A brief history of the Brant Law Association
the oldest county law association in the province
The originally named Brant County Law Library Association was constituted by a declaration signed by the requisite number of stockholders dated November 30, 1853, and recorded in the Registry office on June 15, 1855. The original incorporators including the local County Court Judge and each subscribed the sum of £25, a sizable amount at that time.
The Association, consisting of 20 members met on December 10, 1853, when by-laws were adopted, and on February 20, 1854, a draft on London, for £100 sterling was forwarded to Messrs. Stevens and Norton of London, England on account of the first consignment of 68 law books purchased for the library. The original list of books can be found in the minute book.
George C. Keachie, the Jailor of the County of Brant, was appointed in 1854 as the first librarian and he set the library up with carpet, chairs, oil cloth, wood box and blinds at a cost of $42.00 donated by the members of the association. The Library was moved to the "room below the stairs" in 1859, which was also the judges's chambers. The location of the library was entirely appropriate since Judge Jones was the first President of the associaton and remained President for 43 years.
In 1866, the Sheriff, John Smith was appointed secretary, treasurer, librarian and auditor. By 1879 the book collection consisted of just over 700 volumes and was insured for a value of $1500. At the meeting in 1881, the Law Society requirements for an annual grant were complied along with the first book committee being appointed.
In September 1900 the association considered the appointment of a permanent librarian, and on October 19, 1900, for the princely sum of $3.00 per week, Miss Florence Biscoe was hired. Miss Biscoe continued her employment with the Brant Law Association for a total of 45 years. Terrence Whitbread served as the librarian from 1945 - 1993; and Judith Giordano assumed the role of librarian from 1994 - 2015.
Many matters of interest are contained in the minute book. There were many resolutions as to proposed legislation on various subjects; discussions on the library location within the building; and frequent appointments to various committees. The minute book purchased by Judge Jones dates to 1855, although fragile, is still in good condition.