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Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Biography: Lillian Helena Smith (1887—1983)

Lillian Helena Smith, 1910

Lillian Smith became the first Canadian children’s librarian with academic credentials when she began her career at Toronto Public Library in 1912. By the time of her retirement, TPL was providing book services at Boys and Girls House, 16 library branches, 2 settlement houses, 30 school libraries, and two hospitals. The quality of services at Boys and Girls House so much impressed Edgar Osborne, a British librarian and collector, that he donated 1,800 children’s books to TPL in 1949, the nucleus of today’s outstanding collections at the Lillian H. Smith branch on College Street. Lillian Smith made valuable contributions to the American and Ontario library associations in children’s and youth services and was instrumental in forming the Canadian Association of Children’s Librarians in 1939.

Lillian Helena Smith

Born March 17, 1887, London, ON; Died January 5, 1983, Toronto, ON

1910 BA (Victoria University, Toronto)
1910-1912 Diploma (Carnegie Training School for Children’s Librarians, Pittsburgh)
1931 BS in Library Science (Carnegie Library School, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh)

1911-1912 Children’s librarian and branch head, New York Public Library
1912-1952 Head of children’s services, Toronto Public Library

Smith, Lillian H. (1913). “Boys and girls and the public library.“ Proceedings of the Ontario Library Association Annual Meeting: 67-70.
Smith, Lillian H. (1917). “The children's librarian.” Acta Victoriana 42, 2: 63-65.
Smith, Lillian H. (1917). “A list of books for boys and girls.” Ontario Library Review 2, no.1: 11-33.
Smith, Lillian H. (1923). “The problems of children’s librarians.” Library Journal 48 (no. 17) 1 October.: 805-806.
Smith, Lillian H., ed. (1927). Books for boys and girls. Toronto: Toronto Public Library.
Smith, Lillian H. (1932). “The teaching of children’s literature.” In: American Library Association Children’s Library Yearbook, vol. 4: 73-80.
Smith, Lillian H., ed. (1932). Books for boys and girls, June 1927 to June 1932, a supplement. Toronto: Toronto Public Library.
Smith, Lillian H. (1939).”The library’s responsibility to the child.” In: The library of tomorrow: a symposium, ed. Emily M. Danton. Chicago: American Library Association. p. 124-132.
Smith, Lillian H., ed. (1940). Books for boys and girls. 2nd ed. Toronto: Ryerson Press.
Smith, Lillian H. and Annie Wright (1941). “Canada: a reading guide for children and young people.” Ontario Library Review 25, 1 August: 293-300.
Smith, Lillian H. (1947). “The children’s library.” Journal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada 24, 2 February: 56-58.
Smith, Lillian H. (1953). The unreluctant years: a critical approach to children’s literature. Chicago: American Library Association.
Smith, Lillian H. (1959). “What books mean to children.” American Library Association Bulletin 53, 4 April: 289-291.
Smith, Lillian H. (1963). “News from Narnia.” Horn Book Magazine 39, October: 470-473.

1928-1929 President, Ontario Library Association
1932-1936 Member of Executive Board, American Library Association

Clarence Day Award, American Library Association, in 1962 for outstanding work in encouraging the love of books and reading.
Toronto Public Library established the Lillian H. Smith Collection in 1962, as a tribute to her years of work at Boys and Girls House.
The Lillian H. Smith branch of Toronto Public Library opened on 16 October 1995 in honour of the first academically trained children’s librarian in the British Empire.

        “The Unreluctant Years,” published in 1953, distills Smith’s ideas about library book selection and its potential to edify and stimulate children. Her book remains a classic statement for the rationale to apply critical standards of literary value in book selection for young readers and for her insistence on the provision and employment of ‘best books’ by children’s librarians. Smith also edited valuable editions of TPL’s “Books for Boys and Girls.”
     Storytelling and programming was another vital aspect of library work that Smith and her devoted staff actively promoted. A ‘Book Week’ for boys and girls became a regular feature before Christmas at TPL well before a national Young Canada Book Week was established in 1949. As well, from the end of WWII to the 1950s, librarians at Boys and Girls House collaborated with the CBC in a series of radio programs for children. Service to non-English speaking children was provided through Toronto settlement houses. Boys and Girls House was always noted for its experimental approaches and offerings of drama, folk dancing, puppet shows, and clubs—features that are often taken for granted in the 21st century library.

“Miss Lillian H. Smith long envisioned a nation-wide association for the advancement of children’ s reading in Canada and, at a joint conference of the Ontario and Quebec Library Associations, held in Montreal in the year 1939, she took action to make such an organization a ‘fait accomplil.’” — Ruth Milne, “C.A.C.L. Tribute,” 1952.

“Every parent in Toronto should be grateful to Miss Smith.” — Charles Sanderson, Chief Librarian, Toronto Public Library, 1953.

“She loves and understands children; knows how they think and what interest them. Among her associates, she has had the faculty of inspiring loyalty and transmitting enthusiasm—gifts which do much to explain her success.” — Toronto Globe and Mail editorial, 1952.

Lillian H. Smith website developed by Michael Manchester. Accessed December 2022.
Fasick, Adele. M., Margaret Johnston and Ruth Osler, eds. (1990). Lands of pleasure: essays on Lillian H. Smith and the development of children’s libraries. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press.
Canadian Association of Children’s Librarians (1952). Lillian H. Smith; a tribute from the C.A.C.L., June 10, 1952. Ottawa: Canadian Library Association.
McGrath, Leslie A. (2005). Service to children in the Toronto Public Library; a case study, 1912-1949. University of Toronto Ph.D. dissertation.
Sydell Waxman (2002). Believing in books: the story of Lillian H. Smith. Toronto: Napoleon Publishing. [biography for children]
Giles, Suzette (2013). “Libraries named after librarians.” ELAN no. 54 (Fall): 7-8.

My biography first appeared in 2015 on the Ex Libris Association website. The graduate portrait is taken from the Torontonensis yearbook of 1910 (p 102).

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Biography: Marie-Claire Daveluy (1880–1968)

Marie-Claire Daveluy, n.d.

Marie-Claire Daveluy was a Montreal-based librarian whose career spanned three decades in which she made a number of important contributions to Canadian library science. In 1937, she co-founded the École de bibliothécaires at the Université de Montréal. She served as this school’s chair for several years and sought to combine American library techniques within a French-Canadian context. Daveluy also helped establish the Association canadienne des bibliothécaires de langue française in 1943. A noted literary figure, her novels and short works for youth and children won her a number of meritorious awards. Daveluy pioneering efforts succeeded within a male dominated profession that adhered to moral and religious principles prescribed by the Catholic Church which governed many political and social institutions in Quebec before the 1960s “Quiet Revolution.”

Her portrait is taken from L'Académie canadienne-française by Victor Barbeau (Montréal, c.1963), p 41. My biography appeared earlier at the Ex Libris Association site in 2020.

 Marie-Claire Daveluy

Born August 15, 1880, Montreal; Died January 21, 1968, Montreal.

Hochelaga Convent, Montreal
1920 Diploma in librarianship (McGill University summer library school)
1943 LL.D. (Université de Montréal)

1920–1944 Assistant librarian, Bibliothèque municipale de Montréal
1932–1941 Head of cataloguing, Bibliothèque municipale de Montréal
Director of studies (1937–1942) and professor at the École de Bibliothécaires, Montréal

Publications (major contributions):
Daveluy, Marie-Claire (1919). L’orphelinat catholique de Montréal : en appendice la Société des dames de charité de 1827. Montréal: Imprimé au Devoir.
Daveluy, Marie-Claire (1923). Les aventures de Perrine et de Charlot. Montréal: Bibliothèque de l'Action française.
Daveluy, Marie-Claire (1926). Le filleul du roi Grolo suivi de La médaille de la Vierge. Montréal: Bibliothèque de l'Action française.
Daveluy, Marie-Claire and Jacques Laurent (1934). Jeanne Mance. Montréal: Albert Lévesque.
Daveluy, Marie-Claire (1936). Une révolte au pays des fées. Montréal: Albert Lévesque.
Daveluy, Marie-Claire (1938). Charlot à la Mission des martyrs. Montréal: Librairie Granger Frères.
Daveluy, Marie-Claire (1940). Le Richelieu héroïque: les jours tragiques de 1837. Montréal: Librairie Granger Frères.
Daveluy , Marie-Claire (1940). “L’École de bibliothécaires de l'Université de Montréal.” Culture: sciences religieuses et sciences profanes au Canada 1 (1) avril: 13-18.
Daveluy, Marie Claire (1944). ‘Les jeux dramatiques de l”histoire’; Que disaient nos aieules?; Le ‘Général” Vallières; Une visite inattendue; trois pièces en un acte. Montréal: Libr. Granger Fre’res.
Daveluy, Marie-Claire (1945). “L’École de bibliothécaires: son but — son enseignement.” L’Action Universitaire: Revue Des Diplômés de l’Université de Montréal 11 (10) juin: 119-125.
Daveluy, Marie-Claire (1947). “Ma carrière.” La bonne parole 37, no. 3 (mars): 3–7 and 37, no. 4 (avril): 6–9.
Daveluy, Marie-Claire (1948).“ L’École de bibliothécaires: son histoire, ses buts, ses initiatives,” Lectures: revue mensuelle de bibliographie critique 3, no 5 (janvier): 303–309.
Daveluy, Marie-Claire (1949). Essai d'un code de classement en langue française. Montréal: Éditions Fides.
Daveluy, Marie -Claire (1952). Instructions pour la rédaction des catalogues de bibliothèques. Montréal: Éditions Fides [vol. 1].
Daveluy, Marie-Claire and Jacques Laurent (1962). Jeanne Mance, 1606-1673. 2. éd., rev. et mise à jour. Montréal: Fides.
Daveluy, Marie-Claire (1965). La Société de Notre Dame de Montréal, 1639-1663: son histoire, ses membres, son manifeste. Montréal: Fides.

