Showing posts with label canadian public libraries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label canadian public libraries. Show all posts

Friday, November 03, 2017

CANADIAN LIBRARY LEGISLATION BEFORE CONFEDERATION: THE 1851 ACT FOR LIBRARY ASSOCIATIONS AND MECHANICS' INSTITUTES IN THE PROVINCE OF CANADA

By the middle of the 19th century in the Province of Canada (present day Ontario and Quebec) many local groups had formed library associations and mechanics' institutes. A few organizations, such as the Toronto Mechanics' Institute, Quebec Library, or the Montreal Mercantile Library Association, were incorporated under separate laws in the 1840s. Legislators recognized the need to provide general public legislation regulating the establishment, holdings, and activities of dozens of existing and potential new subscription/membership organizations. Robert Bell, the MP for Lanark (Ontario), introduced a Bill to facilitate the formation of institutes and library associations in the 3rd Parliament of the United Provinces in summer 1851. The Act did not stipulate public funding, however, legislative grants were made to dozens of institutes and associations (as well as combinations of both) each year until 1858 when funding ceased due to an economic downturn.

The 1851 legislation continued in force after Confederation in Ontario and Quebec under Chapter 86 of the Consolidated Statues of Canada, 1859. The law was important because it fortified the concept that a "public library" could one that was accessible to all residents of a community, but not generally free because it required voluntary personal payments. This type of public library formation was readily accepted by the mid-19th century in British North America. The Act served as a guide for other provincial jurisdictions to formalize library development. Nova Scotia passed a similar law, ‘An Act Respecting Library Associations and Institutes,’ on 18 April 1872, as did British Columbia on 24 February 1871, ‘An Act Respecting Literary Societies and Mechanics’ Institutes.’ Association Libraries would coexist into the Twentieth Century alongside Free Libraries--ones supported with municipal taxation and not requiring membership fees at point of entrance.

The 1851 Act was 'enabling legislation' which became the basic foundation for general provincial public library acts in post-Confederation Canada. The 1851 law (and subsequent similar provincial acts) contained influential ideas about public libraries. It recognized that a public library would be available to persons through voluntary decisions, not mandated legal provisions. It established that libraries would be governed by local boards of trustees independent from control by municipal politicians, a ‘special purpose body’ in public administrative terminology. Further, it provided public recognition of libraries as incorporated bodies through public legislation, thereby creating the opportunity for provincial grants in the public interest that supplemented local fundraising efforts. Consequently, hundreds of library associations and mechanics' institutes were formed and continued in provincial legislation into the 20th century.

The re-quoted 1851 text follows:

1851—14 & 15 VICTORIAE, CHAPTER 86


An Act to provide for the incorporation and better Management of Library Associations and Mechanics' Institutes

                                                                                           [30th August, 1851]

WHEREAS it is expedient to encourage the establishment of Library Associations and Mechanics' Institutes, and for that purpose to provide for the incorporation of such Institutions, and to grant them certain powers enabling them better to protect their property and manage their affairs: Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council and of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, constituted and assembled by virtue of and under the authority of an Act passed in the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and intituled, An Act to re-unite the Province of Upper and Lower Canada, and for the Government of Canada, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That any number of persons, not less than ten, having subscribed, or holding together not less than Twenty-five Pounds in money or money's worth, for the use of their intended Institution, may make and sign a Declaration (in duplicate) of their intention to establish a Library Association or a Mechanics' Institute, or both, (as the case may be,) at some place to be named in such Declaration, in which they shall also state the corporate name of the Institution, its purpose, the amount of money or money's worth subscribed by them respectively, or held by them for the use thereof, the names of those who are to be the first Trustees for managing its affairs, and the mode in which their successors are to be appointed, or new Members of the Corporation admitted, or in which Bye-laws are to be made for such appointment or admission, or for any other purpose, or for all purposes, and generally such other particulars and provisions as they may think necessary, not being contrary to this Act or to Law: or in case of a Mechanics' Institute or Library Association (or both united) already established or in existence, then, that the Directors, Trustees or the Office Bearers and Committee thereof for the time being, may make and sign a Declaration as aforesaid, of their wish or determination to become incorporated, according to the provisions of this Act, stating in such Declaration the Corporate Name to be assumed by such Institution or United Institutions,—and also with such Declaration, to file in the manner hereinafter provided, a copy of the Constitution and Bye-laws of such Institution and or United Institutions, together with a general statement of the nature and amount of all the property, real or personal, held by or in trust for such Institution or United Institutions: and one duplicate of such Declaration shall then be filed in the Office of the Registrar of Deeds for the County by one of the subscribing parties, who shall, before such Registrar, acknowledge the execution thereof by himself, and declare the same to have been executed by the other parties thereto, either in person or by their Attorneys; and the Registrar shall then keep one of the said duplicates, and deliver the other to the person filing the same, with a Certificate of the same having been so filed, and the execution attested before him, and such duplicate, or any copy thereof certified by such Registrar, shall be primâ facie evidence of the facts alledged in such Declaration and Certificate.

