Tuesday, February 06, 2018

CANADIAN ACADEMIC LIBRARIES IN THE POSTWAR PERIOD, 1945-1960

The general history of college and university library development in Canada has not been examined extensively. There are few studies that synthesize the entire history of Canadian academic libraries and normally two core themes are emphasized—library growth and progressive advances in librarianship. But these two perspectives can be applied to other types of libraries and do not serve to highlight the distinctiveness of academic libraries or librarians. There are some valuable, informative accounts of Canadian libraries in higher education that are commonly regarded as "institutional history." Because the library is positioned within its parent institution, librarians have understandably chronicled library support for the needs and plans of a particular university or college. Individual libraries, such as those at the Universities of Toronto and Alberta, are notable in this regard: Robert Blackburn’s Evolution of the Heart: A History of the University of Toronto Library up to 1981; and Merill Distad’s The University of Alberta Library: The First Hundred Years, 1908-2008. These institutional histories may be considered the foundation for more general histories that explore particular themes and developments. Added to these local studies are are many other contributions as articles, pamphlets, and theses. Many works concentrate on more recent decades after the 1960s when “growth” and “progress” were central features.

Of course, the development of academic libraries on a national basis as well as the careers of the “college librarian” or the “university librarian” began before the Sixties. I wrote, in 2016, about the contribution of the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY) to the development of Canadian university and college libraries during the Great Depression. This was one instance of a change in philosophy of service. From 1932-35, thirty-four institutions of higher education shared in library grants totaling $214,800 in a national (Canada and Newfoundland) project conducted by a Canadian Advisory Group established by the CCNY. George H. Locke, Toronto Public Library, headed the group which awarded Carnegie financial aid for the improvement of undergraduate print collections. The attempts by Canadian administrators to adapt library collections, organization, and staffing to local circumstances to improve interwar undergraduate library services was an unusual step towards national thinking about the role of college and university libraries. For this post, see The Carnegie Corporation Advisory Group on Canadian College Libraries, 1930-35, made on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016 with an accompanying link to my article published in the journal, Historical Studies in Education/Revue d'histoire de l'éducation.

Another period, the postwar (1945-1960), is another seldom referenced period that is of interest. After the Second World War, the expansion of Canadian post-secondary was notable for several modernizing trends: the infusion of federal funds for academic research, the frequent erection of campus buildings, increased enrollments, the establishment of new universities, the independence of previously affiliated small colleges, and the creation of comprehensive research efforts and graduate programs. In this changing environment, the per-eminence of the humanities and undergraduate teaching gave way to scientific and technological research, business and professional orientations, and graduate studies.

Libraries and librarians responded to these challenges in many similar ways. There are many contemporary accounts in relation to library architecture, the acquisition and organization of collections, administrative library structures and staffing, services for faculty and students, and efforts by librarians to realize professional standing, to achieve recognition as “professional librarians.” The architectural redefinition of libraries, the impetus to establish research collections, the maturation of academic librarianship, and the increasing complexity of library operations were prominent features in the postwar period. The gradual evolution of academic libraries toward more uniform organizational purposes and structures on a national basis following World War II can be considered a period of “mid-century modernization” that preceded the more memorable and better documented decades of the 1960s and later.

The postwar history of academic libraries was deeply influenced not just by local conditions and persons but also by broader trends occurring in the nation’s universities and colleges and the library community across North America. Examination of sources for the period mirror general currents in the Canadian post-secondary sector that made library provision of resources, assistance, and information more integral to the work of students and faculty. Of course, the national pace of change from 1945 to 1960 was moderate compared with the succeeding period, the dynamic 1960s that loom large in the history of Canadian libraries. The Sixties ushered in many educational changes, especially the establishment of provincial systems of higher education and vastly improved funding for libraries in higher education. Nonetheless, library development in the 1960s should not be viewed simply as a break with the past but as an outgrowth of many changes already underway. The national pace of change from 1945 to 1960 was moderate compared with the succeeding period, the dynamic 1960s that loom large in the history of Canadian libraries. The Sixties ushered in many educational changes, especially the  establishment of provincial systems of higher education. Library development in the 1960s should not be viewed simply as a break with the past but as an outgrowth of many changes already underway.

More complete information on the postwar era is in my article, “Postwar Canadian Academic Libraries, 1945–60,” at the Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship website.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

VICTORIAN CANADIAN LIBRARIES: ALTERNATIVE LIBRARIES FREE TO THE PUBLIC

The common characteristics of free public libraries that were legislated in Ontario (1882), the City of Saint John (1883), and British Columbia (1891) served as a guide for public library development towards the end of the nineteenth century. In this version, the 'free public library' or 'free library' was a municipal institution governed by a board of management and funded by primarily by local taxes. These libraries were accessible to all community residents who were not charged at the point of entry. Local decisions, based on provincial legislation, mostly determined the establishment and governance of libraries. Community members participated on a voluntary basis and the nature and extent of services varied from one community to another.

However, widespread acceptance of this 'model' developed slowly, in part because other views identified the 'public library' as one that was accessible to all residents of a community, but not generally free or a constituent part of local government because it relied on voluntary personal payments or contributions from philanthropic individuals, community groups, or persons willing to pay a membership fee. This type of library performed a public function but was not a state agent, i.e. the municipal, provincial, or federal government. Often, the establishment of libraries open free to the public was furthered by philanthropic efforts and managed by privately.  In some cases these libraries received assistance and direction from government in recognition of their beneficial public function.

