Apparently this is not the first time that a B.C. government has eyed the library wing as a way to expand office space in the parliament buildings. In the late 1980’s, Matrix Planning Associates was contracted to study this option, and here is a summary of their findings:
The Legislative Library occupies 3500 m2 on four levels of the Legislative Building South Wing. The purpose of our study was to examine the potential to release some of the space for alternative uses. Analysis focused on determining possible reductions in the Library’s collection and identifying functions that could be relocated outside of the Legislative Buildings. We also assessed the suitability of the released space for use by other Legislative functions. We concluded that, while reductions were identified, reassigning space occupied by the Library did not offer a ready solution to escalating space needs and it may be best to consider all demands on the Legislative Buildings in an overall, long term strategic development plan. Completed in 1988.
It is 20 years later now and officials are still looking for quick and dirty solutions to difficult, long-term problems. Adding on to the parliament buildings would certainly be expensive but it makes far more sense than cannibalizing the legislative library. Consider that there were 14 fewer MLAs when Matrix concluded that converting the public library to private offices would not solve the space problem. To think that it would solve the problem now is ludicrous. It was a short-sighted plan in 1988 and it is still a short-sighted plan in 2007. The difference is that the politicians of 2007 have this taxpayer-paid report to refer to; they have only to ask for it. This is a prime example of why the legislative library and its librarians are sorely needed by MLAs in order to give us good government.