  II. And be it enacted, That when the formalities aforesaid have been complied with, the persons having signed such Declaration as aforesaid, or the Directors, Trustees or the Office Bearers and Committee for the time being, of any such Institution or United Institutions now established or in existence as aforesaid, and their successors, shall be a body corporate and politic, and shall have the powers, rights and immunities, vested in such bodies under the Interpretation Act and by Law, with power to such Corporation, in their corporate name, from time to time, and at all times hereafter, to have, take, acquire, hold, possess and enjoy to them, and to their successors, to and for the uses and purposes of such Corporation, any messuages, lands, tenements or hereditaments, of what nature or kind soever, situate within this Province; but the yearly value of the real property to be held by any such Corporation, shall never exceed One Hundred Pounds currency.

   III. And be it enacted, That the affairs of such Corporation shall be managed by the Directors or Trustees thereof for the time then being, appointed as hereinafter, or by any By-law of such Corporation provided, who, or a majority of whom, shall have full power to exercise all the powers of the Corporation, and to act in its name and on its behalf, and to use its Seal, subject always to any provisions limiting the exercise of such powers in the Declaration aforesaid, or in any By-law of the Corporation; and such Trustees, or a majority of them, shall have power to make By-laws binding the Members and Officers thereof, and such others as shall agree to be bound by them, for all purposes relative to the affairs and business of the Corporation, except as to matters touching which it is provided by the Declaration aforesaid, that By-laws shall be made in some other manner.

   IV. And be it enacted, That the Members of such Corporation, at their Annual Meeting, to be held on such day as may be provided by any By-law of the said Corporation, may choose from among themselves a President, and may appoint (except in so far as it may be otherwise provided in the Declaration or By-laws) a Librarian, Treasurer, Secretary, Lecturer, and such other Officers and servants of the Corporation as they may think necessary, and fix and pay their remuneration; and also a Board of Directors or Trustees of such Corporation, who shall hold office for one year, or such further time as may be hereinafter limited or permitted.

   V. And be it enacted, That a failure to elect Trustees on any day appointed for that purpose by the Declaration aforesaid, or by any By-laws, shall not operate the dissolution of the Corporation, but the Trustees then in office shall remain in office until their successors are elected, which they may be (if no other provision be made therefor by the Declaration or By-laws) at any Meeting of the Members of the Corporation at which a majority of such Members shall be present, in whatever way such

   VI. And be it enacted, That any such Corporation shall have power by its By-laws to impose a fine not exceeding One Pound, on any Member contravening the same, or on any person not being a Member of the Corporation, who shall in writing have agreed to obey the By-law for the contravention whereof it is imposed; and any such fine, if incurred, and any subscription or other sum of money which any Member or other person may have agreed to pay to the said Corporation, for his subscription to the funds of the Corporation for any certain time, or for the loan of any book or instrument, or for the right of entry to the rooms of the Corporation, or of attending any lectures, or for any other privilege or advantage afforded him by such Corporation, may be recovered by the Corporation by action in any Court having jurisdiction in civil matters to the amount, on allegation and proof of the signature of defendant to some writing by which he shall have undertaken to pay such subscription, or to obey such By-law, and of this breach of such undertaking, which breach shall be presumed until the contrary be shewn, as regards any promise to pay any sum of money, and may be proved by the oath of any one credible witness, as regards the contravention of any such By-law; and in any such action, or any other to which such Corporation may be a party, any Member or Officer of the Corporation shall be a competent witness, and any copy of any By-law bearing the signature of the defendant, or bearing the Seal of the Corporation, and the signature of some person purporting to have affixed any such Seal by authority of the Corporation, shall be primâ facie evidence of such By-law; and all fines so recovered shall belong to the Corporation for the use thereof.

   VII. And be it enacted, That any such Corporation may,  if it be so stated in the said Declaration, be at the same time a Mechanics'  Institute or a Library  Association,  or either of them, and their business shall accordingly be the ordinary and usual business of a  Mechanics'  Institute or of a Library Association,  or both,  as the case may be,  and no other,  but may embrace all things necessary and useful for the proper and convenient carrying on of such business;  and their funds and property shall be appropriated and used for purposes legitimately appertaining to such business,  and for no other.