It is these atypical or hybrid libraries that will be discussed here in a Canadian context. They were public libraries open freely to the public without direct charge or with small personal (or family) charges. They were clearly regarded as community-based service agencies. In many ways, they characterized the importance of nineteenth century ideas about voluntarism, civic promotion, and public-private partnerships working in the interest of the public good. They were distinctive in their own right and founded in all parts of British North America as the following few examples illustrate.

New Westminster, B.C. --- In 1865, New Westminster was the capital of the mainland colony of British Columbia. There were two initial inducements to establish an institute and public library: a collection of books offered by the disbanded Columbia Detachment of Royal Engineers and Queen Victoria's donation of a copy of her late husband Prince Albert's speeches "to the public libraries of her more important colonies." The New Westminster Library and Reading Room opened on 15 August 1865 on Columbia Street supported by a grant from the colonial government and by membership and regular subscription rates, e.g. to borrow books a member paid $5 a year. The library operated from a building that formerly housed the colony's official Mint and was run by a board of management composed of four colonial officials and the president of the municipal council. This happy state of affairs continued for a few years until the colony's government funding was withdraw by 1868. Subscriptions--a common method of financing 19th century local libraries--supported library operations thereafter until 1890. At this point, the federal government offered the Mint property to the city provided a new building would be erected and opened as a free public library. The offer was accepted: the mint was demolished and a new building opened in 1892 with renewed funding from the municipality. For most this period, the library was never a 'free library' in the modern sense but exhibited a private-public partnership to support a 'public library' that was not unusual in the 19th century.

Montreal Free Library/Gésu Free Library (est. 1889) --- "Any bona fide resident of Montreal, irrespective of class or creed, is entitled, under certain conditions, to draw books from the Gésu Free Library." So read the introduction to an 1895 catalogue of circulating books for the Gésu Free Library opened on 4 October 1889. It was aimed at primarily English-speaking Catholic Montrealers. The library was essentially a parish library situated near the Jesuit Collège Sainte-Marie on Bleury Street. The library owed its existence to the dedicated work of a few ladies active in the Promoters of the League of the Sacred Heart who raised funds through annual afternoon teas. They desired to promote books based on Christian beliefs and morals. A small committee, ultimately responsible to the Sacred Heart Union, managed the library. By 1895, the library was circulating 15,000 books to an extended public in downtown Montreal and receiving in-kind donations and money from private citizens. The library offered titles in English, with translations of French authors who were mostly Catholic. Notably, however, there fiction books for youngsters, such as Frances Hodgson Burnett's Little Lord Fauntleroy, at a time when many public libraries maintained age limits excluding children. There were also popular British novelists: Dickens, Trollope, Collins, Bulwer-Lytton, and Scott. American authors, such as Irving and Cooper, and few women authors, such as the Irish novelist Rosa Mullholland and Lady Georgiana Fullerton, were also available. The Montreal Free Library (sometimes called Sacred Heart Union Library) was not a municipal institution of course, it was a small library without charge at the point of entry and based on the ideas of its Catholic promoters that good reading (including fiction). Considering the mid-19th century controversies in Montreal about liberal works and fiction in general regarding the closure of the Institut Canadien de Montréal, this was a progressive step. Books for children was another important ingredient that would eventually become an orthodox feature of public libraries.

Fraser Institute, Montreal (est. 1885) --- In his 1870 will, the businessman Hugh Fraser placed most of his possessions amounting to $200,000 in trust to John J. C. Abbott and Frederick Torrence to establish an institution--a free public library, museum, and gallery open to all Montreal's citizens regardless of class and without any fee. The Fraser Institute was incorporated by a statute in 1870 that determined its course: "to aid in the diffusion of useful knowledge by affording free access, to all desirous of it, to books and to scientific objects and subjects, and to works of art, and for that purpose to erect appropriate buildings, and to procure books, scientific objects and subjects, and works of art, making always the acquisition and maintenance of a library the leading object to be kept in view." The Institute was managed by an elite Board of Governors; however, legal battles over Fraser's will delayed progress. Finally, a building was acquired and opened in 1885. The Institute, located at the corner of University Street and Dorchester Boulevard, initially was a reference library. A circulating collection commenced operations in 1889. Thus, after almost 20 years, the Institute was able to fulfill its original purpose outlined in the 1870 Act. Hugh Fraser's philanthropic vision involved a private institution--starting as an endowed library--operating in the public interest to further educational standards. It had a self-perpetuating incorporated private board of managers which, from time to time, made substantial contributions to its success and ensured free access.

Yarmouth Public Library, N.S. (est. 1872) -- Loran Ellis Baker, a prominent local businessman and politician, was instrumental in establishing a public library in Yarmouth in 1872. He first purchased 2,500 books and then presented a library, housed on the second floor of the Young and Baker building, to the town's citizens. The library was open for limited hours each week, but books circulated free of charge. All the library expenses, including the salary of a custodian who also maintained the library, were assumed by Baker. From time to time, townsfolk contributed books and material objects which eventually formed the basis for a museum. For more than a quarter century, Baker's generous civic-mindedness served local residents well and in the 1890s, the Yarmouth Council made small appropriations to the library. When L.E. Baker died in 1899, his will stipulated that the library, its books and materials, as well as $8,000 would be made available to an incorporated body with the proviso that an equal amount be raised to establish a free public library and museum within five years. The Yarmouth Public Library and Museum was incorporated in September 1904. It was a 'free library' operated by a private body--the Yarmouth Free Public Library Association--that did not charge a fee for borrowing books. Residents could, however, pay a nominal fee to become a member of the Association managing the library and museum.

