In April 2009, the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre Devonian Library entered its 28th year of providing scientific literature and resources to its students and researchers. Built in 1982 from funding provided by the Devonian Group of Charitable Foundations of Alberta and the Alberta government, the library continues to be a unique gem tucked away in a remote village on the Pacific Northwest coast.
Our collection currently includes more than 4880 marine, coastal and life sciences books and over 16,000 reprints. We have over 200 journal titles, and currently subscribe to 26 scientific journals such as Science, Nature, Marine Biology and Marine Ecology Progress Series. The library also houses an extensive collection of rare tropical and temperate shells and coral from around the world, which were generously donated by Ms. Hazel Jones, and an impressive series of seaweed presses dating back to 1883. In addition, a number of maps, charts, aerial photographs, historical archives and electronic resources are available 24 hours a day.
Since 1973, marine and coastal biology courses have been offered at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. Every year each student is responsible for their own research project which may involve collection of specimens or field data, laboratory trials, statistical analysis and finally presentation, both orally and in print form. Each student report has been bound and stored in the library for both student and researcher use. These reports not only archive the long history of pioneering scientific research done at the Station, but also provide valuable scientific data about Barkley Sound and surrounding areas.
Included in our holdings are many rare books and documents. The special collections currently totals more than 300 rare books dating as far back as 1776, including a priceless first addition copy of Report on the Scientific Results of the H.M.S. Challenger written in 1887, and one of 53 copies in the world’s libraries of Narrative of the Circumnavigation of the Globe by the Austrian Frigate Novara written in 1863. Many of the books in our collection are not found in the catalogues of any other libraries in the world and are irreplacable.
Although rich in historic and archival materials, the Devonian library strives to be on the cutting- edge of library and research services. We currently provide high-speed Internet to students and researchers and access to 38 web-based life sciences databases for literature searches. We also offer inter-library loan and same day in-house document request services to BMSC users. At present, our library catalogue is undergoing a substantial upgrade, which will allow it to be published on the web for improved service and easier access.
Whether you come to read up on the latest in genetic research, search through rare historic marine and zoology documents or marvel at the panoramic view of Barkley Sound, all visitors to the Devonian Library must appreciate its unique and valuable place at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.