The main reading room of the Library was originally occupied by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. Perhaps the most notable trial held at this location was that of Joseph Howe, who was charged with criminal libel. On March 2, 1835, Mr. Howe spoke in his own defense for 6 hours and 15 minutes and won his acquittal. The Court’s decision established the principle of freedom of the press in Canada.
In spring 1862, the Supreme Court was moved to another building and the courtroom was converted into the Legislative Library. Alcoves, shelving and a mezzanine balcony were added to house materials that had once been scattered throughout the building. James Venables was appointed Nova Scotia’s first Legislative Librarian in the same year.
Services to the Public
Members of the public may visit the library and use the collection during regular daytime hours. Library materials may be borrowed through interlibrary loan, with some exceptions; reference books, legislative materials, and fragile texts may only be used in-house. Loans are for two weeks. Staff assistance to the public may be limited depending on the activities of the House of Assembly.
Visitors may purchase photocopy cards in amounts of $5, $10 or $30. Copies are 50 cents per page; copyright restrictions apply.
Service to NS Government Employees
The library collection is available to members of the NS Civil Service during regular hours. NS government employees may borrow from the collection; loans are for two weeks and may be renewed by phone or email. Selected material, such as reference books, legislative documents and fragile items, may only be used in-house.
NS government employees may make photocopies at no charge. Copyright restrictions apply.