Town of Portland, N.B. (est. 1882) -- After Isaac Burpee, a prominent MP representing the local riding in Parliament, provided a small collection of books for Portland, the town turned to the local branch of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) for assistance. The members of this branch had built a Union Hall for the promotion of temperance and social and moral reforms, a fitting home of a town library. In 1882, the Portland WCTU incorporated (45 Vic. Chap 93, Act of NB 1882). The management of the library within the Hall was vested in the hands of the WCTU. Although the town provided support for the building and its maintenance, a small fee was also charged for library use by the WCTU library committee. This situation continued for a few years until Portland was annexed by Saint John in 1888, after which this library began to receive regular grants provided residents would not be charged for borrowing books and use of the library. The activity of the WCTU was an early manifestation of the interest by women's groups in promoting and maintaining public libraries across the nation.

Pettes Memorial Library, Que. (est. 1894) -- Narcissa Farrand Pettes built and donated a library to the village of Knowlton and Brome Township, Quebec, in memory of her late husband, Nathaniel Pettes. In the same year, 1894, the Quebec Legislature enacted An Act to Incorporate the "Pettes Memorial." This legislation stipulated that the Pettes building would be "a free public library and reading room, to be open to all honest and respectable persons whomsoever, of every rank in life, without distinction." Also, the building would function as "a lecture hall, to be used in connection with the said library and reading room, and solely for purposes calculated to promote and advance the interests and usefulness of the same." The purpose was clearly Victorian in mindset: the Pettes Memorial was intended to promote "the diffusion of useful knowledge, by affording free access, to all desiring it, to books, magazines and periodicals, making always the acquisition and maintenance of a library the leading object to be kept in view." An incorporated board of seven trustees was established to oversee the library. Narcissa Pettes also agreed to pay the salary for the librarian, to assume the cost of maintenance during her lifetime, and to leave funds to be invested to meet future annual expenses.

Halifax Citizens' Free Library, N.S. (est. 1864) --  At Halifax, the collections of two previous incorporated subscription libraries, the Mechanics' Library (est. 1831) and the Halifax Library (est. 1823-24), formed the nucleus of the Citizens’ Free Library by the mid-1870s in the city hall court house. In 1864, the city council accepted a generous offer from Chief Justice William Young, who had purchased the collection of the Mechanics’ Library, to administer and to open a library freely to local residents. A Halifax newspaper lent hearty support for ‘public institutions of a literary character’ especially at modest cost. Later, in 1876, the city bought books from the defunct Halifax Library, which the privileged classes had supported for half a century. In the following year, provincial legislation (40 Vic. chap. 34) permitted municipal funding for the Free Library to pay debts and maintenance costs without resort to direct personal fees: "The City Council may payout of the general assessment of the City or may add to the sums authorized to be assessed, such a sum not to exceed one thousand two hundred dollars, as may be necessary for the maintenance of the Citizens' Free Library and defraying the expenses thereof." A committee of city aldermen parsimoniously managed affairs and the library moved a few times before settling into the city hall in 1890. During this time, the library suffered a chronic shortage of funds, a situation that did not improve in the first part of the 20th-century. Nonetheless, the Citizen's Free Library was the first Canadian instance of 1) ongoing municipal tax support without a specific rate clause that a managing committee could not rely on and  2) municipal administration of a library open to the public without charge at point of access.

In the late Victorian era, commentaries on the rationale for free public libraries serving the general public were becoming commonplace. This evolution in thinking combined with legislative standards, enhanced physical library access, and claims that libraries advanced literacy, educational attainment, and societal progress, reinforced support for libraries. In a more prosperous and educated nation, with wealthier business leaders, an increasingly literate populace, a growing middle-class interested in cultural uplift, and civic-minded leaders, the formation of libraries became a cause--a movement--that attracted promoters and followers. Given the disparate state of local government across the new Dominion, a variety of options emerged after Confederation in 1867 for alternative methods of governance and private-public financial support for libraries open to the public without charge to users

Further Reading

Moodey, Edgar C. The Fraser-Hickson Library: An Informal History. London: Clive Bingley, 1977 at the Internet Archive

Hanson, Elizabeth. “Books for the People: The Fraser Institute, 1885-1900.” Épilogue : Canadian Bulletin for the History of Books, Libraries, and Archives 11, no. 2 (1996): 1–10

Montreal Free Library. Analytical and Descriptive Catalogue of the Montreal Free Library. 3rd ed. Montreal: Montreal Free Library, Library Hall, 146 Bleury Street, 1895 at the Internet Archive.

Lamonde, Yvan. “Un aspect inconnu du débat autour de la bibliothèque publique à Montréal: la Montreal Free Library (1889- ).” Les Cahiers des Dix, no. 57 (2003): 263–71. https://doi.org/10.7202/1008108ar.

Rotherham, G.A. The History of the Pettes Memorial Library Knowlton, Quebec, 1894-1983; The Oldest Free Public Library in the Province of Quebec. Knowlton, Québec: Privately Printed, 1983.