   VIII. And be it enacted, That if it be provided in such Declaration as aforesaid, or by the By-laws of the Corporation, that the shares of the Members, or of any class of Members, in the property of the Corporation, shall be transferable, then they shall be transferable accordingly, in such way, and subject to such conditions, as shall be mentioned in such Declaration, or in the By-laws of the Corporation, if by such Declaration, such transfers are to be regulated by them; and all such shares shall be personal property, and by such Declaration of By-laws provision may be made for the forfeiture of such shares in cases to be therein named, or for preventing the transfer thereof to others than persons of some certain description, or resident within some certain locality.

   IX. And be it enacted, That provision may be made for the dissolution of such Corporation, by the Declaration aforesaid, or it may be therein provided, that such provision may be made by the By-laws of the Corporation to be hereafter passed: Provided that no such dissolution shall take place until all the liabilities of the Corporation are discharged.

   X. And be it enacted, That nothing in this Act contained shall prevent any Mechanics' Institute or Library Association (or both united) from being and becoming incorporated by a separate Act of Parliament, as if this Act had not been passed; nor shall this Act be held in any way to affect or extend to any Mechanics' Institute, or Library Association already incorporated.



Five years after its passage, the 1851 Act was amended to allow local boards of management to hold property of value up to £500. The amended act, which applied to Canada West (Ontario) and Canada East (Quebec)  follows:

CHAPTER 51 — 19 VICTORIA


An Act to amend the Act for incorporating Library Associations and Mechanics' Institutes.

                                                                                       [Assented to 19th June, 1856]

WHEREAS it is expedient to amend the second section of the Act passed in the session held in the fourteenth and fifteenth years of Her Majesty's Reign, and intituled, An Act for the incorporation and better management of Library Associations and Mechanics' Institutes, so as to enable such institutions in certain towns and villages to hold property to a larger amount than the sum therein limited: Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council and Assembly of Canada, enacts as follows:

  I. From and after the passing of this Act, it shall be lawful for any Library Association or Mechanics' Institute incorporated under the said Act, and situate in any village or town having of more than three thousand inhabitants or more, to hold real property not exceeding in annual value the sum of five hundred pounds; and for any Library Association or Mechanics' Institute incorporated under the said Act, and situate in any town or city not having more than three thousand inhabitants, to hold real property not exceeding in annual value the sum of two hundred and fifty pounds; any thing in the said section to the contrary notwithstanding.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

CANADIAN LIBRARY LEGISLATION BEFORE CONFEDERATION: ALEXANDER MORRIS' PUBLIC LIBRARY BILL, 1866 (2008)

My article on public library legislation that was not passed by legislators of the United Canadas in 1866. Originally published in Ex Libris Association Newsletter 44 (Fall 2008): 10-13. The bill's sponsor, Alexander Morris, was a Liberal-Conservative member for the riding of Lanark South (Canada West) in the Legislative Assembly. The text of Morris' 1866 bill, discharged in August 1866 at the end of the Province of Canada's 8th Parliament (1863-66), is included at the end. Morris supported the concept of free public libraries but also allowed a role for potential donors to contribute to the support and management of  local libraries.













Bill: An Act to Authorize the Formation of Free Libraries
[Mr. Alexander Morris]
[read a second time on 7 August 1866 and then discharged]