Vice-President, Association canadienne des bibliothécaires de langue française.
Membership, executive and honorary positions in various associations: Académie canadienne-française, Société des écrivains canadiens, Fédération nationale Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Société historique de Montréal, Orphelinat Catholique.

Awards and Accomplishments:
Marie-Claire Daveluy was a literary author, librarian, bibliographer, and historian. She is likely best known as the author of popular children’s works exemplified by Les Aventures de Perrine et de Charlot. Her stories were based on historical themes and provided a moral compass for young children.
During her lifetime she was often at the forefront of cultural life and was accorded many honours.
—The first female member of the Société historique de Montréal in 1917.
—Prix David (Province of Quebec) awarded for literary merit in 1924 and 1934.
—Prix de l'Académie Française, Paris, awarded in 1934 for Jeanne Mance.
—Co-founder with Aegidius Fauteux, Émile Deguire, and Paul-Aimé Martin, of the École de Bibliothécaires de l'Université de Montréal.
—She helped found the Association canadienne des bibliothèques d'institutions in 1943 [known as the Association canadienne des bibliothécaires de langue française after 1948].
—Founding member of Académie canadienne-française in 1944.
—As a member of the Conseil de l’École de Bibliothécaires, she was a signatory to the declaration, “Les bibliothèques dans la province de Québec,” in 1944 which emphasized the public library as a responsible provincial educational institution for rural and urban communities.
—Médaille du centenaire, Société historique de Montréal awarded in 1958.
—Parc Marie-Claire-Daveluy, a small streetside spot in Montreal, was named in her honour in 1987.

Chabot, Juliette (1968). “Marie-Claire Daveluy (1880-1968), bibliothécaire et femme de lettres.” Bulletin de l’Association canadienne des bibliothécaires de langue française 14(1): 12–15.
Morisset, Auguste Marie (1977). “Marie-Claire Daveluy, bibliothécaire, bibliographe, écrivain.” In Livre, bibliothèque et culture québécoise;: mélanges offerts à Edmond Desrochers, edited by Georges-Aimé Chartrand, vol. 1: pp. 405–423. Montréal: Asted.
Grivel, Marie-Hélène (2016). “Créer une littérature nationale au Québec: l’impact des textes de Marie-Claire Daveluy, de La presse aux sagas.” Strenae no. 11 (October).
Bienvenue, Louise (2018). “Marie-Claire Daveluy (1880-1968), historienne des femmes.” Histoire sociale/Social History, 51 (November): 329–352, DOI:
Lajeunesse, Marcel, Éric Leroux, and Marie D. Martel (2020). Pour une histoire des femmes bibliothécaires au Québec: portraits et parcours de vies professionnelles, “Marie-Claire Daveluy, bibliothécaire de carrière,” pp. 43–75. Québec, Presse de l'Université du Québec.

There is an excellent French language biography with a short English translation at Marie-Claire Daveluy in Wikipédia. Accessed December 17, 2021.

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Biography: Mary Kinley Ingraham (1874—1949)

Mary Kinley Ingraham, n.d.

 Mary Kinley Ingraham was the chief librarian at Acadia University from 1917-1944 at a time when very few females headed academic libraries in North America. Fittingly, her achievements include literary works as well as academic publications. As an acknowledged leader in Maritime librarianship, she was one of the founders of the Maritime Library Association in 1918. Ingraham was also an innovator: under her guidance, Acadia launched a pioneering bookmobile service to three provinces in 1930.

My biography appeared earlier in 2015 in the Ex Libris Association biography website. The image from the Acadia University archives is taken from Tanja Harrison’s article, “The courage to connect: Mary Kinley Ingraham and the development of libraries in the Maritimes” (p. 80).

Mary Kinley Ingraham

Born March 6, 1874, Cape Wolfe (or West Cape), PEI. Died November 19, 1949, Livermore, Maine, USA

1899 Graduate of Acadia Ladies’ Seminary
1915 BA (Acadia University)
1916 MA (Acadia University)
1917 Summer course (Simmons College School of Library Science, Boston)

c.1897-1905 School teacher in Nova Scotia
1911-1913 School teacher in Massachusetts and Georgia, USA
1917-1944 Chief Librarian, Acadia University
1918-1944 Instructor, library science, Acadia University

Ingraham, M.K. (1921). “Italian and English book collectors of the Renaissance.” Dalhousie Review 1, no. 3: 293-300.
Ingraham, M.K. (1920). Acadia; a play in five acts. Wolfville, NS: Davidson Bros.
Ingraham, M.K. (1921). “Librarianship as a profession.” Canadian Bookman n.s., 3, no. 1: 38-40.
Ingraham, M.K. (1931). “The bookmobiles of Acadia University,” Library Journal 56, 15 January: 62-63.
Ingraham, M.K. (1932). A month of dreams. [poetry] Wolfville, NS.: n.p.
Ingraham, M.K. (1940). “Sixth annual conference of the reorganized Maritime Library Association.” Bulletin of the Maritime Library Association 5, no. 2: 2–6.
Ingraham, M.K. (1947). Seventy-five years: historical sketch of the United Baptist Woman’s Missionary Union in the Maritime Provinces of Canada. Kentville, NS: n.p.
Ingraham, M.K. (1949). “My favorite books.” Bulletin of the Maritime Library Association 13, no. 2: 1-2.

1918-1944 Secretary-Treasurer, Maritime Library (Institute) Association

1947 DCL, Acadia University

Mary Kinley Ingraham was a significant public figure in the development of libraries in the Maritime Provinces after she became chief librarian of the Emmerson Memorial Library at Acadia University in 1917. During her quarter century tenure she improved and expanded circulating holdings, special collections, and library services to students and faculty, even during the Great Depression. Trained initially as teacher, she saw the need to institute formal courses on library education as part of the BA program at Acadia for Maritime library students. As well, she inaugurated a bookmobile service in 1930-31 for rural Maritime readers who were not served by public libraries in three provinces. Later, Acadia operated a travelling library service for communities that continued until WW II. Ingraham was one of the founders and secretary-treasurer of the Maritime Library Association (1918-28) which continued in 1934 as the Maritime Library Institute (1935-40) and became the Atlantic Provinces Library Association in 1957. She contributed many short articles to the Association Bulletin. Ingraham also was active on the literary front, publishing two volumes of verse, plays, a history of the Baptist Women’s Union, and serving as editor for the review journal, “Book Parlance,” 1924-29. Upon her retirement she was made Librarian Emeritus.

“The best preparation will not make a librarian out of a man or woman who has not innate fitness for the work. No one should seriously consider librarianship as a profession who does not know himself to have in his approach to books the grave, searching attitude of the scholar.” M.K. Ingraham (1920)
“Acadia University at Wolfville in the land of Evangeline, with Mrs. Mary K. Ingraham as its ‘live librarian,’ has been the most active representative of library progress in relation with the Maritime Library Association….” Mary S. Saxe, Library Journal (1927)
“Librarians who had the pleasure of knowing and working with her were charmed and impressed by her personality. She helped us to know one another better through the Bulletin. She gave us the joy at conventions of hearing minutes and reports—written and read—in her own inimitable style.” Dorothy Cullen (1950)

Shaw, Beatrice M. H. (1924). “Maritime Librarian,” Maclean’s Magazine, 15 Nov., 37: 68-70.
Beals, Helen D. (1944). “Mrs. Ingraham Retires” Library Journal 69, 1 December, 1961.
Cullen, Dorothy (1950). “Mrs Mary Kinley Ingraham 1874-1949,” Bulletin of the Maritime Library Association 14, no. 2: 1–2.
Elliott, J.H. (1954). “Pioneers! O Pioneers! 4. Mary Kinley Ingraham.” Canadian Library Association Bulletin 10, June, 261.
Harrison, Tanja. (2012). “The courage to connect: Mary Kinley Ingraham and the development of libraries in the Maritimes.” Library & Information History 28, no. 2: 75-102.
Bird, Kym (2005). “In the beauty of holiness, from the womb of the morning: allegory, morality, and politics in Mary Kinley Ingraham’s Acadia,” Theatre Research in Canada 26, no. 1-2: 26-55.
Mary Kinley Ingraham Fonds, Acadia University Archives, Accession No. 1944.0

The Mary Kinley Ingraham biographic entry in Canada's Early Womens Writers provides extensive information on her family and literary career.

