Archives Advisor out of office

Due to some essential electrical work at our office, our Archives Advisor Mary Ellen will be working from home next week. She will be available via email and will be checking phone messages.

She’ll be back in the office after the long weekend!

New Rooms Legislation

Dear ANLA members:

On Wednesday the new version of the Rooms Act received second reading in the House of Assembly. In addition to some housekeeping-type revisions, the bill (Bill 56) revises the structure of The Rooms Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador, in order to make the structure more flexible, by removing the requirement for separate divisions and directors for the archives, museum and art gallery. You can read the discussion about this in Hansard here…/hansa…/ga48session1/16-12-06.htm .

We contacted the minister’s office on Wednesday for an appointment ASAP, and received an invitation 10 minutes later to a meeting on Thursday morning at 11:45 a.m. Present at the meeting were ANLA president Emily Gushue, Minister Mitchelmore, Deputy Minister Ted Lomand, Assistant Deputy minister Carmella Murphy, Senior Policy & Program Development Specialist Christina Harrington and ANLA’s Archives Advisor, Mary Ellen Wright.

When we asked about the changes to the Act the minister said that this change is in line with the structures of the acts of other crown corporations. He states in various places and stated at yesterday’s meeting that this does not mean any change to the way The Rooms actually operates. We indicated that our concern was with what might be made possible by the changes to the act, especially in terms of a revision of the administrative structure and functions of the three sister institutions.

We outlined our concerns as follows:

1. Lack of consultation: In addition to being a significant repository in its own right, The Rooms Provincial Archives Division is an important and influential member of the provincial archival community. That being the case, decisions about its operation have a province-wide impact and should be explored with the community and its representatives. We expressed particular concern about the apparent lack of consultation with the professional archival community or with archives users.

2. The increasing emphasis on exhibits and public programming, which is evident in the revisions, will come at the cost of such essential archival functions as arrangement, description and preservation. This will be much more likely to happen if archives division functions are merged into an overarching “collections” division, as is already reflected in the organization of the Rooms website. The internal operation of The Rooms must recognise the role of the archives – and of the museum and the art gallery – as stewards and preservers of our provincial cultural heritage rather than simply as purveyors of raw material for public programming events. Exhibits and public programming are essential functions for The Rooms, but they are not, and should not be, its driving functions.

3. Lack of context: There is no indication that there has been any review of possible models or precedents for this reorganization. Examples mentioned in the Hansard debate include the Glenbow Museum, which is privately-endowed, and the Royal British Columbia Museum, whose amalgamation with the British Columbia Archives has been fraught with administrative and operational problems. The provision of examples of the proposed alteration to the operative model is essential.

4. Lack of understanding of the nature of archives: While archives do provide curated versions of some of their holdings from time to time, their principal function is as an information resource – for individuals, communities, museums, art galleries, businesses, artists and government, among many others. They do not hold ‘examples’ of things but offer thousands of metres of unique items which must be catalogued in order to be accessible for any purpose. Any implementation of the newly amended legislation must recognize not just the shared functions of The Rooms institutions but their distinctly different functions.

5. The unwarranted speed and the perception of secrecy of the amendment process are also a concern for us: if these amendments are so reasonable and important why could they not have been explored via stakeholder consultation before the bill entered the House? We suggested that the rapid backlash to the suggestion of revisions to the act indicates a breakdown in important community relationships between The Rooms administration and stakeholder groups.

With all that being said, the atmosphere at the meeting was not negative or adversarial. We indicated that as an association we were proud of the accomplishments of the Rooms and were discussing our concerns as people who want the best of standards for our member organization and provincial archival flagship. We told the minister and his colleagues that we would continue to monitor the situation and to push for stakeholder consultation as we saw fit.

If ANLA members have any comments or concerns about this whole affair, please contact both your MHA and the ANLA office.

Emily Gushue
Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives

Coming Soon: Our 6th Annual Symposium!

The Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives presents our sixth


Elsie Holloway: Documenting a Photographer’s Life

Friday, November 18, 2016, 9 a.m. -4 p.m.

Location: The Rooms Theatre, Bonaventure Avenue, St. John’s

Registration: Free (does not include admission to Rooms exhibits)

Parking Permits available

Elsie Holloway was Newfoundland and Labrador’s first female commercial photographer. Join us as we explore the many aspects of her life – artist, businesswoman, daughter and student – using the resources of our archival community.

