“Library captures B.C.’s history”

A letter to the editor from the Victoria Times-Colonist:

Library captures B.C.’s history

Times Colonist

The reception area of the legislative library creates a dazzling first impression for the visitor. Many letter writers question the government's reasoning behind a proposal to move the library and its collection to another site.
CREDIT: Ray Smith, Times Colonist
The reception area of the legislative library creates a dazzling first impression for the visitor. Many letter writers question the government’s reasoning behind a proposal to move the library and its collection to another site.

Access to the valuable resources in the legislative library is difficult enough due to the increased security measures at the legislature. The removal to another site may require further restrictions similar to those found in the provincial archives.

One of the advantages of the current library system is that, with the assistance of the librarian, one may “browse” through documents which relate the history and precedents of our parliamentary system before the existence of Hansard.

Using a system based upon that in the archives leaves the researcher dependent upon the cataloger’s opinion of what are the “key subject” words and oftimes leads the researcher astray.

For example, somewhere within the dungeons of the library lies the Report of the Select Committee of January/February 1895 which relates the problems the building contractor, Frederick Adams, was having with Francis Rattenbury or, to quote Premier Theodore Davie, “There is always trouble with contractors.” Published but lost, it cannot be found in archives but should be somewhere within the library.

Also, I’m sure that there is a report as to how, during the construction of the legislative library itself, 1911 to 1914, William John Bowser, Conservative member for Vancouver and then Attorney General, had, in 1912, a home constructed on Terrace Avenue (designed by Samuel Maclure) using the same contractors (McDonald and Wilson) and incorporating the same stone used on the partially constructed library. Makes someone’s back deck seem insignificant in comparison.

I hope that the matter of the closure or relocation be given careful consideration. The use of the library in its present form serves the public, students of political science and research and communications staff within the legislature.

The loss of this resource would be a serious one and the matter should be given careful consideration before proceeding.

Ken Johnson,

Victoria.

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