Friday, December 02, 2022

Biography: Helen Gordon Stewart (1879–1971)

Helen Gordon Stewart

Helen Gordon Stewart was an early, important influential leader in Canadian librarianship, especially in western Canada. She had an ongoing relationship with the Carnegie Corporation of New York which saw her famously promote and administer the formation of the Fraser Valley Library in the early 1930s. As well, she was a recognized expert in regional library development in the southern United States where she taught at the Louisiana State Library School and worked as a consultant in South Carolina. No less important was her work with the Carnegie Corporation and British Council in Trinidad Tobago. There is an international quality to her accomplishments that is matched only by Toronto’s chief librarian, George Herbert Locke in the first half of the 20th century.

I created this bio in 2018 for the Ex Libris Association website. The image is taken from As We Remember It; Interviews with Pioneering Librarians of British Columbia (p.16).

Helen Gordon Stewart

Born Dec. 19, 1879, Fletcher (Chatham-Kent) ON; Died April 5, 1971, Vancouver, BC

????-1908 Teacher training (Central Normal School, Winnipeg, Manitoba)
1908-1909 Library training diploma (New York Public Library School)
1926 BSc (Teachers College, Columbia University)
1927 AM (Columbia University, Social Science)
1928 PhD (Columbia University, Social Science)

????-1908 School teacher in Carman, Manitoba
1909-1910 Children’s librarian, New York Public Library
1911-1912 Assistant Librarian, Victoria Public Library
1912-1924 Chief Librarian, Victoria Public Library
1916-1917 Medical war service in London, England, and France
1927-1928 Acting Head, Department of Sociology, Wells College, New York
1930-1934 Director for the Carnegie sponsored Fraser Valley Regional Library Demonstration
1934-1936 Director for the Carnegie British Columbia Public Library extension program
1936-1938 Acting Associate Director and Professor, Graduate School of Library Science, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge
1939 Consultant, South Carolina large county and unit development
1940-1948 Director, Trinidad and Tobago Central Library Service and British Council regional library development for the British West Indies

Stewart, Helen G. (1911). “Cooperation among the libraries of the northwest.” In Proceedings of the third annual conference of the Pacific Northwest Library Association, Victoria, British Columbia, September 4, 5, and 6, p. 61–64. Seattle, Wash.: Dearborn Press.
Stewart, Helen G. (1920). “Regional and county libraries.” Public Libraries 25 (10): 387–388. [synopsis]
Stewart, Helen G. (1927). Adult education and the library. MA thesis, New York: Columbia University. Social Science.
Stewart, Helen Gordon (1934). “A dramatic moment?” Library Journal 59 (1 April): 306–307.
Stewart, Helen G. (1934). “Advantages and difficulties in the administration of a regional library unit.” American Library Association Bulletin 28 (9): 604–608.
Stewart, Helen G. (1934). “Fraser Valley demonstration.” American Library Association Bulletin 28 (9): 637–638.
Stewart, Helen G. 1934). “Fraser Valley library.” Ontario Library Review 18 (4): 146–149.
Stewart, Helen Gordon (1934). “Social trends.” Bulletin of the American Library Association 28 (9): 484–489.
Stewart, Helen G. (1936). “British Columbia and tax-supported regional units.” Bulletin of the American Library Association 30 (8): 692–694. [abridged address]
Stewart, Helen Gordon (1936). “Uniting a rural region.” Bulletin of the American Library Association 30 (8): 748–750.
Stewart, Helen G. (1936). “Vote for regional libraries.” Bulletin of the American Library Association 30 (3): 194.
Stewart, Helen G. (1936). “Regional libraries in British Columbia.” Library Journal 61 (20): 876–878.
Stewart, Helen G. (1936). “Schools and the regional library.” Bulletin of the American Library Association 30 (10): 927–934.
Stewart, Helen Gordon (1936). “What regionalism means.” In Papers and proceedings of the Southwestern Library Association, eighth biennial meeting, October 21, 22, 23, 24, 1936, Houston, Texas, p. 59–65. Houston, Texas: [The Association].
Stewart, Helen Gordon (1937). “Regional library development.” In Library trends; papers presented before the Library Institute at the University of Chicago, August 3-15, 1936, ed. by Louis R. Wilson, p. 87–104. Chicago: University of Chicago.
Stewart, Helen G. (1940). “Regions in perspective.” American Library Association Bulletin 34 (2): 95–96, 147–148.
Stewart Helen G. (1949). “The regional library of the eastern Caribbean.” Pacific Northwest Library Quarterly 14 (1): 27–30.

1917-1919 and 1932 President, British Columbia Library Association
1919-1922 Member, British Columbia Public Library Commission
1920-1921 President, Pacific Northwest Library Association

When she was approaching the age of ninety, Helen Gordon Stewart was asked about using a power mower to cut her lawn. “I supply the power” she responded, a statement that sums up her entire career. She was a dynamic factor in British Columbia for three decades: the 1919 Public Libraries Act, formation of the Public Library Commission, as well as regional and union library systems were very much the results of her hard work. She was the second woman to hold the presidency of a library association in Canada, being nominated in September 1917 only a few months after Mary Black in Ontario. In the late 1920s, she furthered her education by working her way through university while acquiring a doctorate in sociology at Columbia. Subsequently, the Carnegie Corporation (New York) and British Columbia Public Library Commission selected her to head a successful project in the Fraser Valley region. After she ‘retired’ to Saanich near Victoria at the outset of the Second World War to do volunteer war work, she was enticed by the Carnegie Corporation to repeat her earlier regional successes in the Caribbean islands of the British West Indies, especially Trinidad and Tobago. Because most of her work was completed by the end of the Second World War, she is truly recognized as a pioneer whose accomplishments in Canadian librarianship laid the foundation for others to build upon.

1954 Honourary member of Pacific Northwest Library Association
1963 Honourary member of the Canadian Library Association
The British Columbia Library Association adjudicates the Helen Gordon Stewart Award. This award recognizes an outstanding career in librarianship involving achievements that brings honour to the entire profession. It also confers Honourary Life Membership in the BCLA.

Howard Overend summarized Dr. Gordon’s career by stating: “Her work was a seminal force in the ruralisation of public library service in Canada and abroad, showing that a large tax-supported unit of service (a single purpose authority) was the most effective way to serve the library needs of people in several autonomous communities at the lowest cost.”

Morrison, Charles Keith. (1950). “Helen Gordon Stewart, library pioneer.” Food for Thought 9 (6): 11–16 and 20.
“B.C. Woman pioneered libraries in many lands.” Toronto Globe and Mail, April 9, 1960: 10.
Gilroy, Marion and Sam Rothstein, eds. (1970). As we remember it; Interviews with pioneering librarians of British Columbia, p. 16–48. Vancouver: University of British Columbia School of Librarianship.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Biography: B. Mabel Dunham (1881–1957)

B. Mabel Dunham
 Along with Mary Black, Mabel Dunham, the chief librarian at Kitchener (previously Berlin) from 1908–44, is notable for assuming a leadership role in Ontario's public libraries shortly after the First World War. After graduating with a BA in 1908 from Victoria College in Toronto, she trained at the recently formed summer library school at McGill University under the direction of Charles Gould, who was also serving as the president of the American Library Association in 1908–09. Mabel Dunham was the second female president of the Ontario Library Association in 1920–21. My earlier blog post this year covered her presidential address. Throughout her career she expanded services in Kitchener, notably for children's programming.

I originally posted this biographical synopsis of Mabel Dunham for the Ex Libris Association several years ago in 2016. The post also continues on the current ELA website. The image is taken from the The Ontario Library Association: An Historical Sketch 1900–1925 (p. 106).

Bertha Mabel Dunham

Born May 29, 1881, Minto Twp. (near Harriston), ON. Died June 21, 1957, Kitchener, ON

1908 BA (Victoria College, University of Toronto)
1908 McGill University summer school for librarians

1898–1904 Elementary teacher, Berlin Model School (now Suddaby Public School)
1908–1944 Chief Librarian, Kitchener Public Library
1911–1912 and 1914 Chief instructor at Ontario Department of Education training course for librarianship

Dunham, B. Mabel (1910). “Leaves from the diary of a librarian.” Acta Victoriana 33: 270–276.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1910). “Methods of reaching the people.” Proceedings of the Ontario Library Association Annual Meeting: 68–76.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1912). “The Ontario Library Summer School, 1911.” Proceedings of the Ontario Library Association Annual Meeting: 63–66.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1915). “The library and the school.” The School: a Magazine Devoted to Elementary and Secondary Education 4, no. 2: 118–120.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1917). “What is the place and use of newspapers and periodicals in our public libraries in towns.” Proceedings of the Ontario Library Association Annual Meeting: 68–76.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1918). “William Wilfred Campbell, 1861–1918: An appreciation.” Waterloo Historical Society Annual Report 6: 44–47.
Dunham, B. Mabel (Jan. 1924). “Some ‘plain’ people of Canada.” Canadian Magazine 62: 188–195.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1927). “The public school and the public library.” Proceedings of the Ontario Educational Association Annual Meeting held at Toronto, 18th–21st April, 1927: 66–76.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1934). “Kitchener (Berlin) Public Library [history].” Typescript.
Dunham B. Mabel (1937). “Co-operation in the libraries of Waterloo County.” Ontario Library Review 21, no. 3: 120–122.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1938). “Waterloo County’s library scheme.” Ontario Library Review 22, no. 3: 197–199.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1945). “The Mid-European backgrounds of Waterloo County.” Ontario Historical Society Papers and Records 37: 59–70.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1945). “The story of Conestoga.” Waterloo Historical Society Annual Report 33: 16–23.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1948). “The Pequegnat family.” Waterloo Historical Society Annual Report 36: 50–55.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1950). “Beginnings in Ontario.” Mennonite Life 5, no. 4: 14–16.

