Page 144

May Advocate 2017

462 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 3 M A Y 2 0 1 7 THE ADVOCATE While some MLAs use the library more than others, all of them are welcome in a non-partisan environment, whether to gather or to reflect. The reading material available to them includes not only the weighty matters described above, but also for occasional respite a selection of other titles including fiction, cooking, gardening and travel. These titles primarily feature Canadian content (both subject matter and authors), but wider literature can also be found in the collection. In addition, the Legislative Library collection includes community newspapers to provide MLAs temporarily residing in Victoria a link to their respective communities. The service that Legislative Library staff provides is timely and nonpartisan. Although the resources that staff use in answering questions are public—for example, its collection of government documents includes only such materials as have been published—the questions that members pose are treated as confidential. The Library Wing is also open to members of the public when the Legislative Assembly is not in session, though it is best to call in advance to ensure it is open for a visit. Public in-person access is through the Main Entrance at the front of the Parliament Buildings. The route through the Parliament Buildings to the Library Wing, which is at the back, leads past the Memorial Rotunda, the Legislative Chamber and fine stained-glass windows. Subject to time constraints arising from its obligations to serve its principal clients, library staff also answers questions from the public by email and telephone even when public in-person access is not available during legislative sittings. The Legislative Library has a strong tradition of public service and engagement. It was the first provincial library in Canada to establish (in 1898) a travelling library service. Cases of materials were loaned for a fee ($6 per case) to areas across the province without library services; materials were even loaned to ships. Library staff members were also among the volunteers for a World War II service that sent books to armed forces stations throughout Vancouver Island; the Library Wing was essentially the headquarters of that service.5 The Legislative Library’s multiple purposes are reflected in the Legislative Library Act.6 The statute provides that “the books, papers, furniture, stationery and other articles in the possession of the Legislative Assembly on April 11, 1894, and all additions to that collection, belong to Her Majesty for the use of the Legislative Assembly, and are known as the Legislative Library of British Columbia”.7 (Correspondingly, “the library must be kept conveniently near the Legislative Chamber” and “the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly has management and control of the library and of its officers and employees”.8) At the same time, the statute provides that if not


May Advocate 2017
To see the actual publication please follow the link above