Guy Berthiaume

Spring 2021 Honorary Degree Recipient

Doctor of Laws (honoris causa)

When Canadians seek to understand who we are — as a country, as communities and as individuals — one crucial source of knowledge is Libraries and Archives Canada, the custodian of our distant past and recent history. Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada Emeritus, is an internationally recognized leader whose passion and commitment to the preservation of our cultural memory is unparalleled. A highly regarded historian specializing in the study of classical antiquity, Dr. Berthiaume is an accomplished scholar and administrator, inexhaustible and enthusiastic in his efforts to increase access to Canadian cultural heritage. Under his leadership, Libraries and Archives Canada has become an internationally recognized institution, but more importantly, it has become a more collaborative and accessible destination, both physically and virtually, to all who seek to know Canada.

A native of Montréal, Dr. Berthiaume began his studies there, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1972 from the Université du Québec à Montréal. He went on to complete his Master of Arts at Université Laval in 1973 and his Doctorate from Université Paris VIII in 1976. After 20 years working at the Université du Quèbec and Université de Montréal, he became Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec in 2009. 

In 2014, Dr. Berthiaume took the helm at Libraries and Archives Canada. He has successfully reimagined this important national institution by strategically shifting its view outwards and connecting to an increasingly diverse public. Through his work, Libraries and Archives Canada has been revitalized, expanding its use of innovative technology and fostering crucial partnerships among the entire galleries, libraries, archives and museums sector, including here at Dalhousie University. He has forged productive and respectful relationships with Indigenous communities through the formation of the Indigenous Advisory Council, the creation of positions for seven Indigenous Archivists across Canada, and the launch of the “Listen, Hear Our Voices” oral history program for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities to record their stories, among other initiatives. He has elicited wide participation from Canadians in the Archives’ public programming and interactive activities such as Co-Lab, a crowd-sourcing tool which allows users to transcribe, tag, translate and describe digitized images in the Archives’ collection.

Dr. Berthiaume has been recognized for his accomplishments with numerous awards, including Knight of the Ordre des Palmes académiques of the French Republic, the medal of the Centre Jacques Cartier, Officer of the Ordre des Artes et des Lettres of the French Republic and the Award for Distinguished Service to Research Librarianship from the Canadian Association of Research Libraries. He has been granted honorary doctorates from Université Jean Monnet in Saint-Étienne, France and the University of Ottawa. He is a member of the Order of Canada, and has held senior roles in a number of national and international boards and organizations in his field.