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This section of our website provides a place for sharing the memories, life stories, and milestones that celebrate the life of those who worked in libraries and information settings.
Each issue of our newsletter, ELAN, has a space for obituaries that provides brief information on many more of our former colleagues. The following tributes are now available by scrolling down.
CATHARINE SHELDRICK ROSS, FRSC, November 4, 1945 – September 11, 2021
— Contributed by Lynne McKechnie, Paulette Rothbauer, Lucía Cedeira Serantes, and Pam McKenzie, Faculty of Information & Media Studies, Western University, London, ON, Canada
Catherine Sheldrick Ross had a way of loping down hallways, across campuses, striding up to podiums—she cut an unmistakable, instantly recognizable figure, with her bag slung over her shoulder, a relaxed slouch, arms swinging at her sides. For a while, during her stint as Dean of the Faculty of Information & Media Studies she had a scooter – one of those foot-powered kind that folded up and could be carried into meetings. Always graceful, comfortable, and on the move. That is until she saw you and she would stop and move towards you with energy, eagerness, and an openness that would put you into the light of her attention, and you found yourself telling her about your latest adventures, accomplishments, exploits, or about whatever last fresh hell you were dealing with. And she had an enviable gift as a listener, and almost always she would say very little, but somehow always said the perfect thing, the thing you most needed to hear. It is no surprise that Catherine’s key methodologies relied on these same characteristics whether the context was academic leadership, reading and reference research, teaching, sharing research with librarians and library workers, or mentorship of new scholars and students. She always began by understanding context and need from doing careful background research; she paid close attention to what people were saying and doing; she listened carefully and without judgment, and she created opportunities for people to share their ideas and interpretations. And then, mindful of her audiences always, she took responsibility for the stories she told of what she learned—in lucid, lively, and engaging form—whether committee report, strategic plan, scholarly article, children’s illustrated book, LIS textbook, or presentation, guest lecture, keynote speech, and more.
Catherine was a brilliant scholar who made theoretical and empirical advances while always keeping the needs of professional practice at the forefront. In addition to publishing highly-cited and award-winning research articles, she made a difference to generations of reference librarians through her thorough, well-written, sensible evidence-based guides to professional communication, the reference interview, and readers and reading. She was a collaborative researcher and worked with colleagues in Canada, the United States, Japan, and Norway. Her MLIS students remember her as a brilliant instructor whose teaching and research had a positive impact on their professional careers.
Several former doctoral students and colleagues shared how grateful they were to have known Catherine. They remember her as one of their academic heroes and most influential mentors. She was vital and supportive, intellectually generous, and gracious with her time and attention to beginning scholars. She was well-respected, calm and measured during crises, and had a wry sense of humour. She mentored both by what she did and how, teaching us to be clear, audience-focused academic writers and incisive-but-compassionate reviewers of others’ work. She was a mentor, coach, colleague, and inspiration who made an indelible impact on the careers of many leading LIS scholars. As one colleague said, “She clearly left a positive impact on so many of us and what better legacy for an academic is there?”
We each had different relationships with Catherine Ross, however as researchers whose work is a direct result of knowing and learning from Cath, we place ourselves on the privileged branches on her academic family tree. She was a treasured colleague, mentor, and friend, and we will miss her.
All our best advice came from Cath. And while we can’t possibly include everything we learned from her here, we highlight a few of our favourites:
Work with people who care about you and your success. This advice came to us as graduate students and we all learned it by observing how much Cath cared about our projects, our careers, and by her consistent—years long—support. Not only did Cath invite us to collaborate with her throughout our careers, and well past her retirement in 2010, she would send a note of congratulations on new publications, new grants, new positions—and not just to us—but to colleagues and advisees she had known across her career. It meant so much to know that she was still thinking about us.
Travel light, with carry-on luggage. Each of us carries a picture in our mind of Cath disembarking one plane or another, patiently waiting in the airport, her hands free, with her knapsack on her back, while we were clumsily managing our bags, looking for our suitcases on the conveyor belt. Of course, this is excellent travel advice, however, it stands up as career guidance too: set yourself up to be nimble, capable, encumbered with only what you really need, and be ready to respond. You should know that Cath carried a Swiss Army knife too.
Be ready to give more rope. Among doctoral student advisees it was understood that Cath wouldn’t ever really tell you what you should do (or not do) and she would rarely tell you how to do it. She had too much respect for your autonomy as a researcher, and even more respect for the important process of learning how to do research and how to be a researcher. However, she would always find a way to give you more time, more resources, more feedback, more ideas, and more opportunities. What you did with the rope was always up to you.
