Library of Parliament

Last updated
Library of Parliament
Library of Parliament (Canada) (emblem).png
Ottawa - ON - Library of Parliament.jpg
Library of Parliament, Ottawa
TypeInformation repository and research resource for the Parliament of Canada
Established1876
Coordinates 45°25′32″N75°42′01″W / 45.425466°N 75.700296°W / 45.425466; -75.700296 Coordinates: 45°25′32″N75°42′01″W / 45.425466°N 75.700296°W / 45.425466; -75.700296
Collection
Size650,000 items
Criteria for collectionParliamentary business, research publications
Other information
DirectorHeather Lank
Staff300
Website Official website
Map
Library of Parliament

The Library of Parliament (French : Bibliothèque du Parlement) is the main information repository and research resource for the Parliament of Canada. The main branch of the library sits at the rear of the Centre Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. The library survived the 1916 fire that destroyed Centre Block. The library has been augmented and renovated several times since its construction in 1876, the last between 2002 and 2006, though the form and decor remain essentially authentic. The building today serves as a Canadian icon, and appears on the obverse of the Canadian ten-dollar bill.

Contents

The library is overseen by the Parliamentary Librarian of Canada and an associate or assistant librarian. The Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate is considered to be an officer of the library.

Main branch characteristics

The main reading room of the Library of Parliament Canadian Parlimentary Library Interior.jpg
The main reading room of the Library of Parliament

Designed by Thomas Fuller and Chilion Jones, and inspired by the British Museum Reading Room, [1] the building is formed as a chapter house, [2] separated from the main body of the Centre Block by a corridor; this arrangement, as well as many other details of the design, was reached with the input of the then parliamentary librarian, Alpheus Todd. [3] The walls, supported by a ring of 16 flying buttresses, are loadbearing, double-wythe masonry, consisting of a hydraulic lime rubble fill core between an interior layer of dressed stone and rustic Nepean sandstone on the exterior. [4] Around the windows and along other edges is dressed stone trim, along with a multitude of stone carvings, including floral patterns and friezes, keeping with the Victorian High Gothic style of the rest of the parliamentary complex. The roof, set in three tiers topped by a cupola, used to be a timber frame structure covered with slate tiles, but has been rebuilt with steel framing and deck covered with copper. [5] The initial overall combination of colours—grey Gloucester limestone and grey Nepean, red Potsdam and buff Ohio sandstones, as well as purple and green slate banding—conformed to the picturesque style known as structural polychromy. [6]

The main reading room rises to a vaulted ceiling and the walls and stacks are lined with white pine panelling carved into a variety of textures, flowers, masks, and mythical creatures. In the galleries are displayed the coats of arms of the seven provinces that existed in 1876, as well as that of the Dominion of Canada, and standing directly in the centre of the room is a white marble statue of Queen Victoria, sculpted by Marshall Wood in 1871. [5] The northern galleries are also flanked with the white marble busts of Sir John Sandfield Macdonald; Prince Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII); Alexandra, Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra); and Sir Étienne-Paschal Taché. [7]

The library's collection comprises 650,000 items, covering hundreds of years of history and tended by a staff of 300. [2] Access to the facility is generally restricted to those on parliamentary business, but research publications are produced by the library and are available to the public. [8] The main branch on Parliament Hill is only the central hub of a larger complex that spreads to other parliamentary buildings, where services are offered in a number of branch libraries and reading rooms. [9]

History

The Library of Parliament's roots lie in the 1790s, when the legislative libraries of Upper and Lower Canada were created; these operated separately until the creation of the Province of Canada in 1841 and the collections were amalgamated and followed the provincial capital as it moved between Kingston, Montreal, Toronto, and Quebec City. The library was to be established in Ottawa after, in 1867, Queen Victoria chose Bytown as the new seat for her crown in the Dominion of Canada, and the Library of Parliament Act formed the institution in 1871. [10]

