August 21, 2015 6:37 pm
Updated: August 24, 2015 8:53 pm

Scientist group denounces closure of Lethbridge Research Centre library


WATCH ABOVE: It came as startling news to many, when the Agriculture and Agri-food Lethbridge Research Centre, announced the centre’s federal science library has been closed. With details on how this happened, and how those involved are reacting, here’s Matt Battochio.

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LETHBRIDGE – The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) is sounding the alarm over the closure of the federal science library at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Lethbridge Research Centre.

According to PIPSC, the library closure means 48 Agriculture Canada scientists, 85 technicians and visiting workers and students have lost access to decades of specialized agricultural and scientific information.  The losses will affect studies in many sectors, including beef, rangeland and greenhouse gases.

“It is time Canadians understood the cumulative loss to federal science-and this week to agricultural science, in particular-of a government whose priorities are clearly out of step with both public scientists and the public interest,” said PIPSC president Debi Daviau in a statement.

The union said a total of 16 federal science libraries have been lost since 2012 – all due to cuts, closures and consolidations.

Local NDP candidate Cheryl Meheden also took issue with the closure.

“Scientists, researchers and also the visiting public had access to this Library, and now they don’t,” said Meheden. “Yes, some of this information has been sent to other libraries, but that’s not very convenient for those people who need access to it.”

While critics say most of the documents were either thrown in the dumpster, or recycled. Senior Media Relations Officer with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Patrick Girard, offered this explanation.

“The Government of Canada is modernizing the delivery of library services by moving towards a digital service delivery model, while keeping all materials of business value to all employees, including our scientists. This will allow for easier and cost efficient search and access to library resources by employees, no matter their location,” said Girard in a statement.

Global News reached out to Lethbridge Conservative candidate Rachael Harder, but her campaign said she was unavailable for comment.

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