Free Public Library (Yarmouth, N.S.), ed. Catalogue, Free Public Library of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia: Established 1872. Saint John, N.B.: J. & A. McMillan, 1872.

Friday, December 22, 2017

VICTORIAN CANADIAN LIBRARIES: THE BRITISH COLUMBIA FREE LIBRARIES ACT, 1891

British Columbia became the second province to pass an act allowing local governments to establish free libraries in 1891. Generally, municipal conditions were different in B.C. compared to its eastern counterpart, Ontario. There were only a handful of cities and towns able to fund and maintain libraries adequately: the total population of the province in 1891 was 98,173 and Vancouver, with 13,709 people, was the largest city. But libraries in a variety of forms--subscription, mechanics' institutes, literary societies, and commercial circulating libraries--had existed for many years in different localities such as Vancouver, Victoria, and New Westminster.

Consequently, legislation was introduced in March 1891 that enabled a local council that had received a petition from 100 electors to submit the issue to be voted upon by ratepayers and, if successful, for council to pass a bylaw establishing a free library which might also include a free news-room, or museum, branches, as well as evening classes for artisans, mechanics and workingmen to promote mechanical and manufacturing arts. Essential features of this Act (54 Vic. chap 20) were similar to Ontario's 1882 legislation:
  • a board of management composed of the mayor or reeve of a municipality, and three other persons appointed by the council, and three by the public school board (or the board of education) governed the operations of the library;
  •  councils were mandated to levy a "Free Library Rate," a special annual rate not to exceed one half a mill upon the assessed value of all rateable real property to furnish the estimated budget submitted by the library board each year.;
  • all libraries, news-rooms, and museums were to be open to the public, free of all charge;
  •  mechanics' institute and library associations were authorized to transfer property and assets to a municipality for the purpose of the Act;
  • municipal councils were authorized to raise by a special issue of debentures (termed the "Free Library Debentures") amounts required for purchasing and erecting buildings and, in the first instance, for obtaining books and other things required to establish a library.
For the most part, British Columbia's legislation followed Ontario's law; however, one distinctive clause included in the B.C. Act permitted boards to conduct evening classes and to appoint and dismiss salaried teachers or instructors.

B.C.'s library act was primarily aimed at larger urban centres in a developing province. There was no provision for establishing libraries in the rural districts and no provincial financial or organizational assistance provided to undertake such work. The beneficiaries of the 1891 legislation were communities that had previously struggled to establish a public library by various means: Vancouver, Victoria, and New Westminster. In Victoria, for example, a public referendum had been held in 1887 to transfer the assets of the Mechanics' Literary Institute to the city for the purposes of establishing a public library. Vancouver's city council had begun granting small amounts for a public library earlier in 1889. New Westminster had provided accommodation in a central building for its library in 1890. Now these communities were eligible for an annual library rate. As well, there was a major unanticipated benefit to the 1891 legislation. A decade later, when Carnegie money became available for free public libraries, all three communities automatically were eligible to for a grant to erect a new building.

The 1891 Act marked another late Victorian Canadian milestone in the recognition of free libraries--how to establish and administer a library, what services would be provided, and how operations would be financed. The Act would remain in place until a complete revision was undertaken in 1919.

Further reading on B.C.'s Carnegie library heritage:

Vancouver, 1903:  now the Carnegie Centre
Victoria, 1906:  opened at the at the corner of Yates and Blanshard Streets

Monday, December 04, 2017

VICTORIAN CANADIAN LIBRARIES: THE CITY OF SAINT JOHN FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY ACT, 1883

The 1880s were a critical turning point for free library legislation in Canada. Ontario was not alone in enacting legislation for free public libraries, that is library service owned and funded by a local government accessible to local residents without charge at the point of service. Unlike Ontario, however, in the Maritime provinces specific legislation for the establishment of a free public library was the typical method chosen by Legislatures. Saint John became the earliest incorporated library to assume this course in 1883.

In the nineteenth century, Saint John was served by various subscription-membership libraries, notable the St. John Mechanics' Institute, in operation from 1839-90, and the St. John Society Library, in operation from 1811-69. Agitation for a free library, similar to the Toronto experience, began as early as the late 1870s. The success of a project which secured more than 2,000 books for a free library led to the appointment of a city commission in 1880 charged with forming a free library. After accommodation in the city's central market building was secured, the library eventually opened on 13 June 1883.

A month before, on May 3rd, a provincial act had established the library's legal basis. This Act allowed for appointment by city council of a nine-person board of commissioners to manage the library. The law allowed city council to assess $500 per annum for the library maintenance (this trifling amount was raised to $2,500 by an 1890 amendment). One article authorized council to appoint women as commissioners, not to exceed four in number. In fact, a committee entirely composed of ladies had been instrumental in helping raise funds to create the library before 1883 and it continued to assist in this way after the library opened. Each year, the library was required to submit an annual report to council; in effect, the library board was a semi-independent body within local government.

The act for St. John was singular in nature, shorter, and different from the Ontario enabling law of 1882. For example, it did not have a specified rate clause; it did not stipulate that commissioners could operate branches or newsrooms; it formally provided for bequests and gifts to be held by the library for its own use; it did not authorize appointments by school boards; and it did not enable the transfer of property by a mechanics' institute. Because of the circumstances leading to the library's foundation, there was no need for electors to vote on establishing the library.

