7 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 300 2020 2. Taking It to the Streets: The Ottawa Summit (2016) Recognizing this new landscape, the heads of two of the most representative institutions of the Canadian GLAM community—Library and Archives Canada and the Canadian Museums Association— decided to hold a public event to raise awareness among their own stakeholders, as well as among decision-makers in the public and private sectors, about the relevance and importance of GLAM in the so-called cultural ecosystem. At this point in time, despite some significant local initiatives, notably in Victoria, British Columbia, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Canadian GLAM group as a whole had not yet worked together in a systematic and structured way. It should also be noted that, in the United States, initiatives supported by the Mellon Foundation had begun to emerge in previous years, but these were focused solely on collaboration among GLAMs in academia, whereas the Canadian public event was intended to encompass the entire sector. It was felt by the organizers that an effective way to mark the territory would be to hold a major conference called a GLAM Summit, and to hold it in Ottawa, the country’s capital, in order to give it maximum visibility. Thus, on December 6, 2016, on a cold Canadian winter’s day, nearly 300 participants and some 30 speakers, a good number of them from outside Canada, met for the summit whose theme was: “Taking It to the Streets: Summit on the Value of Libraries, Archives and Museums in a Changing World.” The summit organizers asked this group to consider some tough questions, such as: In a society where digital access is everywhere, why should we build new libraries? Or, since virtual museums offer culture and history to people across the country and around the world—who needs the expense of bricks and mortar? And what about archives—can’t you get everything you need from their own platforms, or those of Ancestry or Findmypast?
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