Have you had the good fortune to spend time in our Museum Library? It has quite the history:
“The Air Force Indoctrination School (AFIS) opened at CFB Comox in 1982 to give CanadianForces (CF) officers and non-commissioned members serving their first tour on an air base a sound introduction to air force operations, history and heritage. Being a school, particularly in the time before the Internet, a library was a ne- cessity to provide students with appropriate reference material. When AFIS moved to Building 11 in 1986, the Library, still small, was located upstairs in the student lounge.
The Comox Air Force Museum (CAFM), founded in 1982 as a small collection of artefacts in Building 22, also moved to Building 11 in 1986, developed greatly and was accredited as a CF Museum in September 1987. In October 1994, CAFM acquired a large collection of over 2500 books, thousands of photographs, hundreds of periodicals, dozens of aircraft models and many military artefacts from the estate of the late Geoffrey Rowe of Victoria. This magnificent gift became known as the Geoffrey Rowe Collection – the donation was recognized by the official naming of the room as the Geoffrey Rowe Memorial Library in June 1995.
When AFIS closed in 1996, the library material not transferred to Winnipeg, and all of the Geoffrey Rowe Collection, became part of CAFM. The Library moved to its current location on the north side of the ground floor of Building 11 in October 2003 after the Totem Times, the 19 Wing newspaper, moved elsewhere.
The Library is the “information arm” of the Museum. The book collection now includes over 8,000 volumes on all aspects of air force and aviation history, with particular interest in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), RCAF Station Comox, Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Comox, squadrons and units which have served here since 1943 and military aviation operations in the Pacific Northwest. There is a small collection of aircrew log-books. The Library also has thousands of photographs as well as a number of films, slides and videotapes, all on aviation subjects. The art collection now includes over 200 paintings and prints which are displayed on rotation through the gallery on a regular basis. The Library also has an extensive collection of periodicals, some of them dating from the early 1900s. And the collections keep growing!
We are offered donations of books, magazines, prints and memorabilia every week – many items remain with us; a few may be offered to other Museums and duplicates of items already on the shelves will be set aside for sale. The Library also buys new publications which fit the aims of the Museum as they come to market. The Library has become virtually self supporting in terms of its collections.” (credit David Stinson and Allison Hetman)
In the next post, I’ll share the story behind our Library’s table; it too has a history!