The first record we have about the creation of a library for the Costa Rican legislators, is Law 166 of July 14, 1939, in which Congress authorized the Board to invest the sum of ¢ 5,000 (five thousand colones) in books in order to create a library.
Later, on September 21st, 1950 in the new Rules of Order, Management and Internal Discipline of the Legislative Assembly, through a motion subscribed by Mr. Carlos Elizondo, MP, Chapter XIV was included to rule the functions and duties of the Department of Archives and the Library. In 1952, under Agreement Nº 26 issued on November 28th, the Legislative Assembly authorized to buy the private library of the former President of the Republic, Mr. Cleto González Víquez for the use of legislators.
The first bibliographical records were made from February 1953, and in 1955, according to Article 75 and 76 of the Rules, the Library was created as a department separated from the Archive Department, and for the first time, it opened its doors to the public.
On June 6th, 1990, by an agreement issued by the Legislative Plenary, the Library was called Monseñor (Monsignor) Victor Manuel Sanabria Martínez (Meritorious Achievement Award). In 1993, by the Board Agreement Nº 39, the building called “Confetis” was acquired to establish the Parliamentary Library.
The legal basis is established by article 213 of the Rules, which defines the Library as a department “to serve parliamentarians and employees of the Legislative Assembly “in their tasks. The rest of the governmental employees and the public in general may consult this archive and the library according to what the Internal Working Rules provides about the relationship of the administrative staff of the Assembly”. Besides, in article 216, an annual budget is provided to acquire books and documents which are considered relevant.
The library has been enriched and modernized with accurate bibliographical material that is consistent with the real needs of clients.
Besides this accuracy, new information technologies have been incorporated, they permitted the automation of its processes which started in 1993 with the design of the book data base, and then with the title magazine, and journal data bases. The automation also involved loans and returns of materials and client consultation.
The website of the library was created in 1998, which has been modified constantly to integrate new services of the library.
Currently, there are works to maintain and disclosure the virtual library as a meeting point between the library and the clients. It leads to a paperless document flow that favors the interactivity between the client and the staff that provides the service. This permits the projection of the parliamentary service that transcends our borders and that is now global.
In 1994, the Statistics Information Center was created by a Board agreement (issued in session December 9th, 1992), so it became another area of this Department.
In 2002, the Documentation and Legislative Research Center was created (Board agreement, issued in session No. 20-2002, September 24, 2002), now called the Legislative Research Center (CEDIL). The purpose with these centers is to contribute to strengthen the services provided in the Library.
The launch of the legislative web portal allows to answer all clients’ inquires about the Library’s services and products in real time. Besides, this new tool opens a larger space for the communication with clients.
Today, the Department of Library Services is made up of 4 areas:
1. Documentary and digital information development
2. Guidance for Clients and Services Management
3. The Legislative Research Center (CEDIL)
4. The Statistics Information Center.