Whereas it is expedient to grant facilities for the establishment of Free Public Libraries; Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council and Assembly of Canada, enacts as follows
1. The Mayor of the Municipality of any City, or Town, in Canada containing by the Census made next before the Meeting mentioned in this Section, not fewer than five thousand inhabitants, or any two Justices of the Peace for the locality embracing such City, or Town, but resident in such City, or Town, each possessed of Real Estate in such City, or Town, assessed at the value of   , may at any time call a Public Meeting of the owners of Real Estate in the said City, or Town, in order to determine whether this Act shall be used and adopted with a view to the forming and maintaining a Free Public Library in such City, or Town, and ten days' notice at least of the time, place and object of the Meeting shall be given by advertising the said Meeting in at least one Newspaper published in such City, or Town, for at least ten days preceding the day appointed for the Meeting; and, if at any such Meeting two-thirds of the said Owners of Real Estate present at such Meeting so determine, then this Act shall forthwith be used, adopted and acted upon.  
2. If any Meeting so called, as aforesaid, to determine whether this Act shall be used, or adopted, shall determine in the negative, then no Meeting for a similar purpose shall be held for the space of one year, at least, from the time of holding the previous Meeting.  
3. Whenever any such Meeting shall be convened the Mayor, or, in his absence, the said Justice of the Peace present at such Meeting, shall preside, and shall make, or cause to be made, a Minute of the Resolutions passed at such Meeting, and shall sign the same; and the said Minute shall then be deposited in the Office of the Registrar of the County, or Registration division within which the said City, or Town, may be, by the Chairman of the said Meeting, who shall make oath as to the authenticity of such Minute, before the said Registrar, and the Resolutions, so signed, shall be conclusive evidence that the Meeting was duly convened, and the vote thereat duly taken, and that the Minute contains a true account of the proceedings at the said Meeting.  
4. The said Minute and affidavit shall continue and remain in the keep­ing of the said Registrar, who shall give certified copies of the same to any one requiring them, on payment of a fee of one dollar, and any copy so certified shall be primâ facie evidence of the contents of the said Minute and affidavit in all legal proceedings.  
5. Immediately upon its being decided at any such Meeting that this Act shall he used and adopted, and a Free Public Library formed in such City, or Town, the owners of Real Estate in the said City, or Town, shall become a Body Corporate by the name of "The Free Library of the City, or Town, of, (as the case may be)[ ]" and by that name may sue and be sued, and hold and dispose of Lands and immovable property in the said City, or Town, required for the purposes of their incorporation, and use a Common Seal.  
6. The affairs of the said Corporation shall be conducted by nine Trus­tees, six of whom shall be elected by the Ratepayers from among themselves, and three by those who have made donations to the Corporation of Books, or money, to the value of at least each. The first six Trustees shall be elected at the Meeting at which the adoption of this Act has been decided on, and after the two-thirds vote for such adoption has been taken; and the three Trustees to be appointed by the donors may be appointed by them at any time within one month after the election of the said first six Trustees, by Memorandum in writing signed by four-fifths of such Donors, and delivered to the said first six Trustees, or at a Meeting convened for the purpose, by any one of such six Trustees, of which three days previous notice shall be given by advertisement, of in a Newspaper.  
7. An Annual Meeting of the Ratepayers, and an Annual Meeting of the Donors then living, shall be held in each and every Year in the same month as the month in which the Meeting was held at which it was decided to adopt this Act. Any one of the existing Trustees elected by the Ratepayers, and chosen by the Meeting, shall preside at the Annual Meeting of the Ratepayers, and any one of the existing Trustees elected by the Donors and chosen by the Meeting, shall preside at the Annual Meeting of the Donors. Two of the Trustees elected by the Ratepayers, and selected by ballot at the Annual Meeting of the Ratepayers, shall go out of office each year, and their places be supplied by two new Trustees to be elected by the Ratepayers at such Meeting, but the out-going Trustees may be re-elected as such new Trustees. One of the Trustees elected by the Donors, and selected by ballot at the Annual Meeting of the Donors, shall go out each year, and his place be supplied by one new Trustee to be elected by the Donors at such Meeting, but such out-going Trustee may be re-elected as such new Trustee.  
8. A majority of the Trustees for the time being shall constitute a quorum, and the Trustees for the time being shall have all the powers of the entire body of Trustees, notwithstanding that, at any time, there may be no Trustees elected by the Donors, or the death, absence, or incapacity of any one, or more, of the Trustees.  
9. If, from any cause whatever, the Annual Meetings shall not be held at the time provided by this Act, or the Trustees shall, from any cause what­ever, not be elected at such Annual Meeting, the said Corporation shall not be thereby dissolved, but a new Meeting shall be called in the same manner as an Annual Meeting, at which, if necessary, such election may be had; and the Trustees for the time being shall retain their office and powers until their Successors, or the Successors of any one of them, shall be duly elected.  
10. The Trustees shall meet at least once in every calendar month, and at such other times as they think fit, at the Library or some other convenient place, and any one Trustee may summon a Special Meeting of the Trustees by giving three clear days' notice in writing to each Trustee, specifying therein the purpose for which the Meeting is called, and no business shall be transacted at any Meeting of the Trustees unless at least a majority shall be present.  
11. All orders and proceedings of the Trustees shall be entered in Books to be kept by them for that purpose, and shall be signed by the Trustees, or any two of them, and all such orders and proceedings so entered and pur­porting to be signed, shall be deemed to be original orders and proceedings, and such Books may be produced and read as evidence of all such orders and proceedings upon any judicial proceedings whatever.  
12. The Trustees shall keep distinct and regular Accounts of their Receipts, Payments, Credits and Liabilities, which Accounts shall be audited yearly, by two Auditors, not being Trustees, elected by the Ratepayers at each Annual Meeting of the Ratepayers. The Auditors, so appointed, shall report to the Trustees as soon as practicable, and such Report shall be open to the inspection of any Ratepayer, or Donor, at all reasonable hours.  
13. The said Trustees shall have the power to levy, for the purposes of the Library annually, a tax, not exceeding one-half cent. In the dollar, on all rateable Real property within the City, or Town, where they are elected, and the value of such rateable Real property shall be estimated for the purpose of such Tax, according to the Assessment, or Valuation Rolls, made by the Municipality of the said City, or Town, in the year next preceding the levying of the said Rate by the said Trustees. Such Tax may be levied and recovered from the Owners of the said Real property in the same manner and by the same means as are used for the levying and recovering of any other Rate, Tax, or Assessment, levied, or leviable, in the said City, or Town for the purposes of the City, or Town, Municipality, and such Tax shall, if unpaid, be a special charge and mortgage on such Real property, not requiring registration to preserve it.  
14. The said Trustees may establish and maintain Free Reading Rooms in connection with, and as a part of, such Free Libraries, and, from time to time, purchase and provide the necessary fuel, lighting, and other similar matters, Books, Newspapers and Maps, for the use of the said Libraries and Reading Rooms, and cause the same to be bound and repaired when necessary.  
15. The said Trustees may purchase and acquire Land in the City, or Town in the name of the Corporation, for the erection of a Library Building, and may mortgage the same at any time to procure funds for the erection, improvement, or repair thereof, or for the payment of any debt secured upon the same.  
16. The said Trustees shall elect from among themselves, from time to time, a President, and shall appoint such subordinate Officers as they deem expedient, prescribe their remuneration and duties, and dismiss them, and shall, from time to time, make Rules and Regulations for the management of the said Library, not contrary to this Act, and may allow the Householders and Inhabitants to borrow and take away Books from the Library, on such terms and conditions, and under such restrictions, as the Trustees may think fit to impose.  
17. The said Trustees may establish Fines for the infraction of any Rules and Regulations, to be recoverable by them as in an action of debt. 
18. The said Libraries shall be open to the Public free of charge, but any one whom the Trustees may consider to have contravened any Rule, or Regulation, may be excluded therefrom.  
19. The word "Ratepayer," whenever used in this Act, shall be construed to mean the Owner of Real Property within the City, or Town, whose property is assessed for the purposes of this Act, and the word "Donor, to mean any one who has given to the said Corporation, in Books, or money a sum not less than dollars. The word "City," shall apply to any Municipality called in any Statute a City in Upper Canada, or Lower Canada; and the word "Town," shall apply to any incorporated Town in Upper Canada, and to any incorporated Town, or local Municipality in Lower Canada.  
20. This Act shall be deemed a Public Act.
 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

