find us, and to get better at learning what our clients need and expect.

The bulk of our achievements this year was the culmination of years of careful preparation by my predecessor, Sonia L’Heureux, and the Library’s staff. I want to express my profound gratitude for the work of such a capable and dedicated team of employees.

I would also like to express the pride, excitement and honour I feel to be serving the two houses of Parliament, as well as my appreciation for the engagement of both Speakers, whose support is essential to the success of the Library. I want to assure the Speakers that we at the Library will continue to innovate and to enhance our services, products and spaces to meet the changing needs and expectations of our clients.

Dr. Heather Lank
Parliamentary Librarian

Continue reading

 
 
 

The Library by the numbers

Visitors

10,104
visits by users to the Library’s locations

Tourist

345,100
tour visitors

Computer mouse pointer

Over 4 million
users helped through the Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources portal and Parlinfo

Peace Tower and speech bubbles

30,710
inquiries about Parliament from the public

Tablet

55,000
e‑journals available to Library users

Speech bubbles with exclamation point and information icon

10,668
requests for information and reference services from parliamentarians and their staff

Document with magnifying glass

4,189
requests for research and analysis from parliamentary users

 
European Union symbol with speech bubble

84
comparative analysis requests from European parliaments

 
 

A strategy for keeping clients at the forefront

The Library operates in an environment of rapid and continuous change. And our clients – parliamentarians, their staff and the public – expect us to move with the times.

The Library is committed to keeping our clients’ needs front and centre. We do this through our strategic commitments to stay relevant and agile, and to provide a healthy workplace where employees are empowered to do their very best work.

To stay relevant, we work to always provide clients with access to the right products and services, in the digital formats that they expect and need. To stay agile, we shift our focus, technologies and services to meet the needs of our clients and ensure that we have the ability to anticipate changes that are coming. To provide a healthy workplace where we can accomplish these tasks, we nurture employees who are capable of taking thoughtful risks and are open to learning from their successes and failures.

In 2018–2019, with the closure of Centre Block for renovations – and the simultaneous closing of the Library’s Main Branch – we managed change more profound than in any year in memory. Here are the highlights of what the Library accomplished to meet our strategic objectives through a year of major transition.

New locations, expanded services

In December 2018, the Library’s Main Branch closed in conjunction with the start of a multi‑year renovation of Parliament’s Centre Block. To accommodate this change, we refurbished two branches: Confederation and our Interim Main Library (125 Sparks St.), and we opened two new branches: one in the Senate of Canada Building and the other in West Block. With our stunning branch at 180 Wellington St., which opened in January 2017, we now have five locations where we can serve clients in person.

Map showing the Library's branches, west to east: Confederation Branch (229 Wellington Street, Room G-48), West Block Branch (111 Wellington Street, Room 437-N), Wellington Branch (180 Wellington Street, Room 500), Interim Main Library (125 Sparks Street), Senate Branch (2 Rideau Street, Room B-139)

Modern branches, useful spaces

All five Library branches were designed as modern workspaces, offering a service model that better meets the needs of parliamentary clients. The locations feature various amenities,  including:

  • reading rooms with soft seating and individual and group seating options
  • a selection of newspapers and periodicals
  • collections tailored to the needs of the users at each branch
  • media walls featuring Senate and House of Commons proceedings, breaking news and current events
  • electronic devices, such as tablets, and chargers for in‑branch use
  • in‑person client service at a reference desk

Focused service

A key goal throughout the transition was to ensure that users could access the Library’s products and services as easily as before.

Office moving truckIn one major move, the Library relocated much of its collection – more than 8,700 linear metres’ worth of materials – to our updated storage facility at 45 Boulevard Sacré‑Coeur in Gatineau, Quebec. The result is that, with the exception of the curated collections in our Library branches, the Gatineau facility is the location for our print and special collections, as well as for on‑demand digitization.

During the move, we made sure our clients were able to access our collections without interruption. And the facility is designed to ensure swift and efficient access to all our collections now and in the years ahead.

Extended hours

ClockIn 2018–2019, the Library implemented a new evening duty model to ensure parliamentarians and their staff have access to in‑person reference services at the branch closest to each chamber whenever the chamber is sitting. Overall, foot traffic in Library branch spaces increased by about 20% this fiscal year.

New experiences for visitors

Tour guides standing in front of Centre BlockGuided tours: In February 2019, the Library began to offer two new guided tours for visitors: one of the Senate, now housed in the Senate of Canada Building, and the other of the House of Commons, now housed in West Block. The tours highlight the importance of Parliament, the work of the Senate and the House of Commons, and the history and architecture of the buildings.