Literary works:
Dunham, B. Mabel (1924). The trail of the Conestoga. Toronto: Macmillan.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1927). Toward Sodom. Toronto: Macmillan.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1931). The trail of the king’s men. Toronto: Ryerson Press.
Dunham, B. Mabel, ed. (1941). So great a heritage: historical narrative of Trinity United Church, 1841–1941. Kitchener: Trinity United Church.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1945). Grand River. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.
Dunham, B. Mabel (1948). Kristli’s trees. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.

1920–1921 President, Ontario Library Association
1922–1924 President, K-W University Women’s Club (also 1932–1934)
1947–50 President, Waterloo Historical Society

1947 DLitt, University of Western Ontario
1948 Book of the Year Medal for “Kristil’s Trees” awarded by Canadian Association of Children’s Librarians
1953, the City of Kitchener declared her birthday to be ‘B. Mabel Dunham Day’ in tribute to all her contributions to the city.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Federation of University Women administers the Dr. B. Mabel Dunham Award for female high school graduates.
Dunham is inducted as a member of the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame.

Mabel Dunham was the first trained chief librarian appointed to lead an Ontario public library. She was the third woman to be president of a provincial library association in Canada. She was the first woman to serve on a public board in Kitchener, being twice elected to the public school board. She was one of the early leaders in efforts to train and educate librarians in Ontario before World War I. She helped organize systematic cooperation to distribute books throughout Waterloo County in the late 1930s prior to the formation of a county library service. She was one of the founders of Kitchener’s Women’s Canadian Club (later president); president (and founder) of the Waterloo Historical Society; and a founder of the K-W Business and Professional Women’s Club.
Dunham wrote five books depicting the history and heritage of her region. Her first novels, “Trail of the Conestoga” and “Toward Sodom,” described the migration of the Mennonites to the K-W area centered in Berlin (now Kitchener). The “Trail of the King’s Men” recounted the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists from the United States. The “Grand River” was an exploration of a river and its surrounding countryside. “Kristli’s Trees” was an enjoyable story of a Mennonite boy and his family on a small farm illustrated by Selwyn Dewdney.
Although Dunham made no major contribution to librarianship on a national scale, she greatly influenced its development on a local scale through the force of her personality as well as making a noteworthy literary contribution to regional historical fiction.

Kitchener Public Library holds information on Dunham and there are library board minutes for her tenure. The Ontario Archives has some speeches and correspondence as part of the Ontario Library Association records.
Banting, Constance (1928). “Mabel Dunham.” Ontario Library Review 12, no. 2: 66.
“Honour to Whom Honour is Due” (1953). Waterloo Historical Society Annual Report 41: 7–8.
Snider, Lillian (Aug. 1954). “Miss Mabel Dunham.” Ontario Library Review 38, no. 3: 221–24.
Shoemaker, Dorothy and Grace Schmidt (1989). “Dr. B. Mabel Dunham (1881–1957).” Ex Libris News no. 5: 5–7.
Taylor, Ryan (1981). “Mabel Dunham’s Centenary.” Waterloo Historical Society Annual Report 69: 13–25 [extensive bibliography].

Also, my earlier post on Mabel Dunham's address about women to the Ontario Library Association in 1921.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Biography: Mary J.L. Black (1879—1939)

Mary J.L. Black

Earlier this year I posted comments and excerpts from Mary Black’s presidential address at the Ontario Library Association in 1918. Mary Black was the first female president of a library association in Canada. As background for her career, I am adding a biographical piece that provides basic facts about her library career. I composed this biography for the Ex Libris Association in 2016 and it also appears on this association's website. The image above is taken from the 1908 Papers of the Thunder Bay Historical Society (p. 6) of which she was a long-standing member of the executive.

Mary Black was an inspirational force for improved library service to everyone in the old city of Fort William and its environs (today Thunder Bay). Service for people was her mantra. She was active in community and library and organizations, including the American Library Association extension services. In a time before national and provincial library associations formed across Canada, she was a progressive, regional force for librarianship, even in the gloomy years of the Great Depression.

Mary Johanna Louisa Black

Born Apr. 1, 1879, Uxbridge, ON. Died Jan. 4, 1939, Vancouver, BC

Received informal `homeschooling` in her youth
Attended (but did not complete) the first Ontario Department of Education one-month summer training course for librarianship at Toronto in June 1911

1909–1937 Chief Librarian, Fort William Public Library
1917 Lecturer, Department of Education two-month training course in librarianship

Black, Mary (1911/1912). “Our public library.” Papers and Annual Reports of the Thunder Bay Historical Society 3: 6–7.
Black, Mary (1913). “Books for girls.” Proceedings of the Ontario Library Association Annual Meeting: 74–79.
Black, Mary (1915). “Town survey in theory and practice.” Proceedings of the OLA Annual Meeting: 72–80.
Black, Mary (1916). “The library and the girl.” Ontario Library Review 1: 8–9.
Black, Mary (1917). “What seems to me an important aspect of the work of public libraries at the present time.” Proceedings of the OLA Annual Meeting: 30–34.
Black, Mary (1918). “Concerning some popular fallacies.” Proceedings of the OLA Annual Meeting: 52–58 (OLA Presidential Address.)
Black, Mary (1918). “Walks and talks with Wilfred Campbell.” Ontario Library Review 3: 30–31.
Black, Mary (1919). “Twentieth century librarianship.” Canadian Bookman n.s.1: 58–59.
Black, Mary (1920). “New library legislation in Ontario.” Canadian Bookman n. s. 2:18–19.
Black, Mary (1921). “Tales through the ages from the banks of the Kaministiquia.” Papers and Annual Reports of the Thunder Bay Historical Society 16–12: 8–10.
Black, Mary (1924). “Early history of the Fort William Public Library.” Papers and Annual Reports of the Thunder Bay Historical Society 16–17: 12–21.
Black, Mary (1924). “Place names in the vicinity of Fort William.” Papers and Annual Reports of the Thunder Historical Society 16–17: 12–21.
Black, Mary (1927). “Canadian library extension meeting”. Proceedings and transactions of the American Library Association, 49th Meeting: 338–340.
Black, Mary. (1928). “Adult education.” Proceedings of the OLA Annual Meeting: 61–64.
Black, Mary (1931). “Ontario libraries.” Ontario Library Review 15:132–138.
Black, Mary (1933). “Publicity for the older books.” Ontario Library Review 17: 5–6.
Black, Mary (1934). “Fort William, Ontario, Public Library.” Library Journal 59: 510–511.
Black, Mary (1935). “Ideal librarian.” Ontario Library Review 19: 125–126.
Ridington, John, Mary J. L. Black and George H. Locke (1933). Libraries in Canada: a study of library conditions and needs. Toronto: Ryerson Press and Chicago ALA.

1917–1918 President, Ontario Library Association
1926–1934 American Library Association, member of Extension Board
1933–1934 American Library Association, chair, Small Libraries Round Table
1934–1937 Canadian Library Council, executive member (ex-officio)
1913–1928 Secretary-Treasurer, Thunder Bay Historical Society
1929–1932 President, Thunder Bay Historical Society
1916–1918 President, Fort William Women's Canadian Club

The Mary J.L, Black Branch library, opened in 1938, was named in her honour. It was recently renovated for the second time in 2010 by the Thunder Bay Public Library at a cost of $4 million. It is one of the handful of Canadian libraries constructed during the Great Depression to continue in operation.

Mary J.L. Black believed the mission of the public library was essentially utilitarian – to provide the right book to the right reader at the least cost. Her “ideal librarian” was one who held the spirit of public service and knowledge of people alongside the love of books. Libraries should reach out to every citizen and in this regard her work with the non-English speaking immigrant population was particularly noteworthy. Her personal town survey in 1915 to identify library needs exemplified her approach to library service. On a national scale, her work as a member of the Commission of Enquiry, funded by the Carnegie Corporation and conducted in 1930, remains a lasting contribution to Canadian librarianship. In her home city, she was active in local service groups, promotion of history and local political and educational life. The poet, William Wilfred Campbell, was her cousin. She was the first woman to be president of a library association in Canada.

Thunder Bay Public Library holds annual reports by Black and there are library board minutes for her tenure. The ALA Archives holds records of her activities and the Carnegie Corporation New York has information on her work on the 1930 Commission.