Though construction of the present library began in 1859 and the collection arrived in Ottawa in 1866, work was halted in 1861 and was not completed until 1876, when the 47,000 volumes—including several donated by Queen Victoria—were installed. Around 1869, the builders discovered that they didn't have the technical knowledge to build the domed roof, meaning that Thomas Fairbairn Engineering Co. Ltd. of Manchester had to be contracted to provide a prefabricated dome within a few weeks; this gave the Library of Parliament the distinction of being the first building in North America to have a state-of-the-art wrought iron roof. Further, in 1883, the library's 300 gas lights were converted to electricity. [6] However, such additional costs brought the library's price to $301,812, a sum added on top of the total cost for all the parliament buildings, which had already gone far above the original allotted budget. [11] Within only 12 years, the entire roof was stripped of its slate shingles in a tornado that hit Parliament Hill in 1888, since then the roof has been clad in copper. [6]

The library's contents grew over the next five decades and were saved from the 1916 fire that destroyed the majority of the Centre Block; the building was only connected to the main complex by a single corridor and the library clerk at the time, Michael MacCormac, secured the library's iron doors before the fire could spread into that area. [2] Fire eventually broke out in 1952, in the library's cupola, and caused extensive damage through smoke and water. It was then necessary to perform structural work, as well as to install a replica of the inlaid parquet floor and dismantle the wood panelling and ship it to Montreal for cleaning and partial fireproofing. [10] The Centre, East, and West Blocks subsequently received extensive climate control and electrical upgrades, but the library was largely overlooked.

The deficiencies, plus conservation, rehabilitation, and upgrading, were addressed when a major, $52 million renovation was researched in 1996 and undertaken between 2002 and 2006. [12] Public Works and Government Services Canada contracted the Thomas Fuller Construction Company (operated by the building designer's great-grandsons) to manage a project that fixed leaks in the roof and crumbling mortar in the walls on the exterior, [13] [14] as well as extensive repairs to the wood and plaster work and the installation of climate control systems on the interior. [15] Also done at the time was a nine-metre-deep excavation of the bedrock beneath the library building, in order to provide more storage space, mechanical areas, and a link to an existing loading dock. [16] The project used precision survey, laser measurement, photogrammetry, and the then fledgling technology of Computer Aided Three Dimensional Interactive Application. [6] After four years of work, the library was opened to the public, with tours of the library resuming on 5 June 2006, [17] though Thomas Fuller Construction filed a $21 million lawsuit against the Crown for cost overruns. [16]

Parliamentary librarians

Partnerships and collaboration

The Library of Parliament is a member of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Prime Minister of Canada</span> Head of government of Canada

The prime minister of Canada is the head of government of Canada. Under the Westminster system, the prime minister governs with the confidence of a majority the elected House of Commons; as such, the prime minister typically sits as a member of Parliament (MP) and leads the largest party or a coalition of parties. As first minister, the prime minister selects ministers to form the Cabinet, and serves as its chair. Constitutionally, the Crown exercises executive power on the advice of the Cabinet, which is collectively responsible to the House of Commons.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Parliament of Canada</span> Canadian federal legislature

The Parliament of Canada is the federal legislature of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and is composed of three parts: the King, the Senate, and the House of Commons. By constitutional convention, the House of Commons is dominant, with the Senate rarely opposing its will. The Senate reviews legislation from a less partisan standpoint and may initiate certain bills. The monarch or his representative, normally the governor general, provides royal assent to make bills into law.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Parliament Hill</span> Home of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa

Parliament Hill, colloquially known as The Hill, is an area of Crown land on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Its Gothic revival suite of buildings, and their architectural elements of national symbolic importance, is the home of the Parliament of Canada. Parliament Hill attracts approximately three million visitors each year. Law enforcement on Parliament Hill and in the parliamentary precinct is the responsibility of the Parliamentary Protective Service (PPS).