The move from Centre Block owed its success to years of planning with our partners from the Senate and House of Commons administrations and the Parliamentary Protective Service, as well as Public Services and Procurement Canada and its consultants. The Library’s team worked behind the scenes to coordinate the preparations of our visitor experiences materials – from online pre‑visit information to publications about Parliament and new training resources for staff – so that they would be ready when the new locations opened.

Online reservations: Visitors had the benefit of a new online reservation and ticketing system for guided tours of the new Senate and House of Commons locations, which we successfully launched, on time and on budget, in the fall of 2018.

Woman wearing virtual reality gogglesVirtual experience: The virtual experience project is a multi‑platform initiative that will allow a generation of Canadians to connect with Centre Block while it is closed for rehabilitation.

In partnership with the National Film Board, the Library completed a great deal of work on a 3‑D virtual‑reality production highlighting Centre Block and on an online interactive experience, both of which will be ready for the public early in 2020.

Independently, we are developing a travelling classroom program that we expect to launch in the winter of 2020, and an on‑site visitor destination in Ottawa whose opening is scheduled for early 2021.

New visitor centre: The Visitor Welcome Centre, which includes an expanded parliamentary boutique, serves as the new front door for visitors to the House of Commons in West Block. It features spaces dedicated to welcoming visitors, amenities to complement their experience, and a new video exhibit about Parliament.

The Library on the web

In 2018, the Library finished the second phase of its web renewal project. We added lots of new content, including facts about the Library’s history, and we restructured our research publications pages to make the publications easier to retrieve and search. We also made it easier for users to access information on the Library’s website – especially when they are reading on their smart phones and tablets.

One highlight of the project is a new series called "Treasures of the Library." It explores the Library’s collection of rare books, art and artifacts; explains the work of Library employees; and highlights items from the history, heritage and early exploration of Canada.

A refreshed Learn about Parliament website allows us to share updated print publications and online resources about Parliament. A Visit Canada’s Parliament website details information about our guided tours of the new Senate and House of Commons locations.

Part of the #OurParliament Twitter campaign profile page

A focus on social media

The Library ran several social media campaigns in 2018–2019 to reach out to parliamentarians and the public about the many changes taking place.

The #OurParliament campaign highlighted Centre Block’s closure and the new visitor services offered at the Senate of Canada Building and West Block. It asked the public to share memories of Centre Block, and generated more than 900 posts using the #OurParliament hashtag. A focus on the changes related to the closure of Centre Block also helped us to increase the number of followers of the Library’s Instagram account.

A competent, agile workforce

The Library continued to focus on recruiting and developing top‑notch talent to meet the needs of parliamentarians. We enhanced our training for employees in several areas that parliamentarians told us were of particular importance, including gender‑based analysis plus (GBA+), international affairs and the creation of visual products to communicate complex information. Conferences and workshops led by Library experts and outside consultants supported our employees as they served the changing needs of parliamentarians.

Interns photographed in the Main LibraryRelaunch of our internship program

September 2018 saw the relaunch of the Library of Parliament Internship Program, which began in 2000 and was suspended in 2012 because of budgetary constraints.

The year‑long program, which is open to candidates from across Canada, provides paid internships to five university graduates. It allows interns to gain experience in the policy and legislative process, the development of Library products and services for parliamentarians, or in public education programming about Parliament.

Over the years, the Library has benefitted greatly from the internship program, as many interns have stayed with us long‑term as analysts, research assistants or librarians. As part of the 2018–2019 program, interns participated in a study trip to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. They also participated in a mock Territorial Leadership Committee.

Healthy Workplace Strategy: a focus on mental and psychological wellness

Part of the healthy workplace survey posterThe Library conducted its second annual healthy workplace survey in 2018, with employee participation in the survey rising by about 10% over the previous year. The survey polled employees on 13 psychosocial factors that contribute to a healthy workplace, such as workload management, engagement and psychological support.

The responses to the 2018 survey showed improvements in all 13 factors compared with 2017. While it is premature to conclude that there is a trend, we were pleased to see the improved results and believe that the implementation of our five‑year plan for workplace health, called Healthy Workplace Strategy, played a role.

Initiatives in 2018–2019 included the following:

  • Modification of the core competencies used to recruit employees and assess their performance in order to include behaviours that promote fairness, honesty and respect.
  • Focus on employee awareness activities to destigmatize mental health issues. One popular training activity was mental health first aid.
  • Enhanced training on and awareness of harassment prevention.
  • Launch of a review of the Values and Ethics Code for the Library of Parliament.