[Carson, William O.] (1917). “The librarian and library of Fort William.” Ontario Library Review 1: 92–95.
MacBeth, Madge (1918). “A bookish person.” Canadian Magazine 51: 518–520.
“Miss Mary J.L. Black is interviewed by Globe.” Toronto Globe June 18, 1927: 15.
Kirker, Ena. (1927). “The woman who put charm into a public library.” Canadian Magazine 68: 32, 41.
Abbott, Brook (1931). “An accidental librarian: Mary Black of Fort William, Ont.” Canadian Magazine 76: 18, 29.
“Mary J.L. Black dies in Vancouver.” Ontario Library Review 23 (Feb. 1939): 5–7.
Morrison, Ken (1994). “Mary J.L. Black of Fort William library.” Epilogue; Canadian Bulletin for the History of Books, Libraries and Archives 9, no 1: 13–22.
Scollie, Frederick Brent. “Black, Mary Johanna Louisa.” In: Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 16.
Giles, Suzette (2015). “Libraries named after librarians.” ELAN no. 57 (Spring): 6–7.

My earlier blog on Mary Black's presidential speech is also available.


Monday, August 15, 2022

Ontario Public Libraries: The Provincial Role in a Triad of Responsibilities, 1982

Ontario Public Libraries: The Provincial Role in a Triad of Responsibilities. The Report of the Ontario Public Libraries Programme Review for the Minister of Citizenship and Culture. Toronto: Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, 1982. Executive Co-Ordinator, Peter J. Bassnett. Tables and appendices; xxxiii, 318 pp.

In September 1980, Ontario’s Minister of Culture and Recreation (MCR), Reuben Baetz, met with the Ontario Public Library Council (OPLC) to announce a two-year Public Libraries Programme Review (OPLPR). Scarborough’s chief librarian, Peter Bassnett, would be the director and work with a small intermediary group at the outset to plan the review process. Since 1975 he had been chief librarian at Scarborough. Before this appointment, he had managed systems at North York and worked in the UK for many years. The Minister believed a positive approach with abundant consultation would improve the delivery of library services throughout Ontario. The 1970s had been a time of controversy about the role of regional library services, the accountability of library boards, disputes with municipal authorities, the funding provided for libraries by the provincial government, and dissenting viewpoints about policies for future planning. A previous report on provincial libraries by Albert Bowron in 1975 had produced much discussion but no significant legislative changes. Revised public library legislation was the major objective because the older statute, enacted in 1966, had not proved to be as effective as originally expected.

The OPLPR established fifteen groups in search of consensus and solutions for many contentious issues. Some groups explored general provincial concerns: policy and social purpose (1), general delivery of services (2), governmental liaison (3), provincial financing and accountability (4), and field services (5). Task groups on planning and development for technological potential (6), electronic information (13), and co-operatives and processing centres (15) addressed technical and networking questions. Special considerations for northern Ontario (7), publishing and libraries (12), and access to resources (14) required separate groups. Finally, four groups studied cultural identities and services for French languages (8), Native services (9), multicultural programs (10), and disabled persons (11). Each group was responsible for a report to Peter Bassnett, who was charged with publishing a final report. In addition, Bassnett held 20 open sessions for discussion and received 368 briefs encompassing a wide variety of issues.

The OPLPR sets its course for a year-and-a-half with the knowledge that the Progressive Conservatives under William Davis had finally secured a majority government in a March 1981 election. Four years would be sufficient to develop new legislation for libraries. The OPLPR submitted seventy-five recommendations by August 1982. By then, there was a new Minister, Bruce McCaffrey, in charge, and, earlier in the year, in February 1982, the MCR had become the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, with its Library and Community (MCZC) Information Branch relocated in the Arts, Heritage and Libraries division.

The OPLPR report, Ontario Public Libraries: The Provincial Role in a Triad of Responsibilities, was issued, mostly in microfiche to the consternation of many, by autumn 1982 for review by library boards, politicians, and librarians. The Bassnett report made clear-cut statements that cut across the entire spectrum of public library services. It found that the current provincial role performed by the LCIB or OPLC was deficient (p. 68–71). The Report indicated more specific legislation and guidelines were required (p. 93). Lack of awareness about the LCIB and OPLC and their inadequate authority had stalled communication and led to ineffectual provincial leadership. A strengthening of provincial direction within the Ministry through an enlarged staff component to plan and liaise with the library community was essential. A Public Library Services Division and a new advisory body would be required (rec. 7.72 and 7.73). Other recommendations for increased staff for data collection, French-language service, networking, services for disabled persons, aboriginal services, multicultural activity, management, and training responsibilities (p. 168–187) would permit the MCZC to deal with policies that it brought forward. Some ideas originated from background studies or were influenced by general developments such as the 1981 United Nations International Year of Disabled Persons theme ‘Full Participation and Equality.’ Assistance for non-professional staff, mostly untrained persons in charge of small libraries, was an important issue, the subject of one lengthy submission from an ad hoc group of consultants. In one case, the Task Force on Native Services, the main thrust urging the formation of a Council to oversee library services for natives at an estimated $290,000, was disregarded because the group insisted on working outside the framework of the LCIB. The OPLPR’s recommendations on northern Ontario conditions mostly bypassed the ideas from Task group 15 headed by Richard Jones, director of North Central region.

During the Programme Review, the regional role—now retitled the intermediary role—was gradually reshaped. A Network Development Office was transferred to the Ministry offices in July 1981 and some LCIB staff worked on a provincial study of union products for resource sharing in regional systems. The OPLPR was wary of multiple regional processing centres and bibliographic databanks. Task force 15 had recommended the Midwestern Region centre become a Crown Corporation. Instead, the OPLPR (p. 164–167) followed the Ministry’s internal report that recommended further study of Midwestern’s possibilities. A new path was clarified: automation and cooperative area networks were to become local level responsibilities supplemented with planning and financial assistance offered by the Province. Centralized regional acquisitions and processing utilities would no longer receive support. The Programme Review recommended intermediary involvement with basic services, such as rotating book collections, staff training, special collections, reference centres, programming for groups, and direct service to municipally unorganized populations. Some briefs authored by administrative groups emphasized long-standing issues such as resource libraries and centralized processing, but these positions were not conclusive. The key point was the Review’s statement that the intermediary role “is an extension of the Provincial Government’s responsibility and role in the delivery of public library services across Ontario” and that there were currently three types of regional service, “the northern, southern, and Metropolitan Toronto area” (p. 147–148). Northern distinctions warranted more proactive provincial library intermediaries. The southern systems were more complex, so the Review recommended a gradual phase-in over five years to one provincial agency with field offices, starting with Southwestern, Lake Erie, and Niagara (p.154–159). Metro Toronto required amendments to the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act to repeal the Metro Library Board’s status as a regional library system and to authorize more sitting Metro Council members for the upper-level board. Provincial funding for the Metro Board would need an examination to determine what special purposes the province wanted to accomplish with its legislative payments (p. 160–164).

At the local level, the OPLPR made forty-two recommendations clarifying functions and management. Several recommendations would eventually make their way into the revised Library Act almost three years later in 1985. In place of standards, boards should embark on community analysis; boards should provide services their communities desired or needed; legislation for free entry to libraries and use of materials should be enacted; and services for particular groups (e.g., the disabled and Francophones) should be augmented with provincial assistance. Capital funds should be made available because only a few libraries had shared in the brief Wintario capital construction program in the late 1970s before the government redirected it to other purposes. Funding from programs such as Wintario and the Board of Industrial Leadership was important but episodic. Special funding for the creation of county-regional municipal systems and enrichment of per capita grants to northern libraries was a desideratum. Some recommendations addressed the composition of boards and their relationship with appointing bodies by affording municipal councils more control. The century-old traditional board of nine members, with the majority composed of public and separate school appointees from larger county school boards, was a leftover from the 1960s restructuring of school authorities. Now, municipal councils should make all the appointments (p. 116). In summarizing the provincial conditional grant to libraries, the Review found little change over ten years: the 1971 grant had totalled $8,552 million (20% of total support), and in 1981, $25,279 million (19% of total support). The Bassnett report recommended continuing payment of annual grants directly to boards. On the issue of non-operating boards, currently in 136 communities, the Report recommended the grant be paid only if municipal revenue matched its grant (p. 132–135). This policy, along with the promotion of larger units of service in counties and upper-tier municipalities, had the potential to halve the total number of boards.

The Bassnett report concluded by drafting a policy statement regarding public library service (p. 188–192). Ultimately, provincial goals should be:
▪ provision of public library legislation ensuring deww access and delivery of services;
▪ encouragement and support for municipal libraries;
▪ ensuring library collections reflect the population characteristics of their jurisdictions;
▪ encouragement and assistance for technological changes;
▪ development of a province-wide public information utility by networking municipal libraries; and
▪ provision of funding and staff support to achieve these goals.

The cost of expanding provincial support was not expensive: Task Group 4 estimated a 10.5% increase from $25.7 million to $28.5 million (p. 194). At the former regional levels, expenses could be reduced by 40 percent and be redirected to augment the proposed public library service division. In terms of the Public Libraries Act, the OPLPR recommended a complete overhaul. In response to the OPLPR, Bruce McCaffrey announced at the November 1982 Ontario Library Association conference in Toronto that his Ministry preferred to issue a ‘green paper’ for more discussion without any specific commitment to action, A Foundation for the Future/Réalitiés et Perspectives. This ‘green paper,’ released in December 1982, would form the basis for legislative changes. In February 1983, Wil Vanderelst, from the MCZC policy secretariat, became the new director of the LCIB, now shifted to the Ministry’s Culture and Regional Services Division. While the Ontario Public Libraries report had sought consensus on many issues, in fact, its author, Peter Bassnett, expressed dissatisfaction with the ‘green paper’ in the Toronto Star in May 1983. He felt many of his recommendations had been passed over or modified. Such was the fate of many recommendations in the OPLPR: finding consensus in the library community was an uncommonly difficult task.

