What happens when a government values its library

Restored Library of Parliament, Ottawa.

The Government of Canada recently spent $136 million restoring and upgrading our national parliamentary library. (See a video of the entire process here.) Like B.C.’s Legislative Library, the Library of Parliament is located in its own wing of the parliament buildings and boasts spectacular architecture. Unlike B.C.’s Legislative Library, the Library of Parliament is valued by its caretakers for its role in providing vital information to lawmakers and for its beauty and heritage value.

Not only was the Library of Parliament restored architecturally, it was upgraded to modern archival standards to ensure that its contents would be preserved for future generations. Workers cut through the bedrock to expand the library’s basements and new systems were installed to provide a climate-controlled environment for the collection. The result is a more secure, more efficient library that continues to be the jewel of Parliament Hill.

There is no reason why B.C. shouldn’t attempt a similar project. Our Legislative Library was built during a boom time. We are experiencing another such boom, with large budget surpluses every year and more on the horizon. This is the time to talk about expanding the library, not downsizing it.

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