Promoting diversity and inclusion

The Library also developed a policy to support the promotion of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The policy was a result of extensive research into community best practices and policies, consultations with our unions on the subject, and analysis of Bill C‑81, An Act to ensure a barrier‑free Canada.

We completed another important piece of work with the development and dissemination of a new guide on how to use inclusive language in English and French. The guide helps Library authors as they develop documents.

 

Services

To meet the needs of our clients, the Library provides a wide variety of services – from customized research for legislators to the provision of classroom materials for teachers. In all our service offerings, we strive for continuous improvement.

Reference and research services

In 2018–2019, the Library saw high demand for its services.

Requests for information and reference, and for research and analysis services, by user group, 2018–2019

User Group

Information and Reference1

Research and Analysis2

Parliamentarians and their staff (including constituency staff)

10,412

1,176

Senators

2,057

280

Members of the House of Commons

8,355

896

Parliamentary committees, associations and delegations

256

2,999

Senate committees

24

693

House of Commons committees

34

1,322

Associations and delegations

198

984

Employees of the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament

4,890

General public

30,710

Other authorized users3

3,101

14

Total

49,369

4,189

  1. Responses to information requests include the timely provision of basic information, fact checking, customized information searches, copies of news items, official publications or other documents, bibliographic information, substantive reference support, guidance and orientation for Library of Parliament services and products, and access to items in the collection.
  2. In response to requests from individual parliamentarians, parliamentary committees, and parliamentary associations and delegations, Library staff provide in‑depth analyses of policy issues or proposed legislation, comparative and interpretative analyses and statistical analyses in the form of in‑person briefings, research notes, short briefing papers and substantive research papers. They also prepare speaking points, country papers, work plans, draft letters, draft communiqués, and draft committee and association reports.
  3. Other authorized users for information and reference services include, for example, the Governor General, the Prime Minister’s Office, officers of Parliament (including the Parliamentary Budget Officer), caucus research staff, members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery and legislative libraries. Other authorized users for research and analysis include, for example, the Governor General and senior parliamentary officials.

Responding to information and reference requests

The Library’s research librarians and information and research technicians help parliamentarians and their staff by answering their questions on many topics. They curate news and other information and perform custom information searches and fact‑checking using our collection.

The information service team also answers questions from the public. Topics can range from ways to visit Parliament to the role of Parliament or the history of the institution. We get thousands of requests every year for public education materials and Sessional Papers.

  • In 2018–2019, reference librarians and library technicians answered 10,668 requests for service from parliamentarians and their staff, including from parliamentary committees, associations and delegations.
  • Information officers responded to 30,710 inquiries from the public.

In-depth research and analysis

The Library’s teams of analysts, research assistants, interns and others answer parliamentarians’ requests through emails, in‑person briefings or custom research papers.

Support for parliamentarians and their staff

Research staff responded to 1,176 requests from parliamentarians and their staff.

Support for parliamentary committees

The Library’s subject‑matter experts answered 2,999 requests for research and analysis services from Senate and House of Commons committees and parliamentary associations, and delegations.

Library analysts assigned to parliamentary committees were tasked with giving ongoing support by:

  • preparing background papers and work plans
  • providing briefing materials and suggested questions for committee meetings
  • analyzing and synthesizing witness testimony
  • drafting committee reports
  • giving advice to committee chairs and members
  • providing research support throughout the federal budget financial cycle

The Library assigned analysts to 50 committees in the Senate and the House of Commons, including three special committees and subcommittees.

Research staff prepared

2,015Documents

research documents for parliamentary committees.

Analysts assigned to the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations completed

2,920Documents

work items of all sizes – from full reports to emails and brief notes.

Research services for international activities

The Library also assigned analysts to all 13 parliamentary associations. They were tasked with giving ongoing support by:

  • preparing tailored media monitoring
  • drafting background papers
  • writing draft resolutions and amendments for interparliamentary assemblies
  • preparing briefing books and speaking notes
  • drafting delegation reports
  • developing programs for international meetings and conferences
  • giving advice to association chairs and delegates
Globe on top of a pile of books

High demand for international research

In 2018–2019, research staff completed more than 980 requests from associations and delegations. This number has more than doubled since 2016–2017.

This growth has occurred because parliamentarians have been attending more international meetings, missions and conferences – and because the Library has invested in more resources than in the past to support Parliament’s enhanced international engagement.

We have also bolstered our international media monitoring due to high interest in international affairs. As one example, we have increased the number of editions of Quorum – World News (a collection of top news stories) from one to three per week.

