It looks as if Ireland is to follow Canada in amalgamating its national archives and national library. However, the driver appears to be financial rather than functional, and it is one of several organizational consolidations being pushed through by the Irish Government. The news came in the 2009 budget announcement as part of a package of proposals in the arts. Here is how The Times reported the change ….
“From the point of view of the arts this budget is an unmitigated disaster,” said artist Robert Ballagh.
“The cutback in Arts Council funding will undoubtedly lead to infrastructural destruction, with irreparable consequences. I cannot see anything to be gained from this hare-brained amalgamation of the National Gallery, the Crawford Gallery and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) other than a saving in photocopying expenses.”
The National Library of Ireland, the National Archives and the Manuscripts Commission will also be amalgamated, with Martin Cullen, the arts minister, saying the fusion “will lead to economies of scale and costs”. The announcement has caused widespread confusion as to what the practical consequences will be. [Artists caught up in Lenihan’s tax net – Times Online]
Here is how Library and Archives Canada describes itself:
Library and Archives Canada collects and preserves Canada’s documentary heritage, and makes it accessible to all Canadians. This heritage includes publications, archival records, sound and audio-visual materials, photographs, artworks, and electronic documents such as websites. As part of our mandate, we work closely with other archives and libraries to acquire and share these materials as widely as possible. [About Us – Library and Archives Canada]