History of the Library Association of Alberta

On March 1, 1930, Mr. D.E. Cameron, Librarian of the University of Alberta, sent out a circular letter to a selected list of people informing them that on February 26th of that year, Miss Montgomery of the Library of the Department of Extension of the University of Alberta, Mr. E.L. Hill of the Edmonton Library Board, Mr. J.A. Jaffary of the Provincial library, and himself met to "talk over the present standing of library service in Alberta and to consider whether steps should now be taken towards the formation of an association for the promotion of library service in the Province."

The response was so favorable that a conference was held in December of 1930 and it lasted for three days. It was held in the Senate Chamber of the University of Alberta . Included among the delegates were librarians from various libraries of the province; Mr. John Ridington of the Carnegie Library Survey; Mr. G.F. McNally of the Department of Education; Mr. L.B. Yule representing School Inspectors; and representatives from such organizations as Alberta Teachers' Alliance, Provincial Women's Institutes, Provincial Executive, Local Council of Women, International Order of Daughters of the Empire, Women's University Club, Catholic Women's League, Swift Canadian Co. Ltd., Provincial Trustees' Association, Trades and Labour Council, Alumni Association of the University of Alberta, United Farmers of Alberta and United Farm Women of Alberta.

One of the resolutions passed at this Conference formed the Alberta Library Association and another gave a directive that the Conference urge the Provincial Government to designate a Minister to whom the promotion and direction of library service be entrusted. Resolutions were passed urging a complete revision of the Public Libraries Act providing for representation of Provincial organizations in the Councils of the Alberta Library Association; urging the immediate restoration of Government aid for school library purposes, and the desirability of administering Government aid to school libraries in accordance with modern practice and needs; requesting that a course in library work be included in the curriculum of all Provincial Teacher Training institutions; directing the Executive Committee of the new Association to approach the Federal Government in regard to a general reduction in postal rates on books circulated by libraries and between libraries; deciding that the Alberta Library Association hold a conference annually and that the Executive Committee make representations to the Provincial Government for the purpose of having the proceedings of this First Provincial Conference on Library Service published by the Government as a public document. A Constitution for the Association was drafted. Mr. D.E. Cameron was elected President for the year 1931 and Mr. Alexander Calhoun of the Calgary Public Library became Vice-President.

In March of 1931, the Alberta Library Association issued an annotated list of books on mental hygiene and allied subjects. At this hopeful point, the Association went into a coma for eleven years.

In 1942, it was revived for a very brief period.

In 1944, the members of the staff of the Calgary Public Library felt troubled because Alberta had no functioning library association. They called a reorganization meeting of the Association at the Calgary Public Library for November 29, 1944.

At this meeting, a committee was appointed to draw up a new constitution. Mr. Calhoun became President of the Alberta Library Association.

From this time, the progress of the Association, although not rapid, has been steady and solid.

* taken from Norma Frifield's write-up in the Christmas issue of the Bulletin , 1955.

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