Although the St. John law did not serve as a model for other communities in New Brunswick (or Nova Scotia), it did demonstrate an interest in the formation of Canadian free libraries at the local level by means of public statutes, a concept that was repeated in British Columbia (1891) and Manitoba (1899) before the end of the 19th century. The principle of local municipal appropriations, however, was emulated later in separate acts for free public libraries at Woodstock in 1912 and Moncton in 1927 before a general New Brunswick library was enacted in 1929.

CAP. LVIII.

An Act to establish a Free Public Library in the City of Saint John.


Sections
1 City Council to appoint Board of Commissioners.
2 Commissioners incorporated.
3 Continuance and succession of Commissioners; proviso.
4 After organization, property to vest in Commissioners.
5 Powers and duties of Commissioners.
6 Commissioners to make bye laws.
7 Females may be appointed to Board of Commissioners, proviso.
8 Vacancy in Board, how filled.
9 Report of receipts and expenditure to be made to Council annually.
10 City Council to order an annual assessment.
11 Assessment, to whom paid, and how applied.
Passed 3rd May 1883.

WHEREAS a number of persons have made large and valuable gifts of Books and Records, and also contributions in money, for the purpose of founding in the City of Saint John a Free Public Library, and it is desirable that a corporate body should be constituted for the management and continuance thereof;—
Be it enacted by the Lieutenant Governor, Legislative Council, and Assembly, as follows:—

1. It shall be the duty of the Common Council of the City of Saint John within sixty days after the passing of this Act to appoint a Board of nine persons, to be Commissioners for the management of a Free Public Library in the City of Saint John.

2. The persons so appointed by the Common Council shall, upon acceptance of the office, constitute and be the Board of Commissioners of the Free Public Library, and they and their successors are hereby constituted a body corporate by the name of “The Commissioners of the Free Public Library of the City of Saint John,” and by that name shall have the general powers and privileges by law incident to Corporations.

3. The continuance and succession of the said Corporation shall be as follows :—Upon the first day of June in each year after the year of the passing of this Act, two of such persons so appointed shall retire from the Board, in the order hereinafter in this Section prescribed, and two persons shall be annually appointed by the Common Council to fill the vacancies so made: The two persons last and eighth named upon the first appointment shall first retire, and in the next succeeding year the seventh and sixth named in the first appointment shall retire; and in the then next year the fifth and fourth; and in the next year the third and second; and the next year the first named in the first appointment shall retire, and also the first in seniority who may have been appointed to fill the first vacancy by retirement; and thereafter two persons in each year shall retire in the order of seniority of appointment or re-appointment; provided that the Common Council may in their discretion re-appoint any person or persons so retiring: Three Commissioners shall constitute a quorum, and shall be at all times a sufficient number for the legal continuance of the Corporate body.

4. Upon the organization of the Board of Commissioners under this Act, all books, records, moneys and other property now held by certain Trustees heretofore appointed by the Common Council to receive and hold such property, shall vest in the said Corporation constituted under this Act; and upon delivery thereof to the said Corporation, the Trustees shall be and thereupon are hereby discharged of all further responsibility, and relieved of all trusts and duties relating thereto.

5. The said Corporation constituted under this Act shall have full power to take and hold all books and other property coming into their hands for the purposes of this Act, and to receive and take all gifts, bequests and grants of money or chattels of any description, to be held by them for the purposes of this Act.

6. The said Corporation shall have full power and authority from time to time to make and ordain bye laws not contrary to law, for the management and control of the property held by them and the appointment of their officers; and to establish rules and regulations for the care and use of the books and other chattels for the maintenance of a Free Public Library.

7. In the first or any subsequent appointment under this Act, it shall be lawful for the Common Council in their discretion to appoint any female or females on the Board of Commissioners; provided that the female members at such Board shall not at any time exceed four in number.

8. Whenever any vacancy occurs in the Board of Commissioners by death or resignation, such vacancy shall be reported by the Board to the Common Council, who shall proceed to fill such vacancy by the appointment of another Commissioner, who shall hold office for the residue of the term of the person whose place he fills.

9. The Corporation constituted under this Act shall make an annual Report to the Common Council, with a statement of receipts and expenditures.

10. It shall be the duty of the Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty of the City of Saint John in Common Council, in every year after the present year from and after the passing of this Act, and they are hereby authorized and empowered to order and direct an assessment upon the whole City of Saint John and the inhabitants thereof, in addition to the yearly assessment for other civic purposes, for the sum of five hundred dollars besides the costs of levying and collecting the same, to be assessed, levied and collected at the time of levying and collecting other City rates, and therewith and in the manner provided by The Saint John City Assessment Act 1882, or any other Act for the time being in force relating to the levying, assessing and collecting of rates and taxes in the City of Saint John.