CANADIAN LIBRARY LEGISLATION BEFORE CONFEDERATION: THE PUBLIC LIBRARIES BILL, 1852 (2007)

My article on proposed public library legislation for the Province of Canada (now Ontario and Quebec) in 1852. The bill was essentially identical to the public library act passed by the American state of Massachusetts in the previous year, 1851.  It was not read a third time and died at the end of the parliamentary session. Originally published in Ex Libris Association Newsletter 42 (Fall 2007): 15-18.

The bill was introduced by William Henry Boulton, the Conservative member for Toronto in the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada. Boulton had also served as Mayor of Toronto from 1845-1846.

The Bill, numbered 75 for the session of the 4th Parliament of the United Canadas, was premature free public library legislation. At the time of its first reading only a handful of municipal corporations had been formed in Upper Canada (Canada West). Lower Canada (Canada East) had no general municipal legislation. Further, in the previous year an act had been passed by the Canadian Parliament to permit the formation of library associations and mechanics' institutes. As well, Egerton Ryerson was establishing public libraries in rural townships and small communities across Upper Canada, mostly in school houses.

The text of Bill 75, virtually a copy of an American state law, is included.






BILL [75] -- 1st Session, 4th Parliament of the Province of Canada, 16 Victoria, 1852

An An Act to authorize Cities and Towns to establish and maintain Public Libraries.

Be it enacted, &c.,

That any City or Town in this Province is hereby authorized and empowered to establish and maintain a Public Library within the same, with or without branches, for the use of the inhabitants thereof, and to provide suitable rooms there or, under such regulations for the government of such Library as may from time to time be prescribed by a Board of five persons, to be named annually by the Municipal Authorities of such City or Town.

II. Any City or Town may appropriate for the foundation and commencement of such Library as aforesaid, a sum not exceeding five shillings for each of its householders in the year next preceding that in which such appropriation shall be made, and may also appropriate annually, for the maintenance and increase of such Library, a sum not exceeding one shilling and three pence for each of its householders in the year next preceding that in which such appropriation shall be made.

