Scholars, MLAs, Citizens Oppose Library Closure

Here are some recent letters to the Victoria Times-Colonist:

Closure threatens research
Times Colonist
Sunday, March 25, 2007

The long-term or permanent closure of the legislative library will seriously undermine the ability of historians to investigate the many aspects of B.C.’s past.

A heavy price for any extended closure would also be paid by current and future graduate students attending the University of Victoria and other B.C. universities. The library holds a vast amount of historical material available nowhere else in the province. The legislative library, in short, is vital to the way historians practise their craft here.

As someone who has relied upon the facility for nearly 20 years, I view any reduction of service with great concern. Journalists, scholars and concerned citizens, to say nothing of bureaucrats and policy-makers, should resist any threat to the institution.

Dr. Richard A. Rajala,
History department,
University of Victoria.

Library closing a shameful contradiction
Times Colonist
Thursday, March 29, 2007

Coverage of the pending closure or relocation of the legislative library reminded me of another closure of another important source of our provincial heritage records.

Doesn’t this remind you of how the Land Title Office was closed and moved out of Victoria? Considering that our city is deemed to be the capital of British Columbia, and therefore, keepers of the province’s treasured historical records, I find this latest pending action to be a travesty of the same impact, and a total contradiction to our responsibility.

I’ve heard that our premier is extremely supportive of the importance of literature in the life of every British Columbian, of any and every age.

I’m disappointed that schools are cutting back or phasing out professional school librarians (and relying on parent volunteers instead) and the closure or moves of these other important treasures and records in provincial care are being stored or otherwise unavailable.

From what I’ve seen of these “changes,” it’s a shameful contradiction and one that I’m sure will cause much regret in the future.

Anne Carlson,

Move the library to a new building
Times Colonist
Thursday, March 29, 2007

Instead of simply saying no to the proposed closure of the legislative library, I think there is an opportunity here for us to have an eyesore removed from near our cherished legislature.

I am speaking about the hideously ugly “temporary” buildings erected behind the legislature in the 1950s.

The clear win/win is to tear down these 50-year-old temporary tin and clapboard structures and build a new office building that would house a larger and more publicly accessible legislative library while at the same time allow for the required expansion of office space for the politicians and their staff within the legislature.

Michael Geoghegan,

Don’t desecrate this historic site
Times Colonist
Thursday, March 29, 2007

Perhaps the provincial government has decided against destroying the purpose of Francis Rattenbury’s magnificent legislative library. If more room is required for MLAs and staff then the government and opposition should use a bit of imagination.

The current elected members are but fleeting users of the parliament buildings. The legislative library has a 144-year occupancy and is one of the treasures of the people of B.C.

Common sense and respect, please, members of the assembly. No desecration of one of our important historical sites.

Jim Nielsen,
MLA 1975-1986,

Wonderful resource with excellent staff
Times Colonist
Friday, March 30, 2007

I wish to express my deep concern at the provincial government’s plan to change the legislative library from its original purpose as a wonderful reference source with excellent staff.It was always a delight to walk into that beautiful room. I know that many other former members also share my concern.

Eileen Dailly,
MLA 1966-1986,


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