Presenters include:

Archivist Sandra Ronayne

Photographer Mannie Bucheit

Librarian and researcher Suzanne Sexty

Geographer Jo Shawyer

Librarian and bibliographer Elizabeth Browne

Writer Jenny Higgins,

Photographer Edith Cuerrier

Folklorist Cynthia Boyd


To register, contact the ANLA office:

Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives

P.O. Box 23155, St. John’s, NL A1B 4J9

Telephone: (709) 726-2867; e-mail:


Global Preservation Assessments Available

Global Preservation Assessments Available

Through a project funded by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Cultural Economic Development Program (CEDP) ANLA has received funds to conduct global preservation assessments for five member institutions.

A global preservation assessment (GPA) is a comprehensive assessment of the impact of activities and facilities on the conservation of holdings. The analysis and recommendations in the final report will provide the foundation for further preservation initiatives. This is a useful document to present to funders and sponsoring  institutions: it makes practical recommendations for storage and environmental improvements which can often be implemented at minimal cost.

Under this CEDP-funded project, Global Preservation Assessments will be free of charge.

The initial selection will consist of one institution per ANLA membership region:  St. John’s/Avalon, Eastern, Central. Western and Labrador ( as defined by the NL Tourism guide). Criteria will include:

  • ANLA membership in good standing
  • CEDP eligibility
  • No GPA within the last 10 years
  • Order of receipt
  • If no applications are received from any particular region,  ANLA will consider applications from other regions in order of receipt.

Institutions selected for a GPA will be sent a copy of the preliminary assessment guide form, which must be completed prior to the on-site assessment.  The questionnaire must be completed before the conservator’s visit.

If you have never had a GPA done, or if you have not had one done the last 10 years I would strongly advise that you consider taking advantage of this opportunity.

For more information please contact the ANLA office.

Young Canada Works internship applications open again!

From the Canadian Council of Archives:

“The Department of Canadian Heritage is pleased to announce a new investment of $1.4 million in Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage for 2016-2017 in order to fund the creation of additional graduate internships in heritage fields such as archival institutions and libraries.

This new investment will allow the Canadian Council of Archives to fund 18 new internship positions for Canadian archival institutions and 8 new internship positions for Canadian libraries operating in English.”

For more information, visit


The Annual General Meeting and Luncheon for the Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives will be held in the Oak Room  at the Lantern, 35 Barnes Road StJohn’s, commencing at 9:30 a.m. Payment of membership fees for 2015-2016 welcomed. (We ask that you fill out a membership renewal form.)

Parking is available onsite. RSVP to the ANLA office.

Luncheon:  12:30 pm – 2 p.m. Cost to members: $15.00   RSVP requiredplease contact the ANLA office by May 24 if you wish to attend the luncheon. Please mention any dietary restrictions.

Menu: Soup, sandwiches and dessert

 Stay tuned for more information about the day`s events.

Attached is a nomination form for the ANLA Board of Directors. Any member of the Association in good standing is eligible to hold office in the Association, with the exception of employees of the Association. Nominations must be signed by the candidate, a nominator and a seconder, all of whom must be members in good standing. Elections will be held at ANLA ’s Annual General Meeting on May 27, 2015.


ANLA is moving again!

We are moving!

As of April 1 our new home will be 200 Military Road, above the Basilica offices in St. John’s.

Due to a few minor construction issues we will not actually be in our new space until mid-April, but we are still up and running. Contact us via e-mail or leave a message on our machine and we’ll get back to you.

Hoping to see you in our new space!

Notice from the President: Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

Hello all!

As we’re coming to the end of our Strategic Planning cycle and about to start another, we thought it was a good time to bring people together for a little celebration. Please join us for a free lunch between 12-2 on March 11 in the City Archives. If you have any ideas or suggestions for the new strategic plan, please bring those with you. (Suggestions may be submitted anonymously). If not, we’ll simply enjoy a little midday break.

Attached is a copy of the last strategic plan, which was for 2010-2015.
We’d like to open this event to everyone working in archives. Feel free to share this invite with your colleagues who may not be ANLA members.

Please RSVP (709) 726- 2867 or

For those of you who can’t make the lunch, we welcome your comments and suggestions by email, mail or telephone.