Research publications on topics of interest

The Library produced a wide range of online research publications in 2018–2019. These documents analyzed issues, legislation and important public policy topics for parliamentarians, committees and associations.

Number of issues published in 2018–2019
28Documents

Legislative Summaries (not counting pre‑release summaries)

Plain-language explanations of the purpose and history of government bills and private members’ bills

17Documents

Background Papers and In Briefs

In‑depth studies on policy issues, as well as short reports on current topics, with links to more substantive sources on the same topic

23Documents

HillNotes

Concise overviews of current and emerging issues of immediate interest to parliamentarians

 
123Documents

Trade and Investment profiles

Information on Canada’s trade relationships with other countries

 
Research publications on Twitter

@LoPResearch Twitter profile photoThe Library’s Twitter accounts @LoPResearch and @BdPRecherche help parliamentarians and their staff stay connected with the Library’s research. In 2018–2019, we gained a total of 386 new followers on the two accounts.

Twitter logoEnglish users were most interested in tweets that sent them to our Legislative Summary of Bill C‑45 (Cannabis Act) and to the HillNote Changing the Machinery of Government: Indigenous Affairs Portfolio.

French users were most interested in tweets that sent them to the In Brief Est‑ce que le suivi des résultats fait une différence? and to the HillNote Être ou ne pas être un haut fonctionnaire du Parlement, telle est la question.

Enhanced visual elements for research products

Many people process, understand and remember high‑quality visuals more easily than text. The Library uses content‑rich maps, charts, graphs and infographics to synthesize and communicate complex information in research publications and committee reports prepared by its analysts. In 2018–2019, we increased our capacity to provide these products to parliamentarians.

Example of a map created by Library of Parliament staff

Geographic information system (GIS) mapping is one type of visual the Library uses to explain topics and trends that parliamentarians care about. For example, we made GIS maps that show refugee flows, wildfire patterns, migratory routes for the monarch butterfly and many other patterns. In 2018–2019, the Library produced 112 static and web‑based maps – and many other visuals – to support Parliament’s work. We made visuals for:

  • 70% of Hillnotes articles
  • 44% of Background Papers and In Briefs

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Curated information

The Library helps parliamentarians and their staff stay up to date with the news and current affairs that affect their daily work. Our experts curate the information and resources most relevant to parliamentarians.

In 2018–2019, we offered:

184Documents

editions of Quorum
(1,061 subscribers)

Quorum is a daily collection of top Canadian news stories

92Documents

editions of Quorum – World News
(717 subscribers)

Quorum – World News expanded its offerings from one to three issues per week, in support of Parliament’s ongoing interest in international affairs

2,185Documents

personalized NewsDesk notifications
(750 subscribers; close to 1.2 million page views)

NewsDesk is a media monitoring tool offering full‑text access to Canadian and international news sources

32Documents

Radar editions
(839 subscribers; 6,484 articles requested)

RADAR is a compendium of reports, articles and other documents on issues of interest to parliamentarians

Comprehensive research resources

Databases A–Z

"Databases A–Z" is a popular tool with clients who are looking to access the Library’s electronic subscriptions. In 2018–2019, clients used the tool more than 10,000 times to find the most relevant resources for their work – a 17% increase over the previous year.

The Library also updated how "Databases A–Z" searches for information. Now, the tool is more effective and easier for clients to use.

Subject guides

Subject guides give parliamentarians and their staff access to reliable and authoritative resources on specific topics. The guides point our clients toward current publications and databases in the Library’s collections that are relevant to their needs.

Our subject guides were consulted 5,491 times in 2018–2019, an 11% increase in sessions over the previous year.

Person using a mobile phone

The Library’s popular apps

Library users are relying more and more on the online news services, blogs and electronic newspapers and magazines that we provide.

In 2018–2019, using the Library’s most popular newspaper and magazine app, they read more than 237,000 articles – 39% more than the previous year. The app gives access to more than 7,200 titles.

Our media monitoring tool, and other news websites and blogs to which the Library provides access, generated nearly 1.5 million page views:

  • close to 291,000 page views on news websites and blogs covering politics and Parliament
  • about 1.2 million NewsDesk page views during the fiscal year

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Library collections

The Library devotes a considerable portion of its resources to keeping our collections relevant and up to date for Parliament. In 2018–2019, we continued to develop our collections on several fronts.

Analyzing the collection

We worked with subject‑matter experts to pinpoint the areas of our collections that need to grow, and we began to use a new tool that will boost our ability to consolidate our usage metrics. This information helps the Library to make evidence‑based decisions about how to add to and streamline our collections in future.

