Call for Pilot Libraries

LAC-BAC has again, as announced at the meeting in Halifax, agreed to fund up to 4 more pilot libraries to offer Lest We Forget. The hope building on the success of the first four (thank you Fraser Valley, Winnipeg, Burlington and Toronto) is that LAC-BAC can then develop some simple operational plan for all libraries to be able to share the military records with their communities through Lest We Forget Workshops.

To this end we are seeking libraries who are willing to be pilot libraries.  Below you will find a list of requirements and resources that LAC has provided. The idea is that this will help you decide about your ability to be a pilot site starting this autumn.

If you can confirm back your continued interest by June 17th along with a proposed program contact(s) and specifically what branch or branches you would anticipate delivering the workshops in.  LAC will then work with CULC/CBUC to determine the best fit for the pilot based on the following:  a)  those who have expressed interest, b)  where LAC has pre-expressed interest from school boards/schools, c) where LAC can best support through third party contacts and local LAC archival activities, and d) where the pilot results will build on the first-round of experiences (regionally, linguistically, structure of school/public library relationship.  The plan is for each pilot site to be able to reach at least 300 local students in the pilot community/area.

Up to four pilots will be chosen.  Contracting timelines are not yet known.

Requirements for Libraries

The “Lest We Forget” project puts the local public library in the centre of the community, allowing it to provide a service of benefit to many local stakeholders (veterans, genealogists, historians, school boards, teachers, and students in the area).

Each workshop is about 2 hours itself; set-up and clean-up additional. First round pilots added elements in partnership with the school including a trip to the local cenotaph; war monuments; legion; cemetery, etc.

Training will be provided by LAC.  A final report will need to be completed by the participating libraries that will feed into a larger report to help inform the next stages of development of this program for delivery across Canada.

Facility and Resources

  • 1 workshop room (can hold up to 35 persons / one classroom). Preferably lockable, if originals being used, and separated from main library area. Room may be the computer area if adequate table space and chairs are available
  • 12 small tables or 6-7 large tables; 35 existing chairs (students ideally in clusters of 4)
  • 2+ computers with internet access and video projector** (preferred, but not critical). Available for online research if needed, though on-site workshop is more about physical document review)
  • 7-10 magnifying glasses to be shared by students (can obtain at “Dollar Store” vendors)
  • 30 pencils, 5-10 small plastic baskets (for holding pencils and magnifying glasses)
  • Access to a photocopier/printer (printer should be preferably colour and laser)
  • Small print budget (reg forms; informational booklets; 3 pages of printing for student handout).  This is variable depending on what the teacher has ordered from LAC. This is maximum.

** It is preferable for “Workshop Coordinator” to introduce the workshop by walking through a PDF (electronic) version of a military file on a laptop computer with video projector (though this is not necessary as this introduction can be done without computer/projector by simply holding up a sample military file and explaining the common records enclosed).

Local Contacts

The library needs to have connection and relations, or ability to build them, with:

  • local high schools (preferably publicly-funded and independent)
  • local military service groups
  • local history or similar groups who might be able to build on the experience for the kids. 



  1. The library needs to appoint a project leader who can serve as the contact for LAC-BAC staff and CULC/CBUC.

Each workshop will require 2 staff members for each delivery.

  1. Workshop Support (typically front end staff member)
    Primary functions: confirm registration; meet group; liaise with the school about military records order form; liaise with LAC for originals, digitization and/or reproductions)
  2. Workshop Co-ordinator (typically a professional librarian and experienced program deliverer to the public, students (Gr 9-12) and teachers)
    Primary functions:

    • co-ordinating with “Workshop Support” (front desk / info desk staff) on upcoming workshop Setup of room for workshop (original military service files laid out if reproductions not ordered, magnifying glasses, student handouts, feedback forms, pencils).
    • (each workshop is approx. ½ day of work including setup, workshop, post-workshop work)
    • Interact with a LAC archivist onsite during workshops, if they are located near one of LAC’s records centres, where possible
    • Administer the workshop and ensure the teacher and student wash their hands before handling the documents; explain how documents are to be carefully handled
    • Support the teacher and students during the workshop in deciphering difficult-to-read writing, to the best of their ability (they do not need to be an expert in this area)
    • Submit feedback/attendance statistics periodically throughout the year and coordinate with CULC and LAC on promotion of the program with school boards, local genealogy groups, historians, etc. (useful if the library has an existing communication plan (or bulletin) and outreach strategy, can include this workshop as an item)

Note: it is possible to coordinate the workshop with 1 staffperson if these duties are combined. It is preferable to have two staffpersons for coverage. It is useful to have both staff cross-trained so that they understand each other’s role (once trained, they can do this for each other at their convenience).

Just released — OVERDUE: The Case for Canada’s Public Libraries is the product of three years of CUI’s engagement with Canada’s urban public libraries alongside @culc_cbuc.
Read the report at:

Now Accepting Applications for the Public Library Leaders program:

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