III. Any City or Town may receive, in its corporate capacity, and hold and manage any devise, bequest or donation for the establishment, increase or maintenance of a Public Library within the same.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Review—World War II Theses on Schools and Public Libraries by Two Albertans: Louise Riley and Jack Brown

Mutual Relationships between Public Libraries and Schools in Providing Library Service to Boys and Girls in Canadian Cities (Columbia University, M.A. thesis, June 1942, 113 p. with tables) by Margaret Louise Riley and The Extension of Public and School Library Services in the Province of Alberta (University of Chicago, M.A. thesis, August 1940, 161 p. with tables and map) by Jack Ernest Brown.

Margaret Louise Riley was born and educated at St. Hilda's High School for Girls in Calgary. She attended McGill University (B.A. 1921) and received her library diploma at Madison, Wisconsin in 1928.  After graduation, she worked at the Calgary Public Library as a children's librarian throughout the 1930s. Riley's articles on library work for children and teens helped her attain a Carnegie Fellowship and she graduated from Columbia University Library School in 1942. Her thesis, Mutual Relationships, dealt with the subject of cooperative work by school and public libraries in Canada.

Jack Ernest Brown was born in Edmonton in 1914 and graduated from the University of Alberta with a B.A. in 1938. He attended McGill University Library School, receiving a B.L.S. in the following year. Brown was awarded a Carnegie Fellowship and graduated with a MA from the University of Chicago Graduate Library School in 1940. His thesis focused on the development of public and school services in Alberta.

Children's librarianship was a well-established public library service by 1930. Louise Riley introduced a room for young adults readers and enthusiastically improved Calgary's children's library at a time when money was hard to come by during the Depression years. It was during the 1930s when schools in Alberta, and elsewhere in Canada, began to develop a "new program" in elementary and junior high schools that emphasized the use of many books rather than rote learning and use of  one class text. Because many elementary school libraries were deficient (or practically non-existent), students and parents often turned to public libraries to secure good reading. This practical consideration inspired Riley to research cooperative educational efforts between schools and public libraries. Her thesis at Columbia examined the relationships that were being developed in Canadian cities with more than 10,000 population (52 in total) through the use of questionnaires and a literature search of leading professional opinions about school-public library cooperation.

Riley's detailed compilation and analysis of statistics received from across Canada yielded useful information about the state of children's work in 1940. For example, larger city pubic libraries were open for children on average from 20-40 hours per week and the average number of books per registered child ranged from 1.5 to 2.2 books/borrower. Fifteen school boards were developing centralized school libraries, an option many library planners favoured. Data on classroom libraries, children's sections in public libraries, and public library branches in schools were included. There were twenty-six tables in all.

Mutual Relationships explored solutions for cooperative efforts to improve children's work. Riley surveyed the experience of American and English libraries and presented the advantages and disadvantages of similar Canadian efforts especially inter-board representation on school and library boards, public library branches in schools, and cooperative administration of school libraries. Often, the crucial element missing was leadership at the local level. Based on her findings, Riley recommended conducting local community surveys and devising a cooperative plan for discussion and eventual implementation. She suggested the newly formed Canadian Association of Children's Librarians and Canadian Library Council could provide assistance in developing cooperative work.

Riley's conclusions did not surprise many informed librarians and administrators. However, the data she presented was the first Canadian study of its kind that buttressed many arguments about school-public library cooperation. It was another instance of the use of social science methodology to study libraries and demonstrate the value of "library science." Of course, Mutual Relationships was confined to cities--smaller communities, rural places, counties, and regions were not included. The thesis was a practical exploration of an issue that would continue throughout the 20th century and be resolved locally in many different ways.

Louise Riley returned to Calgary Public Library to develop children's services after graduation. One successful effort was the establishment of general reading sections with visiting librarians to advise student readers in some schools which was financed by school board grants. She became Calgary's Assistant Librarian in 1949, served as President of the Alberta Library Association, taught courses for children's librarianship for teachers at the Calgary campus of the University of Alberta, and authored an award-winning children's book, Train for Tiger Lily (1954). Louise Riley died in 1957 and shortly afterward a new branch library in Hounsfield Heights was named in her honour.

Jack Brown's thesis at Chicago was centered on Alberta where about sixty percent of the population lived in rural conditions. A plan for the extension of library services through schools and public libraries based on governmental, economic, educational and social conditions was his primary aim. He made a lengthy study of Alberta's geography, its educational system, municipal and school authorities, and economic conditions. It was a time when Edmonton and Calgary were small cities under 100,000 population and when agriculture and cattle ranching were dominant economic activities.