Improvements to the catalogue

The Library moved its collections to several new locations before Centre Block closed, with our team continuing its careful work of keeping detailed inventories and recording our progress. In this way, we made sure we knew the precise locations of all our collections throughout the transition, with no interruptions in access for our clients.

A more agile discovery tool

We migrated the Library of Parliament Catalogue to a new client interface, which has made the Library more agile and enabled us to improve our clients’ access to our collections.

We have also made our catalogue available to the public, which puts our practice in line with that of other legislative libraries across Canada and around the world.

Person using a mobile phone, with a tablet nearby

More digital content

In 2017, the Library secured a larger and more stable budget for developing and digitizing its collection. In 2018–2019, we conducted several product trials and assessments with vendors to choose the products that can best serve our clients.

As a result, we expanded access to core legal resources, and we are offering new subscriptions that cover a wide array of subjects: science, social sciences and humanities, economics and finance, business and industry, current affairs, and statistical and specialized data sets.

The Library also digitized and catalogued 678 Sessional Papers.

Preserving historical resources

Bindery equipment pressing down on booksThe Preservation Laboratory and its bindery service took on multiple special projects in 2018–2019, including the following:

  • light conservation treatments on a series of large scrapbooks – called "the Sketchbooks" – that contain practice sketches and other images that inspired the calligraphy and art for the Books of Remembrance
  • souvenir books for the Library’s farewell ceremony before the Main Library building closed for the Centre Block renovation
  • a book with a decorative cover showing the dome of the Main Library, made to hold signatures and commemorative comments to be placed in a time capsule to mark the temporary closure of the Main Library
  • presentation boxes and other special items for the administrations of the Senate and the House of Commons

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The Library’s new and renovated branches

As the Library’s Main Branch prepared to close for the decade‑long rehabilitation of Centre Block, we opened four new and refurbished locations across the Parliamentary Precinct:

  • our Interim Main Library (125 Sparks St.)
  • the Senate branch, located in the Senate of Canada building
  • the West Block branch, which serves the House of Commons
  • the Confederation branch

With our branch at 180 Wellington St., which opened in July 2017, we now serve our clients through five Library branches.

Pop-up library table with Library of Parliament products

Promotion on the go

The Library ran a series of pop‑up booths in 2018–2019 in the East Block, Centre Block and Wellington buildings. This led to dozens of interactions with parliamentarians, their staff and others to share information about our new locations and our services, and to learn about their needs. We produced a postcard that shows the five branch locations, and we ran orientation and information sessions to raise awareness about the Library’s new spaces.

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Learning opportunities

The Library provides high‑quality learning opportunities and seminars for parliamentarians and their staff on public policy, legislation and other topics. We also train in person and online to help parliamentarians to use our services and to teach them about the many resources we provide.

Seminars with high-profile guests

Parliamentary Librarian sitting with the Chief Justice of Canada, the Right Honourable Richard WagnerIn 2018–2019, we continued our focus on recruiting high‑profile guests for our seminars and strengthened our relationships with forward‑thinking professional‑development providers. The average attendance at our seminars continued to be strong – double what it was 10 years ago.

This year, the Parliamentary Librarian sat down with the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of Canada, for a conversation about his commitment to a more accessible and transparent court and judicial system. They also talked about the role he sees for Canada’s institutions at home and abroad.

Delivering information at our branches

The Library delivered the first full year of "Information Sessions in Our Library Branches" in 2018–2019.

The year’s 56 sessions were designed to teach our clients the best ways to use Library resources and services. The sessions also let us hear from Library users about the information they need, and how well they understand and use the Library’s resources.

Ninety‑seven percent of attendees said they would use the resources we talked about, and we got a wealth of feedback that will help us design future training. This program expanded the reach of our training programs.

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Helping parliamentarians use our resources

The Library conducted more than 150 outreach sessions to help orient and train parliamentarians and their staff about the Library’s resources and services.

Most sessions involved in‑person visits and training, because many of our clients prefer direct contact with Library staff. The most popular sessions focused on Library products and services in specific subject areas.

We also expanded our offerings in 2018–2019, developing a new session on legal resources and extending our reach across the Parliamentary Precinct and into virtual training sessions with clients in constituency offices.

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Public information service

The Library’s information service answers general questions about the Parliament of Canada. In 2018–2019, our staff responded to more than 30,000 queries from the public about Parliament’s role, history and work. We also gave people access to such documents as Sessional Papers, and we helped them to find the parliamentary offices and resources they were looking for.