Invite others to join the party. Cath Ross concludes the introduction to one of her last books, The Pleasures of Reading: A Booklover’s Alphabet (2014, Libraries Unlimited) by writing, “This book is intended as a celebration of readers and the pleasures of reading. I invite readers to join the party.” Reading for pleasure was one of the most defining features of Cath’s scholarly and personal lives. We know her best as a reader, as a champion of people who choose to read for pleasure whether it’s Anna Karenina or Anne of Green Gables, and as an advocate for the value and importance of reading as a social good. We will carry our memories of her animated conversation, whether at dinner parties, at research meetings, or at The Book Club, of the way she leaned in to ask questions, hands and face open, eyes glinting with good humour. Our lives have been changed and made richer by getting that generous invitation, again and again. And it is one of our great pleasures to keep the party going.
ELEANOR WEES, December 1, 1922 – July 30, 2021
— Published in the Ottawa Citizen, July 30, 2021
Eleanor was born Alice Eleanor Belyea in Fredericton, New Brunswick on December 1, 1922 to John Allen Belyea and Bessie Alberta (Harrison) Belyea, both of New Brunswick. Eleanor was a graduate of the University of New Brunswick, receiving her B.A. in 1945, and then a Bachelor of Library Science from the University of Toronto in 1946.
From 1946 to 1953, she was head cataloguer at the University of New Brunswick Library, Fredericton. In 1953, she moved to Ottawa to work at the recently-established National Library of Canada (later Library and Archives Canada). Eleanor and a small group of other librarians and professionals, led by W. Kaye Lamb, were the founders who gave initial shape and direction to the National Library. Between 1953 and 1958 and then from 1964 until her retirement in 1987, Eleanor worked on Canadiana, the national bibliography of Canada, and as a cataloguer of books and, later, sound recordings.
She was a long-standing and active member of First Baptist Church, Ottawa, becoming a member shortly after moving to Ottawa and making many lifelong friendships there. During her years as part of the church family, she served on many boards and committees, including the Board of Deacons, and established the church newsletter, Contact, in 1973. As a librarian, she was naturally inspired to develop a church library and she served as church librarian into her 90s. Her Christian faith and the fellowship of her church community gave immense meaning to her life.
Ever intellectually active and curious, Eleanor's many interests included reading and poetry. While at the University of New Brunswick, she was an early member of the Bliss Carman Society, founded in 1940 by Dr. Alfred G. Bailey to animate literary life at U.N.B. and in Fredericton. The Society initially met to discuss and share poetry, and Eleanor, along with Dr. Bailey, Elizabeth Brewster, Frances Firth, Margaret Cunningham, Donald Gammon, and Fred Cogswell, among others, was an active member. The Society established The Fiddlehead in 1945, the oldest, continuously published literary magazine in Canada, and Eleanor contributed poetry to its early issues. She continued to occasionally write poetry throughout her life. In addition, she was a pianist, continuing to play into her later 90s, and much interested in classical music, attending the Ottawa Chamberfest for many years.
— From Gerald Parker:
It is a grievous thing to hear of the demise of this great Christian lady and superb librarian. There are few obituaries of former colleagues at the National Library of Canada whom I recall with so much respect and affection. It was a pleasure to be Eleanor's colleague (for my part, as Head of the Music Section, National Library of Canada); her work and help in supervising the library clerks in the section was especially of great value. In addition to all of her excellent qualities and accomplishments, as a lady and as librarian, was her keen discretion in dealing with difficulties of all kinds as they arose. Having Eleanor as a co-worker much facilitated my work and that of the other librarians in the section. She is so dear to the memories of those who worked with her, that any obituary (even the one included here, such a fine and detailed one) cannot begin to convey her sterling human and professional virtues. She was one of the Great Ladies of the National Library and of Library and Archives Canada.
ERNEST BOYCE (“ERNIE”) INGLES, BA, MA, MLS, FRSC, December 30, 1948 – September 17, 2020
— Contributed by Merrill Distad to the Bibliographical Society of Canada and posted on the Librarianship.ca website on September 18, 2020
A graduate of the Universities of Calgary and British Columbia, Ernie Ingles was one of Canada’s preeminent academic librarians and library innovators. During a professional career spanning more than four decades, he served successively as the founding Director of the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions (now Canadiana.org); University Librarian of the University of Regina; Vice-Provost & University Librarian and (later) Director of the School of Library & Information Studies at the University of Alberta. He served, usually in executive capacity, on no fewer than twenty-five professional associations, societies, government boards and committees, including as President of the Canadian Library Association (CLA); of the Bibliographical Society of Canada (BSC/SBC); of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL); and of the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL).
