Reference & Research

Complementing the electronic and web resources listed in this section, Burnaby Public Library features many specialized reference materials, most of which are available at the second-floor information desk of the Bob Prittie Metrotown Branch.

Annual reports | British Columbia history | Burnaby civic and historical material | Business and investment | Citizenship information | College and university calendars | Consumer information | Directories – business/city/telephone | Government publications | Job search and careers | Legal matters | Literature | Maps | Medicine | Newspapers and magazines | Repair manuals – cars, trucks, motorcycles, small engines | Songs | Statistics

Annual reports

Annual reports for some Canadian and British Columbia government departments and Burnaby municipal documents..

British Columbia history

  • Special Collections reference collection of 6000+ books and other historical material relating to British Columbia, BC communities and BC native history. Searchable in the library catalogue, they require a library card to be used in the library only – they cannot be borrowed. Additional, circulating copies of some titles may be available.
  • Canadian Institute of Historical Microreproductions (CIHM) – historic documents relating to BC history searchable in the library catalogue and available on microfiche.
  • Pacific Press Local History Clippings Collection – newspaper clippings of Greater Vancouver events from 1930-1980 available on microfiche; arranged by subject.

Burnaby civic and historical material

Civic information
  • Board of Variance agendas/minutes, 1987 to present
  • Information Burnaby (newsletter), 1974 to present
  • City council agendas and minutes, 1965 to present
  • Parks and Recreation Commission agendas and minutes, 1983 to present
  • School Board agendas and minutes, 1980 to present
  • Traffic Safety Committee agendas and minutes, 1984 to present
  • City Manager's reports to Council, indexed from 1974 to present

City bylaws, council minutes & committee reports are also on the City of Burnaby website, 1997 to date.

City of Burnaby Archives is located at the McGill branch library building. Please call 604-297-4947 for assistance.

Local history
  • Burnaby newspapers, 1926 to date, indexed in Burnaby Matters and Canadian Newsstream
  • Books written on Burnaby history and heritage buildings
  • Burnaby Public Library Historical Photograph Collection (190+ photos of Burnaby, held in special collections)
  • Burnaby Public Library Contemporary Visual Archive Project (500 copies of photos taken of  Burnaby in 1976, originals held at the Burnaby City Archives)
  • Local history file (miscellaneous historical documents and maps)
  • Older Burnaby city planning documents
  • Burnaby secondary school yearbooks

Business and investment

  • Business and trade directories .
  • A variety of print directories covering specific industries and geographic areas (primarily Canada, US and the Far East)
  • The Company You Keep – a guide to finding information about Canadian companies.
  • Reference Canada database (in library and from home) with information for 1.9 million Canadian businesses.

The library also subscribes to a number of important Canadian and US stock market and investment reports. See "Stocking Up: A Guide to Investor Resources at BPL" for titles.

Citizenship information

  • Printed questions and answers to help prepare for the Canadian citizenship test, including up-to-date information on elected officials at municipal, provincial, and federal levels. This material is also available in printed form at all branches.

Consumer information

  • Current and back issues of Consumer Reports (with Canadian supplement)
  • Access to Consumer Report articles online through EBSCOhost database.
  • Magazine buyer guides for specific products


Business and trade directories
  • Printed directories covering specific industries and geographic areas
  • Reference Canada database (in-library and home use), with information for 1.5 million Canadian businesses
City directories
  • City directories and Criss-Cross indexes for Greater Vancouver are no longer published.
  • City directories, 1968 to 1995 still available R917.1133 Van
  • Criss-Cross directories, 1979 - 2001 still available R917.1133 Van
  • Selected historical directories (printed), Williams British Columbia directory 1882/83 SC971.1025 Bri; Henderson's BC Directory 1919 SC971.133 Hen; Wrigley's BC Directory 1923 and 1930 SC971.1025 Wri
  • Selected provincial historical directories (CIHM microfiche), 1877-8, 1884-5, 1887 thru 1897 (ex. 1893 & '94), 1899-1900, 1908 and 1910
  • Selected Victoria historical directories (CIHM microfiche), 1863, 1868, 1869, 1871
  • SelectPhone CD-ROM database, with direct and reverse access to names and addresses for currently listed telephone numbers across Canada (available at Metrotown)
Telephone directories
  • White and yellow pages for all of Canada .
  • Older telephone books for Vancouver and suburbs since 1961
  • SelectPhone CD-ROM, to search white pages listings for all of Canada (by name or telephone number) – in-library access at Metrotown only

Government publications

BPL is a selective depository library for federal and provincial government documents, which are available either in print, microfiche, or online. Many of them are accessible only in the library.