Brown applied the concepts of 'modern service' and 'efficiency' to Alberta's library scene in a thorough manner by stressing the educational role of public libraries and the development of regional systems. Brown surveyed the province's public libraries and found that only 30.3% of the total population of 772,782 were served by libraries and only 8% were actually registered borrowers. Half of Alberta's book stock resided in Edmonton and Calgary and the per capita expenditure on libraries based on total provincial population was fifteen cents. School libraries were at a rudimentary level. Larger school divisions held the promise of better funding but these were only in the initial stages of development. One successful venture was the small travelling libraries and 'open shelf' system operated by the University of Alberta's Extension Department.

Brown concluded that the existing public library 'system' was completely inadequate and suggested that cooperation between rural sections and urban communities should be adopted and promoted by an independent appointed provincial library agency. He strengthened this argument by reviewing British Columbia's pioneering effort in the Fraser Valley as well as American library organization in Vermont where regional services were introduced on a voluntary basis during the Depression. Brown was particularly impressed by work in California where county library systems and city libraries were supervised by the State Library. By 1940, California's system of county libraries and city libraries had reached 98 per cent of the state's population and had been adopted by many other American states. Brown also provided a brief account of the coordinated system of rural and larger centralized libraries in Denmark.

Using his findings, Brown adapted international library planning to suit Alberta's needs. To remedy the permissive nature of current library legislation, he suggested establishing an independent provincial library agency to supervise and coordinate an integrated public library and school library system based on larger units of service. Brown presented the idea of eleven districts each with a headquarters and branches, a reasonable tax base, populations in excess of 20,000, and areas ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 square miles to minimize the problem of distance. He knew that his divisions were personal decisions, not necessarily ones that a potential provincial agency and new library director might implement. However, Brown stated "If a public library system were established in each of the eleven regions, then approximately 80 per cent of Alberta's population would receive public library services (p. 154)." His specific recommendations, which were shared by other Alberta librarians, were never put into action; however, an Alberta Library Board was formed in 1946 and eventually, after passage of a new library act in 1956, the process of establishing regional libraries began, first in the Lacombe (now Parkland) regional library and area similar to Brown's "District 2" centered in Red Deer.

Jack Brown returned to Edmonton Public Library after graduation, establishing the popular street car branch library that was publicized in the January 1942 issue of Library Journal. Shortly thereafter, Brown left to work at the New York Public Library until 1957 when he returned to Canada as chief librarian with the National Research Council in Ottawa. At the NRC, Brown oversaw the development of a National Science Library for Canada in the 1960s and in October 1974 a new library building opened with a new title: the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information. He retired from CISTI in 1978 at a time when a national information system had become a practical reality. Jack Brown passed away in 1996

The two theses by Louise Riley and Jack Brown were completed when Canada was at war--not a reasonable time to expect any action to result from their publication. However, Mutual Relationships and The Extension of Public and School Library Services marked another step in the direction of the application of more rigorous scholarship to Canadian library issues and planning that had begun in the late 1930s.

Further Information

View the 1942 Paramount Pictures video of the Edmonton's Street Car Library on YouTube.

Read about Margaret Louise Riley's career in the Ex Libris Association Newsletter (page 9).

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Review—Libraries in the Life of the Canadian Nation (1946) compiled by Canadian Library Council, Inc.

Libraries in the Life of the Canadian Nation. Part I, Public Libraries: An Interim Report Presented to the Organizational Conference of the Canadian Library Association by the Canadian Library Council, Inc., June, 1946. Canadian Library Council, 107 p.

At the end of the Second World War the pattern of public library service in Canada varied tremendously--from the acclaimed Toronto Public Library, a North American leader in services and collections, to cities such as Fredericton and Quebec City that had no municipally supported service. Halifax had a room in a municipal building. In Manitoba, only Winnipeg and Brandon had a tax-supported library. Estimates varied, but across the country, almost 10% of people living in cities, about 60% living in towns and villages, and about 95% living in rural areas were without direct library service. To remedy the situation, the newly formed Canadian Library Council, Inc. (CLC), developed a survey to ask all libraries about their community services. The result, Libraries in the Life of the Canadian Nation, pointed the way to postwar planning by cooperatively planning services on a regional basis in many rural areas where there were no libraries or by federating small services (especially the ubiquitous 'association public library') that could not develop effective, expanded, progressive library services.

The CLC had been formed to create a Canadian library association across the nation, a bilingual organization that would proselytize a course of action to develop library services and advocate for a National Library in Ottawa. To this end, its small, capable executive, led by Margaret Gill from the National Research Council, Ottawa, organized a national meeting at McMaster University in June 1946 to rally librarians, trustees, administrators, adult educators, school authorities, and anyone interested in books and media.