The Cabinet of Canada is a body of ministers of the Crown that, along with the Canadian monarch, and within the tenets of the Westminster system, forms the government of Canada. Chaired by the prime minister, the Cabinet is a committee of the King's Privy Council for Canada and the senior echelon of the Ministry, the membership of the Cabinet and ministry often being co-terminal; as of November 2015 there were no members of the latter who were not also members of the former.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rideau Hall</span> Official residence of both the monarch and Governor General of Canada

Rideau Hall is the official residence in Ottawa of both the Canadian monarch and their representative, the governor general of Canada. It stands in Canada's capital on a 36-hectare (88-acre) estate at 1 Sussex Drive, with the main building consisting of approximately 175 rooms across 9,500 square metres (102,000 sq ft), and 27 outbuildings around the grounds. Rideau Hall's site lies outside the centre of Ottawa. It is one of two official royal residences maintained by the federal Crown, the other being the Citadelle of Quebec.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Government of Canada</span> Federal government of Canada

The government of Canada is the body responsible for the federal administration of Canada. A constitutional monarchy, the Crown is the corporation sole, assuming distinct roles: the executive, as the Crown-in-Council; the legislature, as the Crown-in-Parliament; and the courts, as the Crown-on-the-Bench. Three institutions—the Privy Council ; the Parliament of Canada; and the judiciary, respectively—exercise the powers of the Crown.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Library and Archives Canada</span> National library and archive of Canada

Library and Archives Canada is the federal institution, tasked with acquiring, preserving, and providing accessibility to the documentary heritage of Canada. The national archive and library is the fifth largest library in the world. The LAC reports to the Parliament of Canada through the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

The Peace Tower is a focal bell and clock tower sitting on the central axis of the Centre Block of the Canadian parliament buildings in Ottawa, Ontario. The present incarnation replaced the 55-metre (180 ft) Victoria Tower after the latter burned down in 1916, along with most of the Centre Block; only the Library of Parliament survived. It serves as a Canadian icon and had been featured prominently on the Canadian twenty-dollar bill directly adjacent the queen's visage, until the change to polymer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Government House (New Brunswick)</span> Building in New Brunswick, Canada

Government House is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, as well as that in Fredericton of the Canadian monarch. It stands on a 4.5 ha estate along the Saint John River in the provincial capital at 51 Woodstock Road; while the equivalent building in many countries has a prominent, central place in the territorial capital, the site of New Brunswick's Government House is relatively unobtrusive within Fredericton, giving it more the character of a private home.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">National War Memorial (Canada)</span> Canadian war memorial

The National War Memorial, titled The Response, is a tall, granite memorial arch with accreted bronze sculptures in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, designed by Vernon March and first dedicated by King George VI in 1939. Originally built to commemorate the Canadians who died in the First World War, it was in 1982 rededicated to also include those killed in the Second World War and Korean War and again in 2014 to add the dead from the Second Boer War and War in Afghanistan, as well as all Canadians killed in all conflicts past and future. It now serves as the pre-eminent war memorial of 76 cenotaphs in Canada. In 2000, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was added in front of the memorial and symbolizes the sacrifices made by all Canadians who have died or may yet die for their country.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Centre Block</span> Main building of Canadas parliament

The Centre Block is the main building of the Canadian parliamentary complex on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Ontario, containing the House of Commons and Senate chambers, as well as the offices of a number of members of parliament, senators, and senior administration for both legislative houses. It is also the location of several ceremonial spaces, such as the Hall of Honour, the Memorial Chamber, and Confederation Hall.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ontario Legislative Building</span> Legislative building in Toronto, Canada

The Ontario Legislative Building is a structure in central Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It houses the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and the viceregal suite of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and offices for members of the provincial parliament (MPPs). The building is surrounded by Queen's Park, sitting on that part south of Wellesley Street, which is the former site of King's College, which was leased from the university by the municipal government of Toronto in 1859, for a "peppercorn" payment of CAD$1 per annum on a 999-year term. The southern portion of the site was later handed over to the provincial government.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">East Block</span> Office building on Parliament Hill in Ottawa

The East Block is one of the three buildings on Canada's Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Ontario, containing offices for parliamentarians, as well as some preserved pre-Confederation spaces.