Most BC publications issued since 1974 are searchable on the BPL catalogue and available in microfiche (Microlog). The Metrotown Branch has microfilm/microfiche readers that allow reading, printing and scanning of these fiche.

Job search and careers

  • Job descriptions and outlooks for most occupations
  • Directories to help find prospective employers
  • Reference Canada database (in-library and from home) allows searching by type of business and city
  • Weekly printed employment magazine for lower Mainland job postings, Job White Pages
  • database has current job postings (in-libary use only)
  • Career Cruising interactive career guidance site (in-library and from home)

Also see the BPL handout Help I Want a Job!

Legal matters

  • All statutes, regulations, gazettes, Hansards and current bills for Canada and BC.
  • Provincial legislation in print and BCLaws and Codes available on dedicated terminals at Metrotown and McGill.
  • Canadian looseleaf services on taxation, real estate, business and labour laws.
  • Self Counsel Press and other self-help publications on a wide variety of legal topics.
  • Current Case law, as reported by BC Weekly Law Digest, Canada Supreme Court Reports (1992 - 2015), and historical BC Law Reports (1867 - 1947 with indexes)
  • 400+ volumes on specialized legal topics, e.g. wills, incorporation, motor vehicles, labour standards, taxation, immigration, strata property, etc.


  • Book review indexes
  • Literary criticism series
  • Short story index
  • Poetry criticism and indexes
  • Index to plays in the BPL collection


  • Road and city maps from BC, Canada, US and selected international locations, many of which may be borrowed
  • Topographic maps covering southern BC
  • Local hydrographic charts
  • Detailed Burnaby maps (including 1:2000 aerial photos)


  • Current medical texts and reference books
  • Wide collection of popular heath guides
  •  Some major medical journals such as New England Journal of Medicine (indexed in Ebscohost database), CMAJ, & Lancet.

Newspapers and magazines (and indexes)

Print and electronic magazines and newspapers (Burnaby, BC, Canada and international), most at Metrotown. Some in languages other than English.

Microfilm back issues of the following newspapers:

  • Burnaby newspapers (various), 1926 - present
  • (complete microfilm holdings, Burnaby papers [PDF])
  • Financial Post/National Post, 1968 - present
  • Toronto Globe & Mail, 1977 - present
  • Vancouver Province, March 1894 - present
  • Vancouver Sun, Feb. 1912 - present
  • Victoria Daily Colonist, 1858 - 1914

Newspaper subject indexes:

  • Burnaby Matters, BPL's index to historical Burnaby newspapers
  • BC Legislative Library Index (on microfilm) to topics in Vancouver and Victoria newspapers, 1900 to 1990

Canadian Newsstream database for:

  • Vancouver Sun
  • Vancouver Province
  • Other Canadian papers
  • Burnaby Now (2002 to current)
  • Burnaby News Leader (2004 to 2015)

Repair manuals

Cars and trucks
  • Cars and trucks: - reference factory shop manuals covering most domestic models since 1950 and foreign cars since 1960 (limited coverage after 2000)
  • Historical Chilton reference manuals for domestic & imported cars, and light trucks.
  • AllData database (only at Metrotown) with full text auto service manuals from 1982 to date
  • Manuals published by Haynes, Chilton and Clymer which can be borrowed
  • Clymer and Haynes manuals covering most morotcycles since the late 1960's (listed in library catalogue)
  • Shop manuals for some Harley Davidsons
Small engine and outboard motor manuals
  • Wide selection of Clymer, Chilton, Seloc, and Intertec manuals covering Johnson, Evinrude, Chrysler, Volvo, Mercury, OMC, Briggs & Stratton, Clinton, etc, engines and motors (listed in library catalogue)


BPL Song Index to locate the words and music for specific songs in the library's collection of song and music books.


  • Over 400 Statistics Canada publications and census data (printed and online publications) Also see the StatsCan website.
  • BC Stats publications available in the library, as well as access to BC Stats database (in-library and from home)