There were, however, positive outcomes of the OPLPR. Municipal councils gained more control over library board appointments, thus ending a decade-long struggle. Free access to a variety materials became an important feature of new legislation enacted in 1985. The Province reiterated its support for conditional grants paid directly to library boards. The conflict and confusion about regional library boards was reduced when the province took control of southern and northern ‘intermediary’ services and began to deliver targeted policies, such as Francophone concerns, disabled programs, and improved service to indigenous communities. The review, which appeared at the same time when ‘turnkey systems’ were beginning to provide integrated solutions for library functions, proposed extensive automation projects be supported by provincial studies (p. 166). The idea of equalization of services addressed on large geographic scale came firmly into play. In fact, after almost four decades, very few changes have been made to the original 1984–85 legislation; again, one of the accomplishments that may be traced to the Bassnett report.

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Libraries of Metropolitan Toronto (1960) by Ralph Shaw

Libraries of Metropolitan Toronto: A Study of Library Service Prepared for the Library Trustees’ Council of Toronto and District. By Ralph Robert Shaw. Toronto: Library Trustees’ Council of Toronto and District, 1960. Illustrated, pp. 98.

In the late 1950s, there were thirteen library boards serving the metropolitan area of Toronto. One board, Toronto, served 658,000 people. Twelve adjacent boards served 742,000. More centralized regional service for police and other area concerns had formed after the creation of a Metropolitan government in 1953 through a provincial act. A few years later, in November 1958, the Metro Council authorized a group of trustees, the Council of Library Trustees of Toronto and District, first formed in 1954, to prepare a detailed survey of the thirteen area municipalities of Metropolitan Toronto. The Council believed systematic coordination was the most logical way to achieve satisfactory area-wide service. The trustees, led by Richard Stanbury from the township of North York, chose Dr. Ralph Shaw, Rutgers University, New Jersey, to bring American-style library planning to Ontario. He began his work in 1959 and published his report in the following year in May.

Dr. Shaw’s report did two significant things: it set a better standard for social science research in Canadian library surveys and, more importantly, revealed the disparity in library service across Metro’s thirteen library authorities for books, reference, personnel, and financial support. Shaw made fifteen recommendations to improve integration and standards of service, the principle ones being:
▪ establishment of a Metropolitan Library Board to coordinate agreed upon activities and report to the Metro Council;
▪ no amalgamation or consolidation of local boards into a single system;
▪ funding by a metropolitan board for services necessary for all citizens in the greater region, that is, reference collections and information service;
▪ provision for centralized cataloguing and card preparation for all libraries operated by the proposed metro board;
▪ priority for the development of regional branches of 100,000 volumes with specialized staff;
▪ priority development of neighbourhood branches for children’s services and adult recreational and general reading with bookmobile services;
▪ Toronto Public Library (TPL) to merge its reference and circulation departments into a single department with subject specialization and relocate from College Street to a new building for use by all metro residents; and
▪ a metro-wide use of a single card for all citizens.
The most important recommendation, a metropolitan board, would prove difficult despite the advice that there should be no amalgamation of local boards.

Dr. Shaw rejected the idea of having TPL serve as a central bibliographic and reference resource for all Ontario. This concept, the heart of a ‘Provincial Library’ promoted by many librarians and the Ontario Library Association in the 1950s, had proved to be elusive and unattainable over the years. Further, he advised that the administrative separation of TPL’s children’s services should be discontinued, especially in branches. The management of libraries in schools for students by TPL also was an awkward arrangement. Shaw reported that services for schoolchildren and young adults varied throughout the region and required new delivery approaches. He judged technical services in all libraries to be slower and more expensive than necessary. A metro board would provide this service more effectively.

When the final report came to Metro Council in 1960, Frederick Gardiner, the Metro chair, asked Dr. Shaw how services compared to American cities. The surveyor replied that Metro’s demand was “explosive.” Later in the year, the Toronto Board of Education appointed Leonard Freiser as chief librarian and established the Toronto Education Centre to support the goal of equipping schools with their own libraries. A Globe and Mail editorial on 11 January 1962 approved: “It must be observed only with surprise that this policy has not been in effect for decades past.”

To implement the Shaw report, Metro Council set up a Special Committee chaired by Richard Stanbury in July 1960. The federated approach of centralized Metro funding for standard services and continuance of local municipal autonomy had merits. However, because some library boards lagged behind general Canadian standards, coordinated development and tax-based financing from Metro councillors were complex issues to overcome. As early as June 8th 1960, the Toronto Star had observed: “After reading Dr. Shaw’s report, the immediate reaction of Toronto politicians will be to call for an end to the free-loading of many of the smaller municipalities.” By the autumn of 1960, the Special Committee was receiving briefs, not all supportive of Dr. Shaw’s conclusions, for example, the Metro Separate School Board felt providing libraries in every school was an expensive option.

When Stanbury’s committee reported to Metro Council in July 1961, it proposed the creation of a 30-member Metro-appointed library board, funding for a network of district libraries in Greater Toronto, grants to local library boards to equalize service, and payments for the operation and construction of TPL’s reference library. However, Metro Council balked at providing money without an upper-tier board controlling expenditures. The chair, Frederick Gardiner, declared, “It is either unification of the area library boards or nothing.” When the Special Committee’s effort came forward at Council later in November 1961, its report was adopted with an amendment to form a regional board. Nevertheless, this action had the effect of stalling efforts to create one because there was no unanimity on the issue.

Although the idea of a metro board did not take immediate hold, the Ontario government intervended at this point by appointing H. Carl Goldenberg to head a review on Toronto municipal governance in June 1963. His Report of the Royal Commission on Metropolitan Toronto received some library briefs in May 1964, primarily from TPL. Goldenberg’s final report reaffirmed the need for a Metro library board. It would be composed of nine members—two Metro Council appointees, five members from local area boards, and two from Toronto school boards. The report also concluded that 13 municipalities would be reduced to 6—Toronto, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, York, and East York. The result of this amalgamation process blended six independent libraries into a unique upper-tier regional structure in which trustees looked to the Metro Council, or the potential ‘regional’ library board, to play the central role in planning and provision of reference services.

The Shaw report was an influential guide to Toronto library development during the first half of the sixties. The creation of a new central reference library, new district library buildings, and the development of school libraries by the boards of education were apparent changes that could be traced to the pages of Libraries of Metropolitan Toronto. There was a sense that the concept of a Toronto-centred ‘Provincial Library,’ as it had existed in the 1950s, was consigned to history.

Later, in the 1970s, when TPL found its neighbourhood branch libraries needed revitalization, it was still wedded to a policy of creating larger district branches, a legacy from the 1960 Shaw report. Also, TPL was more inclined to work on studies about its own system goals, internal management, and local planning projects within city limits. There was more interest in inner-city issues than metro-wide library activities. Nevertheless, despite opposition, a world-class regional reference library opened in 1977. Two decades later, in 1998, the six metro municipalities were amalgamated into one Toronto entity. The evolution of library centralization, first envisaged in the late 1950s when there were thirteen library boards, had finally come about.

Proposed network of 20 Metro districts in the Shaw Report, 1960

Monday, July 18, 2022


     In 1961 the National Centennial Act established a federal Centennial Commission reporting to Parliament. This Commission intended to celebrate Canada’s birthday by planning and assisting projects across the country. Provincial departments helped coordinate finances with local groups and municipalities. In all, the total expenditure under various grant programs for all governments reached $200 million for about 2,500 projects, including the building of Confederation Memorial Centres, such as the one in Charlottetown which included a library. In Ontario, in 1965, the Department of Tourism established a Centennial Planning Branch to help plan and finance celebrations such as armed forces ceremonials, canoe pageants, the Confederation and train caravans, aboriginal events, sports events, municipal projects, and Queen’s Park celebrations. Approved local projects received funding from the federal government normally based on one dollar per capita to a maximum of one-third of the total cost. Provinces usually matched the federal amount, and municipalities funded the balance. Some new regional library co-operatives also provided funds for a few projects, notably Teck Township, where library facilities were the primary focus. Eventually, Ontario municipal projects totalled approximately $7 million; more than seventy-five libraries qualified for funding in the building category.–

     About five percent of the total Canadian projects were library-related (144). Ontario communities accounted for slightly more than half of all Canadian library buildings. The most notable project, the Public Archives and National Library, which opened on 20 June 1967, fulfilled a need expressed since the beginning of the century. The Canadian Library Association received $12,000 to microfilm Canadian newspapers in the Confederation period, 1862–1873; these microfilms were subsequently used across the country in many research projects. In Ontario, few major cities choose to erect or renovate libraries because large buildings were more complex to plan and finance during the Commission’s short lifespan. In Canada, Edmonton’s towering $4,000,000 centennial central library was a remarkable example of municipal funding for library services.