11. The moneys so assessed and collected under the last preceding Section of this Act shall be paid to and received by the Chamberlain of the City of Saint John, and shall be by him paid over as collected to the Commissioners of the Free Public Library in aid of the expenses of management of such Public Library.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

VICTORIAN CANADIAN LIBRARIES: THE ONTARIO FREE LIBRARIES ACT, 1882


The first province-wide legislation to establish free public libraries in Canadian cities, towns, and villages was enacted in Ontario in 1882 (Ontario Statutes, 1882, chap. 22). These libraries were available to municipal residents at point of entry without direct charge and were financed primarily by local tax revenue. The Ontario Act exemplified Victorian liberal-democratic ideas about local control, municipal taxation, and public access. To begin the process, a petition approved by ratepayers in a municipal election was required prior to formation of a library board by council bylaw--in effect, boards were created by popular assent. Second, three elective bodies normally shared board appointments: the municipal council and the public- and separate- school authorities. In theory, this practice helped safeguard library boards from sectarian and party interests. Third, appointments were for limited two- or three-year periods on an overlapping arrangement to allow for continuity, an important planning consideration at a time when municipal terms of office were usually only one year in length. Finally, the library board was entitled by law to levy a modest ‘Public Library Rate’—originally a maximum one-half mill on taxable assessment—and was obligated to submit its yearly estimates to council for approval. With an eye to the future, article 10 of the Act permitted the managers of local Mechanics' Institutes or Library Associations to transfer property to a municipality for the purposes of establishing a free public library. After Guelph citizens voted to establish a free library in January 1883 (officially founded on 10 February), the Mechanics' Institute became the first to transfer its holdings to the newly established Guelph Free Public Library on 15 March 1883.

The adoption of permissive legislation that specified semi-independent, appointed board status, secure (but modest) funding, and free access for local residents served Ontario reasonably well for decades. The law satisfied the liberal-democratic belief that libraries generally were educative institutions and the conservative (or elitist) preference for non-elective offices in which ‘prominent persons’ could exercise some form of direction in local government. The Ontario 1882 Act became a very influential model for subsequent legislation in western provinces: BC (1891), Manitoba (1899), Saskatchewan (1906), and Alberta (1907). In Ontario itself, the legislation was revised many times in the following eighty years and completely revamped in 1966 by a new Public Libraries Act to address the realities of rural library service and changing political realities in provincial and local government.

This general provincial act was, of course, permissive legislation allowing municipalities to establish free public libraries. Citizens in local communities were required to circulate petitions and submit the the issue in local municipal elections. Nonetheless, the mandated principle stipulated in article 9 --  "All libraries, news-rooms, and museums established under this Act shall be open to the public, free of all charge"  -- would subsequently become a centerpiece for promotion of public library service in Canada.


The re-quoted Act follows:

CHAPTER 22.


An Act to provide for the establishment of Free Libraries

[Assented to 10th March, 1882.]

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:–

Short title
1. This Act may be cited as "The Free Libraries Act, 1882."

Establishment of free libraries
2. A free library may be established in any city, town, or incorporated village, in manner hereinafter provided.
(2) Where a free library is so established, there may, without any proceedings for the purpose under this Act, be connected with the library, a free news-room, or museum, or both; and there may be established a branch library, or branch libraries, and a branch news-room, or branch news-rooms, in the municipality.
(3) In case a petition is presented to the Council of a city, town, or incorporated village, signed by not less than one hundred electors in the case of a city, or not less than sixty in the case of a town, or not less than thirty in the case of an incorporated village, praying for the establishment of a free library under this Act; the council may pass a by-law giving effect to the petition, with the assent of the electors qualified to vote at municipal elections given before the final passing of the by-law as provided by the Municipal Law.
(4) In case the vote of the electors is adverse to the by-law, no new by-law for the same purpose shall afterwards be passed by the Council, to be submitted to the electors within the same municipal year.

Appointment of Board of Management
3. In case of the establishment of a Free Library under this Act, the general management, regulation and control of the library, and of the news-room and museum (if any) shall be vested in and exercised by a Board to be called the Board of Management; which Board shall be a body politic and corporate, and shall be composed of the mayor of the city or town, or the reeve of the village, and three other persons to be appointed by the Council, three by the Public School Board, or the Board of Education, of the municipality, and two by the Trustees of the Separate School, if any.
(2) No person who is a member of the body entitled to appoint shall be qualified to be a member of the Board of Management.
(3) Of the representatives appointed by the Council, and the Public School Board, or Board of Education and Separate School Trustees, respectively, one shall retire annually, but may be re-appointed.
(4) Of the three members first appointed by the Council, and Public School Board, or Board of Education respectively, one shall hold office until the first day of February after his appointment, one until the first day of February in the following year, and one until the same day in the year next thereafter; and of the two members first appointed by the Separate School Trustees, one shall hold office until the first day of February after his appointment, and one until the first day of February of the following year, but every member of the Board of Management shall continue in office after the time named until his successor is appointed.
(5) In case of a vacancy by the death or resignation of a member, or from any cause other than the expiration of the time for which he was appointed, the member appointed in his place shall hold office for the remainder of his term.
(6) Subject to these provisions, each of the members appointed by the Council, or Public School Board, or Board of Education, shall hold office for three years from the first day of February in the year in which he is appointed; and each of the members appointed by Separate School Trustees, for two years from the first day of February in the year in which he is appointed.
(7) The first appointment of members of the said Board shall be made at the first meeting of the appointing Council or Board, after the final passing of the by-law. The annual appointments thereafter shall be made at the first meeting of the appointing Council or Board, after the first day of January in every year; and any vacancy arising from any cause, other than the expiration of the time for which the member was appointed, shall be filled at the first meeting thereafter of the appointing Council or Board. But if for any reason appointments are not made at the said dates, the same shall be made as soon as may be thereafter.
(8) The Board of Management shall elect one of their number as chairman, who shall hold office for one year; he shall preside at meetings of the Board when present; in his absence a chairman may be chosen pro tem. The chairman shall have the same right of voting as the other members of the Board, and no other.
(9) The Board shall meet at least once every calendar month, and at such other times as they may think fit.
(10) The chairman or any two members may summon a special meeting of the Board by giving at least two days' notice in writing to each member, specifying the purpose for which the meeting is called.
(11) No business shall be transacted at any general or special meeting unless four members are present.
(12) All orders and proceedings of the Board shall be entered in books to be kept by them for that purpose, and shall be signed by the chairman for the time being.
(13) The orders and proceedings so entered and purporting to be so signed, shall be deemed to be original orders and proceedings, and (such books) may be produced and read as evidence (of the orders and proceedings) upon any judicial proceeding whatsoever.


