Library and Archives Canada
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About Us

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LAC at a Glance

At Library and Archives Canada (LAC) we are passionate about engaging Canadians in understanding the past, and in preserving today's memories for future generations.

We build Canada's cultural memory into our collections, which are representative of our diversity, and interpret it through our programs, events and exhibitions.

We provide access to Canada's documentary heritage and preserve it for the future. Our Canadian heritage includes published works, archival records, sound and audiovisual materials, photographs, artworks and electronic publications such as websites.

We manage Canada's knowledge resources by harnessing the digital revolution. We provide the tools of discovery and the access to our most precious national resource-information. We work closely with other archives and libraries to provide access to these materials as widely as possible.

Building and interpreting Canada's cultural memory through...

Community Outreach

LAC offers a wide variety of public programming including on-site, virtual and travelling exhibitions as well as special events. Each year, LAC digitizes millions of items, many of which are showcased in LAC's virtual exhibitions and elsewhere on the website.

The Friends of Library and Archives Canada

This group of volunteers raises awareness of the LAC collections. One of the ways they do this is by organizing the popular Kaleidoscope series of public talks by collection specialists. The Friends also support LAC by raising funds for the acquisition of rare and valuable archival and library materials, such as the Winkworth Collection.

LAC Forum on Canadian Democracy

The Forum combines live and online programming to connect Canadians with their political and civic history. The website highlights key LAC collections and expertise and is a venue for specialists across Canada to share their knowledge. The live component features exhibitions, conferences, symposia and other events to promote civic dialogue.

Learning Centre

The Learning Centre provides teachers and their students with websites, educational resources, thematic study guides and digitized primary sources. This programming, available online and on site, is designed to stimulate the imaginations of students and develop their critical thinking skills, as well as help teachers make Canadian history, literature and music come to life.

Portrait Gallery of Canada

Part history museum, part art gallery, and part archives, the Portrait Gallery holds a unique collection of documentary art, such as paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, photographs and medals. The Gallery's program of acquisitions and travelling exhibitions, educational initiatives and community partnerships celebrates those who have shaped and continue to shape this country.

Preserving and providing access to Canada's documentary heritage through...

Genealogy and Family History

The Centre offers genealogical services to Canadian genealogists and family historians. Services include advice, research tools and a beginner's guide for genealogy enthusiasts. The Centre has developed partnerships with various organizations in the genealogy community, universities, libraries, private firms and not-for-profit sector.

Equitable Access

There are at least three million Canadians with print disabilities who need publications in Braille, audio, large print or electronic text format. Through the Initiative for Equitable Library Access, LAC will develop and determine the cost of a strategy for implementing nationwide partnerships, activities and services to meet the long-term library and information access needs of Canadians with print disabilities.

Providing Access to Canada's Documentary Heritage

Whatever their interests or goals, researchers can count on LAC's reference services to find what they are looking for. They can use online search engines to find items from LAC's vast collections. They can also reserve items in advance, and, in some cases, photograph them on site or purchase reproductions or photocopies.

Electronic Collection and Theses Canada

LAC's electronic collection contains Canadian websites, books and periodicals published online. Canadian theses and dissertations, many of which are in electronic form, are acquired and preserved in co-operation with Canadian universities.

LAC Preservation Centre

This state-of-the-art facility provides an optimum storage environment and advanced laboratories for Canada's documentary heritage collection. The staff of this Centre are experts in the fields of documentary heritage preservation and digitization.

Managing Canada's knowledge resources through...

Government Records and Publications

LAC identifies, manages and preserves Government of Canada records, including electronic records, to ensure the Government's accountability to Canadians. In 2005, LAC began taking snapshots of Canadian government websites, and these are available online in the Government of Canada Web Archive.

Digital Leadership

LAC is pursuing online access to Canada's accumulated knowledge through several strategies and initiatives including the Canadian Digital Information Strategy. The Canada Project, a first initiative of this strategy, aims to digitize and provide access to Canada's published heritage.

The LAC collection...

  • 20 million books, periodicals, newspapers, microfilms, literary texts and government publications
  • 167,000 linear metres of government and private textual records
  • 3 million architectural drawings, maps and plans
  • 24 million photographs
  • 350,000 hours of film
  • 425,000 pieces of art, including paintings, drawings, watercolours, posters, prints, medals and caricatures
  • 547,000 musical items
  • more than a billion megabytes of digital content

... and growing!

Visit Library and Archives Canada. We hold many treasures, host a variety of exhibitions and public events and offer guided tours. Discover Canada's heritage and share your experience with a friend.

How to reach us

Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N4

Tel.: 613-996-5115 or
1-866-578-7777 (toll free in Canada and the US)

TTY: 613-992-6969 or
1-866-299-1699 (toll free in Canada and the US)

Fax: 613-995-6274