Digitizing historical resources

One way to be agile and responsive to the needs of clients is to make it easy for them to find resources and documents. Whenever possible, we provide digital versions, because they are simpler for people to access than materials in other formats.

Part of the Parlinfo main web page

Preserving and accessing the history of Parliament

The Library continued to enlarge its collection of historical resources, which will help to ensure the long‑term preservation of this important information. We did this through two databases: Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources and Parlinfo.

The Library works closely with the Canadian Research Knowledge Network and Canadiana.org to give our clients easy access to Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources. This online portal has full‑text, searchable parliamentary publications since 1867 for the Senate and the House of Commons – all in English and French. In 2018–2019, we continued a major effort to produce digital versions of parliamentary publications. The project digitized 2,700 items or more than 2.2 million pages – mostly committee documents and historical bills – which are now available through the portal.

In 2017, we launched a renewed Parlinfo; the database was completely redesigned to make it more informative and user‑friendly. Parlinfo is our unique collection of data about the people and events that have made up Canada’s Parliament from 1867 to today. In 2019, we completed a Parlinfo renewal when we added data and functionality that give our clients access to such information as:

  • the roles of parliamentarians since Confederation
  • the history of Canada’s federal ridings
  • a list of all parliamentarians who have served, including fascinating biographical details and links to their speeches, their family ties and much more
Person holding a chalkboard with a question mark written on it in front of their face

Seeking feedback from parliamentarians

One way to make sure the Library stays relevant to Parliament is to get regular feedback from clients. In 2018–2019, we aimed at that goal when we:

  • worked with members of the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament to learn the best ways to get feedback about the products and services we provide – and how we can improve them in the future
  • appeared before the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament to discuss such topics as the Main Estimates, future committee business and the ways in which the closure of Centre Block has affected the Library
  • invited each Senate committee chair to meet with a senior executive to discuss the chair’s views on research support provided by the Library
  • assigned a senior executive to the House of Commons Liaison Committee and its subcommittees
  • invited members of the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament to the renovated Interim Main Library (125 Sparks St.) to show them our new service model

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Public outreach

The Library welcomes visitors to Parliament and educates the public in many ways. Our offerings include guided tours, educational tools, interactive websites and publications for Canadians of all ages.

Welcoming the public to Parliament

Welcome to Parliament booklet coverIn 2018–2019, the Library welcomed visitors to Parliament with guided tours of Centre Block and East Block. We also offered informal tours of the Peace Tower observation deck and Memorial Chamber. New guided tours of the Senate of Canada Building and West Block began on February 1, 2019.

We made many educational products available to teachers, youth and the general public. And we used social media and the web to help Canadians understand how Parliament works.

We conducted a successful national promotional campaign, which helped make the public more aware of the resources, products and services available from Parliament. The campaign also helped us recruit new parliamentary guides and teachers to participate in our annual Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy.

The results from our national campaign include:

16,000

new followers on the Parliament of Canada’s @PARLyouth and @PARLjeunes Facebook pages, for a total of 46,000

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75,000

views on the PARLyouth and PARLjeunes YouTube channels

YouTube logo
1.6 million

views for Our Country, Our Parliament

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Highlights of the Library’s guided tours

Decorative imageCentre Block tours: The Library welcomed more than 308,500 visitors to Centre Block on guided tours between April 2018 and January 2019. Visitors included more than 56,500 students and teachers who discovered the people, history, functions, art and architecture of Parliament.

East Block tours: From July to September 2018, nearly 17,300 visitors explored four heritage rooms restored to their appearance in 1872.

Peace TowerVisits to the Peace Tower observation deck and Memorial Chamber: The Library welcomed the public in 2018–2019 to visit the Peace Tower observation deck and the Memorial Chamber. Our guides provided informal interpretation about Canada’s military contributions and the Books of Remembrance, which honour those who died in service to Canada. More than 154,500 people visited.

Decorative imageLibrary exhibit: Before Centre Block closed, the Library showcased an interactive exhibit called "Landmark Moments: The Stories of Centre Block." The exhibit celebrated the history of this historic building by highlighting important moments and events that took place within its walls and on its steps.

Senate of Canada Building and West Block tours: In February 2019, following the closure of Centre Block to the public, the Library began offering tours of the Senate of Canada Building and West Block. In February and March 2019, we offered tours to more than 7,500 visitors in the Senate of Canada Building and more than 11,800 visitors in West Block.

Price tagParliamentary Boutique: The boutique in Centre Block was closed, and a new boutique with expanded offerings was opened in the Visitor Welcome Centre. We introduced more than 100 new products in 2018–2019 and improved the process for ordering items. This included adding next‑day delivery, and streamlining our credit‑card payment system.