Duties of Board
4. Subject to the restrictions and provisions hereinafter contained, the Board are, from time to time, to procure, erect, or rent the necessary buildings for the purposes of the library or of the library, news-room and museum (as the case may be); to purchase books, newspapers, reviews, magazines, maps and specimens of art and science, for the use of the library, news-room and museum, and to do all things necessary for keeping the same in a proper state of preservation and repair; and to purchase and provide the necessary fuel, lighting, and in other similar matters; and are to appoint and dismiss, as they see occasion, the salaried officers and servants employed.


Board may make by-laws respecting use of library
5. The Board may make by-laws or rules for the safety and use of the library, news-room, and museum, and for the admission of the public thereto; and for regulating all other matters and things whatsoever connected with the management of the library and of the news-room and museum (if any), and with the management of all property of every kind under their control for the purposes of this Act; and the Board may impose penalties for breaches of the by-laws or rules, not exceeding ten dollars for any offence; and may from time to time repeal, alter, vary, or re-enact any such by-laws or rules.
(2) After any such by-laws or rules have been published weekly for at least two weeks in a newspaper published in the municipality, or in a newspaper circulated therein if no newspaper is published therein, the by-laws and rules so published shall be binding on all parties concerned; but any judge or magistrate, before whom a penalty imposed thereby is sought to be recovered, may order a part only of such penalty to be paid, if he thinks fit.
(3) Nothing herein contained shall preclude the recovery of the value of articles or things damaged, or the amount of damage sustained, from parties liable for the same.


Board to make yearly estimates
6. The Board of Management shall, in the month of March in every year, make up or cause to be made up, an estimate of the sums required to pay, during the ensuing financial year:
The interest of any money borrowed as hereinafter mentioned;
The amount of the sinking fund; and
The expense of maintaining and managing the libraries,
           news-rooms or museums under their control, and
           of making the purchases required therefor.

(2) The Board shall report their estimate to the council not later than the first day of April in each year.

Board to keep regular accounts
7. The Board of Management shall keep distinct and regular accounts of their receipts, payments, credits and liabilities, and the accounts shall be audited by the auditors of the municipality, in like manner as other accounts of the municipality, and shall thereafter be laid before the Council by the Board of Management.

Special rate for library purposes
8. For the purpose of providing for the expenses necessary for carrying this Act into effect, the council of the municipality, in addition to all other rates and assessments levied and assessed for municipal purposes, shall levy and assess from year to year a special annual rate sufficient to furnish the amount estimated by the said Board to be required as aforesaid, but not exceeding one half of a mill in the dollar, upon the assessed value of all ratable real and personal property, such rate to be called "The Free Library Rate."
(2) The council may also, subject as hereinafter provided, on the requisition of the Board of Management, raise by a special issue of debentures of the municipality, to be termed "Free Library Debentures," such sums as may be required for the purpose of purchasing and erecting the necessary buildings, and, in the first instance, for obtaining books and other things required.
(3) During the currency of the debentures so issued the council shall withhold, and retain as a first charge on the said annual rate, such amount as shall be required to meet the annual interest of the debentures, and a sinking fund for the retirement thereof as the debentures become due, such sinking fund to be invested and dealt with as in the case of other municipal debentures.
(4) All moneys levied or raised as aforesaid shall be received by the treasurer of the municipality in the same manner as other municipal funds, and be paid out by him on the orders of the Board; save as to the amount required to meet the interest and provide a sinking fund for debentures issued as aforesaid.
(5) It shall not be necessary to submit to the electors a by-law authorizing the issue of debentures, provided the annual sum required to meet the annual interest and sinking fund do not, with a reasonable allowance for annual expenses, exceed the said limit of half a mill in the dollar.

Admission to be free
9. All libraries, news-rooms, and museums established under this Act shall be open to the public, free of all charge.


Mechanics' Institutes may transfer property to corporation of municipality for the purposes of this Act
10. At any time after the adoption of this Act in any municipality, any Mechanics' Institute or Library Association in the municipality may by agreement with the Board transfer to the corporation of the municipality, for the purposes of this Act, all or any property, real or personal, of the Institute or Association; but any transfer which, but for this section, the Institute or Association would not have authority to make, shall only be made in the manner provided by the Act respecting, the power of Mechanics' Institutes and Library Associations to deal with their real estate (42 Vic., cap. 29).
(2) In case the transfer is to be made on terms involving the assumption of any liability of the Institute or Association, or the payment of any money in consideration of the transfer, the agreement shall not be binding, unless approved of and consented to by by-law of the municipal council.

