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Advocating for CISTI
If an MP’s office receives 100 calls of concern about a topic, they take notice. If you can only 1 thing, send an email to the PMO email@example.com
Here is a letter written by Cathy Rament:
March 20, 2009
Dear Prime Minister,
CISTI is a primary resource for all the medical, science and technical libraries in every province of Canada. Harm done to this irreplaceable library will hurt all of the medical and science libraries in Canada, and that will hurt Canadian clinicians and medical researchers. The bottom-line is that patients—the Canadian public—will definitely be hurt if these clinicians and researchers don’t get the literature and evidence they need.
Why will cuts to CISTI hurt other libraries?
Like the BC Cancer Agency Library, most Canadian medical, scientific and technical libraries depend on CISTI’s services and collections. CISTI has collected material that is not otherwise available in Canada. Small libraries such as mine do not have the budgets necessary to purchase all the journals and other resources our clients need. We depend on larger, better funded and more diverse library collections to provide our researchers and clinicians with access (as-needed) to resources we don’t own. Even large academic libraries cannot purchase or subscribe to everything their research community requires. Libraries work collectively to overcome their resource limitations, and share resources using a system called inter-library-loan (ILL).
Using my library as a concrete example, this fiscal year the BCCA spent over $3000 to obtain ILLs from CISTI, for articles published in journals we do not own, and that are not held by other Canadian academic libraries. If CISTI doesn’t own the items needed, we try to obtain the articles from large US libraries such as the federal National Library of Medicine, and we pay double or triple the price. The $3000 we spent bought us 600 articles and book loans. If we had gone to American libraries to borrow all these items, we would only have been able to obtain 200 to 300 items … or we’d have had to find a way to pay ~$9000 for them. Either option is untenable – either for our researchers or for our library budget.
By decimating CISTI’s budget, its extensive collections will be cut, and within a very short time this reliable, national library service will be unable to assist in supplying resources to hundreds of other Canadian libraries.
CISTI’s collections and its document delivery services are essential to researchers and health care providers working at publicly-funded Canadian institutions. The cuts proposed by the federal budget will undermine CISTI’s effectiveness as a national resource for other Canadian institutions. Cuts to CISTI’s budget will actually increase the cost to the Canadian taxpayer of providing our research community with access to the vital information it needs.
As a taxpayer, I appreciate that the federal government is trying to administer our tax dollars as wisely and effectively as possible. However, cuts to NRC and CISTI are a false economy. I implore you to reconsider a budget cut that will have much more far-reaching implications than expected.