The Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Canada was founded in 1975.
The principal objectives of the Association are to improve parliamentary library service in Canada, foster communication among members concerning matters of mutual interest, identify issues requiring research, and encourage cooperation with related parliamentary officials and organizations.
As diverse as the jurisdictions they serve, Canada's parliamentary libraries today are as much about connections as collections. Traditionally housed in beautiful historic settings, these libraries have evolved as premier information centres that provide easy access to specialized resources not only for political representatives, but also for the public in some cases.
News and Updates
In today's online world, where people access huge amounts of data, parliamentary libraries specialize in turning that information into knowledge for parliamentarians to use in the chamber, in committee or when meeting with constituents.
Libraries handle requests via the Internet, fax or automated inquiry system and, using wireless technology, can deliver answers within minutes, wherever their clients may be.
Connected Across Canada
Parliamentary libraries are linked by their membership in the Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Canada (APLIC). The Association provides a forum that supports membersâ€™ day-to-day needs and highlights best practices and expertise.
Linked through the network, parliamentary libraries ensure a collaborative gateway to our nationâ€™s legislative information.
Partners in Democracy
Parliamentary libraries share a common mission, specifically to support the democratic process by providing all parliamentarians with confidential, non-partisan information services to support informed debate and effective law-making.
As well, they also help to engage citizens in the democratic process through direct access to online information, educational materials and through support to targeted public outreach programs such as teachersâ€™ institutes and model parliaments.
About Our Members
Whatâ€™s in a name?
Today, the Alberta Legislature Library is located in the Alberta Legislature Building, but prior to 1974 it was commonly called the Legislative Library and was located in the Legislative Building. Former Speaker Gerry AmerongenÂ recalled in a 2002 interview: "the building used to be called the 'Legislative Building'.... it doesn't legislate.Â It's a 'Legislature Building'."Â Â Following this decree, the Library was officially renamed the Legislature Library and the title of head librarian to Legislature Librarian. It was felt that the new name would better reflect the libraryâ€™s primary role in meeting the information needs of the Members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and their staff.Â Â Today, the Alberta Legislature Library continues to meet the information needs of Members and staff under the leadership of the Legislature Librarian.
A Rich History Serving the Province and its Legislature
The Legislative Library of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario is the descendant of the parliamentary libraries of the province of Upper Canada (1792-1841) and of the united Province of Canada (1841-1867). In 1867 the Ontario Legislature established a new Legislative Library, which was recognized in the Standing Orders of the House. The Library has been administered by the Speaker (1867-1899), the Treasurer (1899-1921), the Minister of Education (1921-1964), the Provincial Secretary (1964-1972), and the Minister of Government Services (1972-1976). In April 1976, upon the recommendation of the Ontario Commission on the Legislature, it became a division of the Office of the Assembly under the authority of the Speaker once again.
The Legislative Library launched Ledge Talks: The Knowledge Series in July 2012. Modelled on the famous â€śTed Talksâ€ť, The Knowledge Series showcases current ideas, science, traditional knowledge, and issues relevant to the Northwest Territories and beyond. The talks serve as a forum for a wide variety of speakers and provide an opportunity for learning beyond oneâ€™s normal work and life surroundings.
Ledge Talks also showcases research done by the many Government of the Northwest Territories employees who, often with collaborating partners, are making substantial contributions to the worldâ€™s understanding of the North.
The 30-minute presentations, which are followed by a question period, are held in the Great Hall of the Legislative Assembly building and are about knowledge, not politics and about issues, not government programs. The talks are webcast and also videotaped and posted on the Legislative Libraryâ€™s website.
Inuit and the North
Along with collecting all house documents for the Legislative Assembly and Government of NunavutÂ departmental publications, the Legislative Library of Nunavut maintains one of Canadaâ€™s most comprehensive collections of books, journals, and multimediaÂ that focus on Inuit and the North.
The New Brunswick Legislative Library is celebrating its 175th this year. The Joint Committee of the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly established the New Brunswick Legislative Library in 1841. Throughout the years the library has not only served elected members, legislative staff, as well as government staff, but also served as a public library before there was a public library system in New Brunswick. In 1954 the Central Library Services was set up. The Legislative Library transferred its fiction and popular non-fiction books to it, and in 1955, after 95 years, the Legislative Library ceased to be the circulation library for Fredericton.