Saulte Ste. Marie Centennial Library, 1967
Sault Ste. Marie Centennial Library, 1967

      In Ontario, only Sault Ste. Marie ($776,000), Chatham ($515,000), and Mimico ($300,000) were expensively conceived projects. The Sault Ste. Marie library’s lower level included space for a “Centennial Room” for lectures and exhibits. The vast majority of libraries were projected to be under $100,000 due to the per capita funding formula. Smaller municipalities sometimes entered into joint projects with their neighbours to combine their financial resources. One municipality, suburban Toronto Township, built three smaller libraries (3,000 sq. ft. each) that opened on the same day in October 1967—Malton, Lakeview, and Clarkson-Lorne Park.

Mimico Centennial Library, 1966
Mimico Centennial Library, 1966

      The Centennial Commission was not concerned with library architectural features or functional requirements of libraries. By now, the excesses of the Carnegie era were well known: some communities—Cornwall (1956), Sarnia (1960), and Guelph (1964)—had simply demolished their buildings and rebuilt without regard to heritage considerations. Chatham, opened on 15 November 1967, followed the same process, moving to the Thames Theatre Art Gallery while demolition of the Carnegie proceeded. Sault Ste. Marie also razed its Carnegie building to make way for Sixties-style progress. 

   In keeping with the limited funds available on a per capita basis, the general architectural style of the vast majority of smaller Centennial libraries might be described as “commercial-vernacular” with the following usual characteristics:
▪ most new buildings were 4,000 – 8,000 sq. ft. in size and based on a simple rectangular or box plan, sometimes allowing for future expansion;
▪ modernist style exteriors were rectilinear in form with plain surfaces, featuring extensive use of glass, and horizontal roof lines;
▪ buildings had approachable “street-level” entrances often with adjoining parking;
▪ interior “open plan” mix of stacking, fluorescent lightening, and public space provided more convenient, individual study areas, larger lounge areas for reading, and improved interface with staff and book collections;
▪ structural elements featured concrete, glass, and steel that revealed skeleton-frame structure;
▪ lighting took on more importance with visible fluorescent and long, metal window mullions providing strength in single-storey buildings and allowing more interior daylight to make study and programming pleasant for users;
▪ in larger libraries, modular column squares made load-bearing and functionality simpler to plan for future redesign needs;
▪ use of vernacular, localized style combined with contemporary wood-steel furnishings created attractive, simplified library spaces.
The majority of Centennial libraries and extensions did not continue the monumental traditional style of the Carnegie era. Instead, the ideal, “form follows function,” was adhered to even if contemporary additions clashed dramatically with the older Carnegie style, as in Fort Frances. Many additions simply alleviated space problems, thereby limiting their scope and style. Renovated buildings, such as a service station at Sioux Lookout, did not present opportunities for architectural statements.
Streetsville Centennial Library
Streetsville Centennial Library, 1967

    The architectural qualities of Centennial libraries differed tremendously. Because of their size and community location Centennial libraries escaped the major elements of the Brutalist style, so evident in Ontario’s 1969 Centennial Museum of Science and Technology. One library, Mimico, opened in November 1966, received a Massey Medal for Architecture for its architect, Philip R. Brook. It was a spacious 18,000 sq. ft. building with a capacity of 60,000 books and an auditorium for 250 people. Streetsville, opened in November 1967 by the Premier, William Davis, reflected a contemporary cubic style with a capacity for 20,000 volumes  within 6,500 sq. ft. Larger libraries, such as Oakville, formed part of a civic complex and combined with art gallery space to satisfy municipal needs. The complex was on three levels: a lower area for technical services, main floor children’s library, and upper level (actually at street level) included adult services and the art gallery.

Nepean Centennial Library
Nepean Centennial Library, 1967

      Some structures were built with an eye for successful extensions, such as Fort Erie. Others, such as Nepean Township’s modular octagon at Bells Corners, were too small at just under 2,000 sq. ft. to cope with population growth. Nepean was required to add later modular additions in 1970 and 1974. A few county library systems built better accommodations. The Middlesex library included a local branch for Arva residents as well as storage and garage to organize transport of books to other county branches via bookmobile—there was14,000 sq. ft. on one level. Several, notably Cornwall’s Centennial Simon Fraser wing, opened by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson in July 1967, were successful additions to existing buildings.

     Very little critical study of Centennial library building projects exists, Bracebridge being a noteworthy exception. Its 1908 Carnegie, of course, suffered space constraints before the trustees and town council decided to renovate the basement for a children’s library and add a small extension for a separate entrance. The project cost was just less than $20,000; it included renovation upgrades in the main building and a “centennial wing” which was really “just a concrete-block bunker” that blemished the heritage aspects of the original Carnegie design. Nonetheless, speeches at an official ceremony on 13 May 1967 deemed the town’s decision to be a wise investment in children’s education.

     Indeed, the Centennial helped enhance the library’s public image about an expanded range of services, for example, auditoriums for programs, meetings, and performances; exhibit areas for art; and accommodation for audio-visual departments. These advantages reinforced the library’s position as an educational and recreational locus for community activity. Improved library facilities were part of a rapid increase in library usage across Ontario: in 1961 libraries served approx. 4.4 million and by 1971 6.9 million, a 56% increase — the greatest single decade increase in Ontario library history. Across the province, Centennial libraries were a visible symbol of local pride, the growth of Canadian identity, the democratization of culture, and the utility of shared federal-provincial programs for the public benefit. In some ways, Centennial libraries emulated the local self-help philosophy and enthusiasm for library building inspired by Andrew Carnegie six decades previously without the need to venture beyond national boundaries for funding.


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Libraries: Past, Present, Future. An address by Marshall McLuhan, 1970

Libraries: Past, Present, Future. An Address delivered by Marshall McLuhan at the Geneseo State College Library School, New York State, on July 3, 1970 for the 13th annual Mary C. Richardson lectures series. Typescript, 32 leaves.

 From the mid-1960s into the 1970s, Marshall McLuhan was sought out as a speaker across North America. The media theorist had coined the famous expression “the medium is the message,” categorized media as “hot” or “cool,” and spoke of an interconnected world as a “global village.” His ideas were controversial and often expressed in a somewhat ambiguous or aphoristic style. One of his messages about the dominance in contemporary society of electronic media, especially television, to the detriment of printed books and newspapers, gave many librarians cause for concern about the future of libraries and traditional print media. Canada’s National Librarian, W.K. Lamb, refused to believe that the book was becoming obsolete. In an interview, he held that the books could be reproduced using computerized telecommunications and that libraries would use computing to automate catalogues to make books available for loan (Ottawa Citizen, 17 June 1967). Daniel Gore, in a November 1970 issue of American Libraries, said, “McLuhan is merely a recent example of the learned man who despises books; the phenomenon itself is ancient.”  Robert B. Downs, in his Books That Changed America, published by Macmillan in 1970, completely rejected McLuhan assertions on the declining fortune of print: “Denigrators of books, such as Marshall McLuhan, would have us believe that books are obsolescent, being rapidly superseded by the newer media. Thus they would hold that books have had their day—possibly significant and influential in earlier eras, but now on the way to becoming museum pieces” by citing the societal impact of popular authors Rachel Carson and Ralph Nader.

Mary Richardson, c.1933
    Yet, McLuhan’s use of the hot-button word “obsolete” pointed more to the trend that printed media were less ascendant and subject to changing technology rather than non-usage and extinction. He made this point in his address at the School of Library Science at the State University College of New York College in Geneseo in July 1970. Geneseo was a liberal arts college which had conferred American Library Association fully-accredited library degrees since the Second World War. The special occasion was the thirteen annual Mary C. Richardson Lecture, named in honour of a former departmental director who had a special interest in school libraries. Dr. Richardson was Librarian and Head of the Geneseo Library Education Department from 1917–1941. McLuhan clarified his remarks about obsolescence briefly:

I have been saying that the book and printing are obsolete for some years. Many people interpret this to mean that printing and the book are about to disappear. Obsolescence, in fact, means the exact opposite. It means that a service has become so pervasive that it permeates every area of a culture like the vernacular itself. Obsolescence, in short, ensures total acceptance and every wider use. (28)

    McLuhan’s use of obsolescence on a broader scale referred to traditional media adapting to technological change by changing their form or usage. Henry Campbell, the chief librarian at Toronto Public Library, picked up on this point when McLuhan’s fame was accelerating. Writing in the May 1965 issue of the Wilson Library Bulletin, he posed the question: “Some of us in Canada are asking: Are libraries hot or cool? Is there a place for libraries in an electronic culture, one of simultaneity, or are they by their very nature trapped in a linear and nonsensory mold that spells their doom?” Campbell did not answer, but he suggested librarians must raise questions about knowledge in all its aspects to know more about librarianship as a profession.

