The Allan O'Brien Multilevel Governance Research Laboratory, Room 4226 of the Social Science Centre, provides space and facilities for the study of government and public administration. It especially complements the Local Government Program within the Department of Political Science. The lab began life in the early 1970s as the place where learning materials were stored for the first few cohorts in Western's Diploma in Public Administration (DPA) program, founded by Allan O'Brien. Funding for the initial collection came mainly from the federal Ministry of State for Urban Affairs.
The collection was dramatically increased and electronically catalogued in the late 1980s, when the Masters in Public Administration (MPA) was added as a graduate program. Funding for this initiative came from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs. By this time, the collection was known as the Local Government Program Library.
Over the years, a number of retired professors in the field of local government—notably Eric Beecroft, Allan O'Brien, and Hans Hosse—have donated much of their personal collections to the Library, making it especially strong in government documents from the 1960s and 1970s.
The library became the Allan O'Brien Multilevel Governance Research Laboratory as a result of funds from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. These funds are associated with Professor Robert Young's Canada Research Chair in Multilevel Governance. A portion of the funds were spent on providing space and furnishing to accommodate 4 PhD students, space for 9 other students, a conference area and state of the art equipment.
The official opening was held on May 12, 2005 and was well attended by members of the Department of Political Science, Dean Brian Timney, and several Faculty of Social Science personnel. Dr. Andrew Sancton, Director, Local Government Program and Dr. Robert Young, Canada Research Chair in Multilevel Governance paid tribute to Allan O’Brien by dedicating the space in his honour.
The Local Government Program Library is located in the Allan O'Brien Multilevel Government Laboratory. The Laboratory boasts a comprehensive collection of local government material, including books, government publications, and journals.