Mr Ingles also provided the inspiration and driving force in linking Alberta library resources and services through the creation of Alberta’s NEOS library consortium; of The Alberta Library (TAL) lending consortium of 300 libraries across the Province; of the Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library; of the Health Knowledge Network (HKN); and the First Nations Information Connection. These initiatives changed the face of library service across Alberta, and provided a much-studied and imitated model of library cooperation and sharing for the rest of Canada, as well as abroad.
Concern for the future of the library profession led him to establish the Northern Exposure to Leadership Institute (NELI) to expose recently graduated librarians who have shown leadership potential to an intensive exploration of vision, risk taking, creativity, communication, and differing styles of leadership. More than 400 librarians practicing in Canada have learned from their NELI experience. In recognition, the American Library Association presented Ingles with the 2017 Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship.
Mr Ingles’ work at CIHM/Canadiana.org led to the filming and later digital preservation of Canada’s printed, published heritage of books, periodicals, and pamphlets. It also inspired his creation of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Website at the University of Alberta containing full digital texts of many thousands of Western Canadian books and printed ephemera. His wide-ranging research in western Canadian history and bibliography, library history, library automation and management, and the preservation of the printed record, yielded ten published books, fifty-seven articles and chapters in books, and almost 200 conference papers and public presentations. These cumulative achievements garnered twenty-nine professional awards and four medals, including the Tremaine Medal of the Bibliographical Society of Canada. Of these many awards, he was perhaps most proud of his election in 2001 as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada – the first practicing librarian to be so honoured – and Red Crow College’s award in 2011 of the honorary degree of Blackfoot Eminent Scholar Kainai PhD, along with the Blackfoot title “Kaaahssinnin” (“Elder”). As a visionary, Ernie Ingles led and inspired many others to follow.
— Comment by Wendy Newman
I was a Mentor at the first three cohorts of Northern Exposure to Leadership, which Ernie created and directed. It was a transformative experience for everyone involved, and its impact will be visible for a long time to come. In inspiring the 8Rs study as well, Ernie shone a light on human resources in the entire Canadian library sector. He always prompted librarians to consider themselves leaders of a big tent movement, and never just operators of institutions. Never forgotten.
— Association of Research Libraries Memorial to Ernie Ingles, published September 25, 2020 [authored by Kaylyn Groves]
Ernest Boyce “Ernie” Ingles, Librarian Emeritus and former vice-provost and chief librarian for the University of Alberta, died on September 17, 2020, at age 71.
Early in his career, Ingles was the founding director of the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions (now Canadiana.org) 1978–1983 and university librarian for the University of Regina 1984–1990. At the University of Alberta he served as vice-provost and chief librarian 1990–2013 and director of the School of Library and Information Studies 2010–2013.
In 1993 Ingles established the Northern Exposure to Leadership Institute (NELI) to expose new librarians to an exploration of vision, risk taking, creativity, communication, and differing styles of leadership. More than 400 librarians have participated in NELI. In recognition, the American Library Association presented Ingles with the 2017 Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship.
Of his many honors, Ingles was most proud of two: in 2001 he was the first practicing librarian to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2011 he received the honorary degree Blackfoot Eminent Scholar Kainai PhD from Red Crow College along with the Blackfoot title Kaaahssinnin (“Elder”).
Over the course of his career, Ingles served as president of the Canadian Library Association, the Bibliographical Society of Canada, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries, and the OCLC Members Council.
Ingles was active in the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) throughout his time as the ARL member representative from the University of Alberta, culminating in his service on the ARL Board of Directors 2010–2013. He served on numerous ARL committees and working groups, including the Statistics and Assessment Committee 1991–1993 and 2008–2010, Diversity Committee 1994–1996 and 2000–2002, Working Group on Copyright Issues 1994–1997, Information Policies Committee 1995–1997, SPARC Steering Committee (ex officio) 2001, Research Library Leadership and Management Committee 2003–2005, Task Force on Strategic Planning 2004, Nominating Committee 2009, Membership Committee 2011–2013, and AAUP/ARL Working Group on University Press/Research Library Collaboration 2012–2013.