    The Geneseo talk to students and faculty concentrated on the history and current state of libraries in a wide-ranging McLuhanesque fashion. He linked the history of libraries to different eras of media formats—ancient clay tablets and scrolls, medieval codices and manuscripts, the Gutenberg print revolution that enabled rapid knowledge sharing, and the 20th-century electronic environment. As McLuhan saw it, “One of the revolutionary effects of Gutenberg for libraries was that the printed book was both portable and expendable. Uniform and repetitive or mass produced commodities had their beginning with the printed book. The Gutenberg technology of union, moveable types became the pattern and exemplar for all subsequent forms of mass production.” (22) Libraries of all types in the modern sense, he believed, began to flourish with the mass-produced book with an emphasis on the problems of storage and systems of book classification (23). Now, “the paperless, or software library, brings the Gutenberg assembly line of movable types into an altogether new circle of magical effects.” (26) These effects, the new speed of electronic transmission applied to the traditional book, would result in its “strange alternation of use and function. (28) Further,

With the multitude of new forms of photography and reprography, the diversities of utterance and self-outering [sic] have come into being. On the one hand, pictures supplant a great deal of verbal expression and, on the other hand, the verbal acquires an extraordinary new range of resonance and implications. (31)

    McLuhan was less prescriptive about the future of the libraries. To be sure, libraries would continue to exist, but the effects of the all-pervasive electronic world would lead to the release of unknown intents or controls, like the trends and processes unknowingly released by Gutenberg more than five centuries before. McLuhan was forecasting the influence of powerful global media that would erode geographic boundaries and cultural insularity. At Geneseo, he hinted that libraries would continue to connect authors with readers just as they had in the small departmental English library he had used as an undergraduate at Cambridge many years before.

Further Reading:

Parts of the McLuhan 1970 address are incorporated in R.K. Logan and M. McLuhan, The Future of the Library: From Electric Media to Digital Media (New York: Peter Lang, 2016). This book reproduces and supplements an unpublished manuscript dating to 1979 that McLuhan and Logan co-authored.

An earlier talk by Marshall McLuhan to Ontario librarians is the subject of one of my earlier blogs.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Intellectual Freedom Statement adopted by the Canadian Library Association in June 1966

Although the Canadian Library Association-Association Canadienne des Bibliothèques did not adopt an intellectual freedom statement until 1966, its development had a long genesis. As early as 1951, at its Toronto conference, the Ontario Library Association requested CLA-ACB to develop a statement on a “Library Bill of Rights,” i.e., a national library policy on intellectual freedom similar to the American Library Association’s statement revised in 1948. As a result, the CLA-ACB appointed a special committee to explore a “Library Charter” chaired by Gerhard Lomer (McGill University). Over two years, the committee worked on a statement in three sections: the rights of the Canadian people, the services and responsibilities of libraries, and the duties of the government. However, the committee was discharged in 1953, perhaps because CLA-ACB chose a reactive “watch and ward” position focused on its Undesirable Literature Committee (est. 1950).

Yet, this latter committee did not attempt to draft a policy, although it did submit a 1953 brief to a Senate committee concerning indecent publications that declared censorship could be problematic. For many years, meetings and conferences of CLA-ACB mostly dealt with “bread and butter” issues, such as salary standards for employees, standards of service for public libraries, or the development of a projected national survey on the state of libraries. The welfare of librarians and libraries, not issues of national or public policy, was the prime interest of the membership.

The lapsed mandates of the two 1950s committees were eventually incorporated into an Intellectual Freedom committee in 1961. This committee, chaired from 1962–66 by John Archer, began a more purposeful program first of providing information for libraries and the public through a series of articles and then the composition of a statement on Intellectual Freedom for CLA members to debate. John Archer was a 1949 BLS graduate (McGill University) who had advanced to the positions of Legislative Librarian and Provincial Archivist of Saskatchewan. He came to the committee after the Canadian Criminal Code adopted a more permissive view of obscenity in publications—the new test was the interpretation of an author’s “undue exploitation” of sex, crime, violence, or cruelty. This legal application opened the door to works of artistic merit to circulate freely; thus, challenges in the early 1960s swirled about novels of apparent “ill-repute” such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Naked Lunch, Tropic of Cancer, Women in Love, and Memoirs of Fanny Hill. As well, a federal statute enacted in 1960, the Canadian Bill of Rights, provided citizens with certain legal rights, such as a free press, in relation to other federal laws and government actions. However, its scope was limited. For example, it did not apply to provincial laws.

A general principled approach, not statements on individual authors or works, was adopted by CLA-ACB. John Archer’s first step came in the March 1962 issue of the Canadian Library, where two articles appeared: “The Freedom to Read” and the “Library Bill of Rights.” Both statements were reprints originally adopted by the American Library Association, which had begun to address the right to read and libraries’ responsibilities as early as 1939. Later, in November 1962, Rev. Edmond Desrochers, S.J., the President of CLA, published an article, “A Catholic Librarian looks at Intellectual Freedom in the Canadian Setting.” Desrochers identified some problems with the ALA statements in a Canadian context. He emphasized the need for a policy that “embodies due respect for the different philosophical and religious beliefs of the Canadian people.” However, he did not oppose adoption of a statement, rather he encouraged the creation of a policy that recognized the diversity of Canada. Finally, in March 1963, the Canadian Library published a final article by Archer, “This Freedom.” It became obvious from its two-page text that “watch and ward” should be jettisoned.

Libraries must play a vital role in the maintenance of intellectual freedom. As a responsibility of library service to the public, the reading materials selected should be chosen for interest and for informational and cultural values. The freedom of an individual to use the library should not be denied or abridged because of factors of race, national origin, or political views. Library service should offer the fullest practical coverage of materials, presenting all points of view concerning local, national and international issues of our times. The libraries and those responsible for libraries must stand as leaders for intellectual freedom and must resist social influences tending to restrict the legitimate right to provide Canadians with worthwhile books.

A CLA-ACB annual meeting was scheduled for Calgary in June 1966. The Intellectual Freedom Committee wisely decided to hold a two-day pre-conference meeting at Banff that attracted about seventy registrants. On the first day, there were topical addresses followed by four breakout discussion groups: two for public libraries, one for academic libraries, and one for government/special libraries. John Archer, now Director of Libraries at McGill University, was the incoming President of CLA-ACB and led a strategy group that condensed the findings of each group and provided a draft for discussion and adoption on the second day. Then, the CLA-ACB Council fine-tuned the draft to be forwarded at two open meetings of conference delegates at the Calgary conference. The following statement, slightly revised at these meetings, was approved Twenty-first Annual Conference on June 21, 1966.

 * * * * * * * *

 Intellectual Freedom comprehends the right of every person (in the legal meaning of the term), subject to reasonable requirements of public order, to have access to all expressions of knowledge and intellectual creativity, and to express his thoughts publicly.

Intellectual Freedom is essential to the health and development of society.

Libraries have a primary role to play in the maintenance and nurture of intellectual freedom.

In declaring its support of these general statements, the CLA-ACB affirm these specific propositions:

1) It is the responsibility of libraries to facilitate the exercise of the right of access by acquiring and making available books and other materials of the widest variety, including those expressing or advocating unconventional or unpopular ideas.

2) It is the responsibility of libraries to facilitate the exercise of the right of expression by making available all facilities and services at their disposal.

3) Libraries should resist all efforts to limit the exercise of these responsibilities while recognizing the right of criticism by individuals and groups.

4) Librarians have a professional duty, in addition to their institutional responsibility, to uphold the principles enunciated in this statement.

* * * * * * * *

Following the adoption of the statement, conference delegates also passed a resolution that they believed (hopefully) would secure legal recognition for libraries.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Government of Canada be requested to recognize both this role and this responsibility by introducing amendments to the Criminal Code specifically exempting libraries from such provisions of the Code as may now or in future restrict or forbid individual citizens from acquiring books or other materials within the scope of the CLA-ACB statement on Intellectual Freedom, such materials to be acquired by libraries for purposes of research.

Not surprisingly, many matters pertaining to the federal Criminal Code were deemed more important by government officials in Ottawa. The impetus for following through on the statement and the resolution soon lapsed.

Although CLA-ACB had produced a succinct and clearly worded document that acknowledged libraries and librarians should be proactive, not reactive, in terms of censorship and freedom of expression, the association’s interest in asserting its policy diminished for several years until a revival occurred in the mid-1970s. In 1974, the Church of Scientology served writs on the Hamilton and Etobicoke libraries because both libraries refused to remove books critical of Scientology, such as Cyril Vosper’s The Mind Benders. Eventually, the Church withdrew its civil action, and CLA successfully redrafted its position on June 17, 1974 (the so-called Winnipeg Manifesto). The revised statement cited the 1960 Canadian Bill of Rights and used more assertive wording, such as “guarantee,” and broadened its scope by referencing “employees and employers.” In many ways, this revision improved and simplified both the OLA 1963 statement and the previous CLA-ACB effort adopted at Calgary in 1966. Nevertheless, issues involving pornography, child pornography, and hate propaganda would require CLA’s continued attention, especially in the 1980s: the 1974 statement was revised in November 1983 and November 1985 to reference the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Shortly before CLA disbanded, it would be revised a final time on September 27, 2015.

John Hall Archer was invested with the Order of Canada in April 1982. The University of Regina’s main library is named in his honour. He died in 2004.

The Bibliothèque Edmond Desrochers at the Centre justice et foi in Montreal, specializing in the social sciences, was named in his honour in 1985. Father Desrochers died in 1987.

Read the contemporary statement adopted by the Canadian Federation of Library Associations upon review on August 26, 2016.