The Legislative Council of the Province of Canada was the upper house for the Province of Canada, which consisted of the former provinces of Lower Canada, then known as Canada East and later the province of Quebec, and Upper Canada, then known as Canada West and later the province of Ontario. It was created by The Union Act of 1840.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Canadian royal symbols</span> Visual and auditory identifiers of the Canadian monarchy

Canadian royal symbols are the visual and auditory identifiers of the Canadian monarchy, including the viceroys, in the country's federal and provincial jurisdictions. These may specifically distinguish organizations that derive their authority from the Crown, establishments with royal associations, or merely be ways of expressing loyal or patriotic sentiment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">West Block</span> Building on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The West Block is one of the three buildings on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Ontario. Since 28 January 2019, it has housed the interim House of Commons Chamber, installed to accommodate the House while the Centre Block is closed. The West Block also houses offices for parliamentarians, a branch of the Library of Parliament, committee rooms, and some preserved pre-Confederation spaces.

Phil R. White is a Canadian artist and sculptor. He is the Dominion Sculptor of Canada, a position whose duties include the creation of original works of art in sculpture. His works are primarily in figurative art. He is an architectural sculptor and carver and creates works in stone, wood, and bronze.

Thomas Stent was an architect in New York City. He assisted Alexander Saeltzer on the Astor Public Library and was the architect for the 1879–1881 expansion.

The Parliament Hill Rehabilitation is a series of ongoing rehabilitation and preservation projects at the complex on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Ontario. The $3-billion project aims to preserve and rehabilitate the Parliament of Canada and various buildings within the Parliamentary Precinct.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Canadian Parliament Buildings</span>

The Canadian Parliament Buildings are the parliament buildings housing the Parliament of Canada, located on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

References

  1. Public Works and Government Services Canada. "A Treasure to Explore > Parliament Hill > History of the Hill > Library of Parliament > Exterior". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 2010-02-06. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
  2. 1 2 3 Public Works and Government Services Canada. "A Treasure to Explore > Parliament Hill > History of the Hill > Library of Parliament > Interior". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
  3. Public Works and Government Services Canada. "A Treasure to Explore > Parliament Hill > The History of Parliament Hill > Construction, 1859-1916 > The Library". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  4. Library of Parliament. "Parliament Hill > Modernization of the Buildings > Library of Parliament > Exterior Work > Masonry". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  5. 1 2 Library of Parliament. "Parliament of Canada > Library of Parliament". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 2008-06-23. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Chodikoff, Ian (September 2006). "Parliamentary Briefing". Canadian Architect. Toronto: Business Information Group. Archived from the original on January 26, 2021. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  7. Baker, Wendy. "Restoration of a Marble Sculpture from the Library of Parliament". CCI Newsletter, No. 35, June 2005. Canadian Conservation Institute. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
  8. "Research Publications". lop.parl.ca. Retrieved 2022-09-15.
  9. "Service Areas". lop.parl.ca. Retrieved 2022-09-15.
  10. 1 2 Landry, Pierrette (1 August 2001). "The Library of Parliament Today" (PDF). Office of the Parliamentary Librarian. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  11. City of Ottawa. "Residents > Heritage > Archives > A Virtual Exhibit: Ottawa Becomes the Capital > Building the Physical Reality". City of Ottawa. Archived from the original on 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
  12. Williams, Patricia (30 June 2006). "Canada's heritage top of mind in library restoration". Daily Commercial News. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011.
  13. "37th Parliament, 1st Session". Hansard. Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada (138). 4 February 2002. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  14. Public Works and Government Services Canada. "Parliament Hill > Modernization of the Buildings > Library of Parliament > Exterior Work". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 2010-02-14. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  15. Public Works and Government Services Canada. "Parliament Hill > Modernization of the Buildings > Library of Parliament > Interior Work". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  16. 1 2 Payton, Laura (3 November 2008). "Ottawa's Library of Parliament at centre of $21M lawsuit". National Post.[ dead link ]
  17. Public Works and Government Services Canada. "Parliament Hill > Modernization of the Buildings > Library of Parliament". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  18. Parliament of Canada. "Officers and Officials of Parliament". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  19. Office of the Prime Minister of Canada. "PM nominates next Parliamentary Librarian". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 4 April 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2012.