— Calgary Herald, published October 26, 2020
Ernie departed this life at the University of Alberta Hospital, Edmonton in his 71st year with his wife and daughter by his side. Loving husband of Mary-Jo Romaniuk and proud father of Erin Moore (Jamie). Doting grandfather to Matthew, Wyatt, and Linden, whom he cherished. Predeceased by his parents, Robert of Calgary and Muriel of Kelowna.
Born in Calgary, Ernie graduated from the University of Calgary with a BA and MA degrees in history and the history of agricultural technology. In 1974 he graduated from the University of British Columbia with an MLS winning the Ruth Cameron Medal for Librarianship.
Ernie Ingles was one of Canada's preeminent academic librarians and library innovators. During a professional career spanning more than four decades, his first role was as the Rare Books and Special Collections Librarian at the University of Calgary where he contributed to the development of their special collections most notably the Canadian Authors Manuscript collection and the Canadian Architectural Archives. In 1977 he worked with a group to establish the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions (CIHM) where he became the first Executive Director and CEO. His work at CIHM led to the filming and later digital preservation of Canada's printed and published works. Thereafter, he served as the University Librarian of the University of Regina. In 1990 he joined the University of Alberta as Chief Librarian, assuming the role of Associate Vice President (Learning Services) and ultimately Vice-Provost & University Librarian. Prior to his retirement in 2015 he served as Director of the School of Library & Information Studies.
Ernie served in executive capacity on more than twenty-five professional associations, societies, government boards and committees including holding leadership roles in the Bibliographical Society of Canada; the Canadian Association of Research Libraries; and of the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries; OCLC Members Council and the Association of Research Libraries.
Ernie was the driving force in linking Alberta library resources and services through the creation of Alberta's NEOS library consortium; The Alberta Library; the Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library; the Health Knowledge Network; and the First Nations Information Connection.
These initiatives changed library service in Alberta, and provided a model of library cooperation that was imitated across Canada and abroad. He was very proud to receive Red Crow College's award of the honorary degree of Blackfoot Eminent Scholar Kainai, along with the Blackfoot title “Kaaahssinnin”.
His crowning achievement was the creation of the Northern Exposure to Leadership Institute (NELI) that is internationally acclaimed as a landmark contribution to professional leadership development. More than 400 librarians have developed their leadership potential through the NELI experience. In recognition, the American Library Association presented Ingles with the 2017 Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship.
His research in western Canadian history and bibliography and library administration yielded ten published books, fifty-seven articles and chapters in books, and almost 200 conference papers and public presentations. It also inspired his creation of the Peel's Prairie Provinces Website at the University of Alberta containing full digital texts of many thousands of Western Canadian books and printed ephemera. Ernie's body of scholarly work culminated in numerous awards including the Tremaine Medal of the Bibliographical Society of Canada. Of these awards, he was perhaps most proud of his 2001 election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
In 2013 Ernie was diagnosed with an inherited disorder, Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. Rather than accepting the diagnosis passively he became a Patient Services Coordinator with AlphaNet Canada. In 2019 he received a double lung transplant.
What many remember Ernie for best was his ability to make each person feel special and capable. He believed in the innate ability that we all have to achieve great things no matter who we are or how we how we lived. He instilled a sense of self-belief in those he met. Indeed, what brought him great joy was seeing others, the library community, and especially his family, thrive.
The Ernest (Ernie) B. Ingles Reading Room located in Bruce Peel Special Collections, University of Alberta Library.
— Published in the Ottawa Citizen, May 9, 2020
Beryl Anderson was the daughter of G.H. Percy Anderson of Northport, N.S. and Hazel Annie (Fader) Anderson of St. Margarets Bay, N.S. Beryl was a graduate of classics at Dalhousie University (B.A. 1946 and M.A. 1949), library science at McGill University (B.L.S. 1956), and Walden University (Ph.D., 1980, “A Correlational Analysis of the Reference Transaction Records of a Canadian Bank Library”). She began her teaching career in schools in Quebec and Nova Scotia between 1946 and 1949. From 1950 to 1955, she was a lecturer in Classics at Dalhousie University before becoming Associate Professor, McGill Graduate Library School 1956 to 1971. After completing her doctorate, Dr. Anderson was Chief of the Library Documentation Centre, National Library of Canada until her retirement in 1987. Her primary research focus was in the field of special libraries: she authored the directory, Special Libraries and Information Centres in Canada in 1970. She also compiled various reports on special library work in the 1970s and 1980s and authored a synoptic chapter on Canadian libraries from 1970-79 in the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science in 1983. Dr. Anderson was a long-time member of the Canadian Library Association, the Archaeological Institute of America, the Canadian Institute in Greece and Friends of the Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, where she volunteered for many years. She enjoyed several trips to excavation sites in Greece and Turkey with the Archaeological Institute.
