Greater Victoria Public Library

Greater Victoria Public Library

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Greater Victoria Public Library

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The Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) is a public library that serves Victoria, British Columbia and the surrounding area.

In addition to services offered at each location, GVPL provides electronic resources (also known as bibliographic databases) to library cardholders through the library's web site. These "E-Resources" include the full text of Canadian newspapers, international magazines (currently licenced through EBSCO Industries), and standard reference works such as the World Book encyclopedia.

Early history: 1858 to 1948

Private libraries

Prior to 1864, Victoria was served by at least two small, private lending libraries. In 1858, for instance, The Gazette described a library and reading room opened by a Mr W. F. Herre. This private library, located in the Hibben and Carswell Building on Yates Street near the corner of Wharf Street, was "fitted up in a very neat and comfortable style...". It was, the writer conceded, "yet limited, but so soon as the books can be obtained from San Francisco, will be greatly enlarged." The writer further explained that Mr Herre's library "filled a much needed want of the town".

Another early library—that of the British Columbia division of the T. Eaton Company—was started in 1862 by department store manager David Spencer.

Mechanics' Institute

On December 16, 1864 the local Mechanics' Institute created Victoria's first community-oriented lending library. Located...
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