A Long History of Service
Saskatchewanâ€™s Legislative Library is by far the oldest library in the province. Its predecessor, the North-West Government Library, had its beginnings in 1876 when Lieutenant Governor David Laird and his staff arrived in Fort Livingstone to establish territorial government in the vast area of Northwest Canada. As part of his baggage, which along with his food and furniture was transported across the prairies by cart from Winnipeg, came a small collection of books â€“ chiefly law texts and public documents. Although the formal term â€ślibraryâ€ť should probably not be applied until the midâ€‘1880s, it was a working collection which moved with the administration. (Excerpted from The Legislative Library of Saskatchewan: A History, by Christine MacDonald, Regina: Saskatchewan Legislative Library, 1986, page 1).
Did you know?
The Nova Scotia Legislative Libraryâ€™s reading room used to be the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. In 1862 it was converted into the Legislative Library. At that time, considerable renovations were completed, including the removal of the jury benches, spectator balcony and stairs, witness docket, judgesâ€™ dais, spectator benches, and doors to the jury box and spectator balcony. Some of the more interesting court cases heard in this room are Joseph Howeâ€™s libel trial in 1835, which helped to establish freedom of the press in Canada, and the trial of the Saladin pirates in 1844.
The Librarianâ€™s Piano
Newfoundland and Labrador
In 1932, the Dominion of Newfoundland was in considerable debt, unemployment was high and the Liberal government was plagued by scandal. On April 4th, 1932, a political rally turned into a riot at the legislature - the Colonial Building. Windows were broken out and the building was eventually ransacked. The Legislative Librarian at the time maintained a small apartment, or rooms, in the basement of the building and her space was not immune to the rioters. From the Daily News report...
...By this time the youths in the crowd had made pretty good headway, with what apparently they thought was their job, of smashing all the windows in the building, the doors also, and the window sashes. Stones and pickets out of the park fence were used. Vandalism ran rampant. The rooms occupied by Miss Morris, Librarian of the Legislative Library, were ransacked. Her piano was taken out of her room to the park, where it was completely wrecked. Her private papers and books were destroyed, and the fittings completely wrecked.Â
The Red River Library
The Library of the Red River Settlement is a special collection of 350 volumes still remaining from the library that served the Selkirk Settlers. Officially founded in 1848, the Red River Settlement Library traces its origins to the beginnings of the Settlement when in 1812 Lord Selkirk provided several books to be used by the settlers as they established homes in the Red River Settlement. Historical inventories indicate a collection of over 2500 volumes which included practical reference works in the fields of agriculture, history and law as well as biographical works and novels.
On September 15, 2015 the Legislative Library of BC marked 100 years of providing service to the Legislative assembly. The library was originally deemed the â€śprovincial libraryâ€ť with a mandate to serve all of British Columbia. In 1918 a travelling library program was developed to send small collections of books to communities throughout the province. The Legislative Library now primarily serves MLAs, their staff, the Officers of the House, legislative support staff, provincial government employees as well as the public while the legislature is not sitting. The Legislative Library now contains a broad collection, including the largest number of BC government publications available anywhere.
The collection is focused primarily on law, political science, public administration, history and economics. It includes most Quebec and Canadian government publications, an extensive selection of Quebec newspapers and selected Canadian newspapers, periodicals and thematic news files. The collection also includes rare and valuable books, such as the Libraryâ€™s treasured Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau Collection.
The Library also maintains the archives of the National Assembly and of parliamentarians, individuals and organizations related to the history, development and workings of Quebecâ€™s parliamentary institutions and parliamentarianism.
The Fire of 1916, Ottawa
Library of Parliament
On February 3, 1916, the Library of Parliament was saved from the fire that destroyed the original Centre Block and permanently changed the character of Parliament Hill. While the origin of the fire is still unknown, it is often noted that the Library was saved from destruction thanks to the quick closing of its iron doors and favorable wind direction.Â To mark the centennial anniversary of the fire, an exhibit entitled Resilience:Â The Fire of 1916 was installed onsite and albums of historical imagery and illustrations, as well as a video were posted online.