— Comments by Maria Calderisi
I first met Beryl Anderson in 1972 as I was nearing the end of my music studies at McGill and wondering what to do next. My favourite professor had noticed that I spent a lot of time in the library and wondered if I had thought about librarianship. The idea was attractive to me and I went to see Beryl who was a professor at the Library School. She was a most straightforward and honest person, encouraging but cautious, especially since she knew, regretfully, that a BMus was not an acceptable prerequisite for the programme at McGill. She thought, though, that subject specialization was on the rise in the profession and was pleased to tell me that the National Library had just recently engaged such specialists as Irene Aubrey for Children’s Literature and Liana Van der Bellen for Rare Books, and of course that Dr. Helmut Kallmann had been named Chief of the newly-formed Music Division. After visiting him in Ottawa to quiz him about the future of music librarianship in Canada, I then found the ideal MLS programme at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, a combination of librarianship and musicology, and was hired by the National Library in the summer of 1973.
I had kept in touch with Beryl during this time and she herself joined the Library to create the Library Documentation Centre that same year, if I’m not mistaken. So we became colleagues, although at quite different administrative levels, and eventually we became friends. I admired her dedication and tenacity in her work, and was fascinated by her researches in Greek history and archeology, but it was our shared love of music and her continuing interest and encouragement that drew us closer. I am so grateful to have known Beryl and shall remember her always.
— Contributed by Leslie McGrath, former Senior Department Head, Osborne Collection, Toronto Public Library
We were grieved to learn of the death of our dear friend and colleague Lori McLeod, who passed away in December from cancer. Lori obtained her M.L.S. degree at the University of Toronto’s library school, now the Faculty of Information, and began at working at the Toronto Public Library’s Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books not long after the Collection opened in its Huron Street location, in the Lillian H. Smith branch. Lori chose Osborne after being redeployed from Deer Park, and how fortunate we at Osborne were when she arrived and began at once to study the cataloguing of rare books. Often having to chart her own instruction and to seek out knowledge, Lori was delighted to be sent, largely through the generosity of The Friends of the Osborne and Lillian H. Smith Collections, to Rare Book School in Virginia for a specialized, intensive course. The cataloguing of the Osborne Collection was Lori’s priority, and the support given to this important project by the library and especially by the Friends gave her great encouragement.
Lori told me she liked to think about how patrons would use the catalogue records, and would carefully include the terms and references that would be most helpful to them. Though a warm, engaging, and knowledgeable lecturer, willing to assist colleagues by taking classes and groups, Lori was happiest doing reference work and cataloguing. Modest and self-effacing, Lori put everyone else’s needs first, from desk schedules to holiday weeks, and while devoted to her own family she took a personal interest in those of her colleagues. Above all, we will remember Lori’s beautiful smile and generous outlook, her habits of always seeing the best in everyone and of making difficult situations better. Years of ill health took a toll on her strength, but never affected her caring and compassionate nature. Lori will always be missed by those fortunate enough to have known her.
— Contributed by Irena Lewycka
Shirley Diane (Stott) Henderson died on December 5, 2019, at Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto.
Diane attained her BLS (1964) and MLS (1967) at the University of Toronto. She began working in the catalogue section of the University of Toronto library in 1964. Diane was for many years the Chief Librarian of the Faculty of Library and Information Science Library at the University of Toronto from 1973 to her retirement in 1996. She had originally joined the Faculty as a lecturer in 1969. Diane continued her studies and received an MBA (York University) in 1979. In her later years, she dedicated her time to volunteering with the Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Field Ornithologists, and Retired Academics and Librarians of the University of Toronto. Diane was an intensely independent person, an indefatigable traveller, a keen theatregoer, an opera buff, and an enthusiastic gardener. She was passionate about libraries and books.
Diane was co-author (with Edith Tyne Jarvi) of Guide to Basic Reference Materials for Canadian Libraries, 4th edition, published for the Faculty of Library Science by the University of Toronto Press in 1974.
Diane was a contributor to the National Library's publication by Claire England, Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery in Canada (Ottawa, 1983).
Diane was an ELAN special edition editor who wrote “University of Toronto Faculty of Information Studies” for ELAN's Summer 2004 special issue A History of Education for Library and Information Studies in Canada.
