British Columbiaâ€™s Legislative Library was founded in 1863 to serve the Colonial Legislature of Vancouver Island and subsequently, the Province of British Columbia, when the two jurisdictions were united in 1871. The first permanent librarian was appointed in 1893. In 1894, the Legislative Library Act formally established the institution which exists today and in 1915, the Library moved into its present quarters just off the Speakerâ€™s Corridor.
At that time, material intended for archival and provincial public library collections was included. Eventually the BC Archives and the Public Library Services Branch, as they are now known, developed into separate institutions. In 1985, the Library reverted to its original status as a dedicated service of the Legislative Assembly administered directly by the Speaker.
Today the Library provides a research service to all MLAs, caucus and constituency staff, as well as employees of the Legislative Assembly and Independent Officers. Librarians also provide research help to government employees. Non-government researchers have access when the Legislature is not in session, but may not borrow materials.
There are approximately 500,000 items in the collection, which is housed on eight levels in the building. Areas of strength are political science, public administration, economics, statute law, and BC and Canadian history. The Library maintains the largest collection of BC government publications.