Hiring young Canadians

Poster for the Parliamentary Guide summer work programNearly 300 young Canadians applied for the Library’s Parliamentary Guide summer work program in 2018. The program offers bilingual students a chance to work at the centre of Canadian democracy. It also helps them to work on their public‑speaking and second‑language skills. The Library hired 40 university students from seven provinces to give tours of Centre Block.

In anticipation of the start of tours at the Senate of Canada Building and West Block, the Parliamentary Tour Program expanded its winter 2018 recruitment campaign with a new promotional strategy that included more targeted recruitment of university students in the National Capital Region. As a result, we recruited 32 more guides for winter, for a total of 67.

Another successful Teachers Institute

Attendees at the Teachers Institute with the Speaker of the Senate and Senate staffThe Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy gives 85 teachers from across Canada an inside view of how Parliament works. It is an intense professional development opportunity that results in teachers bringing new knowledge back to their classrooms.

The 22nd edition of the program began with a keynote address from the Honourable Ethel Blondin‑Andrew, who was the first Indigenous woman elected to Parliament. She was also a Secretary of State and a Minister of State in the governments of former prime ministers Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin.

This was the last time before it closed that Centre Block would be the location for the Institute, so Parliament pulled out all the stops to give teachers a special experience.

  • Teachers had an audience with Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined the teachers’ session with the Speaker of the Senate to answer questions from the participants.
  • Teachers toured the new House of Commons Chamber in West Block and listened to a presentation from the House of Commons’ head architect.

Deploying our team of ambassadors

Deploying the team in our Ambassador Program is one of the most significant ways in which the Library reaches out to parliamentarians. The program is especially important when the Library welcomes new senators and members of the House of Commons.

Ambassadors meet with parliamentarians and their staff in person, helping them to understand the Library’s products and services, and building strong relationships. In 2018–2019, Library ambassadors made 30 visits to parliamentarians and their staff and presented to many groups, including Hill partners and staff in research offices.

Parliamentary Poet Laureate Georgette LeBlanc

A parliamentary poet with Acadian roots

The Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Georgette LeBlanc, was highly productive in 2018–2019. She wrote works commissioned by senators and members of the House of Commons, and read in several poetry festivals. She continued the Poem of the Month program and also released a short film, Planet Clare, which presents the Acadian language of the region of Baie Sainte‑Marie, Nova Scotia, and its people.

Georgette LeBlanc is working on a vinyl album – an audio edition of one of her books, Le Grand Feu – that includes original songs. She will release the album in 2019–2020.

Canada’s eighth Poet Laureate, Georgette LeBlanc is the second woman to hold the position. The Parliament of Canada created the Poet Laureate position in 2001.

Leveraging social media

Twitter logoOur Twitter accounts, @LoPInformation and @BDPInformation, grew by 257 followers in 2018–2019, an average of 21 new followers per month. We posted 552 tweets, and the accounts saw 673 retweets and 377 mentions. Our tweets were favorited 661 times.

Instagram logoOur bilingual Instagram account, which we launched in January 2018, now has more than 1,100 followers. Content focused on the Library’s role in the many projects taking place throughout the Parliamentary Precinct following the closure of Centre Block.

LinkedIn logoThe Library’s LinkedIn account has 534 followers, and we use it mainly to find new talent. We also use it to promote the research publications that are most relevant to the people in our professional networks.

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Support services

To give the best possible service to parliamentarians and the public, Library employees need strong support from the organization. We provide this through a variety of services from our finance, human resources, information technology, and publication professionals. We also have the benefit of support from the Library’s general counsel.

Corporate services

Following a successful renewal project in 2017, our corporate services team continued to work closely with other service areas at the Library, deepening the team’s understanding of the roles, challenges and needs of those areas. The result was better engagement with internal clients, and stronger working relationships and alignments with the Library’s parliamentary partners and others.

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About the Library

VISION

To be Parliament’s preferred and trusted source of information and knowledge.

MISSION

The Library of Parliament contributes to Canadian parliamentary democracy by creating, managing and delivering authoritative, reliable and relevant information and knowledge for Parliament.

STRATEGIC OUTCOME

An informed and accessible Parliament.

VISION

To be Parliament’s preferred and trusted source of information and knowledge.

MISSION

The Library of Parliament contributes to Canadian parliamentary democracy by creating, managing and delivering authoritative, reliable and relevant information and knowledge for Parliament.

STRATEGIC OUTCOME

An informed
and accessible
Parliament.

