BC Sessional Papers

REPORT ON THE LEGISLATIVE LIBRARY. British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1895

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 58 Vict. Legislative Library Report. 495
Victoria, December 5th, 1894.
To the Honourable the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
Sir,—I have the honour, on behalf of the Commissioners of the Legislative Library, to
submit my first annual report.
The Library, as re-organized, has been in existence about twelve months, and during that
time there have been added about 1,200 bound volumes and a very large number of publications
in paper form, including pamphlets and official reports of various kinds.
During the early part of the year there were printed and distributed a number of circulars
asking for co-operation in the line of historical research and reminiscences pertaining to the
early life of the Province and of the West. I am pleased to state that there were a number
of responses and some valuable contributions.
Communication was had with the various Secretaries of the Provincies of the Dominion,
of the Colonies of Great Britain—Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa—of a number of
the States of the Union, and of a large number of scientific and other associations, with a
view to exchange, with the result that the Library has been placed on the exchange list of all
the countries in question, and is now receiving their official publications, and a number of
associations have responded with their reports and publications issued under their auspices.
Among the latter are the Royal Colonial and Imperial Institutes, the Royal Act Society, the
Royal Society of Literature, the Smithsonian Institute, the National Association for the
Promotion of Industrial and Technical Education, the Land Nationalization Society, the
Imperial Federation League, the Cobden Club, the Iron and Steel Institute, the Royal
Horticultural Society, the Historical Society of Manitoba, and others. Through the kindness
of the Honourable the United States Consul at Victoria, the official reports of the United
States are being received. A set of the reports of the United States Fisheries Commission
has been contributed, and, by request, the various departments of agriculture in the
Dominion have forwarded files of their reports and official bulletins.
It is in contemplation, when the bindery department of the Government Printing Office
is in operation, to have these bound and properly indexed.
The lack of any works relating to the discovery, early history, etc., of the Province, and
of the western country as a whole, in a Provincial library suggested the desirability of
securing a collection which in a measure would contain our own history.
A systematic effort has been made to secure as many as possible of such books, and
through contributions and purchases, mainly in England, about two hundred volumes were
obtained. Many of these are very rare and almost all out of print. The Library can now boast
of possessing a fairly representative collection of local historical works, and as time goes on it
is hoped that this may be made complete. An opportunity presents itself for securing a
complete set, bound and indexed, of all the state and parliamentary papers of Canada (including
British Columbia and Vancouver Island) since 1700 down to the present time, a record
that will be invaluable for reference purposes, and an application has been made to purchase
it. It may be stated here that works relating to the early history of all parts of America are
in great demand and steadily advancing in price, and it is with difficulty that they can be
secured when offered for sale. 496 Legislative Library Report. 1894
The reading room is supplied with the British Columbia papers, a few of the principal
Canadian papers, and the leading standard magazines and reviews. These are filed and will
be bound.
During the year, the opportunities of securing a number of standard works very cheaply
were taken advantage of, and a large percentage of those on the shelves have been purchased
at from 50 to 25 per cent, of their published prices.
The lines upon which work has been pursued is to establish a useful, up-to-date, standard
reference library, suitable to the requirements of this Province, and having special reference
to our industries and natural resources, to British Columbian and Canadian affairs, and, in a
general way, to those of the Empire.
Since the existence of a regularly organized library has become known, it is daily in
requisition for reference purposes, by letter as well as by visits in person.
The Commissioners have in view the adoption of a set of rules for the government of the
Library such as are in force in the other provinces of the Dominion, all of which have old and
well established institutions of large proportions. Manitoba, the latest of the provinces to
organize, has a library of over 10,000 volumes.
The Commissioners also contemplate arranging, classifying, and indexing the archives of
the Province, a work I have undertaken to perform as cognate with that of Librarian.
General work has been carried on in the compilation of statistical and historical information, in accordance with the Act of last year.
Special recognition of his services is due to the Legislative Librarian of Manitoba, who
has rendered valuable assistance in several important respects, and who has freely contributed
to the Library.
A three-part catalogue is in course of preparation, but no systematic and permanent
classification will be undertaken until the Library occupies its new quarters in the Government
Members and others are requested not to remove papers from the files, and not to, in any
instance, take books and magazines from the room without having the same entered in the
register for that purpose, as well as their return. An observance of this request will avoid
loss of books and papers that may be inadvertently mislaid, as well as misunderstandings that
may arise regarding their return.
The co-operation of the members of the Legislature is earnestly desired, and suggestions
of value will be carefully considered and, if possible, carried into effect.
1 have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
victoria, b. c :
Printed by Richard Wolfenden, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty.


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