Series GR-1511 - Library Services minute books and other material

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Library Services minute books and other material

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  • textual record
  • graphic material
  • moving images

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • 1919-1977 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Library Services Branch

Physical description area

Physical description

Originals, 2.6 m

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Biographical history

The Library Services branch is the successor to the Library Development Commission, and was established in 1978 in accordance with the Public Libraries (Amendment) Act (SBC 1978, c. 35). The mandate of the branch is to “foster the vision of efficient, effective and connected library programs and services” by “overseeing the legislative and governance framework for public libraries, serving as a liaison between libraries and provincial or federal governments and offering funding, advice, and leadership to libraries and province-wide library programs and initiatives.”

Although the Library Services branch initially operated several field offices, a 1987 report recommended the closure of several of these offices. Dawson Creek was the first office to be closed following a merger with the Prince George office, which was itself closed in 1995. The 1987 report also recommended that several programs be phased out, including the Open Shelf books-by-mail program which eventually ceased all service in 1995 after 73 years.

The Branch has changed ministries on several occasions. Between 1990 and 2001, it was located within the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreation and Housing, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. In 2001, the Branch was moved to the Ministry of Community, Aboriginal, and Women’s Services where it remained until a 2006 move to the Ministry of Education.

The branch has changed names several times, and has been known as the Library Services branch and the Public Library Services branch. As of June 2016, the body is known as the Libraries branch and is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Records of the Library Services Branch and its predecessors, the British Columbia Library Development Commission and the Public Library Commission (PLC). Includes PLC minute books (1919-1960) and correspondence and reports re: local and regional libraries (1934-1977). Also includes statistical summaries, miscellaneous reports, and manuscript history of the Capilano Public Library Association by Eleanor Godley. 16 mm film of Fraser Valley bookmobile (ca. 1920's) transferred to PABC's Sound & Moving Image Division [Acc.# F1984:5/1]. This unit may be used in conjunction with GR-1387 [British Columbia. Library Services Branch, 1919-1979].

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Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred by the Director, Library Services Branch, June 1984.


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Conservation restriction: material in cool or cold storage requires special retrieval and handling.
There are no access restrictions.

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General note

A 16 mm film of the PLC bookmobile in the Fraser Valley [ca.1920s] can be accessed under Acc. F1984:5/1. Photographs transferred to Visual Records Accession 198504-002. The public library system in British Columbia developed in part from the Free Libraries Act of 1891 (54 Vict., c.29). This act empowered incorporated cities and municipalities to establish local libraries and news-rooms, which were to be open to the public free of charge. The act did not, however, provide for any financial assistance to the community libraries; nor did it encourage the establishment of free libraries outside the province's three main metropolitan centres. BC's small, rural communities were not provided with effective library services until 1919, when the legislature passed the Public Libraries Act (9 Geo. 5, c.48). This act, which was administered by the Provincial Secretary, established a Public Library Commission (PLC) and made provisions for "public library associations". With the approval of the PLC local library associations were able to secure operating grants from the provincial government; the local library associations were also able to borrow boxes of "travelling library" books from the PLC's main depot in Victoria. In April 1968 the name of the PLC was changed to the British Columbia Library Development Commission. The Commission was subsequently renamed the Library Services Branch in June 1978. The branch continues to function and now derives its mandate from the Library Act (RSBC 1979, C.235).

General note

Accession number(s): 198504-002; G84-092, 91-1869


Moving image originals may be in cool or cold storage. Contact staff for specific details.

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  • Box: 001047-0001
  • Box: GR1511-0001
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