Letter to the editor of the Vancouver Sun:
Barbarians threaten legislative library
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Re: Historic legislative library faces uncertain fate, Westcoast News, March 17
The legislative library is an architectural treasure. Specifically designed to house a library, this is more than a building, it is grand, illustrious and noble, lifting soul and spirit. I never fail to go there when visiting Victoria.
And now it is to be converted to offices. Is someone mad? It is akin to turning Christ Church Cathedral into shops or Stanley Park into a condo strip. Is nothing sacred? Have we no regard for history, culture, beauty? Barbarians are in the garden city.
B.C. is about to lose a historic treasure that is also a gold mine of information. As a former member of the B.C. press gallery, I found the legislature library to be an invaluable resource when researching articles for the Victoria Times Colonist and later when reporting for television under tight deadlines.
The library’s central location is crucial since reporters often have very little time to spare, much like MLAs preparing for committee work, legislative debates and question period. It’s important to have immediate access to materials.
In addition, I believe the library should be maintained in its prominent location in the heart of the legislature for symbolic reasons. The B.C. government should be applauded for its recent efforts promoting literacy. But if we allow the library to be shut down or shunted aside to an ancillary building, it sends a signal that we as a province do not hold libraries in high regard.
Of course, a library is only as good as its staff. At the B.C. legislature library, the level of service is exemplary. The librarians were always most helpful, ensuring I got my facts straight. I hate to think what their loss will do to the quality of research by reporters, MLAs and legislative staff.