Act to be incorporated with Municipal and Assessment Acts
11. Upon the coming into operation of this Act in any municipality, it shall, as regards such municipality, be deemed to be incorporated with the Municipal and Assessment Acts from time to time affecting such municipality.


Forms
12. The forms in the schedule hereto may be used for the purposes of this Act, or any forms to the like effect and the recitals contained in the said forms shall be deemed sufficient, any provisions in the Municipal Act to the contrary notwithstanding. 

————

SCHEDULE.

 
FORM A.
PETITION.
To the Municipal Council of
    We, the undersigned electors of the said city of                                                                               [or as the case may be], respectfully pray that a Free Library may be established in this municipality under the Free Libraries Act, 1882.

———

FORM B.
BY-LAW FOR ESTABLISHING A FREE LIBRARY WITH THE ASSENT OF THE ELECTORS.
A By-law to provide for the establishment of a Free Library in the city of                                                 [or as the case may be].
    Whereas              electors have petitioned the council of the said city of                                     [or as the case may be], praying for the establishment of a Free Library under the Free Libraries Act, 1882;
    Be it therefore enacted by the said Municipal Council of the said city of                                      [or as the case may be] that, in case the assent of the electors is given to this By-law, a Free Library be established in this municipality in accordance with the provisions of the Free Libraries Act, 1882.
    And be it further enacted that the votes of the electors be taken on this By-law on                             the                            day of                              , 18       , commencing at nine o'clock in the morning and continuing until five o'clock in the afternoon, at the under-mentioned places : [Here insert (1) the ward; (2) the polling sub-division; (3) the place for holding the poll and the name of the Deputy Returning Officer.
    That on the                          day of                    next, at his office in the                      , at              o'clock in the           noon, the                                    [Mayor, Reeve, or as the case may be] shall appoint in writing, signed by him, two persons to attend to the final summing up of the votes by the Clerk,  and one person to attend at each polling place on behalf of the persons interested in and desirous of promoting the passing of this By-Law, and a like number on behalf of the persons interested in and desirous of opposing the passage of this By-law.

     That the Clerk of the said Municipal Corporation shall attend at the                       at the hour of                o'clock in the                noon, on the day of                  , 18        , to sum up the number of votes given for or against the By-law.
Notice by Clerk.
    The above is a true copy of a proposed By-law which will be taken into consideration by the Council of                        after one month from the                           day of                            , 18      , being the date of the first publication thereof, and the polls for taking the votes of the electors will be held at the hour, day and places named in the said By-law.
———

FORM C.
BY-LAW FOR THE ISSUE OF FREE LIBRARY DEBENTURES WHERE THE
ASSENT OF THE ELECTORS IS NOT REQUIRED.

 A By-law authorizing the issue of debentures for the purposes of a Free library.

     Whereas a By-Law of the Municipal Council of the city of                                               [or as the case may be] , was passed on the                          day of                                     establishing a Free Library in this municipality under the Free Libraries Act, 1882;
     And whereas a sum of  $                is required for the purposes of acquiring a site, erecting buildings, etc. [as the case may be], for the said Free Library, as appears by the special estimate for that purpose furnished by the Board of Management to the Council;
     And whereas it will require the sum of                  annually for a period of                          years, to pay the interest of the said debt, and the sum of $                      annually during the said period for the forming of a sinking fund of                                  per centum per annum for the payment of the debt created by this By-Law, making in all the sum of                                    annually as aforesaid ;
     And whereas it is necessary that such annual sum of                         shall in each year during the said period of years be charged on the special rate mentioned in the eighth section of the said Act.
     Be it therefore enacted by the said Municipal Council of the said city [or as the case may be] of                                    [or as the case may be], pursuant to the provisions of the Free Libraries. Act, 1882.
      That the Mayor [or as the case may be], of the said municipality may borrow on the credit of the said annual Library rate as aforesaid,  and may issue Free Library Debentures of the corporation to that amount in sums of not less than  $100 each, and payable within                     years from the date thereof, with interest at the rate of                             per centum per annum, that is to say in [insert the manner of payment, whether in annual payments or otherwise], such debentures to be payable at                              and to have attached to them coupons for the payment of interest.
     That during                        years, the sum of                          shall be raised and retained annually for the payment of interest on said debentures, and also the sum of                       for the purpose of forming a sinking fund of                     per centum per annum for the payment of the principal of the said loan of                                in               years, making in all the sum of                              to be raised and charged annually as aforesaid on the special Library rate unless the said debentures shall be sooner paid, for the purpose of paying the said sum of                          , with interest thereon as aforesaid.
  ——

FORM D.
FREE LIBRARY DEBENTURE.
No.                                                        Province of Ontario.                        $                   
[Name of Municipality.]

    Under and by virtue of the Free Libraries Act, 1882, and of By-law No.        of the Corporation of                        passed under the powers in said Act contained,
     The Corporation of                            promise to pay the bearer or                            in                    the sum of  $                                  on the                            day of                       A.D.                            and the half yearly coupons hereto attached as the same shall severally become due.
              [L.S.]                                                                                A. B.
                                                                                    Mayor [or as the case may be].
                                                                                                         C.D.
                                                                                                             Treasurer.