The Advent of the Public School Libraries

School Library Rules, 1919

Under authority of section 117 [of the Public Schools Act]:  “Whenever a Board of Trustees shall set aside a sum of money for the purpose of establishing a library or adding thereto, there may be granted from the Provincial Treasury a sum equal to one-half the sum so set aside, not to exceed fifty dollars in any one year, to be expended in the purchase of books therefore.”

Regulations respecting School Libraries

1.  No book hostile to the Christian religion or of an immoral or sectarian character shall be permitted in the school library.

2.  The Trustees shall hold school libraries in trust as part of the school property of the district, shall provide a suitable book-case or book-cases, and shall make such regulations for the preservation and circulation of the books as they shall deem necessary.

3.  Until the Council of Public Instruction has prepared and published a list of books for such libraries, Trustees purchasing books with school funds shall first send to the Superintendent of Education for approval a list of the proposed books, their publishers and prices.

4.  The grant made by the Council of Public Instruction, under the provisions of section 117, shall be paid, on the presentation of the invoice or invoices of books purchased and the certificate of the Secretary of the School Board, as follows:— 

     “I hereby certify that the books referred to in accompanying invoice (or invoices, as the case may be) have been purchased for the School Library of                    District (or Assisted School) during the present school-year.”


                                                                                                                   “Secretary of School Board

     NOTE.—The Provincial grant, as well as the amount raised by the district, must be expended in books.  The amount of grant is, therefore, one-half that amount of money expended as shown by the invoice or invoices.  It is recommended that no balance by left unexpended at the end of the school-year.

     The following regulations for the management of school libraries are recommended for adoption by School Boards (unless formally adopted by the Trustees at a regular meeting, the rules in regard to fines shall not be enforced) :—

Rules for School Libraries

    (a.) Under the direction of the Secretary of the School Board, the principal or teacher of the school shall be the librarian, shall have charge of the library, keep a catalogue of all books in a book to be provided for that purpose, and shall disburse all library funds placed at his disposal by the School Board.

    (b.)  The books shall be covered with stout paper.  Each volume shall be numbered on the back of cover.  On the inside of the front cover shall be pasted a written or printed label giving the number of the book and the name of the district or school.  The books should be kept (when not loaned to readers) in a suitable book-case, under lock and key, provided by the Trustees; glass doors are recommended.  It is also recommended that a dictionary for reference form part of the equipment, and that it be kept outside the library; all pupils above the junior grade should know how to use it and should be accustomed to refer to it.

    (c.)  Each book loaned should be entered by the librarian in a book to be provided for that purpose, as in the following form :—

Date of


No. of Book Delivered.

To Whom







Fine for


Fine for


When Paid.

    (d.)  A book loaned to a member of a family in which infectious disease has broken out should not be returned to the library, but its value should be promptly paid and a new book obtained.

    (e.)  No person shall be allowed to have more than one volume at a time, or to retain the same longer than two weeks; nor shall any person who has incurred a fine by these regulations receive a book while such fine remains unpaid.

    (f.)  On the return of every book to the library, the librarian shall examine it carefully to ascertain what injury (if any) has been sustained by it, and shall charge the amount of the fine accordingly.

    (g.)  The following fines shall be assessed by the librarian as herein provided :—

             1st.   For detaining a book beyond two weeks, 5 cents a week.

             2nd.  For the loss of a volume, the cost of the book, and if one of a set, an amount

  sufficient to purchase a new set

        3rd.  For a leaf of the text torn out or lost, or so soiled as to render it illegible, the

  cost of the book; or if one of the set, the cost of the set.  In either of the above

  cases the person paying the fine shall be entitled to the book or set so injured.

              4th. For any injury beyond ordinary wear, an amount proportionate to the injury, to

  be estimated by the librarian, subject to revision upon appeal by the Board of


          5th. Whenever any book shall not be returned within six weeks from the time it

  was loaned, it shall be deemed to be lost, and the person so detaining it shall be

  charged with its cost.

    (h.)  All books belonging to the library shall be called in and placed in the bookcase during the last week of the term, and no book shall be loaned during vacation.

    (i.)  On the last Friday of each term the librarian shall make out and forward to the Secretary of the School Board a statement showing the number of volumes lost during the term and the amount of fines collected, the number and cost of the books purchased

during the term, together with such other facts and suggestions as may be of interest to the Trustees and ratepayers.  This statement should be kept on file by the Secretary for future reference.  In case of a librarian leaving a district before the end of a term, he shall, before leaving, submit to the Secretary of the Board a report as above indicated.

     (j.)  It shall be the duty of the teacher, before assuming charge of the school library at any time, to ascertain whether or not the number of volumes in the library and their condition correspond with the last report to the Secretary of the Board and with the librarian’s book left by his predecessor.  In case of his finding any discrepancy, he shall report the same in writing to the Secretary of the Board.

Source: Department of Education.  Courses of Study for the Public, High, and Normal Schools of British Columbia.  Victoria: King's Printer, 1919.

Transcribed by: Terra Dickson, History 349, Malaspina University-College, March 2001.