We meet in Hamilton in June, 1946, to consider 'libraries in the life of the Canadian nation' at a conference called to organize a Canadian Library Association [CLA]. It is to be hoped that from the decisions of this gathering will come a policy of realistic and courageous nation-wide promotion of effective library service through public, university, school, special and government libraries, not overlooking the establishment of a national library.

Libraries in the Life of the Canadian Nation provided the basis for the newly minted CLA to advance its ideas in briefs to provincial and federal governments in the immediate years after 1945. Today, many decades later, the report's information serves to remind us that libraries were present in their communities in many ways through community cooperation in the first part of the 20th century. The range of groups allied with libraries was diverse and extensive. The types of services, of course, depended on local funding, donations, or limited provincial grants. A small sample of the report's replies gives an impression of the state of public library service and interaction with community life and agencies from west to east:

New Westminster: "The University Women's Club has, for a number of years, donated about $30.00 worth of books to the Boys' and Girls' Department. Of recent years this gift has been to the Young Moderns' Alcove. The books are chosen by the Children's Librarian and bear a special book plate."

Calgary: ". . . has its teen-age groups divided into 2 sections, Junior High School and Senior High School or Young Adults. There is a librarian in charge of the library work with this first section who spends full time on the work. Grades 7 to 9 are served--they have a separate room know as the John Buchan Room. A librarian spends part-time on the work with the young adults, grades 10 to 12. This section has an alcove in the circulation department know as "The Corral."

Regina: ". . . provides information, catalogues, etc., about education and documentary film: it also provides loan of films but not preview facilities. Films as part of the regular library programme is used for special subject display. The library provides collections of photographs, but not of lantern slides, films strips, photostats or microfilm. The library does not have a reading machine or a film projector. Copies of its materials are provided by typescript."

Manitoba libraries under 5,000 population: "Only 1 (Gimli Icelandic Library) is housed in a separate building. 1 has a room (125 feet of shelf space) in the post office and Red Cross building. . . .6 are in need of larger quarters. Kenton, Gypsumville and Shoal Lake hope to build community halls (the latter 2 as [war] memorials) which will house the library. Langruth hopes to have a municipal building in which the library will be located. Neepawa has plans to take over the room used by the Red Cross when that organization finishes with it."

Toronto: "Two radio programmes. 'Stories for You'--Sundays, 5 o'clock, CJBC, since Jan. 1945. 'Junior Story Period'--sponsored by Dept. of Education, during Fall terms, 1944, 1945. 'One of our most rapidly growing projects is our service to parents of pre-school age children. Hundred of parents take advantage of this service every week.'
Toronto Beaches branch: "An active drama organization. Professional and student concerts. Co-operation in the field of music."

Montreal Children's Library: ". . . public relations--talks, articles, radio programmes, displays, etc.--have been an important part of the work of Committee and Librarian in an effort to make citizens more conscious of the value of libraries and their lack in this city. We were started as a 'demonstration'."

Moncton and Saint John: "Both have a Friends of the Library group and Saint John has held open house for the community." . . .Both have a separate reference room, but neither has a reference librarian. Saint John has the following specialized collections: Loyalist biographical material; local and provincial history in scrapbook form; Maritime history in manuscript (typewritten)."

Reserve Mines: "This is a small library mainly supported by our Co-operative Institutions--with a modern equipped School Library branch in the school building. The librarian is a graduate in Library Science. . . . [this library supplies books to] Women's Institutes, Farm Forum Groups, Citizen's Forum Groups, Labor groups, church groups, study clubs, adult education groups."

Prince Edward Island Libraries: ". . . serves 23 community libraries, 4 deposit stations (56 collections loaned to Women's Institutions or community groups during 1945) and 272 schools. They do not give book van service. The library is housed in 3 rooms in Prince of Wales College, Charlottetown. . . . The headquarters library selects and purchases all books and catalogues them. It maintains a central deposit of books to answer reference questions and to supply special requests. . . . Headquarters library assistance with community activities: loan service to [several groups]; talks on the library; book displays at various meetings."

Libraries in the Life of the Canadian Nation documented proactive library work that was happening on a sporadic basis across the country at the end of WW II and it showed what additional roles libraries could play with better organization and financial support. In many ways, the data in this report supported the ideas about library development recommended by the 1933 Commission of Enquiry. Unlike the previous report, issued in the depths of the Great Depression, Libraries appeared during improved national economic circumstances, and, even more importantly, it could used by the newly formed Canadian Library Association to assert its ideas and plans for the future growth of libraries.

Further reading on the Canadian Library Council:


Nora Bateson, Rural Canada Needs Libraries (S.l.: Canadian Library Council, 1944)