A response from the Speaker

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Bill Barrisof, has responded to comments made by former head librarian Joan Barton (see here for her comments in the Times-Colonist).

Decision on library not made

Times Colonist
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I am surprised and dismayed by comments made by retired legislative librarian Joan Barton on the prospect of relocating the legislative library.

In a 1988 report on the legislative library, resubmitted in 1992 to then-Speaker Joan Sawicki, Barton herself recommends to “build a new library on the Armouries site with modern facilities to meet the conditions of the 21st century to improve library efficiency and free up space in the present building for the office needs of MLAs.”

She saw that the demands for space in the building and the demands of the library itself would continue to grow.

That demand still remains. In the past 20 years the number of MLAs has risen from 65 to 79.

An Electoral Boundaries Commission report due later this year could recommend increasing that number by up to six more MLAs.

Space requirements in the buildings are a challenge, but how to resolve that challenge is yet to be decided.

A seismic upgrade for the library is our first priority in order to ensure the safety of the staff and documents.

Beyond that, it will be up to an all-party committee of MLAs to decide how best the legislative precinct can serve the legislative assembly and the public.

The legislature and its library are important to us all and represent a proud tradition.

Jumping to conclusions without the facts does a great disservice to that tradition.

Bill Barisoff,
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

Curiously, Barisoff does not mention the other 1988 report that concluded that moving the library off-site would not solve the space problem back when there were only 65 MLAs.


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