Diane wrote “ELA’s Early Years, 1990-1995” for the Fall 2004 issue of ELAN (p. 9 & 18) which celebrated the 100th anniversary of library education in Canada. As well, she compiled ELAN's regular column on “News from Canadian Library and Information Studies Schools“ between 2007-2016.
Diane Henderson served on the executive committee of the Retired Academics and Librarians of the University of Toronto (RALUT) as Treasurer and became Vice-President in 2009.
ALBERT WILSON BOWRON, died JANUARY 27, 2018
— Toronto Globe and Mail, February 1, 2018
Albert Bowron of Toronto passed away early morning on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at the age of 98. He was fortunate to spend his last days well cared for by the staffs of Belmont House and Grace Hospital, and closely attended by his family and friends. Predeceased by his brother, Balfour (Agnes); and his later-life companion, Dorothy; he is survived by his brother, John (Barbara); ex-wives, Margaret Cunningham and Beate Bowron (Gary); children, Julian Bowron (Marie) and Alexandra Bowron (Friedi); granddaughters, Ella Casanova-Bowron and Flurina Casaulta (Damian); and great-grandson, Juri Marco. Born in 1919 in Hamilton, Ontario, Al was deeply affected by the death of his beloved mother when he was 12. He attended Hillfield School, worked for his father's companies, then entered University of Toronto, where his studies were interrupted by service as a draftsman with the RCAF and surveyor on the Alaska Highway. U of T is where Al met his first wife, Margaret, and many of the close friends he would know for the rest of his life. Graduating with a BA, Library Science in 1949, his early career took him from Vancouver to London, England and Southwestern Ontario. Al and Margaret travelled extensively, drove a classic MG in road rallies, and developed a progressive social circle, which included eccentric locals and European emigres. Julian was born in 1958 and the family moved to Toronto in 1960. Following a stint at the Toronto Public Library, in 1964 Al was appointed Chief Librarian in Scarborough where he oversaw significant expansion including the construction of the Cedarbrae branch (Irving Grossman, architect). Al 'imported' librarians from all over the world to the SPL and met his second wife, Beate, there in 1967. After marrying, they travelled widely, including a '76 - '77 trip around the world. In 1969, Al began a successful second career as Canada's first full-time library consultant. From '69 to '92 he produced dozens of reports on libraries, large and small, in every part of Canada, as well as regular articles for Quill and Quire. Al and Beate's daughter, Alexandra, was born in 1979. They purchased 'Toro Villa' in 1981, near Creemore, Ontario where many pleasant weekends were shared among the abandoned orchards.
Never a fusty librarian, Al championed innovations inspired by his extensive tours of European libraries (courtesy of the Canada Council), including radio broadcasts, bookmobiles, community event spaces, movie and record lending. A passionate defender of free speech and President of the OLA ('66-'67) and Ex-Libris ('93, '94), he organized the Banned Books display for the CLA's Intellectual Freedom Committee ('60), spoke and lectured extensively and served on many boards and committees such as the Writers Development Trust, the Stephen Leacock Awards and OECA. In 1980, he was awarded the U of T's 60th Anniversary Award for Outstanding Contribution to Library and Information Science, and in 1986, the Alumni Jubilee award. Quick with a joke or wry comment, Al was the life of the party. In his later years, he enjoyed many an adventure with Elderhostel Ontario, trips to the Stratford Festival, stays in Ontario's B & Bs, volunteering at the Vic Book Sale, and sketching old barns in the countryside. At the age of 80 he rode his bicycle around Lake Ontario on the Waterfront Trail. Al was a talented amateur painter, who experimented with a wide range of styles from abstract expressionism to watercolour landscapes. He introduced his children to art, the joys of books, Ontario's fall fairs, The Bruce Trail, cross-country skiing, and travel. Up until December 2017, Al would still take the bus, or accept a ride from his generous brother, John, for 'coffee and a sticky bun' at his local coffee shop. His drive for new experiences and overall lust for life will live on in all who have known him. Cremation has taken place, internment alongside his parents in Hamilton to take place in a private ceremony. In accordance with his (well-organized) final wishes, we will 'Have a party…at an appropriate location…at which jazz…will be the background to… Canadian wines for friends and relatives.'
— Comment by Lorne Bruce
“Al” (as he was known in a shorthand kind of way) came to meet me one afternoon in 1978. We talked for about an hour, and he covered many things that he thought a young administrator should be on the lookout for. Of course, he made a pitch for doing a library survey for our board!! But that was his secondary concern. He was really more interested to pass on his experience and knowledge of the library world and to make a new friend.