The Canadian association dedicated to people whose careers have been in libraries, archives, publishing, and information work

User Tools

Site Tools


Nora Bateson

b. 1896, Chequerbent, Westhoughton, England; d. Jan. 6, 1956, Rhyl, North Wales

Nora Bateson, n.d. Credit “Our Activist Past”


1917 BA (Hons. History) Manchester
1929 Diploma in Librarianship Pratt
1933 MA (Hist.) McGill


1920 Teacher, Kings Hall, Compton, Quebec
1922-1928 Library Clerk, Ontario Legislative Library
1929 McGill University Library Summer School
1929-1930 Reference Librarian, University of British Columbia Library
1931 Librarian, Chilliwack Branch, Fraser Valley Library Demonstration
1932-1933 Professor, McGill University Library School
1933-1936 Director, Prince Edward Island Library Demonstration
1936-1938 Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore
1938-1945 Director of Libraries, Nova Scotia
1945-1947 Director of Home Reading Department, Detroit Public Library
1947-1948 Senior Lecturer, New Zealand Library School
1948-1953 Acting Director & Director, New Zealand Library School

Publications (major contributions):

Bateson, Nora (1936). The Carnegie library demonstration in Prince Edward Island. Canada, 1933-1936. Charlottetown, P.E.I.: Prince Edward Island Libraries.
Bateson, Nora (with J.J.Tompkins). (1936?). Why not a co-operative library? Antigonish, N.S.: Extension Department, St. Francis Xavier University.
Bateson, Nora (1938). Library survey of Nova Scotia. [Halifax, N.S.]: Department of Education.
Bateson, Nora (1944). Livres pour aujourd'hui et demain. [Ottawa]: Counseil Canadien des bibliothèques.
Bateson, Nora (1944). Rural Canada needs libraries. [Ottawa]: Canadian Library Council.
Bateson, Nora (1945). Library plan for Jamaica. Kingston, [Jamaica]: Government Printer.

Publications (minor contributions):

Bateson, Nora (1931). The Fraser Valley book van. Library Journal v.56, p.59-62
Bateson, Nora (1934). Prince Edward Island's demonstration. ALA Bulletin v.28, p.633-637
Bateson, Nora (1934). Prince Edward Island's demonstration. Ontario Library Review v.18, no.3, p.111-114
Bateson, Nora (1935). Library work in Prince Edward Island. Ontario Library Review v.19, no.3, p.109-110
Bateson, Nora (1936). The burning bush in Nova Scotia. Landward, Autumn, p.3, 7, 11
Bateson, Nora (1937). Latest survey of libraries in Canada. ALA Bulletin v.31, no.2, p.85-86
Bateson, Nora (1938). Labor and the library in Nova Scotia. [letter]. ALA Bulletin v.33, no.3, p.216
Bateson, Nora (1939). Regional libraries. Ontario Library Review v.23, no.2, p.117-18
Bateson, Nora (1939). Regional libraries for Nova Scotia. Ontario Library Review v.23, no.2, p.177-179
Bateson, Nora (1940). Laying library foundations in Nova Scotia. ALA Bulletin v.34, no.5, p.312
Bateson, Nora (1942). A library for our fighting forces. Public Affairs Spring, p.131-133
Bateson, Nora (1943). Maritime Library Association. Ontario Library Review v.27, no.2, p.130-131
Bateson, Nora (1943). Libraries for today and tomorrow. Food for Thought v.3, no.5, p.12-19
Bateson, Nora (1943). Reading pursuits and possibilities. Food for Thought v.3, no.6, p.13-17
Bateson, Nora (1945). Today the minds of men. Library Journal v.70, p.997-999
Bateson, Nora (1946). Countrywide library service: Why not? Canadian Forum 26, p.90-91
Bateson, Nora (1949). Audio visual developments in libraries abroad. New Zealand Library Association. 18th Conference, Dunedin, p.23-25


Maritime Library Institute and Maritime Library Association
American Library Association Extension Committee
Canadian Library Council
New Zealand Library Association


A scholarship at the New Zealand Library School is named in her memory. Prince Edward Island has established the Nora Bateson Award for Excellence in Library Service.


Nora Bateson directed the PEI Library Demonstration Project, which established more than 20 public libraries in that province during the period 1933-1936. She had an enduring passion for adult education, and ensured that the rural libraries' role included supporting the adult study clubs that were flourishing at the time. In 1938 she conducted a library survey of Nova Scotia, and later that year was invited to be the Director of Libraries for the Regional Libraries Commission of the province. During the Second World War, Bateson and her assistant Marion Gilroy were seconded to the Canadian Legion Education Service to establish libraries for armed forces personnel in the Atlantic command. In 1944 she was asked to undertake a library survey of Jamaica, which became the foundation for the country's public library system. She was also an active member of the committee set up to investigate the establishment of a national library association for Canada (resulting in the founding of the Canadian Library Association, 1946). After two years in charge of the Home Reading Department of the Detroit Public Library she went on to the New Zealand Library School (1947-1953) where she first served as Senior Lecturer, then Acting Director and Director for several years.


Research at Library and Archives Canada, Prince Edward Island Archives, Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, Archives of Ontario, McGill University Archives, St. Francis Xavier University Archives, Cape Breton University Archives (Beaton Institute).
Obit. Halifax Chronicle Herald, January 26, 1956.
Memorials: MLA Bulletin v.29, NO.2, p.20; CLA Bulletin v.12, no.6, p.232-234
Marion Gilroy (1956). “Nora Bateson.” Food for Thought 16: 242–244.
Sue Adams (2009). “Our Activist Past: Nora Bateson, Champion of Regional Libraries.” Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research 4, no. 1: 1–12.

biographies/nora-bateson.txt · Last modified: 2023/11/22 19:58