Peterborough Law Association
Business Address: Lois C. Davidson Law Library, 470 Water Street, Peterborough, Ontario K9H 2N3
Phone Number: 705-742-9341
Key Contact: Laura Dobbie
Web site: http://www.peterboroughlaw.org/
Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00am – 4:00pm
Audience Served: Approximately 110 members throughout the Peterborough area.
Circulation Policy: Not open to the public. Members may sign out textbooks for two weeks. The library participates in interlibrary loans with other county and district law libraries.
Special Collections: The library has a number of books from the Library of Sir John Beverley Robinson, the first Chief Justice of Ontario. He was the brother of Peter Robinson who arranged for the Irish immigrant settlement of Peterborough and for whom the city is named. In 1899 Christopher Robinson, Q.C. gave the Peterborough Law Association a number of his father’s reports and textbooks, including complete sets of early Ontario law reports and statutes of Upper Canada from 1792. The library holds complete sets of bound statutes from that date to the present for both Canada and Ontario. Complete sets of early English reports, including both the Revised Reports and the English Reports, are also available.
Accessibility: Not wheelchair accessible. A handicapped equipped washroom is located on the second floor. The washroom itself is not accessible, being at the top of a flight of stairs, and through the book stacks.
Library Type: Area
History: The Peterborough Law Association was established and incorporated on November 12th, 1897 under the Ontario Library Associations and Mechanics Institutes Act. The purpose shall be the formation of a law library for the use of its members and the taking cognizance of all matters relating to the welfare of the legal profession in the Town and County of Peterborough. For four years the association leased the library from one of its members until, as a result of a lawsuit in 1893, the association decided to purchase its own books. The library has always been located in the county court house, an historic building on the top of the hill overlooking Victoria Park in the centre of Peterborough. The court house was built in 1835 of limestone from nearby Jackson Creek, and is a historically designated building. The collection was nearly lost in 1916 when sparks from the Quaker Oats Company fire set alight the roof of the court house. There are still older books on the shelves which were scorched or water damaged by the fire. After the fire, the library was moved to the ground floor where it remained until 1972. For the last 34 years the library has been located in the upper north end of the court house. In 2000 the association designated the library as the Lois C. Davidson Law Library in recognition of the services of the lawyer who had guided the library since 1967. Allison Killins replaced Lois in June 2008.
Facility: The library is located on the upper north end of the courthouse. It has a collection of about 8,000 books, housed in a common area shared with two robing rooms, a conference room, computer and research space, and a lounge.