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Mary Elizabeth Silverthorn

b. Aug. 5, 1902, Calgary, AB; d. May 3, 2001, Toronto, ON


1925 BA (University of Alberta)
1928 BS in LS (University of Illinois Library School)
1937 AM in Library Science (University of Illinois Library School)


1925-1927 Library Assistant, Calgary Public Library
1928-1935 Reference Librarian, Saginaw Public Library, Saginaw, Michigan
1937-1938 Assistant Professor, Carnegie Library School, Pittsburgh
1938–1949 Assistant Professor, University of Toronto Library School
1949–1961 Associate Professor, University of Toronto Library School
1961–1969 Professor, University of Toronto Library School
1969 Professor Emerita


Silverthorn, Mary E. (1932). “Standards in selecting fiction.” Michigan Library Bulletin, 23: 5-7

Silverthorn, Mary E. (1936) . “Reference service from the viewpoint of a reference librarian.” Library Journal, 61 (April 15): 309-312.

Silverthorn, Mary E. (1937). “The public library registration card as a source of reader information.” University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, (thesis, unpublished).

Silverthorn, Mary E. (1940). “Books for the school library.” The School (secondary edition): 28 (May): 767-771.

Silverthorn, Mary E. (1943). “War and post-war issues as they affect librarians.” Ontario Library Review, 27 (Aug.): 322-328.

Silverthorn Mary E. (1945). “Supplementary reading.“ The School, Nov. 213-216; Dec. 323-326

Silverthorn, Mary E. (1947). “Book selection aids for Canadian school libraries.” Canadian Library Association. Bulletin, 4 (Nov.): 36-38.

Silverthorn, Mary E. (1948). “Magazines for high school libraries.” Ontario Library Review, 32 (Aug.): 246-250.

Silverthorn, Mary E. (1959). “Out-of-print Canadian books.” Feliciter, 5 (Dec.): 16-22.

Silverthorn, Mary E. (1963). “Secondary school libraries in Ontario.” Ontario Library Review, 47 (Nov): 157-160.

Canadian Library Association. Committee on Out-of-Print Canadian Books.

Reprint Expediting Service, 8, Fall 1963, p. 2-4.


Ontario Library Association; Council member 1951-1958; President, 1956-57
Canadian Association of University Teachers
Canadian Library Association; 1957- Chair, Out-of-Print Books Committee
American Library Association
Institute of Professional Librarians of Ontario (IPLO)
University of Toronto Library School Representative to Council of the School of Graduate Studies
University of Toronto, Administrative Committee for Division I (Humanities)
Association of American Library Schools
Ontario Library Association, Circulating Libraries Section
Editor, Canadian books: a selection of old books for young people’s libraries
Officer, Association for Library and Information Science Education (1959–1963)
Ontario Library Association, Recruitment Committee (1960)
Chairman, Ontario Library Association, Constitution Committee (1961)
Chairman, Canadian Library Association Committee on Canadian Books (1968)
Chairman, School of Library Science, Curriculum Committee (1969)
Senate, University of Toronto, elected representative (1964-1968)


1935, Recipient of Katherine L. Sharp Scholarship, University of Illinois Library School
Beta Phi Mu

Other Areas of Activity:

Professor Silverthorn and Professor Barnstead advocated for an establishment of a course on school librarianship, anticipating possible demand for such specialized training for librarians. As a result, the Ontario Department of Education began to offer an elective course, “School Librarianship,” in 1940. In addition, Professor Silverthorn was in attendance during the Proceedings of the Organization Conference of the Canadian Library Association, held in Hamilton, Ontario, June 14–16, 1946. She acted as a recorder for workshop no. 7, “Young People's Interests” (a report on library services for teenagers). Professors Barnstead and Bassam were also present at the conference.


Professor Silverthorn taught numerous library school courses over her distinguished academic career: Book Selection, Literature for Young People, School Libraries: Administration, Readers' Services, School Libraries, Organization of Non-Book Materials, Library Collections, Library Collections in Special Fields, Public Library Collections, Contact with Readers and Advisory Services, Social Science Literature, and many more.


“Appendix A: Association for Library and Information Science Education / Association of American Library Schools, 1915–1990, Officers and Meetings.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science vol. 32, nos. 3 and 4 (Fall and Winter, 1991), 162–177.
Bassam, Bertha. The Faculty of Library Science University of Toronto and Its Predecessors, 1911–1972. Toronto: Faculty of Library Science in association with The Library Science Alumni Association, 1978.
“Canadian Library Directory, 1968: Sections.” Canadian Library vol. 24, no. 4 (January 1968), 365.
“Katherine L. Sharp Scholarship.” College and Research Libraries v. 4, no. 1 (December 1942), 59.
Land, R. Brian. “Toronto The University of Toronto Faculty of Library Science.” In Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, ed. Allen Kent, Harold Lancour, Jay E. Daily, William Z. Nasri, v. 30, 472–492. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1980.
“Members.” ALA Bulletin vol. 41 no. 13 (December 1947), H-103–H-444.
“Ontario Library Association: Summary of Proceedings—58th Annual Conference.” Ontario Library Review v. 14, no. 3 (August 1960), 182.
University of Toronto School of Library Science. Calendar 1965/1966. Toronto: University of Toronto, 1965.
ELA biography compiled by Agatha Barc

biographies/mary-elizabeth-silverthorn.txt · Last modified: 2023/11/23 19:50