How the Library is organized

SPEAKERS OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF COMMONS

LIBRARY OF PARLIAMENT

PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARIAN

STANDING JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE LIBRARY OF PARLIAMENT

SERVICE AREAS

Parliamentary Information and Research Service

Information and Document Resource Service

Business Support Services

LIBRARY OF
PARLIAMENT

SPEAKERS OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF COMMONS

PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARIAN

STANDING JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE LIBRARY OF PARLIAMENT

SERVICE AREAS

Parliamentary Information and Research Service

Information and Document Resource Service

Business Support Services

SPEAKERS OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF COMMONS

Vested with the direction and control of the Library of Parliament in accordance with the Parliament of Canada Act

STANDING JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE LIBRARY OF PARLIAMENT

Composed of senators and of members of the House of Commons responsible for assisting the Speakers on the operations of the Library

PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARIAN

Exercises control and management of the Library and has the status of a Deputy Head, reporting to the two Speakers

PARLIAMENTARY INFORMATION AND RESEARCH SERVICE

Provides parliamentarians with news, reference, research, and analysis services and oversees the Library’s public education programs and seminars for parliamentarians and their staff

INFORMATION AND DOCUMENT RESOURCE SERVICE

Builds, manages, preserves and optimizes access to the Library’s resources and collections; compiles and disseminates historical information about Parliament and parliamentarians; and acts as the steward for the Parliamentary Poet Laureate

BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICES

Provides business support and services to the Library of Parliament

What we do

The Library of Parliament has five key responsibilities:

  1. Provide customized research and analysis to parliamentarians and their staff
  2. Supply parliamentarians, parliamentary committees and parliamentary associations with the information they need to fulfill their responsibilities
  3. Preserve Parliament’s documentary heritage and ensure access to its collections
  4. Keep parliamentarians informed and up to date, and deliver relevant news and information
  5. Support parliamentarians in their outreach to the public by providing opportunities for Canadians to access, experience and learn about Parliament

Whom we serve

  1. Parliamentarians and their staff
  2. Parliamentary committees and associations
  3. Organizations that support Parliament
  4. The Canadian public on behalf of parliamentarians
Parliamentarians supported by the Library of Parliament1

Senators

105

Members of the House of Commons

338

Total

443

  1. These numbers can vary from year to year due to Senate or House of Commons seats becoming vacant.
Committees1 and associations supported by the Library of Parliament

Senate committees

18

House of Commons committees

29

Joint committees2

3

Parliamentary associations

13

  1. Includes special committees and subcommittees other than those focused on agenda and procedure.
  2. Includes the Joint Interparliamentary Council.

Library of Parliament Executive Committee

Members of the Library of Parliament Executive Committee

Left to right: Sonia Bebbington, Director General, Information and Document Resource Service; JoAnne St‑Gelais, Director General, Business Support Services; Dr. Heather Lank, Parliamentary Librarian; and Catherine MacLeod, Assistant Parliamentary Librarian

 

Financial information

Library of Parliament Budget, 2018–2019

Type of Service

Main Estimates
($)

Supplementary Estimates and Adjustments
($)

Total Authorities
($)

Actual Spending
($)

Parliamentary Information and Research Service

Research and Analysis

11,930,450

212,461

12,142,911

11,573,002

Reference Services

5,347,044

5,347,044

5,388,736

Public
Education Programs1

5,323,866

5,323,866

5,100,919

Information and Document Resource Service

8,403,185

8,403,185

7,920,673

Business Support Services

11,199,171

107,902

11,307,073

12,022,038

Office of the Parliamentary Librarian2

885,883

885,883

876,122

Employee Benefit Plan

4,996,406

(348,505)

4,647,901

4,647,901

Total

48,086,005

(28,142)

48,057,863

47,529,391

  1. Includes Retail Program.
  2. Includes Corporate Communications.

View the audited financial statements pdf (370 kB, 24 pages)

Library of Parliament Spending Trends ($ millions)

43.07
 
 
42.47
 
 
42.44
 

2016–2017

2016– 2017

47.76
 
 
48.27
 
 
45.63
 

2017–2018

2017– 2018

48.09
 
 
48.06
 
 
47.53
 

2018–2019

2018– 2019

Main EstimatesMain estimates

Total AuthoritiesTotal authorities1

Actual SpendingActual spending

Fiscal Year

Main estimates

Total authorities1

Actual spending

2016–2017

43.07

42.47

42.44

2017–2018

47.76

48.27

45.63

2018–2019

48.09

48.06

47.53

  1. Includes Employee Benefit Plan adjustments.